Interfacing a SteppIR Controller with PowerSDR 1.x

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Interfacing a SteppIR Controller with PowerSDR 1.x

Interfacing a SteppIR Controller with PowerSDR 1.x

System Dependencies
Minimum PowerSDR Version:
Applicable Hardware: All transceivers

Content provided by: Joe, AB1DO

The SteppIR antenna adjusts its elements with frequency. With the transceiver option it has the ability to follow the transceiver's frequency, adjusting its elements every 50 kHz. SteppIR also sells a selection of cables to work with various rigs.

The following is a step-by step outline to enable the SteppIR to follow the frequency of PowerSDR.

Step 1 - First of all, do not purchase the Kenwood cable that SteppIR offers. It will not work with PowerSDR. You will need to make your own cable using two female9-pin D-Sub connectors. Connect these as shown in illustration 1 below:

  • Connect pin 2 to pin 3 and pin 3 to pin 2
  • Connect pin 5 to pin 5
  • On the SteppIR-side connector, connect pin 7 to pin 9

Step 2 - Plug the SteppIR-side connector (the one with pin 7 connected to pin 9) into the Data-In receptacle on the back of the SteppIR controller box. Plug the other end of the cable into an available serial port receptacle on the PC running PowerSDR. For the purposes of this outline, we will assume this is Com1.

Step 3 - In the SteppIR Setup menu, select Transceiver Setup, set Mode to Kenw (Kenwood). Next, set Baud as low as possible (on current systems this is 2400).
  • The baud rate needs to be set so low, because according to SteppIR the time between the status query from the SteppIR control box and the radio response must be longer than 100ms.
  • With your PC you may be able to get away with a higher baud rate, but start low initially. If that works, you may try adjusting upward, but 2400 is more than sufficient.

Step 4 - In PowerSDR, on the Setup form, select the Cat Control tab (see illustration 2)

Illustration 2: Set CAT Control to COM1, Baud to 2400 and ID to TS-2000

  • Set the CAT Control to the Com port to which you connected the SteppIR control box (Com1) and its baud rate to 2400. (If you selected another baud rate in the SteppIR Setup menu, select the same here.)
  • Enable CAT
  • Set ID as TS-2000, just to make sure.

Step 5 - Turn PowerSDR on and set the SteppIR control box to General Freq. This is required for the transceiver control to work.

Step 6 - Your SteppIR should now follow the frequency in VFOA of PowerSDR. If not, try turning the SteppIR control box off and then on again.

If your SteppIR does not follow the frequency in PowerSDR, you can try some or all of the following:

  • Close PowerSDR and open Hyperterminal. Connect it to the Com port the SteppIR is connected to (Com1). Turn on the SteppIR control box set to General Freq . You should now see the command IF; arrive every second or so. This is the status query from the SteppIR. (see illustration 3). If you can see this, the PC is at least receiving the status query from the SteppIR. If you don't see this, check your cable between the PC's com port and the SteppIR's Data-In port.

Illustration 3: Receiving Query Command from SteppIR

  • Next start PowerSDR and connect a port monitoring utility like the freely available portmon to Com1. This will enable you to verify that PowerSDR is responding correctly and that its response is indeed arriving 100ms after the SteppIR's query (see illustration 4).

Illustration 4: Portmon Showing PowerSDR Response Some 20- 30ms After the Query. This was too Fast for the SteppIR to Follow and the Baud Rate had to be Lowered From 9600 to 2400.

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Last Modified:Thursday, July 31, 2008
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