MicroKeyer and N1MM Configuration Notes

From Stu2
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Configuration notes for using the MicroKeyer and N1MM. In general, it's based on the 440 station which uses a Kenwood TS-2000, TE Systems AMP and SSB Electronics Preamp. Variations for the other stations are noted where appropriate. We want two modes of operation. 1) Manual, where the user presses the footswitch and transmits voice or CW. 2) Automatic, where the computer keys the equipment and plays the DVK/CW messages. We do not want QSK or VOX. It's really important to turn the rigs VOX control OFF and DO NOT use the rig's send button to manually key the rig.

MicroKeyer (MK)

The Microkeyer provides virtual serial interface ports, which allows N1MM to control the rig, provide WinKey (CW) keying and Digital Voice Keying (DVK) functions. Follow the Microham instructions to set up the MK and use these notes as a guide for the W4IY VHF contest stations. The MK Router software is used to configure and control the MK hardware. It has to be running and is normally started automatically.

Disable VOX on the Rig and DO NOT use the SEND button to key the rig manually. VOX and the send button bypass the sequenced PTT delays and may damage the Preamps.

Note - ensure the internal SO2R/SO1R jumper is set to SO2R. This disconnects PTT1 from the Winkey. Otherwise, pressing a CW paddle will key the rig. This may allow an unintended QSK mode.

Ports Tab

The virtual COM ports are configured as follows:

Ports Tab
   CAT     - COM4 - for the radio computer control
   PTT     - COM5 - RTS for PTT
   2nd PTT - COM8 - RTS for WSJT
   WinKey  - COM6 - WinKey, 1200,n,8,1

There may be more 'compact' configurations, which use a single COM port for multiple functions, but we decided to use separate ports to eliminate confusion.

Audio Switching Tab

The audio routing can be confusing because different PTT methods can use different audio routing paths. For each mode (e.g. CW,) there are three potenital audio routes, which are based on the PTT method. The Audio Switching tab in the MK router software has pictures to help figure things out. Here are the audio route modes:

  • A - routes the audio directly to the rig.
  • B - disconnects the mic and uses the line in/out only.
  • C - routes the mic audio through the computer.

For the VHF contests, we use A and/or C.

For each mode, we use the following:

  • CW - use mode A for each PTT choice (AAA) because we don't care how the rig is keyed
  • Voice - use mode C for each PTT choice (CCC) because we want the use the controls in the computer to adjust the mic level to be the same as the playback level.
  • FSK - don't care
  • Digital - don't care

Therefore, set the Audio Switching tab as follows:

Audio Switching Tab
   Follow Radio Mode
   CW    - AAA
   Voice - CCC

Note, we had to modify the digital band plan for 2M in the MK/Options because the default was < 144.200 = digital. (Earlier verisons of the MK routing software.)

Audio Mixer Tab

Audio routing should be the same for all stations. In general, we want the audio to route through the microphone connector of the rig so we can take advantage of the speech processors. The Audio Mixer Tab should be set up as follows:

Audio Mixer Tab
   REC MIC - Microphone (for testing, select "Line IN" or NOT "Microphone" for normal operations)
   TX MIC - Microphone
   TX Voice - WAVE
   RX Recording - None

   Sliders
      REC MIC - should bounce with mic audio, adjust to red line on peaks
      TX MIC - 50%
      TX Voice - 80%

Clicking on the 'mixer' buttons brings up the XP sound card volume controls.

  • Rec Mixer - sets the input level for recording WAV files. Select Microphone for testing and change this to Line IN (or NOT Microphone) to allow N1MM to claim the microphone. Once you do deselct the , you can record the WAV files without pressing the footswitch.
  • TX Mixer - sets the output levels while routing audio through the computer. (The audio path is: Mic -> MK PreAMP -> Sound Card (mic) -> Computer -> Line Out -> Rig (Microphone connector)
    • Show Play Control, Wave, Line-In and Microphone
    • Make sure all four are unmuted

At this point - you can test the TX levels using the 'Test Signal' button.

PTT Tab

There are different configurations for different equipment configurations. As of now, the six meter station does not use a MK, so there isn't a configuration for six meters.

440 Station

The 440 configuration requires the LNA PTT to properly sequence the preamp. PTT 1 is delayed by the PTT Lead time setting in the Microham software. The delay needs be longer than the PreAMP drop out delay, which was measured to be around 7 ms. So 20ms should be fine. The tail delay needs to be long enough to allow the rig and amp to unkey. They both unkey as soon as the foot switch is released and the delay was measured to be about 20ms. So a long Tail isn't necessary, but using 100ms lets me know the delay is actually happening. (Note, in the older MK Router software, the longest delay was 93ms.) The sequencer timing was measured and looks like this: Sequencer Timing Diagram - [PNG Graphic] In version 7.2 of the MH router software, the PTT Tail doesn't seem to do anything related to the sequencer function. I don't know if this is a bug or what. The PTT Lead is applied to both the lead-in and tail delay. Another strange thing - the default is both the PA PTT and LNA PTT boxes are checked. Once you uncheck one of them, only one or the other can be checked.

PTT Tab - 440 configuration
   CW - PTT1 Delayed
   Voice - PTT1 Delay
   PA PTT - Unchecked
   LNA PTT Checked
   PTT Lead - 100ms
   PTT Tail - Doesn't matter
   When Footswitch is pressed - all checked
   When Footswitch is released - all uncecked

I switched the internal jumper to SO2R so the CW key doesn't activate the PTT.

2 Meter Station

The 2M configuration is similar to 440, but this station uses an external sequencer. To make this bullet-proof, we drive the sequencer from the rig. That way, if somebody accidentally keys the rig manually, the sequencer protects the pre-amp. It also makes the settings in the MK not so critical.

Note - the internal SO2R/SO1R jumper should be set to SO2R. This connects Pin 5 of the MK WinKey to the remote connector and NOT PTT1. If you don't do this, the MK WinKeyer will key the rig when you work the CW paddles.

The MK keys the PTT (PTT1 Lead) on the front panel microphone connector and the rig keys the sequencer. The sequencer has a 250ms delay on the tail.

PTT Tab - 2M configuration
   CW - PTT 1 
   Voice - PTT 1
   PA PTT - Checked
   LNA PTT - UNchecked
   PTT Lead - 20ms
   PTT Tail - Constant; 20ms (not used)
   When Footswitch is pressed - all checked
   When Footswitch is released - all uncecked

Make sure the VOX on the 746 is off. 2M pre-amp has no VOX circuits or protection diodes. The FET in the MHP-145 a MGF-1302.

222MHz Station

The 222MHz configuration is similar to 440, but this station uses an external sequencer. We do not need the PTT tail delay because the external sequencer provides the delay. The PA PTT signal (MK back panel) drives the sequencer input. The MK also keys the PTT (PTT1 Lead) on the front panel microphone connector and the rig keys the PA (or Xverter/PA for 222.)

PTT Tab - 222 configuration
   CW - PTT 1 
   Voice - PTT 1
   PA PTT - Checked
   LNA PTT - UNchecked
   PTT Lead - 20ms
   PTT Tail - Constant; 20ms (not used)
   When Footswitch is pressed - all checked
   When Footswitch is released - all uncecked

Make sure the VOX is off and don't use the 'send' button to key the rig. These bypass the signals going to the sequencer and it will blow the PREAMP. (Note: 222 has some protection via the VOX circuits, but don't rely on it. 2M has no VOX circuits.)

N1MM

This configuration allows N1MM to key the rig and send CW or SSB automatically. There are a lot of settings in N1MM and they aren't covered here. This section provides the necessary details to get the N1MM and the MicroKeyer combination working.

Config - Hardware Tab

This configures N1MM to use the virutal ports set up in the MK configuration above. COM4 is used to control the rig CAT functions, COM5 is the PTT and COM6 is the WinKey. The PTT delay (COM5) controls when the WinKey computer generated output will start sending. Make sure the winkey delay (150ms) is longer than the MK PTT delay (93ms.)

Config/Hardware Tab
   COM4 Kenwood, 9600,n,8,1 DTR,RTS always on
   COM5 None, CW/PTT Checked - SET - RTS is PTT, PTT Delay 150ms
   COM6 None, CW/PTT Checked - SET - DTR/RTS always on, check Allow Ext Interrupts, WinKey

Note - the baud rate may be different than 9600. When you set up the MK (previous section,) you can test the connectivity and figure out the baud rate.

Config - WinKey Tab

This configuration lets N1MM key the MicroKeyer via COM5. Since the delay is configured with the COM5 setting above, winkey doesn't need to work the PTT nor add a delay before sending. Same goes for the foot switch generated PTT. The delay for the footswitch is set in the MK configuration. So once the footswitch is pressed, winkey can start sending immediately.

WinKey Tab
   WinKey Pin 5 function, None
   Lead Time - 0 - no lead time for paddles and program


Config - Audio Tab

Just make sure the sound card is selected and the right parts of the sound card are used.

Configurator/Audio Tab
   #1 Zero or Single Card, Select Device - sound card
   Input = Microphone
   Line to Mute = Microphone
   Radio Input = Line-In

Procedures for setting up the audio. MicroHam Audio Levels

Passing Stations in N1MM

Set up the Function keys using a macro.

F10  {MESSAGE}0 {PASS 0} {CALL} {GRIDSQUARE} {GRIDBEARING}deg {KMGRIDDISTANCE}km

This sets up a macro on the F10 button to pass the info of the last station logged to station 0. Very handy because we can pass the bearing at the same time. Since we run 4 stations, we can use F10, F11 and F12. Don't forget to program both CW and SSB.

Speaking of bearing, you can find out the bearing to a station by entering the grid in the grid field. Then, press the space bar. The bearing to the distant station will appear at the bottom of the entry window.