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Doppler tuning software comparison matrix

Last week I started a project to
1. Determine what Doppler tuning software is available.
2. Determine which Doppler tuning software works well with specific radio
models on analog transponders.

I spent many hours studying the documentation for all the Doppler tuning
software packages that I could find, plus I personally tested four Doppler
tuning packages with my FT-847. I determined the method that each program
uses to allow a radio to manually tune across an analog transponder at the
same time that Doppler correction is going on.  The tuning method varies
depending on the capability of each radio's computer interface.  I found
that several methods are used to allow a radio to manually tune across an
analog transponder at the same time that the computer is doing automatic
Doppler tuning.  I made four categories to describe the manual tuning

Tuning method A:  The operator tunes the radio dials normally, even while
the computer is adjusting for Doppler.  This is the most "transparent" and
easy to use in my opinion.

Tuning method B: The operator tunes the radio by clicking and dragging
"sliders" on the computer screen.  Frequency agility is very good, but small
adjustments may be difficult.

Tuning method C: The operator tunes the radio using up/down keys on the
computer keyboard.

Tuning method D: The operator tunes the radio by using the mouse to click
up/down "soft keys" on the computer screen.

I decided that tuning method A is best in all circumstances.  Basically you
operate the radio the same way you would if you didn't have automatic
Doppler tuning.  Personal preference and the specific software
implementation would decide which is best or worst among tuning methods B,
C, and D.  Methods C and D can be good or very bad depending on whether or
not the software supports multiple tuning increments and "hold to repeat".

I recorded the results of my investigation in a spreadsheet which I can send
to anybody who asks for it.  The results are also in this message in an
unformatted text file which has 144-column lines.  To view it properly you
may need to paste the text below into a full-screen text editor.  Change
your page setup to landscape orientation, with a page size of 11x17 inches
or A3.  Then change the font to an 8-pt fixed font such as Courier.  Ask me
if you want to put this on a WWW page.  It shouldn't be too hard to convert
a delimited text file to an html table.  Here is the unformatted text file:

DOPPLER TUNING SOFTWARE             Instant   RadioDRV  RadioDRV  Wprairie
Station   FODtrack  SatPC32   FT736R1   RATS      Mac       WiSP+DDE
                                    Tune1.07  1.32      1.32a     2.1
Program   2.6                                     Doppler

Full Doppler tuning?                Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes
Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes
Half Doppler tuning?                No        Yes       Yes       Yes
Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes       ?
Supports multiple radios?           Yes       No        No        Yes
Yes       Yes(Icom) Yes       No        No        ?         Yes
Supports RX & TX converters?        Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes
Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes       ?         ?         ?
Shares keps & UI with map display?  Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes(keps)
Yes       No        Yes       Yes       No        Yes       Yes
Host tracking program required?     IT 1.5    IT 1.5    IT 1.5    WinOrbit
built-in  built-in  built-in  WinOrbit  WinOrbit  built-in  built-in
(no map)                      WinTrak
Supports antenna tracker?           Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes
Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes
Tune across analog transponder?     Yes       No?       No?       Yes
Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes       No?
Cost                                Free      Free      Free      Free
Free      Free      DM90      Free      $59       $65       Free

Operating Systems supported:

   DOS                              Yes       Yes       Yes       No
No        Yes       No        No        No        No        No
   Win 3.1                          Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes
Yes       Yes       No        Yes       No        No        No
   Win 95/98                        Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes
Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes       Yes       No        Yes
   Win NT 4.0                       ?         ?         ?         ?
?         ?         Yes       ?         Yes       No        ?
   Macintosh                        No        No        No        No
No        No        No        No        No        Yes       No

Radios supported (tuning method):

   Yaesu FT-847                     Yes(A)    No        No        No
Yes(B)    Yes(C)    Yes(C,D)  No        Yes(B)    Yes(?)    Yes
   Yaesu FT-100                     Yes(A)    No        No        No
No        No        No        No        No        No        No
   Yaesu FT-817                     No        No        No        No
No        No        No        No        Yes(B)    No        No
   Yaesu FT-736                     Yes(C)    No        No        Yes(D)
Yes(B)    Yes(C)    Yes(C,D)  Yes(B,C)  Yes (B)   Yes(?)    Yes
   Icom radios with CI-V interface  No        No        Yes(C?)   No
Yes(A)    Yes(C)    Yes(A)    No        IC746(B)  Yes(?)    Yes
   Kenwood TS-790                   No        Yes(C?)   No        Yes(D)
Yes(A)    Yes(C)    Yes(C,D)  No        No        Yes(?)    Yes
   Kenwood TS-2000                  No        No        No        ?
No        No        Y(A,C,D)  No        No        Yes (?)   Yes
   Kenwood HF radios                Yes(A)    No        No        Yes(D)
Yes(A)    No        No        No        No        No        No
   Radios with mic button up/down   Yes(C)    No        No        Yes(D)
No        No        No        No        No        No        No?

Tuning method in order of preference:
   (A)=tune via radio's VFO knob
   (B)=tune via dragging mouse
   (C)=tune via keyboard
   (D)=tune via clicking mouse

SatPC32 can be downloaded from Erich Eichmann's site at www.dk1tb.de

RATS is a complete radio control program which closely duplicates the front
panel of several transceiver models.  It can be downloaded from
www.kingsmith-software.com <http://www.kingsmith-software.com> 

All the other programs can be downloaded from the AMSAT-NA site at
www.amsat.org <http://www.amsat.org> 

I personally tested the Doppler tuning function of InstantTune, The Station
Program, FODtrack, and SatPC32 using my FT-847.  I also played with the user
interface of Wprairie/WinOrbit even though it doesn't support my FT-847.
Here are the ones that I concluded to be most suitable for use on analog

InstantTune provides transparent full-Doppler tuning for the FT-847 and
provides a good half-Doppler tuning solution for old radios that have
up-down tuning buttons but no computer interface.

The Station Program provides transparent Doppler tuning for Icom radios,
Kenwood TS-790, and Kenwood HF radios.

SatPC32 is one of the few packages that supports the TS-2000.  It also
provides transparent Doppler tuning for Icom radios and possibly the FT-847
in the near future.

You can see that a large number of PC operating systems are supported.
There is even a Doppler program for Macintosh users.  But I couldn't find a
Linux program that supports Doppler tuning.  It seems to me that the AMSAT
Linux software developers have a serious need to fill here.

Please let me know if you find any errors in this matrix.  I didn't use all
the programs, so much of the information here is from the documentation.

The purpose of this exercise is to encourage all analog satellite operators
to start using automatic Doppler tuning whenever possible.  Most of our
satellite radios have computer interfaces and there is a lot of software out
there that can provide full Doppler tuning at little or no cost.  Let's use

Wayne Estes W9AE
Mundelein, IL, USA

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