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SO2R Focus Control

Introduction

SO2R Focus Control and SO2R FC Server are software programs I wrote to control SO2R controllers during non-contest periods, when your logger program is not running. SO2R Focus Control is the client, and allows control of a connected SO2R controller using a serial port. It also can be used to connect remotely to SO2R FC Server, and use off-site via the internet (requires port forwarding in your router) or local LAN.

SO2R FC Server is a server module and is only needed if you need to be able to use the SO2R Focus Control client off-site, or if you want to connect two clients to one SO2R controller. Use of the server is optional. You can run both the server and client on the same PC as one of the two connections, using 127.0.0.1 or localhost as the IP address to connect to, and the second connection can then be off-site or another PC on the local LAN. SO2R FC Server currently only supports two client connections.

Both programs are written in Microsoft Visual Basic 6 (VB6SP6) which is depreciated these days, but still useful for projects like this. Microsoft is supporting the VB6 ActiveX controls at least through Windows 11, so it is safe to use and all the ActiveX controls that SO2R Focus Control and SO2R FC Server will install are the latest from Microsoft with the latest security updates.

SO2R Focus Control and SO2R FC Server support both the OTRSP and MK2R protocols, so they should work on any modern SO2R controller that utilize these protocols. It does not work on older controllers that use an LPT pin to switch the radio focus.

Both programs use NSIS installer and you can safely uninstall them and all traces of the programs will be removed, including any Active X controls and registry keys copied to your system.

Use Cases

I created these programs to address a few specific use cases at my station, after finding out no such program existed:

1. Control of a SO2R controller during non-contest periods, when your logging software is not running, or you use a DX logging program that does not support SO2R controllers. This allows you to keep your SO2R cables connected and still use your station remotely. It also allows remote antenna selection using the AUX commands of the SO2R controller if you have the appropriate BCD decoder and relay driver hardware present.

2. Control of your SO2R controller over the internet or local LAN, using SO2R FC Server. This is particularly useful for remote antenna switching off-site if you have the BCD decoder and relay driver hardware present.

3. Allowing your logging program (N1MM+) to control the SO2R controller from the PC it is connected two, but also allowing SO2R Focus Control to run on another PC and connect over the network, to allow the second station to take advantage of remote antenna switching hardware, if present. (Use case #3 will be supported in version 3.0 of SO2R Focus Control, current version is 2.11.)

Features

Compatible with Windows XP SP3 through Windows 11, x86 & x64

Compatible with OTRSP or MK2R SO2R controllers

Supports COM1-COM16 connection to controller (this is a limitation of VB6)

Supports two inbound network connections and allows TCP port numbers to be changed (defaults are 9876 & 9875)

Supports control of controller AUX ports (0-15) for both Radio1 & Radio2

Allows custom naming of AUX port functions to match your station

AUX control can be interlocked between Radio1 and Radio2, or non-interlocked

Automatic client reconnection option for network connections

AES-256 network protocol encryption and user-definable key

Visual indication of current TX and RX focus

Installation

Please see the readme file that opens during installation for details on how to configure the software. There are also detailed help screens with some screen shots in SO2R Focus Control. The software is distributed as an .exe installer inside a .zip file.

Note that I do not have a code-signing certificate, nor do I plan on purchasing one, so when you run the installer it will trigger Windows SmartScreen saying that it prevented an unrecognized app from running. Please click More Info and then Run Anyway to proceed with the install. Your security software (antivirus) may scan it since it is an unknown program and that may take a few more seconds.

Warranty & Support

There is no warranty. I will support this the best I can by emailing me. You can find my email address by logging into qrz.com

Licensing

SO2R Focus Control and SO2R FC Server are freeware programs and are released without warranty or support. The author accepts no responsibility and/or liability for damage that may be caused by the use of this software.

SO2R Focus Control and SO2R FC Server may be copied and/or redistributed provided that you make no charge for the programs. Under no circumstances can you charge for the programs or their documentation.

The Microham MK2R protocol is licensed to owners of Microham devices per the license terms you received when you purchased your product. The Microham MK2R protocol may not be used on non-Microham devices. The OTRSP protocol is an open protocol and may be used freely.

Download Links

The most recent versions of the programs are always at these download links:

    SO2R Focus Control

    SO2R FC Server

73!

Brian N3OC

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Last updated 12/03/2022