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Re: Antenna/Radio Tracking Options

At 07:32 AM 1/16/99 -0500, Jeff Davis, N9AVG wrote:
>It is curious to me that the TAPR TrakBox and Kiron's SatTrak IV are no
>longer available.
>As I am acquiring hardware to rebuild my station it appears that an
>option like one of those would be the cats pajamas.
>My main computer is a Linux box and it serves as my Web and FTP server.
>I'm not too interested in using it for automated operation and even if I 
>were the software options are limited. That leaves me with my laptop
>(Win95) on which I have installed WiSP.
>Since I can't very well stick a KCT/T card in the laptop, and there
>is only one serial port (used for the TNC) that leaves me with the
>parallel port. And for various reason, I'd prefer NOT to use the SASI
>tracker but yy options have become very limited.
>It would seem to me that in this day of inexpensive laptops that somone
>would make a standalone tracking system that is completely independent
>of a computer in the shack during normal operation.
>Why did the TrakBox and SatTrak IV go by the wayside and is _anything_
>else like them available today?

You are in luck, at least as far as the laptop goes. (By the way I am the
one, along with vk5agr, who made the SatTrak IV . It just became too much
work so we gave it up. Still works great and we have updates for the
software. One was available on here used a couple of weeks ago.)

BUT I know of the best solution of all. It is just coming out. Called
UNI_TRAC. It is made by ZL2AMD, Dave. I sort of put him up to this project
about a year ago and he has done a great job. It is the first one that I
think could be called a system. It is a little module for the parallel
port. It does rotator control and tuning of radios. It comes with its own
program for the PC which  has everything you could want except maps. For
that you can choose a mode where you can run Nova and the uni_trac program
at the same time and the AZ and EL are computed by Nova and sent to
uni_trac instead of using uni_trac's own computations of those items. In a
similar way it runs with Wisp. For radio tuning uni_trac has sliders on the
PC screen. BUT it also can receive information from the radio tuning knob
too - except for the ft736 which doesn't send that data. For analog sats
you can choose to lock the vfos so when you move a slider it moves the
other one (up or downlink) as well. This takes care of radios that don't
have that feature, like say the ic-275/475 pair. It also supports the
ts-711/811 pair for which it has 2 serial ports since they don't have a LAN
like the icoms. I am waiting on my pcb which should arrive later this
month. It is available as a kit or as an assembled unit. I have a file of
the manual. Send him an email and ask if he can send you a copy of the
manual. It has pictures of the PC screen and the pcb plus all the
operational details.

73, ron w8gus.
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