Epson | Multi-mode Data Controller MFJ-1278B | Instruction manual | Epson Multi-mode Data Controller MFJ-1278B Instruction manual

Instruction Manual
Reproduction or use of editorial or pictorial content in any manner, without
express written permission from MFJ Enterprises, Inc. is prohibited.
While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this MULTICOM
manual, the author and publisher assume no responsibility for errors or omissions.
Neither is any liability assumed for damages resulting from the use of the
information contained herein.
The MFJ Multicom program was written by Bob Slomka, WD4MNT and fixed by
Steve Shumway XXXXXX.
The SSTV module in Multicom was written by Robert E. Tuttle, K1UTI
The Multicom manual was written by Glynn E. "Buck" Rogers, K4ABT; Version
2.2 revised by Thomas "Buck" Sommerkamp, KA0ZMI; Version 3.1 revised by
All rights reserved.
MFJ Enterprises, Inc.
P.O. Box 494
Mississippi State, MS 39762
Entire contents Copyright  1993
Page i
Table of Contents
Table of Contents ...............................................................................................................ii
Welcome to Multicom .........................................................................................................1
Contents of the Advanced Starter Pack................................................................................3
Before Installing Your Multicom Software............................................................................4
Multicom Hardware Requirements.......................................................................................5
Floppy Disk Installation .......................................................................................................7
Hard Disk Installation..........................................................................................................8
Remove Procedure;............................................................................................................11
Build Procedure;.................................................................................................................12
Disk Files Included with Multicom;.......................................................................................14
Program Files (required for operation) ......................................................................14
Utility Programs (not required for operation);............................................................16
Sample Picture Files (not required for operation);......................................................17
Setting Up Multicom ...........................................................................................................19
MFJ MULTICOM Terminal Parameters Setup ........................................................19
Computer to TNC Parameter Setting .......................................................................21
QSO Time! ........................................................................................................................26
Function Keys in Multicom; .................................................................................................27
"Combination" Keys in Multicom;.........................................................................................29
Function Buffers.................................................................................................................32
Special Characters in Function Buffers.....................................................................34
Using the Function Buffers......................................................................................36
Editing Function Buffer Slots ...................................................................................36
Selecting Radio Ports ..............................................................................................37
Customizing in the Text Editor .................................................................................38
Selecting Function Buffers to Use;...........................................................................39
The Directory Utility ...........................................................................................................40
Binary and Picture Transfer Commands ...............................................................................42
The Text Editor ..................................................................................................................45
Parameter Setup and TNC Configuration; ............................................................................48
Editing a Parameters File .........................................................................................49
Page ii
"Auto-Router" Feature; .......................................................................................................50
Slow-Scan Television (SSTV) Mode;...................................................................................56
"Auto-Monitor" Alarm;........................................................................................................58
Appendix - Troubleshooting Guide.......................................................................................60
Appendix - Selected Fax Frequencies..................................................................................63
Page iii
Welcome to Multicom
Congratulations! You are about to enter an adventurous new world in amateur
radio communications with your MFJ multi-mode data controller and Multicom,
MFJ's communications software designed to help you take full advantage of your
With Multicom, you'll be able to use all of the features of your MFJ-1278B or
other multi-mode controller, including color fax and slow-scan television
capabilities! Using your IBM or compatible personal computer, Multicom
allows you to enjoy the following modes of digital ham radio communication:
Packet (HF and VHF)
FAX / Color FAX
Be sure to take plenty of time as you explore the many features of Multicom and
your MFJ-1278B controller. Remember that you cannot hurt the controller by
experimenting with the Multicom may "confuse" the controller
temporarily, but it can always be brought "back to life" if necessary by simply
resetting the unit.
Enjoy your exploration of the Multicom software and the wide variety of digital
modes open to you as a ham. You'll soon be using the various modes as if they
were second nature!
Multicom User's Manual
Page 1
By purchasing this MFJ-1289 Advanced Starter Pack, you've taken the right
steps toward enjoying your MFJ controller to its fullest.
Multicom is the software portion of your new computerized radio station. There
is a difference between the hardware commands which come from your
1270/1278 controller (TNC) and the Multicom commands.
The easiest way to distinguish the two types of commands is to remember that all
hardware commands are preceded by the cmd: prompt. On the other hand,
software commands will usually not pertain directly to the controller. Examples
are directory commands, digitizer commands, or editor commands.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 2
Contents of the Advanced Starter Pack
Before you begin installing the software, please check to make sure you have the
everything included with the MFJ-1289 Advanced Starter Pack.
The MFJ-1289 Advanced Starter Pack contains an RS-232 serial cable and either
two or three program disks (depending upon which size disks you purchased).
If you purchased the MFJ-1289, there are three (3) 5.25" disks supplied,
along with the manual and the RS-232 serial cable.
If you purchased the MFJ-1289D, the RS-232 cable is not supplied; only
three (3) 5.25" disks and a manual are supplied.
If you purchased the MFJ-1289M, there are two (2) supplied 3.5" disks,
along with the manual and the RS-232 serial cable.
However, there are "D" versions of both the MFJ-1289 and MFJ-1289M. These
are version of the software without the RS-232 serial cable. We've made these
available for those who already have cables. The RS-232 cable is for connecting
the controller to the RS-232 (serial) port of your computer.
The program disks contain the main MFJ MULTICOM program, utility programs
and sample pictures. Refer to your DOS manual as needed during setup and use
of your Multicom software, for more details on items not covered in this manual.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 3
Before Installing Your Multicom Software
If you haven't already done so, be sure of the following:
Your controller is connected to the power supply.
The RS-232 cable is connected between your controller and your
Your radio is properly interfaced to the controller's RADIO 1 or RADIO
2 port (or the single radio port of the MFJ-1270, 1270B or 1274).
Check the Fast-Start manual included with your MFJ-1278B or other controller,
to make sure that the controller and radio are properly hooked up.
Once you're sure that the MFJ-1278B is properly interfaced with your computer,
you are ready to begin installing the software for use.
Note: The MFJ Multicom software (MULTICOM.EXE, found on Disk #1) is
copy-protected. If your computer does not have a hard disk, you must use
the original floppy disk supplied by MFJ when operating Multicom.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 4
Multicom Hardware Requirements
For operations which do not involve the printing or displaying of graphics, you will
require the following hardware:
An IBM PC/XT/AT/386 or compatible computer with at least 512K
memory. This is absolutely the minimum required.
A CGA, EGA, VGA or MCGA graphic monitor;
The MFJ-1270B, MFJ-1274, MFJ-1278, or MFJ-1278B controller.
Multicom version 3.1 supports dual port, text mode operation. :
An IBM PC/XT/AT/386 or compatible computer with at least 512K
memory. This is absolutely the minimum required.
Two unused COM Ports (COM1 - COM4);
A CGA, EGA, VGA or MCGA graphic monitor;
Two MFJ-1270B, MFJ-1274, MFJ-1278, or MFJ-1278B controllers.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 5
The MFJ MULTICOM software supports packet picture transfer, SSTV and
FAX operation. To successfully operate these modes and display pictures on the
screen, certain hardware is required for your computer system. In addition to the
following requirements, your computer must have at least 512K of RAM:
Packet Picture Transfer
Computer System: IBM PC/XT/AT/386 or compatible computer with a
clock speed of 7 Mhz or faster; the older "XT-style" PCs running at 4.77
Mhz are incapable of running the fax or SSTV modes.
Monitor: CGA, EGA or VGA graphic card and monitor;
Controller: MFJ-1270, MFJ-1274, MFJ-1278B, or MFJ-1278.
Multi-gray Level SSTV
Computer System: An IBM PC/XT/AT/386 or compatible computer;
Monitor: A VGA graphic card and monitor;
Controller: The MFJ-1278 with multi-gray level modem or MFJ-1278B.
Color SSTV
Computer System: An IBM PC/XT/AT/386 or compatible computer;
Monitor: A VGA graphic card and monitor only (other monitor/graphic
card combinations will not allow color reception);
Controller: The MFJ-1278 with multi-gray level modem or MFJ-1278B.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 6
Multi-gray Level or Color FAX
Computer System: An IBM PC/XT/AT/386 or compatible computer;
Monitor: A VGA graphic card and monitor;
Controller: The MFJ-1278 with multi-gray level modem or MFJ-1278B.
2-Level FAX (Use MFJCOM Utility Program)
Computer System: An IBM PC/XT/AT/386 or compatible computer;
Monitor: A CGA, EGA or VGA graphic card and monitor;
Controller: The MFJ-1278 or MFJ-1278B, 1270B/MFJ-1274 with 1.2.6
firmware or higher.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 7
Floppy Disk Installation
No installation is needed if you are operating the software from a floppy disk only.
Load the program as follows:
Boot your computer system with the DOS disk.
Insert the original Disk #1 (which contains the actual Multicom program
files) into your floppy drive (usually drive A: or B:).
At the A> or B> prompt, type
MULTICOM and press <Enter>
Note: From this point on in the manual, we will simply refer to your
computer keys by showing them in bold, <F7>. To illustrate messages from
your computer, or commands you will need to type in, we will use this
typeface . If a key needs to be "held down" while you press another key, we
will indicate it with a plus sign (for instance, <Alt> +R means to hold
down the <Alt> key and press the R key at the same time)
Multicom User's Manual
Page 8
Hard Disk Installation
You may install Multicom onto any hard drive contained on your computer
system between C: and F:. Follow the steps below to install the software from
the floppy disk to your hard drive:
At the DOS prompt, select the hard drive to which you will install the
program. For example, if your hard drive is C:, then type:
C: <Enter>
Ensure that you are in the root directory by typing
CD \ <Enter>
Insert the Multicom Disk #1 in the first floppy drive of your computer
(Drive A:). Ensure the disk is not write-protected. Change to drive A:
by typing:
A: <Enter>
NOTE: If you ordered the disk size to fit your B: drive, then use the program
INSTALLB. Whenever the instructions refer to the install program (i.e.,
INSTALL C TNC), substitute INSTALLB C TNC to install from your
second drive.
At the A:\> prompt, while Disk #1 is still in drive A:, type:
At this point, the program will automatically install Multicom and other disk files
from Disk #1 to drive C: in the subdirectory C:\MULTICOM .
Multicom User's Manual
Page 9
When finished, your current drive will be logged to the C:\MULTICOM
directory (or in whatever directory you used for Multicom's installation. See the
section on the BUILD Procedure).
Please note that the original Disk #1 of Multicom allows two (2) installations to
your hard drive. When you have installed Multicom once, the installation
program will notify you that you have one (1) installation remaining on the original
Disk #1. If you loose all the data on your hard drive, you can install Multicom
one more time.
You can run the REMOVE program which will remove the program from your
hard drive; this increases your installation count by one. However, if you use up
both of your installation "counts," you must run the REMOVE program (see
page 13) to remove Multicom from your hard drive in order to install it again.
We have tried to make the installation procedure compatible with most
brands and types of hard drives. If you encounter a problem with IDE ,
ESDI or other hard drive types or with any aspect of your installation,
please contact the MFJ Service Department for assistance at (800) 6478324.
Remove Disk #1 from drive A: and insert Disk #2. Copy the contents of
Disk #2 (which are supplementary files and don't need to follow the
INSTALL procedure) as follows:
A: <Enter>
COPY A:*.* C:\MULTICOM <Enter>
All files on Disk #2 will then be copied to the MULTICOM subdirectory. If you
are using 5 1/4" disks, insert Disk #3 into your drive A: and press the <F3> key,
followed by the <Enter> key. This will repeat the COPY procedure from Step
Multicom User's Manual
Page 10
#5 above (Note: If you are using 3 1/2" disks, there is no third disk because
all of the files are contained on Disks #1 and #2).
You have now finished installing Multicom to your hard drive, along with the
utilities and sample files. To uninstall the software, follow the REMOVE
procedure on the next page; otherwise, you may begin running the program by
continuing with step #6:
To run the program, type:
C: <Enter>
Multicom User's Manual
Page 11
Remove Procedure;
The original Disk #1 of Multicom allows you to install the software two (2) times
on your hard drive. If you have installed the program to a hard drive and run the
REMOVE program, the number of installation counts remaining for your
software increases by one. To uninstall, follow the procedure below, which
assumes you have previously installed Multicom onto your hard drive C: under
the subdirectory C:\MULTICOM.
Make backup copies of your config, parameter, pictures, text, and other
important files. You may wish to copy them to a floppy disk in case you
wish to reinstall Multicom later.
Insert your original Multicom disk #1 in drive A (or drive B, depending
on which drive you used to install the software). From the DOS prompt,
A: <Enter>
At the A:> prompt, after changing your hard drive to the root directory
(C:\), type:
At this point, the program will remove the copy-protected software
(MULTICOM.EXE from your hard drive and place it back onto the original Disk
#1 in drive A. No other program will be copied to your floppy disk.
At the end of the REMOVE process, the software will notify you that there is
"001 [or 002] installs left" on your original disk, depending upon how many times
the software was installed. You can then install Disk #1 to your hard drive at a
later time by again using the INSTALL procedure described above.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 12
Build Procedure;
The MFJ-1289 Software has the capability to be installed in other directories
besides Multicom. This can be accomplished through the BUILD.EXE program
on Disk #1. Below is an example as to how install Multicom to another directory.
Follow the steps below to install Multicom to a directory named RADIO:
Obtain the DOS prompt for the hard drive to which you are going to
install the program to.
Ensure that you are in the root directory of your hard drive, by typing :
Make a directory with the name desired, such as RADIO. This is done by typing the following:
At this time the computer has made a directory named "RADIO". You are ready to install the program
into the new directory.
Insert the Multicom Disk #1 into the first floppy drive in your computer
system. Ensure that the Disk #1 is not write-protected.
Obtain the DOS prompt of the first floppy drive by typing the following:
The following steps will copy the files over to our new directory named
Multicom User's Manual
Page 13
At this time we want to copy the files off of Disk #1. To do this you must
type the following:
At this point the computer will proceed to copy all Disk #1 files over to Drive C:.
The next steps will install the copy-protection over to the new directory. This must be done otherwise the
Multicom program will not run, and the software will give an ERROR MESSAGE saying:
With the DOS prompt of the floppy drive from which you are installing
the software still on the screen type the following:
At the A:\> prompt, while Disk #1 is still in drive A: type:
After the Build program has executed the Build to C:\RADIO routine, Multicom can then be used. This
same procedure can be used for any directory name that you choose, just follow the procedure very
If at some later time you decide to uninstall Multicom from the directory specified here, use the REMOVE
procedure on Page 16. All you would need to do is substitute the directory name you used here in place of
Multicom in the example on Page 11.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 14
Disk Files Included with Multicom;
There are several files that work together when Multicom operates. Some are
required by the program; others are optional for your exploration of the software.
If you purchased the 3.5" disk version, you will only have two disks
with your package (Disk #1 is the program disk, Disk #2 is the utilities
and sample pictures).
If you purchased the 5.25" disk version, you will have three disks with
your package (Disk #1 is the Program disk, Disk #2 is the utility disk, and
Disk #3 contains the sample pictures).
The files contained on your distribution disks are as follows:
Program Files (required for operation)
MULTICOM.EXE** This is the main operating terminal program. It is copyprotected and should not be copied. Any attempt to copy
the program may produce unpredictable results or a loss
of the program software. Tape and disk backups will also
produce unpredictable results.
This file is a PCX to 16 level/color SSTV file converter.
The required PCX file size is 320x200x256. This must be
in the same directory as Multicom.exe, otherwise the "C"
option on the SSTV menu will not work. Please see
SSTV section of this manual for further details.
This file is used by Multicom to receive Color SSTV
pictures. It allows Multicom to receive 10 formats of
Multicom User's Manual
Page 15
Slow Scan picture files. This file must be in the same
directory as Multicom, otherwise the SSTV receive
portion of Multicom will not work.
This file is the one Multicom uses to view the Color
SSTV pictures you receive with Multicom. This allows
Multicom to view 10 formats of Slow Scan pictures. This
file must be in the same directory as Multicom.
This file is used by the RTV.EXE file in order to allow
the SSTV pictures to track straight on the computer
screen. This file may need to be changed depending the
computer being used. Please see the SSTV section of
this manual for further details
This file holds all of the data for copying all of the
Black/White SSTV formats. Do not attempt to alter this
file at all. This file must be in the same directory as the
Multicom program.
This file holds all of the data for copying all of
the Color SSTV formats. Do not attempt to alter this file
at all. This file must be in the same directory as the
Multicom program.
This is a Borland Graphics Interface file. Do not attempt
to alter this file at all. It is very critical to color SSTV
pictures. The file must reside in the same directory as the
Multicom program.
This file contains function buffers which you will
want to define later. There are 10 buffers of 72
characters each. This includes alpha, numeric and
Multicom User's Manual
Page 16
puncuations. These buffers have various uses, up to and
including sending data to your controller. Please see the
section on Function Buffers on Page XX on this manual
for more details.
These files are pre-defined function buffers to be used in
theAMTOR.FUN file contains keys specific to the
Amtor mode of operation. These files must be in the
same directory as Multicom.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 17
Utility Programs (not required for operation);
This utility program lets you capture and save VGA,
EGA or CGA pictures that are displayed by Multicom.
Note that not all pictures can be captured by MFJBCD.
This utility program is used in conjunction with MFJBCD.
It lets you convert pictures saved by MFJBCD to the
proper format required by MULTICOM for packet
picture transfer.
MFJPIC.EXE This is the MFJPIC digitizer program used by MULTICOM.
You must have the MFJ-1292 digitizer to use this portion
of the program.
This file contains different fax frequencies and where
they are located.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 18
Sample Picture Files (not required for operation);
These files are sample pictures which can be used by MULTICOM for viewing
or transmitting.
320 x 200 x 256-color VGA picture in packet multilevel
picture format.
Color EGA picture in packet picture format.
Color CGA picture in packet picture format.
ROBOT 72 second color picture.
Color SSTV picture in 72-second Scotty 1 format.
Color SSTV picture in 72-second Martin 1 format.
36-second SSTV picture in ROBOT 36 b/w format.
Note: We recommend that you do not use MULTICOM or the utility
programs with any RAM-resident (TSR) programs on your computer (This
includes Microsoft Windows, DOS Manager, Desqview, etc.). If you
encounter problems with any part of the program, be sure to remove your
RAM-resident programs before calling MFJ for help!
Multicom User's Manual
Page 19
Setting Up Multicom
After properly connecting the TNC to the computer and applying power to it,
change to the multicom program directory.
CD \MULTICOM <Enter> ( replace MULTICOM with the name of your
program directory)
Run the program by typing the following:
Before using Multicom for the first time, you should configure it for use by your
system. The first time you run the program, the screen below will appear
automatically. If you wish to change the configuration settings at a later time,
you may press the <F3> key from the terminal screen
Multicom User's Manual
Page 20
1. Call Sign Setting
CAREFULLY Enter your callsign without dashes or slash marks--for instance,
DO NOT use G3/W5VZF or W5VZF-1).
2. Communication Parameter Setting
Multicom 3.1 has the ability to receive from two text data channels simultaneously. Each channel has its own settings for communication. The last
setting, State, tells Multicom if any data will be passed on that channel. Each
active channel must be connected to a seperate COM port and seperate TNC.
To set a channel first press 2. A menu will appear asking which channel you
want to change, A or B. After choosing the channel the configuration menu will
appear. If the settings are not as below, set them accordingly. Be sure that you
set the COM port to the one to which the TNC is connected.
Ch A
COM Port: 2
Baud Rate: 9600
Data Bits: 8
Parity : None
State: Active
Ch B
COM Port: 3
Baud Rate: 9600
Data Bits: 8
Parity : None
State: Inactive
IMPORTANT: The "Terminal to TNC baud rate" must be set at 9600 for
multi-gray level FAX and SSTV operation!
Once you have the parameters set correctly, press S to save the parameters to
disk. The next time you load MFJ MULTICOM, the program will default to the
parameters you have selected. For temporary changes, use <Esc> to go back
to the main screen without saving to disk.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 21
If you are using MFJ MULTICOM with the MFJ-1270B or the MFJ-1274 make
sure that the TNC terminal baud rate is set to 9600. You can verify the terminal
baud rate by checking the DIP switches on the rear of the TNC. Set switch
position #5 to ON then turn the TNC on. Note that there should always be two
baud rate switches set ON - one for the radio rate (switch 6, 7, or 8) and one for
the terminal baud rate (switch 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5).
Turn on your TNC. You should see characters scroll across the screen. When
an asterix appears press <Enter>. If you do not see any characters just press
<Enter> several times. The TNC should sign-on by sending a message to the
terminal screen. The sign-on message will appear on an MFJ-1278B as below.
If the controller failed to sign on, press <F3>. Multicom will display the setup
screen again. Reset the following parameters as below:
Multicom User's Manual
Page 22
3. Data Bits: 7
4. Parity: even
Press <Esc> to make a temporary change and go back to the terminal.
Turn your TNC off, then on again, and press the return key several times. At this
point, the TNC should sign-on.
NOTE: Older 1270s and 1274 TNCs might not work at 9600 baud. Check
for the signon at 4800 baud also. If the signon is OK at 4800, call MFJ for
the 9600 baud modification
To change the TNC settings to Multicom's default, set AWLEN to 8 and
PARITY to 0 by typing the following at the CMD: command prompt:
cmd: AWLEN 8 <Enter>
cmd: PARITY 0 <Enter>
After the above parameters are set properly, turn off your TNC. Press <F3>
for the setup screen and reset the terminal parameters so that Data Bits is set to
8 and parity is set to none. Press S to exit the setup screen. Turn the TNC back
on, press the <Enter> key several times, and the controller should sign-on.
To automatically set up your TNC, you can create a pre-configured file called
CONFIG.PRM to send to the controller on demand.
You must first create the CONFIG.PRM file. See the editor section on page
XX for information on how to create this file.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 23
Once the file has been created, you can load it to your TNC with the following
With the controller signed on, at the command prompt (cmd:), press
<Alt> +P.
A screen of file(s) with the ".PRM" extension will be displayed. Highlight
the CONFIG.PRM file with the cursor keys, then press <Enter>
MULTICOM will load the CONFIG.PRM file to the controller and the
cmd: prompt will be displayed.
This file is useful for "reloading" your TNC after it loses its memory (for
example, if you disconnected the battery and reset the controller entirely).
You may edit the CONFIG.PRM file with any text editor, editing the
parameters with the information you prefer.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 24
3. Color Setting
Select the colors for the background, the colors of the transmitted (outgoing)
packet characters, set the colors of the received (incoming) packet characters,
and select the colors of the directory and status/transfer screen.
Because the incoming and outgoing characters can be shown in different colors, it
will be easier for you to keep track of your typing and the packets you receive
from others. However, these colors are not saved to disk, if you use the editor in
order to save your screen information. You may wish to instead use uppercase
letters while your contact uses all lowercase, in order to keep the source of
transmissions easy to identify.
4. XFER System Flags and Directories Setting
For packet only: select the [drive/path] for the outgoing (uploaded) binary files;
select the [drive/path] for the incoming (downloaded) binary files, select the
[drive/path] for the outgoing (uploaded) picture files and the [drive/path] for the
incoming (downloaded) picture files.
For other modes, use the current directory selected with the <F7> key.
Give plenty of thought to the placement of your inbound/outbound picture and
binary directories. It is a good idea to separate them so that you have better
control of file locations when uploading and downloading; this will greatly simplify
your operations when you are "on the air."
Set the [drive/path] you selected in step 4 (flags) to ON or OFF (active or
inactive). This provides a margin of safety to the system operator so that other
drives, subdirectories, and files are not subject to tampering. The flag must be
"on" to allow use by another station.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 25
Note: When selecting the Upload and Download drives and/or binary and
picture subdirectories, use the backslash(\) and full pathname after the
drive letter; for example, C:\TNC\INPIX.
5. VIS Tics and Other Data Paths
The last configuration menu is for FAX, SSTV and auto-router directories, and
setting VIS tics and GMT zone. Set the directories for received FAX and SSTV
and the auto-router files just like the packet directories.
Set the VIS ticks value at this point. Refer to your TNC manual on the VIsticks
You should also set your GMT zone at this point.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 26
QSO Time!
Once your system has been connected and configured, and the controller has
issued its "sign on" message, you're ready to begin!
After you have saved your initial program parameters to disk, you may use a
variety of keys and commands to simplify your controller's operation.
Some of the function keys in Multicom are "pre-programmed" and will always do
the same thing because they have been programmed by the software.
Other function keys are "user-programmable" and you can set them to quickly
issue commands or frequently-typed sentences to your controller, depending on
your methods of operating. A list of each key follows, along with its function.
Note: Some special functions installed in the MULTICOM software are not
useful when it is used with the MFJ-1270B or the MFJ-1274. Function keys
<F4> (FAX) and <F5> (SSTV) are not useful. Under key <F6> (mode
menu), only the <F8> key (User-Defined Function Buffers) is useful for
these controllers.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 27
Function Keys in Multicom;
Each of these keys may be pressed directly. More complete descriptions of
several functions listed are found later in this manual:
Sends a hex 03 (equivalent to a <Ctrl> + C) to your controller.
This places the controller into the "command" mode and gives
you a cmd: prompt. You can press it three times in succession
to escape the "transparent" mode." Use this key to switch you
from "converse" mode and to allow the controller to receive your
instructions. While in "command" mode, nothing is sent over the
Sends the "converse" command to the TNC. This is the opposite
of the "command" mode; whatever you type following this will be
transmitted over the air. Use this key to stop giving commands to
your controller, and "converse" with your contact on the air.
Places you into the program "configure" screen. Although you
have already configured your system and saved the parameters
to disk, you may wish to go back and change them later. Use this
key for that purpose.
Enter the multi-level FAX system. For details on FAX operation,
see the "Multi-Level Fax" chapter on page XX.
Enter the multi-level SSTV (slow-scan television) system. For
details on SSTV operation, see the "Slow-Scan Television"
chapter on page XX.
Places you in the function buffers screen. The function buffers
allow you to quickly send bits of information without having to
retype them during a QSO. A complete description of each of the
Multicom User's Manual
Page 28
function buffers is contained in the "Function Buffers" chapter on
page XX.
Allows you to view the contents of a directory on your disk, or
change to a different directory. For details on the operation of
this key, see the Directory Utility chapter on page XX.
Enters the Packet Binary/Picture Transfer screen. This will allow
you to send pictures or computer files to another ham with
Multicom software. For the operational steps required to send a
picture or binary file, see the "Binary/Pic ture Transfer" chapter
on page XX.
Executes the MFJPIC digitizer program, providing MFJPIC is the
same directory as MULTICOM.
Enter the program's text editor mode. This editor allows you to
compose text messages "off-line" and retransmit them, or save
received text to a file. To learn how to use the editor, see the
"Text Editor Mode" chapter on page XX.
Note: Function keys 11 and 12 (if you have an enhanced "AT-style"
keyboard) are not used in Multicom.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 29
"Combination" Keys in Multicom;
Each of these keys works by holding down the <Alt> or <Ctrl> key on your
keyboard as shown, then pressing the lettered key shown in this list, at the same
time . They are shown with a plus sign like this: <Alt>+C.
These "alt keys" and "control keys" may perform different functions than those
shown here, when you are in a mode other than "terminal mode:"
Selects and sends the "auto-router" file. This file is for multimode
packet operation in which your station wishes to connect to
several different stations at the same time. You create and
compose the auto-router file yourself using the text editor, and
this key transmits the file to your controller. For details on the
"auto-router" function, see the "Auto-Router" chapter on page
Clears the top (receive) section of your screen. Use this key
when the screen has filled with "garbage" or you wish to start
over with a clean screen.
Send the date and time to your TNC. This information is based
on your system clock and calendar, so make sure that the
time/date is accurate on your computer system before your select
this function. The time and date information is sent in the format
required by the DAYTIME command and used by your
controller for various monitoring functions. This is a good
command to issue when you first begin a Multicom session.
<Alt> +F
This key will display the selected program directory and the
function buffers files. It will also allow you to highlight and load
one of the FUNction configuration files. These files automatically
define the contents of the function buffers. Only files with the
Multicom User's Manual
Page 30
.FUN extension will be shown when you press this key
combination. For details on how to create these files, see the
"Function Buffers" chapter on page 33. The .FON file selected
here is put into the <F8> (user function) slot.
<Alt> +M
Edit the "monitor alarm" string (a string is any combination of
numbers and/or letters and punctuation). This "auto-monitor"
alarm enables you to set a string of characters to have the TNC
"listen" for while it receives data. This is useful if you are
listening for a certain callsign prefix or a friend's station; when
the string you specify is "heard" by your controller, an alarm will
sound. If this option is active, you will see the Ä symbol on the
status line of your terminal screen. See the "Auto-Monitor
Alarm" chapter on page XX for more details.
<Alt> +P
Remember when we initially configured your TNC for use with
Multicom? This key combination allowed us to send the
CONFIG.PRM or SETUP.PRM file to the TNC. You can
edit the parameter files in the text editor and send them at any
time using this key combination.
<Alt> +S
This toggles the sound on or off. If the sound is on, an alarm will
be heard when you connect to another station. Because it is a
toggled keystroke combination, pressing it once will turn the
sound on, and pressing it again will turn it off. From the main
terminal screen, you can tell if the sound is toggled on or off by
checking for the "musical notes" symbol on your terminal mode
screen's "status line."
<Alt> +T
Allows you to change the value of the "transfer timeout timer."
This is only useful if you regularly transmit files over the air; see
the "Binary/Picture Transfer" chapter on page XX.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 31
<Alt> +X
Exits the Multicom program. A confirmation window will pop up,
asking if you're SURE you want to exit. Answering "Y" will exit
Multicom and return you to the DOS prompt of the drive
currently in use.
<Alt> +1 thru <Alt> +0
These keys send a corresponding line out of the currentlyselected USER BUFFER For details, see the "Function Buffers"
chapter of this manual on page XX.
<Ctrl> +<End> This key combination will retransmit the most recently-typed
line. For instance, if you typed a line of conversation text to your
friend and then discovered you were in "command mode", you
could enter the "conversation mode" by pressing <F2> and then
<Ctrl> +<End> to retransmit the line. This is a good key
combination to remember; it will come in handy!
Multicom User's Manual
Page 32
Function Buffers
Function buffers are the primary feature of Multicom that will simplify your on-air
operation. Using function buffers, you can do several things:
You can send commands to your controller to switch into different
modes of operation without having to remember the exact syntax of each
command. For instance, you could switch from VHF Packet mode to
RTTY with only a few keystrokes.
You can send frequently-transmitted information such as your QTH,
type of radio, and "CQ" messages without wearing out your fingers! This
is particularly helpful for contesting etc.
Because the function buffers are powerful and versatile, it is important that you
take the time to learn how these functions operate. To enter the Function Buffer
screen from your terminal mode, press the <F6> key. Your screen will look like
Multicom User's Manual
Page 33
You can configure each of the function buffers to your liking, although most of
them already contain strings you'll probably want to keep.
Each of your computer's function keys, when in this mode, activates one of the
different function buffers (except <F10> , which allows you to edit the fuction
buffer slots.)
Within each of the function buffers are ten possible "slots" for commands or text
you can send to your TNC, simply by pressing <Alt> and the corresponding
number key when that mode has been selected.
When Multicom is first loaded, the MULTICOM.FUN buffer is activated (each
of the function buffer files is stored in your Multicom directory with the extension
The .FUN (function buffer) files in the default set are configured for the MFJ1278B and MFJ-1278B/Turbo Multi Mode Data Controllers. Although they may
be edited to conform to any configuration you wish, it is advisable for you to
become familiar with these functions before you make changes to the buffers or
files. Any valid TNC command can be entered.
Supported within this function buffer menu are all of the text modes of the
1278B/1278B-Turbo. To access the other modes, you will need to use the
following keys from within terminal mode, not from within the function buffer
For FAX press
For SSTV press <F5> .
For Packet Binary and Picture modes, press <F8> .
<F4> .
Multicom User's Manual
Page 34
Special Characters in Function Buffers
There are several characters you can include in your function buffer slots which
perform special functions. Each is described below, and shown at the bottom of
the function buffer screen to help you:
To save time, you can "chain" commands together within each function buffer
THE TILDE KEY (~)Using the tilde key (~) in your command strings is
equivalent to pressing the <Enter> key and entering them separately (in other
words, Multicom recognizes the tilde key as a valid carriage return).
Note also that a tilde must be at the end of each command.
For instance, a "slot" which contained the line
would send two separate commands to your TNC; the first would switch it to
Radio Port 2, and the second would select HF RTTY at 75 Baud. These
commands were "chained" together by using the tilde key, and are sent in
sequence to your controller with a carriage return "pressed" in between them. By
chaining commands like this, one "slot" in your function buffer can be used to send
several commands at once.
THE CARET KEY (^)By using the caret (^) key in your command strings, you
can simulate the pressing of the <Ctrl> key. For example, the most commonlysent control key is <Ctrl> +C (03 hex).
To send this keystroke, you would simply type ^C in your function buffer to place
the TNC into command mode.
The caret key can precede any character in any "slot."
Multicom User's Manual
Page 35
This key is particularly helpful in letting you remind yourself of the contents of a
particular "slot." The commands you send to the TNC can be somewhat cryptic,
so using the semicolon key allows you to enter "comment lines" to yourself.
This "comment" displays on your screen, but will not be sent to the controller.
For instance, you might want to have a "slot" for contesting that would send a
preset line of text, then allow you to add something after the text:
Example #1
Contest QUAD is 4 and county is 5 and you are number ;(send number
This would send everything up to the semicolon to your controller, then allow you
to "plug in" the number after that.
Feel free to add comments to your buffer "slots" so you can remember what they
are. Just remember to place the semicolon AFTER the text to be transmitted to
the TNC, and follow it with your comment.
Example #2
^C MODE HB 75~;changes mode to HF RTTY at 75 Baud
Multicom User's Manual
Page 36
Using the Function Buffers
To use one of the function buffers, follow these steps:
Make sure your TNC is in "command mode" (with a cmd: prompt
showing) on your terminal mode screen.
Press <F6> to access the function buffer screen.
Choose the mode in which you want to operate from the list at the top of
your screen, then press the appropriate function key (i.e., if you wanted
to work in AMTOR mode, you would press the <F2> key to access the
AMTOR function buffer, with all of its associated "slots").
When you have chosen the correct function buffer, choose which "slot" to
send to your TNC by pressing the "slot" number. In the example in step 3
above, pressing the number 2 key would switch the TNC into AMTOR's
"listen" mode.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 37
Editing Function Buffer Slots
You can change any of the slots 1 through 0 in each function buffer. To do this,
press the <F10> key, then the line number that you wish to edit. Simply type
your changes in place over the existing line, or delete the contents of the line
entirely and type whatever command you desire. After making your desired
changes, press <Enter> . From this point, you may continue to edit other "slots"
or you can press <Esc> to return to the main function buffers menu.
After completing your changes, press <Esc> once, then S to save your
changes, then <Esc> again to return to the function buffers screen.
You can temporarily save the changes by pressing the <Esc> key twice. Then
use the function buffer to which the changes were made, to ensure it works
properly. If it works satisfactorily, go back into that same buffer and press the S
key to save the contents. Press the <Esc> key to return to the terminal screen.
Make sure that any changes you make are appropriate to the function buffer file
you are editing; for example, you would not type the command...
1 ^C MODE HP 300
into a line in the <F2> (AMTOR) function buffer, since it is a command relating
to the <F1> (Packet) function buffer and should only be placed there.
A second way to edit these "slots" is to use the text editor to make changes in the
data file (i.e., you could directly edit MULTICOM.FUN from within the text
editor instead of making changes within the function buffers screen). Either
method accomplishes the same result.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 38
Customizing in the Text Editor
You could, for example, edit a function buffer in the text editor called
RTYCNTST.FUN containing your frequently-sent commands and text for
contesting. From the main terminal mode screen, press <F10> to select the text
editor. An example is shown below:
Notice that text file always begins with the line
and continues with each "slot" number followed by a space and the text to be
Multicom User's Manual
Page 39
Selecting Function Buffers to Use;
When Multicom is loaded, only the following function buffers are shown at the top
of your screen (available for use):
You can choose from a list of other available function buffers by pressing <Alt>
+F. Select a buffer to use (for instance, the RTYCNTST.FUN we created
earlier) by using the cursor keys to highlight it, then press <Enter> and that
function buffer will be currently active when you press <F6> (as shown below).
Note: whichever function buffer is loaded with <Alt> +F becomes the user
buffer or <F6> key.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 40
The Directory Utility
From terminal mode, you can press the <F7> key to access Multicom's
Directory Utility.
This utility allows you to view, change, rename and delete directories and files
from within Multicom, without having to exit to DOS.
The keys active while you are in this utility are as follows:
<Right Arrow> <Left Arrow> <Up Arrow> <Down Arrow>
These keys allow you to move the highlight cursor to the file you
wish to , , or .
To delete a file, place the highlight cursor over it and press the
delete key. Multicom will confirm that you wish to delete the file;
press "Y" to carry out the deletion, or "N" if you change your
To rename a file, place the highlight cursor over it and press "R."
You are prompted for the new filename; type it in and press
<Enter> and the rename will be executed.
<Space Bar> The space bar lets you select a different disk drive.
Subdirectories will show in brighter colors; you can highlight the
subdirectory to change to and press <Enter> to move among
the subdirectories on your drive.
<Alt> +C
Toggles between two different directory formats. The "shorter"
version does not show the number of bytes in each file, but the
"longer" version does. The choice is yours.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 41
If you are unfamiliar with the IBM directory format, refer to the DOS
manual which came with your computer, or see your local computer dealer
to obtain one.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 42
Binary and Picture Transfer Commands
Part of the fun of Multicom is its ability to transmit and receive pictures from one
computer to another using packet radio.
If you and your contact both have Multicom, and are currently connected in
packet mode, you can send and receive pictures using the following functions:
<Alt> +T
Used before you begin the transfer, this key allows you to set the
"timeout timer." This timer determines how many seconds may
elapse, without any characters to be input to the computer, before
a timeout/abort condition occurs during a binary/picture transfer.
For example, if you want to set the timeout timer for five minutes,
press <Alt> +T and enter the number 300 (5 minutes x 60
seconds = 300 seconds).
Begins the file transfer process. You must first select which
type of file you are going to transfer (a binary or "program" file,
or a picture file).
The callsign programmed into the TNC must match the callsign set up in
Multicom for the transfer to work properly.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 43
Whichever menu you select, choose the appropriate command and your transfer
will begin.
Depending upon the selection made at this point, a different window will be
shown. Please refer to the following screen pictures which illustrate the two
different possibilities during a file transfer:
Multicom User's Manual
Page 44
Multicom User's Manual
Page 45
During any binary file transfer, the transmitting station can keep a record of the
elapsed time, speed, baud rate, and effective baud rate throughput This display
appears in the upper le ft window while the binary file is being transmitted. After
the completion of the file transfer, a new line will appear in the bottom window
which will display the final computation of the "effective baud rate" Remember,
this "effective" baud rate considers only the data that was actually saved to disk,
otherwise known as the "usable data."
If some of the figures you encounter seem small compared with other data
transfer modes or systems, remember that in packet radio, AX.25 HDLC uses a
simplex mode of operation; each station in a connected stream will have to stop
while each packet of information is acknowledged by the distant, connected
Also, consider that each packet contains the destination callsign, the origination
callsign, the path information (digipeaters and nodes), and the Frame Check
Sequence (FCS) This data is not part of the usable data, and it presents each
packet of information with an "overhead" that may seem larger than with other
systems. However, this overhead is necessary since it is responsible for seeing
that each packet arrives intact at the correct destination.
With a tool of this kind built into the terminal software, you can test many
different combinations of TNCs, radios, computers or the throughput of different
packet frequencies to determine the best links or paths to use for binary transfers.
This is a "hotkey" to the MFJPIC digitizer software. From
MFJPIC, you may press <Alt> +X to return to the terminal
"PMPX" Packet Multi-Plex. This is a very special feature of
MULTICOM that enables you to send a one-line message to the
connected station during a binary file transfer. This one-line
message will, in no way, become part of the file being
Multicom User's Manual
Page 46
transferred--but it will allow you to communicate during the
Aborts a binary or picture file transfer.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 47
The Text Editor
The text editor in Multicom is a powerful tool for creating and editing your own
text files. The text files you edit may be auto-router files (.RTR); parameter
configuration files (.PRM); one of the function buffer files (.FUN); or you may
wish to simply edit a packet or RTTY bulletin for later re-transmission. You can
edit or create a text file with any valid DOS filename with directory path
information. Use the keys shown below to make full use of the text editor:
Enters the text editor from terminal mode.
<Alt> +H
From within the text editor, this brings up a screen of "help"
information; any key removes it from the screen.
<Alt> +B
Moves up to 32,000 bytes of text from the terminal mode
transmit/receive buffer to the text editor for editing, saving,
printing, or transmitting to a connected station. The 32K is "live"
during all 1278B text activity, in both command and converse
<Alt> +C
Clears the text editor screen.
<Alt> +L
Loads a file from the default path/drive.
Toggles the insert/overtype mode ON or OFF.
Moves the cursor up, one page at a time.
Moves the cursor down, one page at a time.
<Ctrl> + <Left Arrow>
Moves the cursor to the left margin.
<Ctrl> + <Right Arrow>
Moves the cursor to the right margin.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 48
<Ctrl> +<Pg-Up>
Moves the cursor the beginning of the file.
<Ctrl> +<Pg-Dn>
Moves the cursor to the end of the file.
<Right Arrow> <Left Arrow> <Up Arrow> <Down Arrow>
Moves the cursor in the direction of the arrow key that is
pressed, one line/character at a time.
Drops an "anchor" to allow you to mark the beginning of
selected text After dropping an "anchor," move your cursor to the
end of the text you wish to select.
Marks the end of your selected text.
<Ctrl> +<F1>
Deletes the block of selected text.
<Ctrl> +<F2>
Sends the block of selected text to your printer.
Sends the selected text to the TNC for transmission, then returns
to the terminal screen.
<Alt> +S
Saves the selected text to a filename You may select the entire
path, or use the drive you selected by using the space bar at the
<F7> directory command. If no text is selected, this command
saves the entire file.
<Ctrl> +<End>
<Ctrl> +Y
Deletes all text to the end of the current line.
Deletes the current line entirely. When this is done, the editor
moves the text up one line. If needed, the line can be restored by
pressing the backspace key.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 49
Exits to the terminal mode without losing any text editor data.
You may return to where you left the editor at any time, to
continue editing, by pressing <F10> from the terminal screen.
Deletes one character to the right of the current location.
<BackSpace> (Backspace key) - Deletes one character to the left of the
current location.
Tabs 4 spaces to the right of the current location.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 50
Parameter Setup and TNC Configuration;
A particularly useful feature of Multicom is its ability to send pre-configured
"parameter files" to your TNC at any time. For instance, you may have certain
settings that are only used during contesting, or you may have disconnected the
battery and need to restore your "normal" settings to the controller. You may wish
to set the controller for a different PIXTONES group, or choose different beacon
text or mailbox settings etc. You might even have multiple controllers, each with
their own set of parameters!
Nearly any set of parameters can be changed at a moment's notice through the
use of the <Alt> +P, "parameters" key combination. Pressing this key
combination will send any .PRM file you wish to the controller almost instantly.
Be sure you are in command mode first!
Parameter files are sent, one line at a time, to the TNC when this key
combination is pressed. After sending each line, the program will wait for a cmd:
prompt to be returned from the controller before sending another line. If, after a
couple of seconds, the program does not detect a prompt, it will "timeout" and
return control back to you.
At any time while the parameter file is being sent, you may press the <Esc>
key to cancel the transmission of the parameter file.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 51
Editing a Parameters File
You may edit any "parameters file" in the text editor. The file must begin with the
with the semicolon in the first position, for it to be recognized by the controller as
a parameter file (any line that does not begin with a semicolon is sent to the
A sample parameter file is shown below. Note that the file may contain settings
for EVERY parameter command, or just a few. Obviously, the only settings that
will change when this file is transmitted are the new ones:
;Example of a CONFIG.PRM file for use with the
;MFJ-1278B. This file was edited in the text editor
;and will be sent one line at a time to the
;controller when the <Alt>-P key combination is
;End of configuration file
Multicom User's Manual
Page 52
"Auto-Router" Feature;
This feature allows you set up complex links in the packet mode through
digipeaters, etc. without having to remember them all! It provides "callsign busy"
and timeout detection.
The files available for "auto-router" transmission all have the file extension .RTR.
To invoke the "auto-router" feature, press <Alt> +A, then select the router file
you wish to transmit and press <Enter> . This will send the file to the TNC, one
line at a time, upon each detection of a connected state.
If a "callsign busy," timeout, or keypress is detected, the "auto-router" will issue a
disconnect to the TNC to "tear down the link."
An actual "auto-router" example file is illustrated below. Remember that comment
lines are helpful (begin each comment line with a semicolon). They will help you
in editing the file, but are not transmitted to the controller.
;Auto-Router (note: this line is required in order for the
; file to be recognized as an Auto-Router file!)
;Issue a connect request to the ABT8 node
;On detection of a CONNECT to ABT8, it will
;send the next node connect request to THO2.
;On detection of a connect to THO2, it will send the
;next node connect request to WB4RHO's BBS system.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 53
This screen appears during an auto-router connect attempt.
When all of the connections have been established, Multicom will give you a
display advising that the connection is complete. If you configured your software
for SOUND ON (the musical notes symbol appears on your terminal mode
display screen), your computer will sound an audible connect signal.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 54
Multi Level FAX Mode;
Multicom version 3.1 has a new menu driven FAX module. To run the FAX
module you will need EGA or VGA. Multicom can now recieve and transmit 7
FAX modes. It will receive wire photographs in three, color separations and
combine them into a color PCX. It will also seperate a color PCX into three,
seperate grey scale FAX; cyan, magenta and yellow; and transmit them to
another amateur station.
From the terminal press <F4> to enter the FAX module. The FAX screen will
appear as below:
From this screen you can receive and transmit FAX, set one of ten autotimers,
view FAX files on disk, save the buffer to disk, load a PCX (FAX) from disk,
display the current FAX in memory, or configure each of the FAX modes.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 55
Before you enter the FAX module set the correct channel, A or B, and Radio
If you only have one TNC and radio you will be set to the correct channel and
radio port. If you have more than one TNC set the channel with <Alt>+X. The
current channel will be in the dialog box on the terminal screen. Set the radio port
with the RAD 1 or RAD 2 command at the cmd: prompt.
The FAX directory set in the <F3> configuration menu should be set to a valid
Press <F4> to enter the FAX Module.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 56
Auto Timers
Multicom 3.1 has 10 timers to start reception at any time of day or night. To set
the autotimers press <F3>.
The timed reception menu will appear as below.
At the top of this menu is the FAX receive path. Set this for all auto received
The system date and time appear in the upper right corner. If your date or time
are wrong set them with the DATE and TIME commands in DOS.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 57
Set the date, time, FAX mode, and radio port for the FAX you want. Give a file
name and a maximun number of files that you want to receive. To engage the
autotimers press <F1> or click on the "Activate" icon. The screen will turn white
and give you a message saying "Auto receive active. Press Escape to abort."
When one of the timers becomes active Multicom will go to the receive screen.
If you do not set at least one of the timers for some time in the future, Multicom
will not allow you to engage the autotimer.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 58
To Receive FAX
Press <F2> to enter the receive mode. You will get a message something like
"Waiting for cmd: prompt for 1278. Press escape to abort receive FAX."
When the TNC is ready the screen will change to the autostart screen as below:
At this time check the FAX mode that you wish to receive. The current mode
will be displayed in the screen above. Select a FAX mode from 1 to 7. Most of
what you will be receiving will be FAX mode 1(wire photos) or 3(weather
You should be tuned to a FAX station or already receiving a FAX signal. If you
are tuned to a station you can wait for the autostart tone to engage receive. If
you are receiving a FAX signal press <Space> to begin receive.
As you receive a FAX you will see the data scroll up or down the screen. Check
to make sure the picture has good contrast. If the picture is too dark or washed
out, tune slightly up or down frequency to correct the problem.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 59
At any time during a FAX receive you can press <Esc> to interrupt the receive.
Multicom will ask if you want to save the image. If you press "Y" it will ask for a
filename. If you press "N" you will drop back into the FAX main menu.
If you have the "Auto end of FAX" enabled Multicom will ask if you want to save
the image. If you select "N" Multicom will clear the buffer and the image will be
lost. If you select "Y" Multicom will ask for a filename and then drop back into
the main FAX menu. The image will be saved in the buffer until Multicom
receives the start tones from the next FAX.
If you do not have the "Auto end of FAX" set you must press <Esc> to end a
FAX. Multicom will then treat the file the same as if you interrupted a FAX
After you have saved a FAX you can view it by pressing <F5>. You can also
give the FAX false colours, straigten the FAX and combine the three elements of
a colour FAX. See the section on image processing.
Transmitting FAX
Amateur FAX transmission must be within the F.C.C. allocated
frequencies for image tranmission.
Before you attempt to transmit FAX you must have something to transmit. Any
PCX file, 256 color, of 320 x 200 pixels can be transmitted by Multicom 3.1 . Use
any graphics program that is commercially avilable to capture, edit, and size an
image. See the section on Image Processing.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 60
Before attempting to transmit, change the FAX mode to the settinng that you
want to send you FAX in. Refer to the chart on page XX for a list of FAX
Press <F1> to transmit a FAX. Multicom will give you a select file window in
your FAX directory (see the confiration section). Select a file and click on "Ok".
Multicom will setup your 1278 and start sening the FAX. You will hear the sync
tones being sent to engage the listening station's autostart. The image is sent next
with the stop tones last.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 61
FAX Image Processing
Seperating Color PCX
Multicom 3.1 has the ability to import a color PCX file and convert it to 3 color
seperation files. It will also take the three seperate files and combine them into a
color picture.
To seperate a FAX first load it into memory by pressing <F7>. A file select
menu will appear. Select the file and click on "Ok". The picture will appear on
the screen.
If the image does not appear on the screen it is not compatible with Multicom.
Multicom will only seperate 320 x 200 pixel (pel) PCX files. If your image is a
different size you must resize it with some other piece of software.
When the image is on the screen press <F1>. A menu will appear asking for the
"Split image file names". Give each seperation a name ending with ".red", ".grn"
or ".blu" . When you have named all three files press <F1> again.
Multicom will seperate the three files and return you to the main FAX menu.
Each of the files are 16 grey level FAX files. They should be sent seperately
over the air with some kind of information telling which color that they are. When
a an operator receives the three FAX, he will need to know which image is which
Multicom User's Manual
Page 62
Slow-Scan Television (SSTV) Mode;
If you have a CGA, EGA or VGA computer system, you can display or send
slow-scan (SSTV) pictures using your MFJ-1278B controller and Multicom.
If you have a VGA monitor, you can view SSTV pictures in color--but ONLY A
To access the SSTV mode, press <F5> from the terminal screen. The SSTV
menu will appear as shown:
On some computer systems, the AUTOLF command may need to be "OFF"
to communicate more efficiently.
Once into the SSTV mode, choose one of the the menu options shown. Each
option is explained below.
Initializes the MFJ-1278B SSTV transmit mode, and brings up the
current selected directory. Use the arrow keys to highlight the
SSTV picture you want to send, and press the <Enter> key.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 63
Your picture will be transmitted in the format in which it was
Initializes the automatic SSTV start of receive operation. To
begin receiving a picture, press <Space> to toggle the picture
reception on or off. After you have received the picture, press
<Space> again to stop the picture reception mode. Enter the
drive and pathname to which you want to save the picture, and
press <Enter> .
brings up the current selected directory. Use the highlighted
arrow keys to select a slow-scan picture, press <Enter> , and
the picture will be displayed on your screen. If the picture is
longer than your screen allows (and many are), press any key
and the picture will scroll. You may move between directories
the same as using the <F7> key in the terminal screen.
exits the SSTV mode, returns to the terminal screen.
To experiment with SSTV modes, try 14.230 and 14.233 MHz. There are other
frequencies set aside for this purpose, but these two frequencies will help you
become familiar with the SSTV features.
Pictures may be printed using the PRINTPIX.EXE program, which is supplied
with the utility programs and documented separately in this manual.
You should name the files, as they are saved, in an easily-remembered form.
Using the file extensions .SC1 , .SC2 , .T72, .M1C, etc. makes it much easier for
you to recognize these pictures from a directory listing.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 64
"Auto-Monitor" Alarm;
The "auto-monitor" alarm allows you to set a string of characters to "trap" when
they are received by your TNC. This feature will work with Packet, RTTY, or
To set the "trap" (string of characters--letters, numbers, and/or punctuation
combinations), from the terminal mode screen, press <Alt> +M .
A window will appear as shown below:
Enter the string of characters just as they would be seen on the screen when
heard by the controller. For instance, you might enter:
>CQ <Enter>
Multicom User's Manual
Page 65
A "nested" CQ will appear on the screen when someone connects to a node and
issues a CQ. With the MCOM ON, the controller sees the callsign as a "greaterthan" CQ. This will trigger the auto-monitor alarm and you could respond by
calling the station who issued the CQ.
After a string is entered, press <Enter> and you will notice the Ä character on
the terminal mode status line, indicating that the "auto-monitor" function is active.
When operating HF AMTOR, RTTY, or packet, and you are chasing distant
stations (DX), set the auto-monitor alarm string to any string of the callsign or
country prefix you need, then go about your affairs. When that prefix appears on
the screen, it will trigger the alarm, and you have been alerted to the needed DX
station! This will give you an added advantage over other stations, since you will
have the benefit of an alarm sounding to notify you that the needed station is
present on the air. You will have first "crack" at the DX station because the
alarm caught the prefix/callsign on the first pass!
The auto-monitor alarm can also help you locate another station you may be
looking for. Use the <Alt> +M to set the string to the callsign of the station you
are searching for, and the alarm will notify you when that station is on the air by
"seeing" its callsign. This is particularly helpful if you are attempting a complex
routing through several digipeaters along the way.
If you digipeat often, you may want to set the string to "conn" or "CONN"
because this is the most common connect message issued by digipeaters. This
now acts the same as a connect bell.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 66
Appendix 1 - Troubleshooting Guide
Listed below are some common problems you may encounter when using
Multicom with your MFJ-1278B controller. Please follow the suggestions shown
in this list before you call MFJ for assistance! Most of our "problem" calls are
caused by simple conditions that we have outlined below. Read this section
first, then call MFJ if you still have trouble!
Nothing happens when I turn on my controller after running the
software. I get the Multicom opening screen, but the controller's
sign-on message doesn't appear.
Make sure your RS-232 serial cable is connected properly between
the MFJ-1278B and your computer's serial port. Does the POWER
light illuminate on your controller? If not, check the connection to
your AC outlet. Have you configured your Multicom software to
work with the correct serial port on your computer? Make sure
baud rate is set to 9600, data bits is set to 8, parity is set to 0, and
stop bits is set to 1 in your Multicom configuration screen. To get
there, press the <F3> key.
I'm getting something on my screen that "might" be a sign-on
message , but I can't read all the garbage. It just keeps appearing
about once every second or so. What do I do now?
Your controller is going through its AUTOBAUD routine. It's trying
to figure out which baud rate it needs to communicate with your
computer. Try pressing the <Enter> key several times; that should
cause the controller to "wake up" and determine your settings.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 67
I'm trying to go into a different mode with Multicom, but my
controller won't accept it. What's going on?
Your controller is probably locked into the AMTOR mode. Try
pressing the <F1> key several times, then select a different mode.
When in AMTOR mode, the controller stays there until it receives a
"Control+C" command twice from your terminal. The Multicom
software sends a "Control+C" through the use of the <F1> key.
My weather fax pictures come out looking really dull and gray.
I'm tuning them in exactly using the tuning indicator. How can I
sharpen them up a little?
Try tuning your rig "off-frequency" just a little bit, so that the tuning
indicator moves to the left. Sometimes that will help with contrast
problems. You can immediately see the results by watching the new
scan lines appear on your screen. Don't go too far, though, or you
might lose the picture.
Why does the tuning indicator bounce around even when the radio
isn't turned on? Is that normal?
Very normal. If the MFJ-1278B doesn't receive a signal, it "tries" to
determine what it is hearing (nothing!). There is nothing wrong with
your controller. What really matters here is that the MFJ-1278B
receives a signal which is tuned in properly.
I backed up my hard drive with a tape backup unit and later my
hard drive crashed. I restored all of the information from the tape
Multicom User's Manual
Page 68
just like it was the day I saved it. My other programs are fine, but
I can't run Multicom. What do I do?
Multicom's installation program loads part of its copy-protected files
outside the normal DOS file allocation table. Since DOS doesn't find
the copy-protected files, they are not backed up. Call MFJ for more
help or try re-installing the program (remember, your disks allow
TWO installations).
My TNC is signing-on but nothing on the screen is readable?
Your AWLEN and PARITY commands are not set to what Multicom is
looking for. Please refer to the sections on setting up the
communication parameters for both the TNC and Multicom.
Multicom User's Manual
Page 69
Appendix 3 - Selected Fax Frequencies
A few selected fax frequencies are listed below by location:
Boston, MA
8,502.00, 12,750.00
Brentwood, NY
9,389.50, 11,035.00
Halifax, Canada
4,271.00, 9,890.00, 13,510.00
4,802.50, 9,440.00, 13,862.50, 7,770.00, 11,090.00,
Mobile, AL
9.157.50, 17,447.50
Norfolk, VA
8,080.00, 10,854.00, 16,410.00
San Francisco, CA
4,346.00, 8,682.00, 12,730.00, 17,151.20
San Diego, CA
Washington, DC
8,646.00, 17,410.50
4,793.50, 10,185.00, 12,201.00, 14,671.50
Other Frequencies:
Fax 1:
10.680, 12,741, 17.067, 17.674, 18.434, 18.708
Fax 2:
14.690, 14.735, 14.930, 17.538, 18.741, 19.326, 19.750,
Multicom User's Manual
Page 70
.PRM file 52
9600 baud modification 23
AC outlet 67
Alarm 30
Alignment utility 10
Alt keys 29
AT-style keyboard 28
Auto-monitor alarm 30, 65
Auto-router 29, 49, 54
AUTOBAUD routine 67
AWLEN 22, 24
AX.25 HDLC 47
Baud rate 23
Beacon text 52
Binary and picture subdirectories 21
Binary and Picture Transfer
Commands 44
Binary files 48
Buffer size 49
Byte count 42
Callsign 19, 44, 66
Callsign busy 54
Callsign prefix 30
CARET KEY (^) 35
Carriage return 13, 34
Chaining commands 34
Change file 42
Colors 19
COM 2 21
COM port 19
Combination Keys 29
Command mode 27
Comment lines 35, 54
Configuration settings 18
Configure 18
Connect bell 66
Contesting 32
Contrast 59
Control keys 29
Control-C 35
Converse mode 27
Country prefix 66
CW.FUN 9, 41
Date and time 29
DAYTIME command 29
DCD light 59
Default path/drive 49
Default values 21
Delete file 42
Desqview 11
Digipeat 66
Digipeaters 54
DIP switches 23
Directories and files 42
Directory formats 42
Directory Utility 28, 42
Multicom User's Manual
Page 71
Disconnect 54
Disk Files Included 8
Distribution disks 8
DOS filename 49
DOS Manager 11
DOS manual 43
DOS prompt 31
Dot-matrix printer 9
DX station 66
Effective baud rate 47
Epson-compatible printer 9
ESDI hard drives 15
Exit 31
Fast-Start_ manual 4
FAX 34
Fax Frequencies 70
Fax mode 57
File allocation table 69
File transfer 44
Filename 50
Floppy Disk Installation 12
Frame Check Sequence (FCS) 47
Frequently-transmitted information
Function buffer files 49
Function buffers 28, 32, 33, 36, 41
Function keys 26, 27, 28
Hard Disk Installation 13
Hard drive types 15
Hardware commands 2
Hardware Requirements 5
Help screen 49
Hewlett-Packard Deskjet 10
IDE hard drives 15
Insert/overtype mode 49
Installation "count" 14
Installation "counts" 16
Laser printer 10
Mailbox settings 52
MFJ-1270B 23
MFJ-1274 23
MFJ-1289 Advanced Starter Pack
MFJPIC digitizer 28, 48
Microsoft Windows 11
Multi-level FAX system 27, 57
Multi-level SSTV (slow-scan
television) system 27
MULTICOM.FUN 8, 33, 38, 41
Multimode packet operation 29
Musical notes symbol 30, 56
One-line message 48
Out-of-sync picture 59
Packet Binary 34
Packet Binary and Picture Transfer
Commands 28
Packet Multi-Plex 48
Parameter configuration file 49
Parameter file 53
Parameter Setup 52
Parameters 21
PARITY 22, 24
Photographic services 60
Picture files 20
Picture mode 34
Picture reception 63
POWER light 67
Pre-configured file 25
Program directory 29
Radio port 58
Radio Ports 39
Radio rate 23
RAM-resident (TSR) programs 11
REMOVE 14, 16
Rename file 42
Retransmit 31
Root directory 13
Routing 66
RS-232 serial cable 3, 67
RTTY bulletin 49
RTTY.FUN 9, 41
Sample Picture Files 11
Selected text 50
Serial port 67
Setup window 19
Sign-on 22, 67
Sign-on message 67
Slots 34, 37
Slow-Scan Television 34, 62
Software commands 2
Sound 30
String 65
Subdirectories 42
Sync 59
System clock 29
Terminal screen 18
Text editor 28, 39, 49, 51
Throughput 47
TILDE KEY (~) 34
Timeout 31, 52, 54
Timeout timer 44
Transmit/receive buffer 49
Transparent mode 27
Tuning indicator 68
Upload and Download drives 21
Utility Programs 9
Weather fax 58, 60, 68
Wire Photos 60
Download PDF