The rig on 40m, VFO A, preamp on, reverse CW. Looks familiar, eh? :-)
The program uses the K2's KIO2 serial port to
control the rig.
The rig image is from the front of the K2 pdf manual so using the
program is as familiar as using your real K2. Note that the
image above isn't a mock up; it's a snapshot of the working interface.
If you use a K2 you know how to use this program:
: mouse click on a button.
: mouse click & hold on a button.
Knob turn: click, hold, and drag the mouse
(AF and RF gain knobs can't be computer controlled).
Comparison Between K2 and Program
Here are short lists of where each has advantages over the other. I
strongly recommend using the real K2, not my software, when making any
changes to the K2 through MENU or monitoring any measurements related to
Where the Real K2 Wins
The K2 has advantages the program does not.
Tuning, S units, and display all update more quickly than the software.
As mentioned, AF and RF gain are controlled completely with the
potentiometers so there's no on-screen control of either.
The K2 doesn't always make available the state of its display. For
instance, in DISPLAY mode the K2 won't transmit on the serial link updated
There's something refreshing about getting computers out of the
shack and feeling real buttons and knobs!
Where the K2 Rig Control Software Wins
But the software has some advantages, too.
As your mouse travels over
certain areas phantom buttons appear and will disappear when the mouse
leaves the area. They look like the "F" button
between the BAND+ and BAND- buttons.
Having the software K2 on-screen next to a pdf manual of the K2 or K2
add-on board makes it convenient to try out what you're reading about.
Similarly, if you use software logging or software for digital modes
it's convenient to have the interface living in the same work area.
It's just plain fun to have another K2! Well, kind of...
Starting the Software
program is easy. But don't forget - you must right-click anywhere in the
picture and then choose the name of the serial port that your K2 is hooked
up to. Now you should be and running and controlling your K2 with
Click briefly on a button to simulate a button tap, and click and hold to
simulate a push and hold on the K2. To spin knobs, click and hold the mouse
button down anywhere within a
knob and then move the mouse. While moving, the mouse doesn't have to remain
within the knob area. It's actually helpful for fine adjustments to pull
the mouse farther from the knob.
This is my favorite feature, as it lets me finally learn all the dual
button combos. Here are pictures of the NF (notch filter on/off) and NR
(noise reduction on/off) phantom buttons when your mouse moves along the
right edge of the rig. They pop up and give you the choice of clicking
on the "real" (original) buttons or on the phantom button to get the
multi-button combo function. Hopefully, this helps remember the button
combos when not running the program.
Notch filter on/off.
Noise reduction on/off.
Similarly, phantom buttons appear when the mouse moves over them in the
same area of the front panel for FIL (check filter status), AGC (AGC
on/off), and RIT (Fine RIT on/off), as shown in the following pictures.
Fine RIT on/off.
Finally there is the phantom button representing the dual DISPLAY/TUNE
combination. It displays the forward and reflected power.
a phantom button appears - and same goes for the "F" that appears by the BAND
buttons - simply click on it like any other button for that function.
As mentioned earlier, I find it handy to have the K2 program running
while I'm reading the pdf version of manuals. For the KDSP2 this has
especially been the case when trying to become familiar with its many
submenus. Reaching between rig and manual gets a little frustrating after a
while and using the rig control software saves you that.
How It Works
The program sends commands to the K2 based on the buttons you click or
the knobs you spin. In addition a timer is continually running that wakes
up every 100 milliseconds. If another command is not being acted upon, the
program will ask the K2 (with a DS command) to send the state of its screen
which the program will then mimic. Before a display update request is sent
to the K2 the program first checks that the rig is in receive mode. Simple,
right? That's really all there is to it: map a click or key press to a rig
function, send it to the K2, update the display, and then take a short nap.
Continual polling is used so that the screen display is correct even if
the op uses the real buttons rather than the on-screen ones. If we're
willing to do away with that consideration, state could be kept internally
and polling eliminated. Food for thought.
What Doesn't Work
I don't like how the keyer knob works. It would be nicer if regardless
of where you click on the knob that spinning would be relative to the
current setting. Instead it sets speed immediately based on where you
click. Why? I got tired doing all the coding and instead wrote up
Other considerations are compensating for times when the K2 DS command
doesn't give annunciator info, e.g., underlining during MENU, EDIT, DISPLAY,
and the 3 second blink cycle during FINE RIT. At the moment I don't try to
compensate for any firmware short comings but just report data as received.