CTR2 was designed from the ground up to be a standalone station control system. Almost everything you need to operate multiple radios in your station is included. This post describes the current features of the system.

  • Up to 16 radios can be controlled by the system
    • Each radio port has its own settings, favorite frequency list, band stacking registers, filter settings, transmit buffers (CW, RTTY, and Voice each have 10 buffers), and antenna configurations
    • A common database of settings can be shared between all radios
  • The user interfaces with CTR2 using a small, color touch screen and a rotary encoder.
  • All radios are controlled using the same user interface (i.e. all radios look the same to the user). To keep the interface consistent only frequency and mode are controlled via CAT control.
  • It supports Icom, Kenwood, and many Yaesu CAT protocols. Other radios based on these protocols can also be controlled. Special provisions have been added to support the Flex 6000 radio series and the Icom PCR1000 wideband receiver.
  • The multi-function rotary encoder natively changes frequency – click it to step through additional setting options
  • Frequency control is accomplished using several different methods
    • Touching a digit on the frequency display changes the frequency by that amount. Touching the top of the digit increases the frequency while touching the bottom of the digit decreases the frequency.
    • The rotary encoder changes the frequency by the selected frequency step (highlighted number in the frequency display)
    • Touching a signal on the spectrum display tunes the radio to that signal’s frequency and sets the frequency step to 10 Hz for fine tuning CW and RTTY signals.
    • Direct frequency input via a virtual keypad
    • Use the cursor control keys on an attached USB keyboard (wired or wireless) or when connected to the built-in terminal interface
    • Use an attached USB mouse (wired or wireless) to change the frequency by click/drag motions
    • Select a favorite frequency from a list of 100 frequencies
    • Use the P>V button to move backwards through the last 10 frequencies
  • Operation modes (separate from radio modes) include CW, RTTY, Voice, and Digital
  • Each operation mode has its own DSP bandwidth and tracking notch filters and they are specific to the selected radio port
  • Independent transmit level control for Voice, RTTY, and Digital operation modes
  • CW operation mode has the following options
    • The keyer supports straight key, pass-through, Iambic A and B, Ultimatic, and bug modes. Pass-through mode controls the Key and PTT outputs with the left and right paddles. This allows you to use an external keyer or your radio’s built-in keyer if you prefer.
    • Keyer speed is adjustable from 5 to 50 wpm. Farnsworth spacing is also available.
    • Keyer can be used for code practice when transmit is disabled
    • The decoder frequency is adjustable and is displayed as a cursor on the spectrum display to aid in tuning and zero-beating the received signal
    • The receive buffer holds 500 characters
    • Transmitted characters are decoded and displayed too. This really helps to sharpen your CW skills especially when using a straight key
  • RTTY operation mode has the following options
    • Supports 45.45, 50, 75, and 100 baud
    • Supports 170, 225, 425, 450, and 850 carriers shifts
    • Supports 1, 1.5, and 2 stop bits
    • Supports 2125 and 2296 Hz mark frequency
  • Voice operation mode has the following options
    • 5-Band Equalizers for transmit and receive audio
    • Transmit audio compression
    • Add a text label to each transmit voice buffer for easy identification
    • Transmit voice buffer length is only limited by the size of the SD card
  • Digital operation mode has the following options
    • Select either USB (from your PC) or the HMI‘s Mic input as the audio input source
    • Select either USB (to your PC) or the HMI‘s Headphone output as the audio output destination
    • Monitor both Tx and Rx USB audio
    • Select no filtering or use filters defined for Voice mode
    • Adjust the HMI‘s VOX trigger level
    • Select the VOX action
      • Do nothing
      • Just pass transmit audio to the transceiver – let the transceiver’s VOX key the radio
      • Generate a PTT output from the HMI to key the radio
  • The Teensy’s micro-USB port supports both USB audio and USB serial
    • Use USB audio to connect to 3rd party digital applications like WSJT-X
    • Use the USB serial port to allow 3rd party applications to control the selected radio through the HMI
      • The USB serial port on the HMI emulates a Kenwood TS2000 transceiver – commands from your 3rd party application to control the HMI‘s TS2000 emulation are translated by the HMI into the appropriate command to control the selected radio.
      • You can connect to the USB serial port with a terminal program like PuTTY. The terminal connection is menu driven and gives you the same features as the HMI‘s virtual keyboard or a keyboard plugged into the HMI‘s USB-A Host port.
  • When the ESP8266 is installed the HMI can connect to your local WiFi network. This is required for Flex Radio control. The HMI has a built-in web server that’s available on IP port 80 (standard IP port for browsers). Future updates will add the ability to create a standalone WiFi access point to the HMI.
  • Logging is supported. Files are saved in .ADIF format on the SD card and can be download using the built-in web server.
    • In CW and RTTY modes the Auto> log feature parses the receive buffer to identify call signs and RST reports. You can easily add these to your log entries by simply touching the call or RST report.
  • Off-air recording is supported in all modes. Record length is limited only by the size of the SD card. Files are saved in .WAV format.
  • When the optional RJ45 switch, Radio Antenna Switch Controller (RASC), Antenna Switch Controller (ASC) and appropriate remote antenna switches are installed the antenna and radio I/O selection and routing are automatically set when a radio port is selected. Simply select the radio you want to use!
  • When the optional ASC is installed the HMI can automatically switch antennas based on selected band. Multiple antennas can also be selected if you’re using phased arrays.
  • Beacon mode displays the currently transmitting International Beacon Project beacon for the selected frequency. Beacon frequencies are loaded by default in memory slots 96 to 100.
  • An all-mode squelch is available. This control mutes the HMI‘s receive audio until the audio level on the frequency exceeds a preset threshold.
  • Voice announcement of frequency and mode is available

NOTE: The Sept/Oct 2021 QEX article also described the WWV decoding option. This option was removed from the system due to the low performance of the SGTL5000 codec’s tone decoder at 100 Hz. It ended up being much easier to just set the HMI‘s clock manually when listening to the WWV broadcast. Technology isn’t always the answer 🙂

As you can see, there is a lot going on! Select the User Interface menu to view posts describing how these features are selected and controlled by the touch screen display.

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