What is the Relationship Between Kenwood and FlexRadio CAT...

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What is the Relationship Between Kenwood and FlexRadio CAT...

What is the Relationship Between Kenwood and FlexRadio CAT Commands?

System Dependencies
Minimum PowerSDR Version: 
  All versions
Applicable Hardware: All transceivers 

Content provided by: Bob, K5KDN

There are 33 Kenwood CAT commands in the CAT Dictionary that were the original core CAT commands of PowerSDR 1.x as it existed just over two years ago. All of these Kenwood commands have Kenwood command names and act just like Kenwood commands except where there is not a one-to-one mapping to a PowerSDR control (and even then will produce an appropriate response).

For instance, the Kenwood mode command MD uses a single digit parameter for setting the mode of the transceiver. Now, the last time I counted (using a zero-based system which Kenwood didn't do) you can get ten separate decodes for modes, using their one-based system you can get nine which is a little short for the 12 possible modes of PowerSDR. The corresponding extended command, ZZMD, uses a two-digit, zero-based parameter set that can handle the 12 current modes plus lots of room for growth. A "Kenwood compatible" program can only set modes on In PowerSDR that are defined by the Kenwood command set and this works out fine in most instances.

Another instance, the Kenwood DSP Filter high/low frequency commands SH and SL. The Kenwood commands do not have the selection range available in the DSP filters of PowerSDR so the CAT parser will find the standard FlexRadio transceiver frequency closest to the requested Kenwood frequency. This means that programs using the Kenwood set cannot set/get the full range of available filter widths and shifts. The extended set commands ZZFL and ZZFH can accommodate plus or minus 9999 kHz in one kHz steps (which is exactly the way the corresponding controls work on the PowerSDR console).

The real killer comes in with the Kenwood transceiver status command IF.

This is probably the most widely used Kenwood command among the third-party programs I have tested. Some programs use it exclusively since it returns a long string containing frequency, mode, split, and other info. Some of the content, like CTCSS tones, are not applicable and are defaulted to neutral values. VFO split is where most of the third-party programs run into problems with our Kenwood CAT set. Kenwood has two SEPARATE AND INDEPENDENT vfo's where you can transmit on A or B and receive on A or B. The Flex can transmit on A or B but can only receive on A. This will always be a problem if the third-party program thinks its talking to a Kenwood rather than a FlexRadio transceiver. Dave Bernstein at DXLab has worked around this in his code and Simon Brown at Ham Radio Deluxe eliminated all such problems by simply adopting our extended Flex command set (as did PC-ALE).

A lot of effort went into making the Kenwood controls as compatible as possible. Where there is a difference in scaling, like the Audio Gain command AG, the Kenwood parameter range (0-255) is scaled in software to match the 0-100 range of PowerSDR.

There are currently 103 extended commands specifically written for PowerSDR.

Almost every user control on PowerSDR now has a corresponding CAT command with a parameter set that matches that of the control. The FlexRadio CAT Command Dictionary, containing both the supported Kenwood commands and the FlexRadio extended commands, has been widely published and is available for any developer who wants to use it. The extended commands are prefix "ZZ" and are four characters in length which should prevent any confusion with the Kenwood set. As new controls are added to PowerSDR, more extended commands will be added to the dictionary.

"Standardization" of the FlexRadio CAT command set to only what is available in the Kenwood set would be a giant 15 year leap into the past. I have added a few Kenwood commands recently, like the KY and KS (CW translation and code speed), to satisfy user requests but I don't think there are many more Kenwood commands (as written) that will be of benefit in the future.

If Kenwood decides to update their command set for a new radio, I will certainly investigate it for Flex potential. The "standardization" is in the processing; I use the same parser, same rules and same error checks for either command set.

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Last Modified:Thursday, July 31, 2008
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