BPQ32 Rig Control – VOX and/or CAT PTT

This document follows on from RPI4 Trifecta: VARA, Packet & ARDOP – One Audio Interface

BPQ the Rig Control Middleman

Everyone’s setup is going to be different. We all have different rigs, interfaces, wiring- you name it. There isn’t a one-fits-all solution for everyone but its very much okay to incorporate or adapt inspiration from example setups. This page is essentially showing you how my system is set up to run in two modes- for the easiest in nearly all situations, a voice-operated PTT (VOX) requires zero special configuration, and so it is quite prevalent in setups.

The first example is a combination demonstration containing both BPQ port and Rig Control configurations without any special PTT arrangements. PTT via CAT is covered later on in the second example.

Defining a Radio

I use FlRig to control my radios and have the benefit of an at-a-glance overview of the transceiver’s status. The best bit of using FlRig for the head unit is that it has many radios preset in the configuration so actually getting the radio to talk is already done when setting up FlRig. If FlRig isn’t for you, don’t worry- BPQ’s rig control system takes a huge variety of options to cater for both direct serial connections, CI-V Icom links and so forth.

; My Radio Number 1 that automatically switches bands and updates frequency every 5 seconds
RADIO 1
FLRIG 127.0.0.1:12345 HAMLIB=4532
06:00
5,14.102200,USB,3000
17:00
5,7.045100,USB,2800
****

BPQ supports a couple of mechanisms for talking to and controlling radios both directly and indirectly. The above method is from my system, the radio is connected indirectly via the FLRIG declaration pointing to the instance running on the local 127.0.0.1 address using FlRig’s default port 12345.

But what is the HAMLIB= delclaration for? This is the hamlib transport emulator. There are quite a few programs in the wild that can connect to Hamlib’s “rigctld” – a standalone application in itself, however it offers standardized protocol for radio control that has been emulated in BPQ. This provides access to the rig for programs such as WSJT-X, without having to stop the BPQ system or close/release the port manually.

HAMLIB=4532, this is the default port for Hamlib. Adding HAMLIB support is great for feature enabling your setup as it also provides a route for PTT control from TNC modems such as QtSoundModem, we’ll come back to that later.

A full breakdown of Rig Control syntax for those that want to let BPQ take direct control over the radio without FlRig (e.g direct serial port, CI-V addressing) can be found on John G8BPQ’s website. Please be aware while reading this document that as of BPQ32 version 6.0.22.1 the RIGCONTROL declaration can now be used outside of a PORT definition using the RADIO keyword as shown in the example above, this makes life a lot simpler when setting up the TNC ports later.

Interlocks

The number next to the RADIO declaration (1) is also related to the INTERLOCK declaration used later under PORT definitions. INTERLOCK is used to ensure that for a radio running multiple TNCs, only one can be accessed at a time to prevent colliding audio signals going out over the air. This can happen without interlocks where a user connects in one one port and tries to connect out on another port that is also on the same physical radio.

Ports: Example 1 – QtsoundModem, VARA500 & ARDOP500 – VOX Operation

PORT
 PORTNUM=1
 INTERLOCK=1
 ID=My QtSM Port A
 DRIVER=UZ7HO
 CHANNEL=A
 PACLEN=40
 CONFIG
  ADDR 127.0.0.1 8000
  MAXSESSIONS=2
  UPDATEMAP
  BEACONAFTERSESSION
ENDPORT

PORT
 PORTNUM=2
 INTERLOCK=1
 ID=My QtSM Port B
 DRIVER=UZ7HO
 CHANNEL=B
 PACLEN=100
 CONFIG
  ADDR 127.0.0.1 8000
  MAXSESSIONS=2
  UPDATEMAP
  BEACONAFTERSESSION
ENDPORT

PORT
 PORTNUM=3
 INTERLOCK=1
 ID=My VARA Port
 DRIVER=VARA
 CONFIG
 ADDR 127.0.0.1 8300
 BW500
 ****
ENDPORT

PORT
 PORTNUM=4
 INTERLOCK=1
 ID=My ARDOP Port
 DRIVER=ARDOP
 CONFIG
 ADDR 127.0.0.1 8515
 ARQBW 500MAX
 ****
ENDPORT

Ports: Example 2- QtSoundModem, VARA & ARDOP – CAT PTT Operation

Unlike the ARDOP or VARA TNCs, PTT for QtSoundModem has to be provided via the Hamlib emulator. From within QtSoundModem Device Settings, Selecting
Hamlib and the IP of the BPQ system will enable BPQ to send PTT signals to QtSoundModem. The port that Hamlib emulator is running on (4532) was defined earlier in the RADIO declaration.

PORT
 PORTNUM=1
 INTERLOCK=1
 ID=My QtSM Port A
 DRIVER=UZ7HO
 CHANNEL=A
 PACLEN=40
 CONFIG
  ADDR 127.0.0.1 8000
  MAXSESSIONS=1
  UPDATEMAP
  BEACONAFTERSESSION
ENDPORT

PORT
 PORTNUM=2
 INTERLOCK=1
 ID=My QtSM Port B
 DRIVER=UZ7HO
 CHANNEL=B
 PACLEN=40
 CONFIG
  ADDR 127.0.0.1 8000
  MAXSESSIONS=1
  UPDATEMAP
  BEACONAFTERSESSION
ENDPORT
QtSoundModem Device Settings

For both VARA and ARDOP, CAT PTT is used on the ADDR line to tell BPQ to send PTT instructions to the RADIO number specified on the INTERLOCK declaration. Choice of CAT or CI-V is dependant upon the type of radio in use.

PORT
 PORTNUM=7
 INTERLOCK=1
 ID=My VARA500 Port
 DRIVER=VARA
 CONFIG
 ADDR 127.0.0.1 8300 PTT CAT
 BW500
 ****
ENDPORT


PORT
 PORTNUM=4
 INTERLOCK=1
 ID=My ARDOP500 Port
 DRIVER=ARDOP
 CONFIG
 ADDR 127.0.0.1 8515 PTT CAT
 ARQBW 500MAX
 ****
ENDPORT