TS870RC - a remote radio control app for OSX

 

 

 

 

- Note: Some pictures are made in OS X Mavericks -


 

How to connect your TS-870

You will need to use a USB to Serial cable (or adaptor) to connect your TS-870 to the Mac. All my tests were made with a "Digitus DA-70156" adaptor and the "FTDI USB-Serial-Driver", which is usually part of the cable-set. (newest VCP-Drivers are available on the FTDI website as well).

Other USB-Serial  products should work fine, too. Be sure that the adaptor is really functioning.

I had problems with some very cheap products.


 

If you need an additional data cable between the adaptor and the TS-870, this is a Sub-D 9 female on both ends. All pins  are connected straight. 1=1 til  9=9.


Standard USB-Serial cables are ok. Nevertheless, its not a bad idea to use optical or inductive couplers for electrical safety.  Generally, some adaptors may producing RF noise. There is no recommendation on how to avoid that, as it depends on your devices and setup, grounding etc.

The DA-70156 makes very little RF noise on my setup, as far as I can tell.

 

 

Installation

  1. Open the DMG image and copy the TS870RC remote control folder to your HD.
  2. Move the folder to your preferred destination, usually the application folder.
  3. If you start for the first time, the app does not find his related preferences file to get your SerialPort device parameter.
  4. You will need to select "Preferences..." from the main menu.
  5. Select your serial-port, baud rate, add your User ID and Key, and push "Save".
  6. Your device parameter should now be saved for next startups of the TS870RC app.
  7. After preferences has been successfully saved, the app will restart the init process and should completely startup now, showing the actual frequency of your TS-870 transceiver.

 

De-Installation

  1. Move the TS870RC app and associated folder to the trash.
  2. Go to the directory "Users/ YourUserName /library/preferences" and move all files "com.whxde.TS870RC.plist" into the trash and empty.
  3. Go to the directory "Users/ YourUserName /library/Caches" and move the file "com.whxde.TS870RC" into the trash and empty.
  4. Go to the directory "/Private/var/db/bootcaches. There you find a long name folder using letters and numbers specific to your system. Inside this folder find the file "app.com.whxde.TS870RC.playlist". Move this file to the trash and empty.

     Rem.:  Since OSX 10.7 the user-library is set invisible by default.

     Select the finder menu "Goto" and select "Library" while pressing

     the <alt> button. Or select the lower item  "Goto folder..." using the path

    "/Users/<your user name>/Library/"


 

 


 

RS232 Baudrate

Your TS-870 transceiver has to be set to the correct RS232 datarate.

Check your transceiver menu # 56  for this setup. 

After changing the transceivers baud rate setting, you MUST restart the TS-870

by powering "down and up again" the transceiver to make sure getting the selection stored.

 

TS870RC baud rates:

Select the desired baud rate in the preferences panel. (9600, 19200, 38400, 56700 baud)

Rem.: TS870RC Versions 3.0 and earlier offers only 9600 baud fixed data rate.


 

 

For responsivity of the TS870RC app, the baud rate should be set to a higher rate.
 

 


 

Preferences
You need to first select your connected serial port adaptor and the correct serial port

baud rate, using the preferences panel. Here you set your license code, too.

Or push "Demo" and save preferences for getting the Demo-mode.


 

If you later want to change serial port data rate, you can do this the following way:

Change the TS-870 menu # 56 as usually and select the baud rate you desire.

You MUST restart the TS-870 by powering "down and up again" the transceiver

to make sure getting the selection stored.

Or alternatively, you can select „Partial Reset“ from the Radio-menu in the TS870RC app.

(This does not delete memories or menu selections)

Now select the new speed in the TS870RC preferences panel and save selections.


 

 

 


 

Error  messages
The following error messages are provided and can be shown in the display: 

 

  • err prefs         ---  Plist file not found
  • err UserID     --- User ID not found in Plist
  • err UserKey  --- Key not found in Plist
  • err auth.         ---  UserID or UserKey authentication invalid
  • err open         ---  opening serialport has failed
  • err config       ---  configuring serialport has failed
  • err write         ---  writing to serialport has failed
  • err read         ---  reading from serialport has failed
  • TS870 off      ---  TS-870 transceiver is switched Off

 

 


 

 


 

Lock- and TX-inhibit- and RIT control
Select "Lock" and "TX inhibit" from the "Radio-menu" to block frontpanel buttons or  transmitter usage.

Select RIT from the menu, or use shortcuts or Xvtr panel buttons.

The TS870RC display indicates status "L" for Lock, "I" for Inhibit and "R" for RIT.


 

 


 

 

 

 

Quick Reference
A small quick reference you can find in the Apple-menu,  "About TS870RC".


 

 

 


TX setup drawer

The TX setup drawer offers some selections of useful TX settings.

Like Mic Gain, Processor range, Equalizer settings, Vox Gain etc

 

Open the drawer with the application menu or with shortcut "cmd x"


 

 


PS:

The TS-870 does not allow to read his menu settings. So, while starting up the program,

the values are unknown. We have to switch multiple between values by pushing the buttons, beginning with a default value.


 

 


 

TX Audio presets

The preset menu offers Save and Load of two different presets for "local" and "dx" communication.

 

Some of the adjustments in the left "TX setup drawer" can be saved as preset.

These are Mic-Gain, Mic-ALC, Mic-Equalizer, Proc. on/off, Proc. LO/HI Equalizer, TX bandw./shift.

 

These parameters are labeled with a bold dot aside. (See TX-setup drawer). 

They are Mic-Gain, Mic-Alc, Mic-Equalizer, Proc. on/off, Proc. LO/HI Equalizer, TX bandw. and shi
Adjust these parameters FIRST before saving a preset to be sure getting defined parameters saved. Otherwise default parameters will be saved.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Favorite QRG

The special menu offers Save and Load of a "favorite QRG".

Frequency, mode and antenna can be saved for a quick access.

The data is stored in the preferences file and can be changed with a mouseclick or shortcut.


 

 

 


 Wheel support starts a separate app, set in the preferences, possibly to use a wheel shuttle.

(See PowerMate section).

 



Application status  monitor
TS870RC has a drawer view to show status messages. This provides an option for debugging

if something occurs unexpectedly. Use "cmd-M" to open and close the monitor.

The memory list and small dipole calculator is located in this text field, too.

 
 

 


 

 


 

Write memories into TS-870

Push the "MW" button of the main window to open the "Write Memories"-window.

If you push the desired button (memory 1 ... 10),

actual frequency and mode will be stored into the TS-870 memory.


 

Split mode is supported.

Sub tone is supported in FM together with SPLIT mode (for 29 MHz repeaters).

Select the desired sub tone before storing a setup into memory.

 

 

 


 

Pushing the "<<" button will toggle between memory "write" and memory "clear".

You can save or delete the desired memory data by selecting 1 ... 10.


 

 


 

Transmit  control   /   Antenna tuner  /  DRS /  VOX  /  Carrier setup
Push the "RTX" button of the main window  to slide out the lower RTX-drawer view.

(Key-Equivalent "cmd-t")

The "PTT" button changes transmitter state of the TS-870 transceiver.

Alternatively you can push the space-key.

For safety reason, the transmit function is only active, when the RTX drawer is open !


 

In case of transmit, main window controls are blocked.

- Take care, that the selected antenna jack is connected to a 50 ohms antenna or load . 


 

 

 


 

- The SWR "Test“ button switches the transmitter "on air" for a second to read the VSWR value.
The output value can be seen in the status monitor.
For SWR tests select your favorite mode, power and carrier level as you do in manual tests.
(Example: mode CW, power 50%, carrier 50%)
 


 

- The "Tuner on/off" switches the antenna tuner "in-line" or "bypass". (on/off).

The "tune" button will start the antenna tuning process.

 

- The "Ext. PA" button affects an external Power Amplifier to be in-line or bypass:
This function sets PA control from "off" to normal use "slow switching" (Level 2).

- The RF  "Power %" control works as follows:

In SSB mode, the Power Control button of TS870RC just selects the output power stepwise as indicated.

In CW, AM, FSK, as well as SSB with speech processor ON,  the RF power has to be adjusted with the Carrier Level the way, that the ALC will not work excessively. In general, set the Carrier control so, that the ALC meter reads within the limits of the ALC zone.

 

- Set RF Power to 100% 

- Open left TX-setup drawer for adjustment. 

- Set TS-870 into your desired mode (AM,FM,FSK), and then transmit.

- Increase Carrier Level until ALC starts working.

- Check the ALC-meter or the status window of TS870RC.


 

 


 

In the TS870RC app, I had to decide how to adjust the startup level of the Carrier adjustment and choose 30% as an initial setup. So far, the TS-870 starts with safely reduced power setup.
In the TS870RC app, I had to decide how to adjust the startup level of the Carrier adjustment and choosed 30% as an initial setup. So far, the TS-870 starts with safely reduced power setup.
(See TS-870 manual for more detailed information, chapter CW Transmission)
What you will have to do, open the TX-drawer (command X) and adjust the carrier to the level you need for your specific situation. After this, the power control should work as aspected. After this, the power control should work as aspected.


 

 


 

 

The DRS feature calls the "Digital Recording System" of the TS-870  (if  DRU-3 installed).
When you have recorded your audio call or test phrase into the "recorder 1- 4", you can playback
these records by pressing the DRS button. A playback "loop" is possible using the "Loop" button.
DRS single mode terminates automatically by the DRU-3 , while Loop mode is continuous.


 

 


 

Split control and sub tone support

For 29 MHz repeaters you can set your TS-870 into split mode.

Tune the TS-870  to the desired repeater INPUT frequency you want (for transmit).

Push "Split".

The frequency and mode will now be transferred as TX frequency to VFO-B.

VFO-B will be set for TX, while VFO-A remains for RX.

Tune TS-870 (RX) to the repeater OUTPUT frequency.


 

Subtone support in FM split mode:

While using 29 MHz repeaters you must use sub tone for the repeater gate.

Select the needed sub tone using the pull-down-button and switch the needed sub tone-mode by using the Burst / Continue button.


 

 

 


 

 


 

Power Switch Control

I have added an power button to to GUI.

 

Note:

- The power supply has to be connected and running to use the power function.

Switch the power supply ON before starting the TS870RC application.

Reason, logic parts of the TS-870 are already running with power source connected.

 

Aside of wishing to have TS-870 on/off-status remote controlled, another idea was

to provide an option for screen sharing over IP.

That way, one could completely remote control the transceiver to make QSO over IP.

An idea could be OSX screen sharing using old iChat, Messages, or Remote Access

using audio exchange. An "auto-accept script" for video-chat screen sharing. etc.

Here is some playground maybe, but I have not gone further and did not do

any test in this field.

 

 

 

 

 

 Data menu, Amateur Radio and Shortwave belonging lists

 This menu gives access to used files and databases of TS870RC. 

 


 

 

 

 

The data lists can be opened via menu-action and can be edited and saved for your personal needs. Edit or copy/paste all data, what might be useful for you.

The file-type is  .txt  and must not be changed, because the filepath is coded inside the app.  

 When edited, backup the files in order to the case of a future clean system install.

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

Quick note mini Logbook

The mini logbook is a minimalistic approach.

You can enter QSO data and remarks and save that into a CSV/SSV file to the documents folder.

This file can be read with the "OSX quick look" option (select a file and push space),

and read or modified with any app that can handle such files, like Open Office, Excel, etc.

If you dont have any spreadsheet app, you might give TableEdit a try, to inspect the logbook file. 

 

The data can be optionally saved as CSV (comma separated) or SSV (semicolon separated) data.

There is not standardization for CSV and SSV data. Choice of usage depends mostly on country depending localizations, where either comma or semicolon is part of common data. That said, one of these signs should not be used as data separator.

 

The "Open" button opens the Logbook-file usually with TextEdit.

You can connect the file to your preferred table editor which can be specified in the file/folder dialog. Open the log file directly inside the documents-folder while selecting "with other app...".

Search then your preferred table editor and checkmark "open always" within the file-open-dialog.

 

 

 


 

 


 

Broadcast menu
The broadcast menu offers direct jump to the selected broadcast band, to the lower frequency border. (Example: 5900 kHz for 49 meters band).

120 meter to 11 meter is available. Mode will be set to AM.





 



Display  sync
With exception of the S-Meter mode since Version 2.4,

I decided to not do a permanent sync between the app and the TS-870.

A data communication will only happen, when a command is sended to the device.

This means, if you tune the frequency manually on your TS-870, or if you switch on some

functions manually, the app is out of sync. It does not show the actual parameters.

 

If you push the "Display Update" button, or (in some cases) if you send a new command,

the app will re-update its data. 

Keep in mind, that the updated data includes only:

Frequency, TX status, Split status, Mode, Bandwidth, Antenna, Tuner, Attenuator, MicGain.


Rem.:

In S-Meter mode, TS870RC is requesting data permanently every second from the transceiver.

(not while TX-ing)

 
 

 


 

Transverter display with  RIT control
A seperate display panel provides showing the actual frequency when using transverters.

The band button selects between 144, 432 or 1296 MHz band.

Only when Band control is pushed and a frequncy is shown in the display, the TX RF power is reduced to minimum, 10 Watts. Selecting "OFF" state resets power back to 100 Watts.

 

Transverter usage is not very likely with the TS-870 because of the missing Xvtr drive output stage. But in case of doing such tx frequency conversions, probably you will need additionals attenuators in the TX line.

 

 

 


 

 

In addition, this panel has a RIT control to get an RX frequency offset in steps of 10 Hz.

The RIT offset is displayed in the main window display, too.

Selected offset is shown in the displays and can be reset to zero.

RIT control is also available via shortcuts. Shortcuts are R, +, -, O

 
 

 


 

S-Meter
By pushing the "S mtr" button, the S-Meter display is active in receive mode

and shows the actual S-value of the TS-870 transceiver.

Additional RF-voltage values are calculated and rounded for reference.


 

Selecting "Analog Meter" from the main menu opens a separate S-meter window.

Via the "Radio" menu, the peak hold function can be set as well.

 

 

 


 

 

 


 

Spectrum Analyzer
A small gadget for spectrum band monitoring was mainly a playground in coding and testing.

I tried to do a primitive spectrum monitor. For sure, this is not and cannot be a measurement tool.

But I like it anyway... :) 

Pressing Start runs a single sweep in range of 10kHz or 100kHz around of the RX frequency.

Frequency steps are 100Hz or 1 kHz. Resolution bandwidth depends on CW settings.


 

 

 


                                          Picture shows an AM broadcast signal on 801 kHz  

Picture shows an AM broadcast signal on 801 kHz 

 


 

Voice mode
Selecting "Voice" mode from the "Special" menu, many tasks of the TS870RC app will be acknowledged by the OS X build in speech synthesis. The desired voice can be selected within the

OSX system preferences.


 

 


 

Web View 

TS870RC has an size expandable web view panel, to have some favorite web sites

right at your hands. This is no replacement for any web browser, but may sometimes be

useful to get a favorite site quickly on your screen.

There is no URL-addressfield but three favorites and a "startup-link" available.

URL-addresses (or weblinks) can be entered in the preferences window. Like the example below,

you can save a link to a HF-propagation banner or an broadcast-infoguide or anything else you

might like or need.

For safety, this web module does not work with Java/Javascript and plugins. 

Sorry, WebSDR is not supported.

TS870RC connects ONLY  to the internet, when you have set any URL to the Startup Webpage

preferences. 

might like or need.

This web module works without Java/Javascript nor plugins, for safety.

Sorry, webSDR is not supported.

 


 

 

 

                        This example is from N0NBH from his interesting solar data webpage.


 

 

 

 

Gatekeeper usage

You can use TS870RC with Mountain Lion and later, when Gatekeeper was introduced as security

feature. Gatekeeper checks the code-signature of an application for an identified developer.

Developers paying a yearly fee can use this feature, however not all are liking this, for the mentioned reason. This TS870RC app is still not code-signed.

If you want to run it with OSX 10.8 or later, you can but should not switch Gatekeeper to allow apps from anywhere. (System Preferences - Security).

While this setting does not check for code-signatures, any app contaminated with malicious code could get executed by the user.


 

 



 

Recommendation:

Leave security setting on "App Store and identified developers".

Then go to the applications folder, right-click or ctrl-click the TS870RC app and select "Open".

Push OK into the following alert window. This will provide, that TS870RC will open normally

next time, but Gatekeeper is still running. In simple words, TS870RC is set then on a white-list.


 

 

 


Reset the TS-870 transceiver

Independent of using the TS870RC application:

If your TRX (for example buttons/controls) is not functioning according to the manual,

you can do a reset using a button combination while restarting the TS-870.

(see user manual).

 

Alternatively you can select "Partial Reset" from the TS870RC-Radio-Menu to do this action.

The partial reset makes some factory resets to the TS-870, but has  no  affect on the following data:


 

  • Memory channel data 
  • Menu settings 
  • Antenna tuner preset data 
  • ANT1/ANT2 data 
  • Automatic Mode frequency ranges 
  • Electronic keyer settings 



 

This data will be untouched.

If your TS-870 still shows malfunctions, you can do a full-factory-reset. See the user manual for

the reset procedure. The full reset is not covered in the TS870RC app.


 

 

 
 

Risk - Safety information
Please use this software with your own risk for loss of data or unwanted emission or damage.

If..., for any circumstance the data connection would fail, and your transceiver is stuck "on air", 

use the front-panel button "Send" of the TS-870 to switch back to receive.

I never noticed such a problem, but like to add this for your safety.