Once your contest station grows bigger and you add more antennas to turn, it becomes quite annoying to move around the physical rotator controllers between the operating positions inside the shack. Desperate for a better solution, I developed a server software that provides access to the Rotators through the network. Now all rotators can be controlled either directly through Win-Test, TCP socket, or through a Web-Interface.
Three years ago I added a Software Defined Radio (Softrock Clone) to the 455kHz intermediate frequency of my FT1000MP shortwave receiver. The idea was to use it as a spectrum scope in conjunction with CW Skimmer. Unfortunately, the solution has one big disadvantage: I can’t use it with Win-Test my favorite Contest Software. In a detailed investigation, I found out why CW Skimmer and Win-Test can not be used simultaneously with the same Radio. Now, about past 30 months later, the situation has improved. However, there is still one little change necessary to finally be able to use CW Skimmer and Win-Test with (my) FT1000MP. Read in this article what has changed and what is still missing (my wish)!
In this article, we will investigate how various Contest programs (Win-Test, N1MM, and CW-Skimmer) communicate with the FT1000MP shortwave transceiver over the serial port. We will see what happens when multiple programs try to talk to the transceiver at the same time, what problems appear and how we can successfully monitor and debug them.