Interfacing 3rd Party software to RcForb Client

Most amateur radio software interfaces to a radio through a serial port (CAT/CI-V commands) and/or needs TX/RX audio to and from the radio. The RcForb Client has two methods of taking care of the CAT/CI-V commands. The client supports VCOM and HRD IP Server emulation. In the Server, the HRD IP server is found in Options->Server Configuration.

The first method for CAT/CI-V control is with the HRD IP Server Emulation, found under Options->HRD IP Server Emulation. Select V5 for HRD V5 or V6. This only applies to the HRD suite of applications, such as their logbook or digital programs. Start the emulation in the client and connect to a remote. Start the HRD program you want, such as the HRD logbook. In this scenario the RcForb Client acts as the main HRD program and you connect the logbook to the Client just like you connect the logbook to the main HRD program via its IP server.

The most common method is the second method, listed below.

The second method is through Elecraft K3 emulation (VCOM), again found under options. Select Create Virtual Serial Port, the Serial port you want to create, and check Enable Elecraft K3 emulation. Connect to a remote radio to activate the newly created serial port. Setup your 3rd party software to connect to a Elecraft K3 on the serial port you just created. Although the instructions say to use 38400 for the baud rate, virtual serial ports don’t care about the connection speed. Some older 3rd party software needs to have its serial port number under 16 or under 8.

The VCOM responds to a basic subset of CAT commands such as frequency, mode and transmit control, which is typically what you need for a logbook or digital program. When setting up the 3rd party program, set it up to use CAT commands for transmit. If there is no selection for CAT commands, you can use the RTS signal line for transmit control. The VCOM emulation also supports what is commonly called “KY CW Keying”.

If the 3rd party software needs to interface audio to a radio, you need to use some software that will route audio to and from the RcForb Client. I highly recommend Virtual Audio Cable. It’s well worth the $30.00 because it works! There is a trial version available, too. Think of a virtual audio cable as audio connection done with a cable from one sound card to another, but done completely in software.

In the VAC software, setup two Virtual Audio Cables. We’ll call them VAC1 and VAC2.

In your 3rd party software, set its transmit audio device (Playback) as VAC1 and set its RX sound device (Record Device) as VAC2. In the RcForb Client set it’s microphone device as VAC1 and it’s speaker device as VAC2.

If you want more flexibility in the audio setup install VoiceMeeter Banana. This is free software and provides an advanced audio mixer application that also has virtual audio devices used as virtual IO to mix and manage any audio source.

Watch the ALC when using Sound card modes (FT8/FT4, PSK31, AFSK)

Please do not over drive the audio. This causes splatter and other problems.

If you have questions or comments please contact me (n1mgo at arrl dot net).


Gordon – N1MGO