CAT-SCOPE Spectrum Analysis for your PC

CAT-SCOPE
Spectrum Analysis for your PC
Copyright 1996 - 2000 Computer Aided Technologies
Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION
6
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
8
GENERAL INSTALLATION
9
SDU5000
9
SDU5500
10
INSTALLATION OF CATSCOPE SOFTWARE
13
GETTING STARTED
15
SETTING CONFIGURATIONS
15
BASIC “HOW TO START”
19
COMMAND BUTTONS
22
RANGE LIST SCANNING
31
ADDITIONAL FEATURES OF THE RANGE SCAN VIEWER
33
TIPS AND HINTS FOR USING CATSCOPE
35
GETTING “SET UP”
35
CANNOT CONNECT
35
BAUD RATE OF RADIO(S)
36
ICOM INTERFACING
37
USING THE RANGE LIST
37
RANGE LIST - “QUICK PICK”
38
PROCESSING TIMES
38
Table of Contents
TECHNICAL SUPPORT
40
Introduction
Introduction
Thanks for purchasing CATSCOPE. CATSCOPE is a
software control program for AOR’s SDU5000 and
SDU5500. (Because there are two units, we will from
this point on refer to either unit as “ SDU” ). The
SDU is a Spectrum Analyzer that can be attached to
just about any radio that has a 10.7 IF output. With
the SDU and this software program, you can have full
computer control of your radio. You can visually see
on your computer screen, full graphical representation
of the IF’s ‘view’ of the radio spectrum. As a stand
alone unit, you must use all the buttons on the SDU.
With, CATSCOPE, a simple mouse click can tune your
radio, adjust the spectrum bandwidth, and even SCAN
multiple frequencies, and record them to disk for
later ‘playback’. Multiple ‘color filters’ permit you
to analyze the bandwidth in depth, from various
‘perspectives’.
Some of the most common radios that can be used with
the SDU are:
AOR - AR5000 (requires IF output Modification from
Factory Authorized Service Center)
AOR - AR5000
ICOM R7000
ICOM R7100
ICOM R8500
Once any of the above radios are connected to the SDU,
our program will essentially control the radio, using
the SDU as the ‘interface’ or ‘go-between’. The
commands you issue from the computer by pressing
command buttons etc, are essentially the same commands
that can be issue from the front keyboard of the SDU
Page 6
Introduction
unit. Commands that are sent from our program to the
SDU are translated, and then sent to the specified
radio. Tuning, mode changes, the bandwidth of the
spectrum analysis and more are all possible with just
a mouse click.
In addition, if you have ANY radio with a 10.7 IF
output, while the controllability may be limited to
reading the IF frequency, many things can still be
accomplished, such as data capture to a disk file,
peak reading and peak alarms.
We will cover all the features in detail later in the
manual. First read the chapter on “ General
Installation” , covering the connection of the SDU
Unit to the radio, and also the connection of the
system to the computer.
Thanks again for your support!
Jim Springer
Computer Aided Technologies
Page 7
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
System Requirements
The required hardware for CATSCOPE is an IBM/PC
compatible computer, Windows 3.1/95/98 or
greater. 16 meg of RAM (32 recommended), A Hard
drive with 2 Meg free space. A VGA color
graphics monitor. A minimum of 1 serial port. A
Standard serial cable is required to be
connected between the computer and the SDU and
another standard cable between the SDU and the
radio. DO NOT USE A “ NULL MODEM” CABLE, as
this type cable has the handshaking lines
reversed and will not permit data flow between
the radio, SDU and the computer.
Page 8
General Installation - Hardware
General Installation
The SDU, the radio and the CATSCOPE software are a
three piece system that work in unison. You must
treat the SDU as the ‘interface’ between the software
and the radio. Unless you realize that the radio is
controlled BY the SDU, you may experience difficulty
in operating or understanding the software.
First things first – Since CatScope supports both the
SDU5000 and the SDU5500 we will go through the setups
for each unit individually.
The Hardware
SDU5000
For this example we will use the AR-5000 and the
SDU5000 as our example of the hardware installation.
1. Connect power to the 12 VDC input on the rear of
the SDU5000
2. Connect the “ IF Cable” between the SDU5000 port
labeled “ RF-in” and the AR5000’s “ IF output” .
The cable is an RF coaxial cable, about 24 inches
long, with a BNC RF Twist-type connector, on each
end.
3. Connect a serial cable between the SDU’s serial
port labeled “ RX-Control” and the serial port of
the AR5000.
4. Connect an (optional) cable from the video output
to a separate video monitor.
5. Turn ON the AR5000, and then once the radio is
‘booted up’, turn on the power to the SDU5000.
6. a. Press the “ CONF” button on the button panel
of the SDU5000.
b. Press the number “ 1.” on the SDU panel and
press <enter>, to
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General Installation - Hardware
select
the radio type.
c. Choose the number “ 2”
<enter>
(AR5000)
If you have everything connected properly,
the SDU5000 should ‘sign on’ to the AR5000
words, “ Connecting AR5000” should appear
screen of the SDU5000. If you cannot get
“ connected” you must first resolve these
and trouble shoot your connections between
and the AR5000.
and press
‘so far’,
and the
on the LCD
problems
the SDU5000
b. If your radio is a different model, other than
the type of radio the above procedures and
responses should be similar.
c. HINT - If you have an Icom but the receiver is
not listed, you can sometimes choose one off the
menu and then change your radio’s CI-V address to
match.
6. NOW, turn both units off. Connect the serial cable
between the Computer and the SDU5000s remaining
serial port, labeled “ PC/IF” , and restore power,
first to the AR5000, and then the SDU5000.
At this point you should again see on the screen of
the SDU5000 the ‘Connecting AR5000” sign on message,
and you are ready to start running the system from the
CATSCOPE Software.
Unless something changes in your system setups, you
should not have to press anything on the radio or SDU
unit other than to ‘power up or down’.
SDU5500
For this example we will use the AR-5000 and the
SDU5500 as our example of the hardware installation.
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General Installation - Hardware
1. Connect power to the 12 VDC input on the rear of
the SDU5500
2. Connect the “ IF Cable” between the SDU5500 port
labeled “ RF-in” and the AR5000’s “ IF output” . The
cable is an RF coaxial cable, about 24 inches long,
with a BNC RF Twist-type connector, on each end.
3. Connect a serial cable between the SDU5500’s serial
port labeled “ RX-Control” and the serial port of the
AR5000.
4. Connect an (optional) cable from the video output
to a separate video monitor.
5. Turn ON the AR5000, and then once the radio is
‘booted up’, turn on the power to the SDU5500.
The SDU5500 has 6 buttons at the bottom of
screen. Depending on the LCD menu they have
“ layers” of functions. Cycle to function
There you‘ll see “ RX” (Receiver) over the
button.
the LCD
seven
menu #1.
2nd
6. a. Press the “ RX” button on the button panel of
the SDU5500.
d. Using the Tuning Knob select the radio type.
HINT - If you have an Icom but the receiver is
not listed, you can sometimes choose one off the
menu and then change your radio’s CI-V address to
match.
e.
c. Highlight the (AR5000) and press <enter>
If you have everything connected properly, ‘so far’,
the SDU5500 should ‘sign on’ to the AR5000 and the
words, “ AR5000 Connected” should appear on the LCD
screen of the SDU5500. If you cannot get
“ connected” you must first resolve any of these
problems and trouble shoot your connections between
the SDU5500 and the AR5000.
Page 11
General Installation - Hardware
If your radio is a different model, other than the
type of radio the above procedures and responses
should be similar.
6. NOW, turn both units off. Connect the serial cable
between the Computer and the SDU5000s remaining serial
port, labeled “ PC/IF” , and restore power, first to
the AR5000, and then the SDU5000.
At this point you should again see on the screen of
the SDU5000 the ‘Connecting AR5000” sign on message,
and you are ready to start running the system from the
CATSCOPE Software.
Unless something changes in your system setups, you
should not have to press anything on the radio or SDU
unit other than to ‘power up or down’.
Page 12
General Installation - Software
Installation of CATSCOPE Software
The first thing to do is install your master
diskette(s) onto your hard drive. CATSCOPE is
not copy protected but the files are compressed
on the disk into archives.
For Windows 3.1 simply click on the Files Menu
bar at the top left of your Windows program
Manager, and choose “ RUN” . At the next
Prompt, type A: SETUP.EXE (or B:SETUP.EXE if
appropriate) and press <enter>. you must Include
the entire file name AND extension or an error
box will pop up, and tell you it cannot find the
file.
For Windows ‘95 Click on START, and then point
to SETTINGS. Double CLICK Add/Remove Programs,
and follow the instructions on your screen to
ADD a new program. You will see a prompt already
filled in with the “ A:SETUP.EXE” , so choose
your source disk drive letter and press <enter>.
The installation will take a few minutes, and
when complete you will have a new Program Group,
named CATSCOPE, with two Icons installed in the
program manager. Icon (CATSCOPE) and Icon
CATSCOPE Help.
It would be advisable to make copies of your
system disk(s) and store in a safe place.
***** warning messages during installation *****
1. If a warning message is displayed saying ‘XYZ” .DL_
is already in use, just click OK to continue with the
installation.
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General Installation - Software
2. Unless you are running Windows NT or accessing
CATSCOPE from a network, you can disregard any prompts
to edit your Autoexec.bat file to include SHARE.EXE.
While the setup program supplied by Microsoft looks to
see it this file is in your Autoexec.bat system file,
it is not necessary to use it unless you are running
within a network..
Page 14
Getting Started - Setting Up
Getting Started
It will be easier to use the software if you have a
basic understanding of the connection of the hardware,
and “ what is controlling what” . The CATSCOPE
Software communicates through the serial port to the
SDU. Think of the SDU Spectrum Analyzer as an
interface between the computer and the radio. The SDU
accepts commands from the computer, processes them,
and then takes the appropriate action. It may tune
the radio, or change the ‘view’ or bandwidth of the
analysis. Any communication between the radio and the
computer must first go through the SDU Analyzer unit.
To run CATSCOPE, click on the CATSCOPE icon.
The opening ‘main menu’ contains three selections,
which will referred to throughout this manual as
“ command buttons” .
Quit
Exits Program immediately. Closes all files and saves
the last used configuration for future sessions.
Scanning Module
This module is where you will spend all your time. All
control functions are available from this module
Configuration
This module contains the settings or options that
enable communication with the SDU.
Setting configurations
In order to communicate with the SDU, you must first
select the basic settings such as COMM PORTS, and
their parameters.
1. Click on the Configuration Button
2. Default Parameters for communicating to the SDU are
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Getting Started - Setting Up
Comm Ports
Comm 1
Baud Rate
9600 – (Fixed)
Parameters
N,8,2
Handshaking
No Handshake
We have already setup the basic configuration for
you, so you should not have to change anything
but the comport assignment to get ‘up and
running”
3. Click on the proper Comm port. Only one can be
chosen. CATSCOPE recognizes ONLY standard Comm port
Addresses and IRQ’s. If you cannot access the SDU,
use the Control Panel in Windows to be sure some nonnormal address or IRQ is not the problem. Windows NT
Page 16
Getting Started - Setting Up
does not access comm ports in the same manner. If you
are in a network and have access through a “ RAS”
(Remote Access Server), you may not be able to access
the comports. NT may not let set a serial port to a
‘Standard IRQ’.
Standard
Comm
Comm
Comm
Comm
Port
1
2
3
4
Address
“ 03F8”
“ 02F8”
“ 03E8”
“ 02E8”
IRQ
hex
hex
hex
hex
4
3
4
3
5. Once all options are picked, Click on the command
button ‘Accept Saves’ and then Click on the command
button “ Accept and Leave” to return to the Main
Menu.
Page 17
Getting Started - Scanning
Getting Started
Scanning Overview
Scanning using the SDU is not exactly like using a
radio scanner to scan between a preset range of
frequencies. The SDU views the entire 10.7 Mhz
bandwidth of the radio’s IF. A radio can only ‘see’
or receive one frequency at a time, not the entire
bandwidth. The frequency the radio is tuned to will be
referred to as the “ Center Frequency” . The SDU then
breaks this range of spectrum up into 160/320 distinct
points of reference, with the Center Frequency being
in the middle of the sweep. After each scan, it then
sends this information back to the computer as a
stream of data. This is commonly called ‘sweeping’,
and is much the same as you are used to seeing on an
oscilloscope. A single Sweep of the bandwidth of the
IF takes place about 1-2 times per second. Each
sweep’s points are then ‘downloaded’ to the computer,
plotted and placed on the computer screen, by the
software, in the same pattern as you see displayed on
the SDU’s LCD screen. Since at 10 MHZ each ‘point of
reference represents .065/032 Mhz, signals that are
present “ in between’ these reference points, even
though ‘active’, may not appear to be ‘visible’. If
you want to see a ‘finer detail view’, simply narrow
the sweep range. A suggested sweep range would be
160/320 times the normal increment for that band.
Example:
Lower range 450 Mhz
Upper range 454 Mhz
Increment
.025 Mhz
160 segments = exactly 4 Mhz ‘bandwidth’ or
span.
320 segments = exactly 2 Mhz ‘bandwidth’ or
span.
This way you will probably be able to view every
occurrence of activity within the designated range. A
much narrower detail can be achieved by lowering the
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Getting Started - Scanning
bandwidth to below 1 Mhz. At this level of resolution,
you can probably even see the stereo modulation
envelope of most FM broadcast stations or a TV
station’s Video and audio carriers for a TV channel..
While the SDU unit has these abilities as a stand
alone system, this is where the similarity ends.
Basically, the SDU unit cannot maintain any
information in it’s memory. Once the sweep is
completed, it is discarded, and another takes it’s
place. With the CATSCOPE software program, this
information can be saved to diskfiles, manipulated,
averaged, and even ‘smoothed’ for several samplings to
accommodate erratic signals and fluctuations in signal
strength. Diskfiles can be replayed at will, even
without the SDU being hooked up to the computer. You
can even send the files to some other facility for
further analysis, using the software without even
having the SDU unit connected!.
Basic “How to start”
We will start with a simple ‘tutorial’ of how to get
started and then go into each of the CATSCOPE
features, by command button.
1. From the Main Menu, click on the Command Button
“ Scanning Module” .
2. A ‘blank’ grid representing the screen of an
oscilloscope will be displayed, The most apparent
‘first thing’ you will notice is a small ‘window’
in the lower ‘control button’ area. It is placed
in the middle and just below a command button
labeled “ Center Freq” , and it will be showing a
scrolling message “ Reading Reading Reading” .
This indicates the computer actively reading data
flowing from the SDU unit to the computer. Once
communications are established, the first of a
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Getting Started - Scanning
series of graphical screens of the spectrum will
be displayed. The center frequency of the
spectrum will begin to be displayed in this
window, alternating with the “ Reading Reading”
message. This window will always display the
center frequency, or the frequency the radio is
tuned to.
3. Now move your mouse cursor “ Cross Hairs” around
on the spectrum chart. Look at the top of the
chart area, and you will see a small window that
contains a changing frequency. This frequency is
the frequency UNDER the cross hair pointer of the
mouse.
4. Stop the cursor on some point and click the LEFT
Mouse button and release it. After you release
the mouse button, move the mouse cursor to some
other point. A RED cross hair is ‘left’ where
you clicked the left mouse button.
This point sets 1. The ‘peak threshold’ and
2. The level and position for the
‘peak alarm’.
The Red Cross Hair will remain stationary until
you reposition it by clicking again on the left
mouse button. The Peak Threshold determines the
level to be exceeded before automatically showing
the frequency for each ‘peak’ at the top of the
graphical area. The resolution of the peaks can
be so fine as to actually show several vertical
lines representing the ‘peal’. The software will
attempt to find the ‘highest peak’ and only show
a frequency for THAT position, or ‘center of the
activity, instead of ALL of the points. Move the
red cross hair by clicking the left mouse button
to a lower level on the graph.
The Peak Alarm is a ‘one place’ position. At this
exact spot, if a peak ‘hits’ the exact center AND
vertically exceeds the cross hair, the “ beep’
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Getting Started - Scanning
will sound. (If this option is chosen from the
configurations menu).
5. Now, move the Mouse Cursor to a ‘peak’ or high
point on the one of the signals, and click the
RIGHT mouse button.
a. The radio will be immediately tuned to this
new frequency, and if there is a signal present
you can hear it on the radio.
b. The SDU will now have a new center frequency
based upon the new tuning of the radio. After a
period of 3-4 sweeps, the new spectrum chart
and center frequency will be updated.
6. Now click the command button in the center of
the lower ‘control panel’ area and input a new
center frequency into the prompt box that pops
up. Your radio should immediately tune to that
frequency, and in a few sweeps, the graph will
show the new spectrum analysis.
This is the basic concept of the CATSCOPE
Software. Once you become familiar with these
features. Proceed to our complete details on all
features, and some hints on using CATSCOPE.
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Range List Scanning
Command Buttons
The Command Buttons are all essentially located on the
lower area of the screen. We will explain these
buttons in alphabetical order, so you will not have as
much trouble locating the explanation for one at a
later date.
<< 1 MHZ
This button will immediately tune the radio 1 mhz
lower in frequency. Since the SDU has complete
control of the radio during a session, you cannot
tune the radio manually. If you could, the actual
receive frequency would then be different than the
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Range List Scanning
SDU’s information and all the spectrum would be
misaligned. If you are recording a spectrum
analysis, you might want to periodically move the
frequency lower, a mhz at a time, and get a more
complete picture of the ‘sweep’, especially if the
‘sweep’ is of a small size.
Center Freq
The center Frequency is the frequency the RADIO
is tuned (to). While you can visually see either
side up to 5 MHZ, or a sweep of 10.7 MHZ at a
time, the Center frequency IS this radio’s
receive frequency. Clicking this command button
will pop up a small input form. Enter the new
Center frequency, either press ENTER or click on
ACCEPT to set the new frequency. It would be
preferable that the Center Frequency be one that
is normally active, such as a broadcast station
or Police frequency.
1 MHZ >>
This button will immediately tune the radio 1 mhz
higher in frequency. Since the SDU has complete
control of the radio during a session, you cannot
tune the radio manually. If you are recording a
spectrum analysis, you might want to periodically
move the frequency higher, a mhz at a time, and get
a more complete picture of the ‘sweep’, especially
if the ‘sweep’ is of a small size.
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Range List Scanning
Colors
While the program is designed for the most
‘average’ and pleasing color combination, it is
also understandable that some monitors, or
LCD screens cannot reproduce the colors
accurately. In fact some combinations could
literally be ‘invisible’ on some screens.
Clicking on this button will pop up a menu of all
the possible ‘visible’ combinations of foreground
colors. Click on the foreground and background
radio buttons to choose a new color. One will
certainly be more pleasing or ‘visible’ to the
eye. This color setting is automatically saved as
the new default upon exiting the program. You
only have to set it once.
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Range List Scanning
Average On/Off
This button will cycle through several different
‘color phases’. Each has it’s own unique properties
when visually displayed on the screen. Some of the
other graph selections can be combined with these
color options for some rather unique analysis
displays.
Average OFF
This selection will return you to your ‘default’
setting, All previous sweeps are erased as the
new one is painted.
Average Colored
This selection will automatically cycle through
all the available color palettes that can be seen
with the normal screen’s background color. Each
preceding sweep is left on the screen, but the
overlapping color, being different, will give you
the ability to see the previous sweeps, each with
different characteristics, peaks and valleys..
Average Smoothed
This selection will average the previous 4-5
sweeps with the present one, and present the
‘average’ of all sweeps in a bright green color.
If signals are ‘erratic’ or fluctuating a lot,
this will smooth them out and make a more
‘normal’ display...
Modes (Option Buttons)
Each time the frequency is changed, an auto
bandplan ‘module’ is invoked. This eliminates the
constant “ extra’ work of choosing not only a
frequency, but the mode. The band plan has been
‘fine tuned’ to meet the international
conventions for mode, per frequency allocation.
However nothing is ‘perfect’ or meets all
requirements. If the mode picked by the auto
band plan is not correct, you can manually change
it by clicking one of the modes in the Options
box to the left bottom of the screen. This mode
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Range List Scanning
will stay in effect until a new center frequency
is picked.
Graph Signal
This selection, which is the default, shows the
‘normal’ vertical lined display, of signal
amplitude.
Graph Outline
This selection displays the vertical component of
the each signal’s amplitude, with each succeeding
point of reference ‘connected’ or traced to the
other. There are no distinct points of reference
discernible, only the ‘tops” . This will show
basically a ‘boxed in’ style of graph, .
Graph Waterfall
This selection displays the vertical component of
the each signal’s amplitude, with each succeeding
point of reference ‘connected’ or traced to the
other. There are no distinct points of reference
discernible, only the ‘tops” This will show
basically a ‘boxed in’ style of graph, .BUT, the
difference is that each succeeding trace will
accumulate and offset by a small amount. This
will give the appearance of a ‘waterfall’ or
landscape display. If you also choose to use the
Average “ MultiColored” command, you should be
able to distinguish several separate traces on
one display.
***hint*** use these selections in conjunction with
the Average button
Magnify
Cycles through 1-12 magnification. As you sweep
different frequency ranges you will discover that
not all frequency areas have the same average
amplitude. For instance the shortwave spectrum
may almost ‘peak out’ your graph, while the UHF
band will barely show up at all. You can cycle
quickly between normal and a ‘times 12’
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Range List Scanning
magnification by repeatedly clicking this button.
Cycling past 12 starts over at 1 or normal.
Range List
This is a powerful addition to the basic
concept of spectrum analysis, and as such will be
treated as a separate section of manual in
another chapter. The range list is actually an
entire functional ‘scanning’ module. The SDU
unit, by itself cannot automatically change
frequencies. This module permits unattended
multiple range changes.
ESC
Many functions are going on at the same time.
The SDU unit is sending data at 160/320 graphical
points per second, and at the same time commands
can be sent to the SDU unit to change frequency,
bandwidth, etc. Choosing several options too
facts can sometimes cause the SDU to get
‘confused’ and hang up at midpoint of executing a
command. When this occurs, usually the data flow
from the SDU unit is interrupted, and the
graphical data will not be updated on the
computer screen. If you notice the SDU’s screen
is ‘waiting’ for a command, pressing this command
button will function the same as if you pressed
“ ESC” on the SDU unit directly.
Playback
Clicking on this Command Button toggles on/off
the ability to ‘playback’ a previously recorded
spectrum session. When you first click, a
‘dialog’ box will appear, permitting you to
choose a file for review. All “ playback” files
have an extension of “ *SPL”
(short for ‘spool’.
Pick a file. If the file is a valid playback
file, the command button will be changed to read
“ Playback ON” , and the “ Title Bar’ at the top
of the screen will change to reflect the name of
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Range List Scanning
the file being played. The file chosen will
continue to ‘play’ as long as you wish. The file
chosen will ‘cycle’. As it reaches the end of
the file, it will start over again, and continue
to do so until you tell it to stop.. Click the
Command button again to ‘turn off’ the playback
function.
Spool On/Off
Clicking this command button enables you to
choose the filename for creating ‘Playback’
files. The common term, derived from the days of
BBS’s, is called spooling. If you wish to use a
file already in existence, the new data will be
appended to the end of the existing file.
Choosing a name that does not exist in the
directory, will create a ‘new’ file.
The data flow from the SDU unit is
considerable. Each sweep of 160 points contains
approximately 1600 bytes of information. Take
into consideration that data is flowing at this
rate every second, this amounts to over 60 times
1600 or 100,000 bytes of information per minute.
It will only take 10 minutes to accumulate a
‘meg’ of data. Leaving this function on for an
hour will amount to 6 Megs of information. Unless
you have a lot of hard drive free space, you can
soon get ‘disk full’ errors.
Clear Screen
Basically this is used in the event that the
screen becomes so ‘painted’ with graphical
display, that it no longer ‘makes sense’.
Repeated sweeping, without refreshing the screen,
such as is possible for the “ Averaging”
function, can render the entire screen a
meaningless ‘blob’. Click this button to reset
the entire screen, clear all graphics and start
over.
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Range List Scanning
Span
We prefer to call this “ bandwidth control” ,
but the function on the SDU is named ‘SPAN” .
Span is the frequency range from one side of the
spectrum display to the other. The maximum is
10.7 MHZ, which is also the IF bandwidth of the
radio. Choose a new ‘span’ or bandwidth by
clicking this button. Not ALL bandwidths are
valid for the SDU unit, and refer to their owners
manual for details. For all practical
considerations, ANY bandwidth that is invalid
will be ‘defaulted’ to the nearest useable value.
Minimum is 500HZ, and maximum is the IF of the
radio, or 10.7 MHZ.
Pause
Each spectrum sweep takes approximately 1
second to complete. If there is a point of
interest you wish to examine, you can momentarily
‘pause’ the sweep and reception of incoming data
from the SDU unit.
It is advised to use this function sparingly.
Since the SDU unit is continually sweeping, the
data transmissions can become backlogged. The
reception ‘buffer’ in the CATSCOPE is still
‘open’, can exceed it’s maximum size (normally
about 32,000 characters of data). This can lead
to unpredictable ‘quirks’, such as erroneous
data, or worse yet, the complete shut down of the
SDU unit, due to it’s inability to send data. If
this occurs, sometimes the only way to
reestablish communications is to turn off the
power to the SDU unit and then reinitialize it by
turning it back on. Once you wish to resume,
click on the Resume command button.
Resume
Once you have Paused the display, pressing this
command button will ‘resume’ the scanning sweeps,
and update to the computer screen. If a lot of
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Range List Scanning
data has built up, you may see several rapid
passes until it catches up with the normal sweep
data from the SDU. Read the description for the
Pause command button for problems associated with
pausing too long.
Tips On/Off
CATSCOPE uses an exclusive ‘balloon’ help tips
feature. Clicking on this command button,
toggles on off the function. When toggled ON,
each time your mouse cursor ‘comes to rest’ over
a command button, or area of the screen that
contains a ‘help tip’, a balloon will pop up,
showing a short description of that control or
function.
Quit
Quits the Spectrum session, and returns you to
the Main Menu. This does NOT end your session,
but only returns, stops or pauses activity, and
returns you to the Main Menu.
Page 30
Range List Scanning
Range List Scanning
The Range List command button pops up a miniature
database of frequency ranges you can cycle through.
While several ranges are included with this program,
the list con contain up to several hundred individual
entries. Each entry consist of several columns of
‘fields’ of information
By Column they are:
1. Dwell Time
This is the time a particular range will
‘dwell’ or stay on a selected range IF you have
chosen “ Multiscan” . Each time this range is
used, it will stay on that range for this amount
of “ dwell” time before moving to the next
selected range. The default dwell time if no
value is entered will be 1 minute.
2. Select
Selects ON/OFF a range. If OFF, and you are
using Multiscan, then this range will be skipped,
or not used. This has no effect on the range
being changed if you are not in Multiscan, as
clicking on ANY range immediately changes the
system to that new range regardless of its ON/OFF
status..
3. Description
This description is the text that will be
displayed in the top menu bar of the Spectrum
Window after selecting one of the ranges, or if
in MultiScan, as each range is automatically
sequenced.
4. Lower Range Limit
The lower range of the spectrum display. You
must choose a lower range that is no greater than
10.7 Mhz from the upper range. CATSCOPE will
‘center’ the range on your graphical sweep, and
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Range List Scanning
maximize the display for full spectrum viewing.
If the 10.7 MHZ range is exceeded, the center
frequency will be valid, but the upper and lower
ranges cound be truncated at the 10.7 maximum and
the range displayed may not match what you have
programmed into the database.
5. Upper Range Limit
The Upper range of the spectrum display. You
must choose a upper range that is no greater than
10.7 Mhz from the lower range. CATSCOPE will
‘center’ the range on your graphical sweep, and
maximize the display for full spectrum viewing.
If the 10.7 MHZ range is exceeded, the center
frequency will be valid, but the upper and lower
ranges may not match what you have programmed
into the database.
6. Reception Mode
The proper mode for the frequency range you want to
‘scan’. Only the programmed mode will be used. If
frequency bands using different modes ‘overlap’, only
the programmed mode will be used.
In addition to the Columns in the database, there are
three Command Buttons:
1. Multiscan On/Off
Choosing ON, will start an immediate ‘scan’ of
all records that have the selected field turned
ON. Fields that are selected “ OFF” , will not be
used. This will let you selectively choose only
certain areas of interest. ALSO since the SDU
unit is only capable of a bandwidth of 10.7 MHZ,
several records in succession, that have a range
that is concurrent with the previous one, would
permit you to ‘scan’ a bandwidth of many MHZ in
successive sweeps.
2. Add (a record)
Click on this command button to ADD a new
record. The cursor will be positioned at the
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Range List Scanning
first column, and successive entries to the
record can be made by pressing enter, and moving
the cursor with the mouse of the left/right
arrow keys.
3. Finished
Closes the database ‘viewer’, but does not
necessarily stop the scanning function. If you
have chosen ‘multiscan’, the scanning process
will still continue until you turn it off by
toggling the ‘MultiScan’ button to OFF.
Additional Features of the Range Scan Viewer
Editing (an existing record)
1. Position the mouse cursor over a ‘cell’, and
double click. This will change the background to
a different color, indicating you are in the edit
mode. Make your changes, and press ENTER to
accept. If you press ESC before pressing ENTER,
the edit is not ‘valid’, and the cell will be
restored to it’s previous contents. However if
you move the cursor to another cell, the editing
changes WILL be accepted automatically
2. Position the mouse cursor over a ‘cell’, and
simply start typing. This will change the
background to a different color, indicating you
are in the edit mode. Make your changes, and
press ENTER to accept. If you press ESC before
pressing ENTER, the edit is not ‘valid’, and the
cell will be restored to it’s previous contents.
However if you move the cursor to another cell,
the editing changes will be accepted
automatically.
The exceptions to this are:
1. The Mode Column which has a small ‘button’
selector. You MUST use this selector button
to pop down the modes in order to choose one.
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Range List Scanning
2. The ON OFF Select column. Repeated clicking
will toggle the ON OFF status of this column.
Entering a 0 or 1 will also register as (0
for OFF) and (1 for ON)
Selecting/ Scanning a single range
Clicking once on any record will immediately
tune the radio to the new ‘center frequency” . If
you do NOT have Multiscan enabled, the range will
stay there until you manually change it to
something else. This ability makes it really easy
to store your favorite ranges for immediate
retrieval without having to resort to manually
typing in each one every time.
Page 34
Tips and Hints
Tips and hints for using CATSCOPE
Getting “Set Up”
The most difficult part of ‘getting started is
to get proper communication between the SDU and
the Radio and CATSCOPE. The Radio and the SDU
are connected in a ‘closed loop’, and the SDU and
the software are connected to another closed
loop. Each is dependent on the other if you are
using software to control the entire system. We
have found that a ‘systematic’ approach is the
quickest way to get trouble free performance.
Most customers will want to first boot up the
software and start using the system immediately.
The reverse approach is necessary. FIRST assure
that you have proper communications between the
SDU and the RADIO before proceeding to using the
software. Since you are dealing with TWO ‘closed
loop’ systems, it will be difficult to trouble
shoot the ‘system’ unless you get one thing at a
time running.
Read the SDU’s manual. In particular the pages
describing how to access the internal SDU’s setup
menus. The procedures for setting up the SDU
unit are clearly detailed in the SDU manual, so
we are not duplicating them here.
Cannot connect
One thing worthy of mentioning, is that the
small slider switch on the rear of the AR5000 and
AR3000A must be in the remote position. If you
cannot ‘connect’ between the SDU and the radio,
it could simply be this switch is not set
Page 35
Tips and Hints
correctly. Also while most AR5000 models may have
been modified for 9600 baud, the AR5000’s should
still be set for the factory default of 4800
baud.. The SDU and the AR3000 ONLY communicate
at 4800 baud. This baud should not to be confused
with the baud CatScope uses to communicate with
the SDU unit.
Baud Rate of Radio(s)
Mainly, the baud must be correctly set not only
for the SDU to Radio connection, but also the
software to the SDU. Once you get communications
between the radio and the SDU, everything should
be fairly easy. If you have an external video
monitor, use it until everything is running
properly.
Baud rate for CATSCOPE to the SDU is fixed at
,N,8,1
All ‘supported’ radios use 9600 baud between
the radio and the SDU, except the AR5000 which
uses 4800 baud.
Radios Supported are:
AR5000
- has an internal switch but should
be 4800
AR5000
- can be set from the front panel
of the radio
ICOM
- ALL come set from the factory
at 1200 baud.
So you must change this to 9600
internally before the SDU and the
Icom can communicate. The Icom
manuals clearly describe this. The
Icom R8500 can be easily set from
the front panel using the radio’s
Page 36
Tips and Hints
on screen special functions menu,
by turning power on while holding
in the “ Sleep” button.
ICOM Interfacing
If your Icom radio does not have a built in DB9 or DB25 Serial connector, In order to use the
ICOM with the SDU you must use either the ICOM
CT-17 or CAT232 (Uni-Versatile Interface) as a
‘level converter’. (not supplied with the
SDU5000). The level converter is connected
between the SDU and the Icom’s CI-V port on the
back of the radio. The CT-17 must be connected as
though the SDU unit was the ‘computer’ part of
the connection.
Using the Range list
The Range list is an extremely versatile way of
‘programming’ your sessions. Create as many
records as you want. The limit is 100 in all. If
you have a broad area of analysis, since the
practical limit of the SDU is 10.7 Mhz, you can
create several records, each a smaller division
of a larger scale analysis. For instance:
Range of Analysis
400 mhz to 450 mhz
Lower
Mode
Create range
FM-N
Create range
FM-N
Create range
FM-N
Upper
1. Dwell 2
ON
400.00
410.00
2. Dwell 2
ON
410.00
420.00
3. Dwell 2
ON
420.00
430.00
Page 37
Create range
FM-N
Create range
FM-N
Tips and Hints
4. Dwell 2
ON
430.00
440.00
5. Dwell 2
ON
440.00
450.00
Turn on Multiscan, and ‘select’ only the above
5 ranges. Each one will be analyzed for 2
minutes then advance to the next, and round and
round until you finished but clicking on
MultiScan OFF. You can also activate the ‘spool’
command. This way you can walk off and leave it
running for some time, come back and playback the
recorded file.
Range List - “Quick Pick”
If you create a number of different ranges,
even without multiscan on, it is quite easy to
change ranges ‘on the fly’. Simply click on any
range, and the analysis is immediately switched
to the one you select. You can pop up/down the
range list easily by using the Range List command
button. This pop up/down procedure does not save
any changes, so if you edit a record, exit the
range list by choosing the Finished command
button to assure the edit is saved.
Processing times
The processing times for commands sent to the
SDU are not ‘instantaneous’. The data flow from
the SDU can build up not only in the SDU buffer
(memory holding area), but the EDI software
buffer. If commands are sent while the SDU is
downloading a sweep, commands must wait to take
effect until after the data is fully transmitted
to the computer. Also amplitude from one signal
area to another can cause false readings. This
Page 38
Tips and Hints
can usually be remedied by clicking on the
Retrace or Reset command buttons. The agc of the
radio may need to be changed as well. There are
no software commands to enable AGC changes, so
you will have to do this at the radio.
Page 39
Technical Assistance
Technical Support
Technical support is available by three
different means
1. EMAIL
Scancat@scancat.com - This is the most
economical method as most of us are now ‘on the
net’. Messages are checked (for) daily, and
responded to within 24 hours. Usually all email
is responded to ‘while on line’, but if the
backlog is too great, messages are replied to and
uploaded at the earliest opportunity. Generally
in the evening.
FAX - 318-686-0449 - Our fax is on 24 hours a
day, including weekends. This is a quick way to
get a lot of information to us regardless of the
time zone you are in. Messages are usually
replied to in same business day, (9-5) or if on
weekends, replies are within the next business
day.
Phone - 318-687-2555 - Available only M-F (am
to 2Pm Central time. If you call outside of these
times you will get a recorder that does not take
a message. It will refer you to one of the above
methods. While not the cheapest method, it can
be the most efficient if you have a complex
problem that you just can’t seem to get across on
the written media. Support time is on a
‘priority basis’ by caller, but interruptions
must be lived with. We are a small company and
only have two people to answer phone lines.
If all else fails
Page 40
Technical Assistance
Operator assisted calls - 318-687-4444 -The
operators can only take messages
“ Off hours”
and on weekends you can call this
number to speak to an operator or order
additional product. Because these people are
‘order takers’, NO technical assistance is
available other than taking a ‘brief message’
about your problem. They will then fax our office
your name etc.
Page 41
MOST problems we encounter are associated with
Serial Ports. CATSCOPE is a windows application.
Windows can assign addresses and IRQ’s to comm
ports that are not ‘standard’. Even if your DOS
applications function properly, Windows has it’s
own set of configurations that can be different
for the same hardware ports.
CATSCOPE recognizes ONLY standard Comm port
Addresses and IRQ’s. These settings are not an
option from within the CATSCOPE software. If you
cannot access the SDU, use the Control Panel in
Windows to be sure this is not the problem.
Standard port and address
Port
Comm
Comm
Comm
Comm
1
2
3
4
Address
“ 03F8”
“ 02F8”
“ 03E8”
“ 02E8”
hex
hex
hex
hex
IRQ
4
3
4
3
We appreciate your using CATSCOPE. WE have
spent a lot of time and effort to bring you a
high quality and easy to use product. We are
always ‘open for suggestions’ on ways to improve
and add features to our products. Your feedback
is important and a necessary part of our
producing a better product. Please feel free to
‘drop us a line’ with your suggestions.
Jim Springer
Computer Aided Technologies
P.O. Box 18285
Shreveport, LA 71138