FAQs and Known Problems

translated by George Mathgen, LX1BB,  revised by  Emily Clarke, W0EEC (2005),.  Wayne Estes, W9AE (2008 - 2013)

Table of Contents:

1a. How to configure SatPC32 for a new satellite

1b. Choice of an editor

2. Keplerian element file (source file)
        a. Required data format
        b. Source file directory
        c. How to name source files
        d. How to obtain source files
        e. Manual entry of Keplerian data  

 3. Radio control 
        a. CAT control of radios supported by the programs
        b. CAT control of multiple radios
       
        c. CAT control of SDR devices (SDR = Software Defined Radio) by SatPC32
        d. Non-supported radios
        e. Entering Frequency data
        f. Transverter and converter operation
        g. Bandswitching

        Appendix: AO-40 operation 
 
  4. Rotor steering (port address, delay)
       a. IF-100
       b. RifPC
       c.  KCT
       d.  FODTrack
       e. EGIS, SDX, W0LMD, SaebreTrackBox, Labjack
       f. ARS, WinRotor32, HalloRotor
      
  5. Known problems and error messages
       a.  Message 'Exception EOleSysError, class not registered'
       b.  Message at installation: The following files could not perform selfregistration ...'
       c. Graphical disturbances 
           aa. Lines and other disturbances
           bb. Graphical functions too slow
           cc. Text lines below the map are not (completely) displayed
       d. Message: Ungultige Gleitkommaoperation = ("Invalid floating point operation")
       e. TX-frequency error with FT-847
       f.  I/O-Error  103 or message: Error while loading file ....       
       g.  Error message: Operation only valid when the port is open
       h.  Error message: No SourceFile was found...
       i. Steering of AlfaSpid rotors
       j. Labjack U3 error message: Ljackuw.dll not found
       k. Ole error 8004503A...
       l. Error message: Can't open COMxx,  Invalid Port number or similar
     
  m. Error messages regarding the driver IOPort.SYS
       n. Running SatPC32 from a “standard” user account 
       o. CAT control of the IC-9100  
       p. Error while loading file xxx
       q. TS-2000 CAT problem with SatPC32  Vers.12.8c
       r. Controlling WinRotorPlus by SatPC32ISS

 

The following text relates to questions and problems, which have arisen over time with the SatPC32 programs. 

1a.  How to configure SatPC32 for a new satellite 

If you want to track a newly launched satellite, first you must manually configure some SatPC32 data files.

When a new satellite is launched, the available Keplerian element files do not typically contain data for the new satellite.   In this case, users can manually insert data into an existing Keps file.  The new satellite’s Keplerian data is typically announced by the satellite’s command team via email or a web site.
Important: If the data set is contained in an e-mail first save the mail with "Save as.." in text format (.txt). Then open it and with "copy and paste" insert the data set into the file.
Otherwise the data set will lose its format and no longer fit the NASA-2-Line format.

Further, SatPC32 requires data for frequency and mode steering and setting a possible subaudible tone. 

If you want the program to automatically switch to the new satellite when it rises you must specify the priority order in the file Prior.SQF.

Some satellites allow calculation of the "Squint" angle. This is the angle that the satellite antennas point away from the user’s location. To utilize this function an entry in the file "Squint.SQF" is required.

Some Keps files don't contain the handy AMSAT name of the satellite. An entry in the file AmsatNames.txt is required if you want the program to display the new satellite's AMSAT name.

SatPC32 stores the necessary data in several text files (Doppler.SQF, SubTone.SQF, Prior.SQF, Squint.SQF, AmsatNames.txt). These files can be opened and edited from the SatPC32 menu "?", "Auxiliary Files".  The files themselves contain instructions on how to be used. 

 With the following link you can display a tutorial by Wayne Estes, W9AE. It describes step by step how to  
configure the SatPC32  data files for the satellite XW-1 (now: HO-68)

 
W9AE_Tutorial 

 It can be used as an example also with any other satellite.


1b.   Choice of a Text Editor

Most of the SatPC32 data files (auxiliary files) are managed by the program.  However, some of them can be modified manually with a text editor. These are the files that can be opened from the SatPC32 menu “?” / “Auxlilary files”. 

It is extremely important that the format of the text entries doesn't change, and this includes the format of line endings. Unix and MacIntosh systems use line endings that are different from the standard line ending, so it is recommended that you use a program such as Windows Notepad that will conform to the convention. Any text editor can be used, but Windows Notepad is convenient as it saves text files in the required format.

It is also important to maintain the ASCII text format in the configuration files. Do not add additional characters unless you are sure those characters conform to the convention used in the file you are modifying.

Until program version 12.7 the data files were stored in the SatPC32 program folder and its sub folders. Starting with version 12.8 SatPC32 stores the program data in a separate data folder. This method of data storage is necessary to conform to the security requirements of Windows Vista. The location of the data folder depends on which version of Windows is in use.

With Windows Vista the folder is C:\Program Data. 

With Windows XP the folder is C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data.

With Windows 98/ME the folder is C:\My Documents.

The path can easily be found in a bottom line of the menu “Satellites”.

The data files can be opened with Notepad from the SatPC32 menu “?” / “Auxiliary Files”.  From program version 12. 8 SatPC32  includes a simple built-in editor, which can be used alternatively. For information on how to use this editor click on the “Help” button in the editor window.  In the auxiliary file “DivOptions.SQF” you can choose whether the data files shall be opened with Notepad or the built-in editor. With a + (plus) sign in line #5 SatPC32 will open the data files with the built-in editor, or with a – (minus) sign it will use Notepad.

 

2.  Keplerian element files (source files)

Upon installation SatPC32 will read the Keplerian data from the file ‘nasa.all’ in the sub folder ‘Kepler’. The file contains the data of about 50 satellites (amateur satellitetes, several weather satellites and other satellites like the ISS and the Hubble Space Telescope). The file has been downloaded from  the AMSAT website, see below.

To get precise results the Keplerian data must be updated in certain periods. With the SGP4/SDP4 model used by SatPC32 it will be sufficient to update the data in periods of  1..2 weeks (by experience an inaccuracy of 1 second of the system clock will change the results more than 4 weeks difference in the age of Keplerian data).

There are several methodes to update Keplerian data. A very easy one is the use of the ‘Update Keps’ function in the menu ‘Satellites’. With this function the user can select and download NASA-2-Line data files via mouse click,  for example from the AMSAT or Celestrak websites (it’s not necessary to use the browser for the file dowlodad).

To use the ‘Update Keps’ feature proceed as follows:
Open the menu ‘Satellites’ and click on ‘Update Keps’. In the window that opens select the file you want to update,  then click on ‘Download’.  If the file is the one that has been chosen to be used with SatPC32 the program will automaticlly use the updated data from the next program start.

The list in the window ‘Update Keplerian Data’ contains by default the download addresses of the AMSAT file ‘nasa all’, the CelesTrak files ‘amateur.txt’ , ‘geo.txt’, ‘intelsat.txt’, ‘noaa.txt’and ‘weather.txt’. Upon installation SatPC32 will use the file ‘nasa all’, an ‘all-purpose’ file which will be sufficient for most amateur radio purposes.

If you want to add  the addresses of other source files you can do this by editing the text file ‘Celestrak.SQF’ in the SatPC32 data folder. Add only addresses of HTTP servers (addresses starting with ‘http’), however. The function will not support direct access of FTP servers (addresses starting with ‘FTP’).

To find the download address you may proceed as follows: With your browser navigate to the file and open it. The browser’s address line will then contain the download address. With ‘Copy’ and ‘Paste’ it can be added to the data section of the file ‘Celestrak.SQF’.

Besides the ‘Update Keps’ function SatPC32 provides  several other methodes to update Keplerian data, see below d. 

a. Required data format

SatPC32 reads the Keplerian data from source files in AMSAT format (see the file ‘Orbsmanu.ele’ in the sub folder ‘Manuell’) or in NASA-2-Line format (examples for this kind of files are the Celestrak ‘NORAD Two-Line_Element Sets’ files).

It is important that you make sure the Keplerian elements file is in Windows text file format and that line endings conform to this convention. If you copy and paste Keplerian elements from a webpage the line endings may not always be in Windows text format.

Here is an example of a NASA 2-Line format (tle) Keplerian element file:

AO-7                    
1 07530U 74089B   05098.72037641 -.00000028  00000-0  10000-3 0  4085
2 07530 101.6349 146.3002 0011966  10.7090 349.4235 12.53570870390940
 
AO-27
1 22825U 93061C   05099.58318373  .00000218  00000-0  10196-3 0  1071
2 22825  98.2505  98.7167 0009508 105.3179 254.9056 14.29123205601429
 

Actually the data sets of NASA-2-Line files are 3-line sets (a first line with the satellite’s name and 2 data lines). The naming ‘NASA-2-Line’ is usual, however. The true Space-Track 2-line Datasets without a name line can’t be used with SatPC32 unless a first line with the satellites’s name has been added.

There are two important things to notice.  The first is that the lines do not contain blank lines between the second line of the two line element, and (although you cannot see it) the second line of last satellite contains a new line (carriage return) after the last character.


 Please Note: Although the programs recognize both formats, the NASA-2-Line files should be preferred because the results are more precise. Furthermore, these files are particularly convenient as they contain data of more than 50 satellites interesting for hams. The 'orbsxxxa.ele' files require more memory space or contain fewer satellites. For manual editing however, only the latter format is suitable.


     b. Source file directory

Store the source files in the  sub folder ‘Kepler’ in the SatPC32 data  folder. Don’t store other files in this folder.

If you want to choose another source file folder the path to that folder must be stored for  future program starts. To do that navigate with the SatPC32 menu ‘File|Open’ to that folder and open a source file. The menu ‘Satellites’ will open, if not, open it by clicking on ‘Satellites’ in the menu bar.

In the menu ‘Satellites’ click on the ‘OK’ button. The new filename and path will then be stored. When a new source file is available in the source file folder it will be displayed in the left list of the menu ‘Satellites’. To select it click on the filename and then on ‘OK’.

Attention: The SatPC32 ‘Update Keps’ function will always write the downloaded files into the sub folder ‘Kepler’ in the SatPC32 data folder. If you want to update Keplerian data with this function you need to keep the folder ‘Kepler’ or to copy the file from ‘Kepler’  into the selected folder. 

    c. How to Name Keplerian Element Files

Usually you will store the Keplerian data files with there original names, i.e., the CelesTrak files or files that have been created with the TLE Retriever (s. below) can be stored as ‘amateur.txt’,  ‘noaa..txt’, etc. When you store the files this way older issues of the files will be overwritten and the program will automatically use the new data from the next program start.

      Sometimes the original filenames are rather unhandy, however. The names of files from AMSAT’s  Keplerian Element  E-Mail Service, i.e., look as follows: ‘[keps] orbs05196.2l.amsat’

      I personally save these files as ‘Orbs196’ in text format. The extension ‘.txt’ will be automatically attached by Outlook.  The number ‘196’ stands for the day of the current year at which the data were published, the letter ‘n’ for the data format ‘Nasa’. With data in AMSAT format  one could use an ‘a’ instead of ‘n’.

The advantages of this methode: The filename shows the age of the data. Further, the previous file will not be overwritten. If – i.e. – the new file is corrupted or if it contains wrong data or no data for a particular satellite the user can go back to the older file.

      However, the program will not automatically use the new file as it would do when you keep the same name  for the updated file. To cause SatPC32 to use the new file click on the filename in the left list of the menu ‘Satellites’ and then on ‘OK’.

      With the SatPC32 menu ‘Setup|Observer’ you can determine a file filter. This filter will be evaluated by the left list of the menu ‘Satellites’. This list will therefore display only files that match the filter. Further, the filter will be used as the second one of the ‘Open file’ dialogue (menu ‘File|Open’). The default setting  ‘*.*’ will cover all files. If the source file folder contains only Keplerian data files you should  leave this setting. With folders that contain also other files you may define a proper filter, i.e. ‘orbs????.*’ (each  ‘?’ stands for any single char, a  ‘*’ for any sequence of chars). This filter would cover filenames like ‘orbs196n.txt’.  


d. How to Obtain Keplerian Element Files

Keplerian elements are published by many organizations, however, most of these get elements from Space Track, which is operated by the United States Airforce Space command. Space Track provides Keplerian elements in real time, and other organizations publish them on a daily or weekly basis. These weekly bulletins are distributed via email, on websites or in the packet radio network under the heading 'Kepler'. In addition, they can be downloaded from the Amsat pages on the Internet.
      
aa. Files from AMSAT’s website, CelesTrak Files
Upon installation SatPC32 uses the file ‘nasa.all’ in the sub folder ‘Kepler’ in the SatPC32 data folder. The file has been downloaded from the AMSAT website. It contains the data of about 50 satellites: all amateur satellites, several weather satellites and other satellites like the ISS and the Hubble Space Telescope. So, ‘nasa.all’ is a very good all-purpose file for  amateur satellite operation.    

To download updated versions of ‘nasa.all’ open the ‘Update Keps’ window in the SatPC32 menu ‘Satellites’ and select the corresponding download address from the list:

http://www.amsat.org/amsat/ftp/keps/current/nasa.all

The downloaded file will overwrite the previous version of  ‘nasa.all’. The program will then automatically use the updated data. AMSAT updates the file once per week (that is more than sufficient).


CelesTrak is a website created by Dr. T.S. Kelso that is authorized by AFSPC to distribute Keplerian Elements. Many amateurs prefer the format used by Celestrak because it has organized Keplerian Elements into logicial groups called data sets. It also gives amateur satellite elements names according to the AMSAT OSCAR designation, thus AMSAT-Echo is referred to as AO-51.

Also, the Celestrak files are stored as ASCII text files as required by SatPC32 and finally these files can be downloaded with the SatPC32 ‘Update Keps’ function in the menu ‘Satellites’ via mouse click. For hints how to proceed and how to add other CelesTrak data files look here.

Therefore the CelesTrak files are very suitable to be used with SatPC32.

To access the CelesTrak website visit:
http://www.celestrak.com

When you visit the CelesTrak site you should click on the "Current Data" button under the "NORAD Two-Line Element Sets" heading.  This will display the list of element sets. When you click on the heading "Amateur Radio" under the heading "Communications Satellites" the amateur radio elements will be displayed.

One note - satellites that have been launched in the previous 30 days are not contained in the Amateur Radio element set but are in the "Last 30 Days' Launches" element set. If you are interested  to use thees satellites you may need to add the download address of this group to the file ‘Celestrak.SQF’.

When you visit the CelesTrak site you should click on the "Current Data" button under the "NORAD Two-Line Element Sets" heading.  This will display the list of element sets. When you click on the heading "Amateur Radio" under the heading "Communications Satellites" the amateur radio elements will be displayed.

One note - satellites that have been launched in the previous 30 days are not contained in the Amateur Radio element set but are in the "Last 30 Days' Launches" element set. If you are interested  to use thees satellites you may need to add the download address of this group to the file ‘Celestrak.SQF’.


bb. Subscribing to AMSATs Keplerian Elements Email List
AMSAT has been authorized by AFSPC to distribute Keplerian elements by email, through the AMSAT website and via packet radio. AMSAT distributes elements in both NASA TLE format and in the AMSAT Verbose format.

Users with an E-Mail address may subscribe to the AMSAT NA keps service to obtain weekly ata file updates automatically. In order to subscribe to this service, send e-mail to:
Majordomo@AMSAT.org

In the subject field no entry is necessary, at least one space is sufficient.
In the text window enter:
       subscribe keps

To unsubscribe the service, write an e-mail in the same way, but with the text:
       unsubscribe keps

Store the files from this service in text format with the 'Save as' command in your email program and be sure to save the file in text format. For hints how to name the files see sect. b. above.Outlook will then add the extension ‘.txt’ to the filename.


cc. Space Track
Space Track is a satellite data service operated by the US Air Force Space Command (AFSPC). Currently there is no cost to use the service, however due to existing National Security Restrictions pertaining to access of and use of U.S. Government-provided space information and data, all users accessing the Space Track website must be an approved and registered user. Normally you will create a Space Track account and will receive information from Space Track about using the system. To learn more about Space Track visit the Space Track website at:
http://www.space-track.org

If you are using Keplerian Elements directly from Space Track you will notice that the satellite names are not the usual AMSAT satellite names which are used by other services. For example you will find that other sources refer to OSCAR 7 as AO-7 and JAS 2 as FO-29, however Space Track will provide Keplerian elements using the formal name (OSCAR 7 and JAS 2). The Space Track satellite names are rather unhandy, so, you should replace them by the usual AMSAT names.

aaa. To do this you may use Dr.T.S. Kelso’s TLE Retriever. TLERetriever is a utility program that was written by Dr. T.S. Kelso and will download element sets directly from Space Track without having to go to the Space Track website. TLERetriever is a free download available at the CelesTrak website:
http://www.celestrak.com/SpaceTrack/TLERetrieverHelp.asp

When you start TLERetriever you can specify the Username and Password for your Space Track account and select the Current Catalog Files for the Space Track Data Sets. Typically you should download the Full Catalog.

Producing Kelplerian element files using TLERetriever is a two step process. You first need to download the Space Track Data Set using the ‘Download Data’ button, and then create the CelesTrak Data Sets you want by clicking on the ‘Process Data’ button. Alternatively you can launch TLERetreiver and include ‘-update’ on the command line.  This will tell TLERetriever to process the data and terminate.

A typical TLE Retriever window could look as follows:





The TLE Retriever will store the data files in the folder
…\My Documents\My TLEs.
This target folder can not be changed in the TLE Retriever ‘Configuration’ window. To use the files with SatPC32 navigate with the menu ‘File|Open’ to that folder and select a file. Then open menu ‘Satellites’ and click ‘OK’. The filename and path will then be stored for future program starts. 

HalloKepler lets you determie the folder for target files. The program stores the filename and filepath in the text file “SaveAs.txt” in the HalloKepler program folder.



bbb. The program HalloKepler by Gerd Riesner, DB3DH, provides similar comfortable abitilities to create Keplerian data sets from Space-Track files that can be used with SatPC32. HaloKepler can be downloaded for free from the website http://www.hallosat.de/.

With HalloKepler you can also download the Space-Track files without using a web browser.

HalloKepler lets you determie the folder for target files. The program stores the filename and filepath in the text file “SaveAs.txt” in the HalloKepler program folder.

To determine another filepath you can modifiy the file accordingly with an editor, i.e. with Notepad.
The screenshot shows the HalloKepler window:


ccc. The program SatRename can also be used to convert Space-Track satellite names. SatRename comes with SatPC32 and can be started from the SatPC32 menu “Programs”.

The program itself contains detailed instructions on how to be used.

SatRename does not allow file download from the Space-Track website but expects downloaded and unzipped Space-Track source files.

ddd. Finally SatPC32 istself can replace Space Track names with AMSAT names online without changing the source file. Open the menu ‘Satellites’ and click on ‘Satel. Names’. Then select a proper option.

This feature will work only with small source files with a maximum number of data sets of 300.

SatPC32 takes the AMSAT names from the text file ‘AmsatNames.txt’. This file can be opened from the SatPC32 menu ‘Programs ‘. When a new satellite is available it can be added to the list with Notepad.

 

dd.  AMSAT FTP Server
Keplerian Element files can be downloaded from the AMSAT FTP server. The server can be accessed with the link ftp://amsat.org/amsat/keps/current/

As mentioned above files from this server,  i.e. the file ‘nasa.all’, can be downloaded also via the AMSAT Http server with the SatPC32  function ‘Update Keps’.

If you want to use files that  can be downloaded only (directly) from the FTP-Server, storing problems may occur. Look at the file extension when you download a file from this server. Files with the extension ‘.txt’ are text files which can be read by SatPC32. Files with the extension ‘.all’ (‘nasa.all’, ‘amsat.all’) can not be saved with the MS Internet Explorer in the required text format. When SatPC32 loads such files the message ‘No data found in file …’ will be displayed.    

If this error has occurred, reopen the file with a text program such as Wordpad, and save it as (pure) text.

A second solution is to download the file with a text program like MS Word instead of the MS  Internet Explorer.  That way the file can be downloaded as a text file and saved in the same format. The file will then be readable by the SatPC32 programs. The browser ‘Firefox’ allows to download the file in text format, too.

ee.  Packet Radio Net

Kep files from the packet radio network and from packed radio satellites usually come in the right format and can be saved as such.

e. Manual entry of Keplerian data

The Setup program creates a subdirectory 'Manuell' in the SatPC32 data directory. It contains the files 'Manual.txt' with  additional information and 'orbsmanu.ele', a kep file in Amsat format containing  the most important ham radio satellites. It can be edited with Notepad or any other suitable editor.

3. Radio control

a. Supported Radios:

The subdirectories 'Yaesu', 'Icom' and 'Kenwood' contain detailed instructions (text files and sketches) about how to connect your Yaesu, ICOM or Kenwood radio to a Windows PC and control it by SatPC32.  The instruction files can also be opened from the SatPC32 menu "?", "Hints[Radio] for....".

For important instructions about how to configure the program for the IC-970 click here.

The list of radios supported by SatPC32 is:

Manufacturer

Supported Models

Icom

IC-820, IC-821, IC-910H
and  other CI-V compatible radios
(i.e., IC-706, IC-275/475),IC-7000,
IC-970)  

Yaesu

FT-736R, FT-847,
FT-817, FT-857, FT-897

Kenwood

TS-790E/A, TS-2000/X,
 TS-711, TS-811

            b. CAT control of multiple radios

               Besides control of single transceivers, SatPC32 also supports CAT control of separate Uplink and Downlink radios. All CAT abilities of the program are available in this case. With SSB satellites the RX radio can be tuned with its VFO knob (“transparent” tuning). The program will then automatically tune the TX radio to the correct Uplink frequency.  Essentially, SatPC32 “tracks” the VFOs of the two radios while also providing Doppler correction.

Attention:

To steer multiple radios activate the option “Autom. RX/TX Change” in the menu “Setup“ / “Radio Setup“.

To steer two Icom radios, also select the option “None” in the “Radio 2” section of the “Setup” / “Radio Setup” menu.

aa.  Separate ICOM   radios for Uplink and Downlink

              The easiest way of controlling 2 radios is with 2 ICOM radios. All ICOM radios can be identified by their “address”. So, the radios can be controlled with a single CAT interface – i.e. the Icom CT-17 - and only one single COM port is required for both radios.

               To control – i.e. – the single band transceivers IC-275 (VHF, address hex. 10) and the IC-475 (UHF, address hex. 14) with V/U satellites (Uplink on VHF, Downlink on UHF)  as well as with U/V satetellites (Uplink on UHF, Downlink on VHF) only one address pair in the file “IcomPar.SQF” in the SatPC32 data folder is required. This file could then look as follows:

19200
$14,$10
.............
……….
……….

The first line contains the CAT baud rate.  Subsequent  lines contain address pairs.  As many as four address pairs may be specified for various radio combinations. At program start SatPC32 will always use the first address pair.  At runtime these radio pairs can be chosen in the SatPC32 “Mode” menu.

               When the option “Autom. RX/TX Change” is activated the program checks whether the selected satellite is a V/U or a U/V transponder. This way it recognizes which radio needs to be steered as the receiver and which one as the transmitter.

The address pairs can be modified with the combo boxes in the menu “Radio Setup”.  Since the file IcomPar.SQF is a text file it can also be modified manually with the Notepad text editor.

               bb.  Separate radios of other manufacturers
To steer 2 separate Yaesu or Kenwood radios, i.e. the Yaesu Semi-Duplex-Transceivers FT-817, FT-857 or FT-897, or radios of different manufacturers, i.e. the IC-706 MKII and the Yaesu FT-857, the settings for radio #1 must be done in the “Radio 1” section of the “Radio Setup” menu, and the settings for radio #2 in the “Radio 2” section of that menu. Since the program automatically recognizes which radio has to be steered as receiver and which one as transmitter it makes no difference which one you configure as radio 1 and which one as radio 2.             

SatPC32 can optionally output only the RX frequency (instead of RX and TX frequencies) to the RX radio. This option can be chosen with the auxiliary file “DivOptions.SQF“. The file can be opened from the SatPC32 menu “?”, “Auxiliary Files”.  The file itself contains detailed instructions. This option should be chosen when the RX radio is a half-duplex transceiver, i.e. the Yaesu FT-817.  Otherwise the program will output the TX frequency to this radio and toggle the VFOs whenever Automatic Doppler correction updates the frequencies.   This will cause unnecessary momentary muting of receive audio whenever the transmit frequency is adjusted.

c. CAT control of  SDR devices  (SDR = Software Defined Radio) by SatPC32
aa. SatPC32 allows control of SDR devices, provided the firmware of the radio can emulate  the CAT commands of Kenwood, Icom or Yaesu radios.
  I tested the program with the SDR receiver FUNcube Dongle Pro + (FCD). The radio  can be controlled  by SatPC32 in conjunction with the free radio software HDSDR  (http://www.hdsdr.de/) and works well  as satellite receiver. 

In order to enable SatPC32 to send  the CAT commands  to HDSDR both programs have to be connected via a null modem.  Therefore, two COM ports are required. The ports can be physical  (ports  on the main board or a PCI card)  or virtual (ports generated by USB-to-Serial adapters). The easiest and cheapest solution is a virtual  null modem, however.  There are several  programs , that generate pairs of virtual COM ports, connected by a virtual null modem. Some of them are free.  A very well proven program is VSP Manager (http://k5fr.com/ddutilwiki/index.php?title=VSP_Manager) by Steve Nance, K5FR. It can easilby be installed and works flawlessly under all Windows versions. Licensed amateur radio operators will get a copy from the author for free.

Proceed as follows: 
Install HDSDR  and  VSP Manager (or the program you want to use instead). 
Start VSP Manager and generate a pair of connected COM ports.
 
Start SatPC32 and open menu "Radio Setup".
The firmware of the dongle emulates most of the CAT commands of the Kenwood TS-2000. Therefore select the TS-2000 for model in the "Radio 1" section.
Set the CAT baudrate to 57600. 
In the "COM Port" window enter one of the generated virtual port numbers and set the CAT delay to 20.
Leave ALL other options unchecked.
In the "Radio 2" section specify the separate radio you want to use as TX.  If you don't use a TX choose "None" and  in the auxiliary file "DipOptions.SQF" replace the - (minus) sign in data line #4 by a + sign. SatPC32 will then steer only the downlink frequency. The file can be opened and editied from the SatPC32 menu "?" > "Auxiliary Files".
Save the changes and close SatPC32.

Start HDSDR. In menu "Options" > "CAT to HDSDR" > "Port" choose the other port number.
Choose  the same  baudrate  that you set  in SatPC32.
Check the option "Activated".

Restart SatPC32. Switch the control "C" to "C+". 
The program should now steer frequencies and modes in HDSDR. With SSB satellites you can tune around the passband via the SatPC32 frequency controls or the keyboard and HDSDR will follow. The up/down and right/left keys allow comfortable tuning in steps of 100 and 500 Hz. Tuning via the keyboard will only work, however,  if SatPC32 is the "active" one of the programs (blue headerline). Vice versa you can tune the frequency via the frequency controls of HDSDR and SatPC32 will follow. 

The Flex-Radios (1500, 3000, 5000) can also be controlled by SatPC32. I could not test these radios myself, however. For detailed instructions see the web site of FlexRadio
(http://www.flexradio.com/files/configuring-the-flex-5000-with-satpc32-pdf/).

bb
If you want to use the SDR as satellite receiver with U/V (uplink UHF, downlink VHF) and V/U (uplink VHF, downlink UHF) satellites you need to switch the VHF/UHF antennas. That can be done via a Coaxial Transfer Switch. The switch can automatically be controlled by SatPC32. The voltage of the DTR pin of the Radio 2 COM port (optionally, see menu "Options") changes when the user switches between U/V  (low) and V/U (high) satellites.   

It is necessary, however, to insert a transistor interface between PC and the antenna relais to protect the port. 

Schematic of a 1-transistor interface:
Interface for antenna switch

    
d. Non-supported radios

   If your rig cannot be linked to SatPC32, the program's frequency indications can still be used for manual frequency   
   tuning. For instance, to  tune your radio to hear your own signal back.

In that case you should choose the FT-736 configuration of the program. Also leave the COM port setting at 0.

However, you should activate the 'DDE Cat' option in the 'Options' menu. Save the options and restart SatPC32. For satellites with frequency data stored in 'Doppler.SQF', SatPC32 displays the Up- and Downlink frequencies with their respective Doppler shifts taken into account.  So your Doppler should be correctly compensated if you manually tune the non-interfaced radio to the frequency displayed in the main SatPC32 program window.

'If you select an SSB satellite like FO-20 or AO-40, you can search the band by using the direction keys or the 5 Up/Down buttons, provided that the CAT tuning is activated (C+). However, the frequencies shown by SatPC32 can only be an approximation for tuning your rig, as temperature effects may cause variations between the indicated frequencies and the actual ones (up to several kHz for 13 cm).

e. Entering Satellite Frequency Data

Satellite frequency data is used by SatPC32 to tune your radio. This information is stored in the Doppler.SQF file located in the SatPC32 program directory. This is a text file and you should follow the same procedures to modify it as you would use for any other text file.

In the Doppler.SQF file you will find satellite entries in the following format using SO-50 Mode V/U mode as an example:

SO-50,436795,145850,FM,FM,NOR,0,0

Satellite Name - Name matching the name in the Keplerian Elements file
Downlink Frequency
- True frequency in KHz on which the satellite is transmitting
Uplink Frequency
- True frequency in KHz on which the satellite is receiving
Downlink Mode
- emission used for this satellite on this downlink frequency
Uplink Mode
- emission used for this satellite on this uplink frequency
Tracking Mode
- whether the uplink and downlink frequencies track in normal or reverse mode
Downlink Offset
- downlink offset in KHz (see Section 5 below)
Uplink Offset
- uplink offset in KHz (see Section 5 below)

Do not use commas or periods to separate thousands values as these will be interpreted as a parameter separator. Only use a decimal to enter fractional kilohertz.

This information is used by SatPC32 to initially set up the frequency of the radio. If the mode is single sideband (SSB) the frequency is only a starting point, and as you tune your radio's downlink frequency SatPC32 will adjust your uplink frequency accordingly. If the mode is FM SatPC32 does not allow you to change the radio's downlink frequency since this is a fixed value. (Note, in FM mode you can still fine tune your receiver using your radio's RIT control.

You can have as many entries for a satellite as the satellite supports. For example, AO-7 has two modes (B and A) so it has two entries:

AO-7,145948.8,432149.4,USB,LSB,REV,0,0
AO-7,29450,145900,USB,USB,NOR,0,0

SatPC32 will use the first mode entered as the default mode when the satellite is selected, so in the case of AO-7, it will default to Mode B. If you need to use another mode select it by using the CAT menu item and select the mode you need.

If you are only using SatPC32 to tune a receiver you can enter 0 for the uplink frequency. If you are only using it to tune a transmitter, enter 0 for the downlink frequency.

f. Transverter and Downconverter Operation

When operating on bands higher than 70cm the use of transverters and downconverters is common. These devices convert 2M or 70cm TX signals to the satellite's frequency and/or the received signal to 2m or 70cm. A good example of this is a downconverter used for AO-51 to convert the S-Band downlink signal to a 2M signal.

Doppler shift is frequency dependent and even though you are downconverting a high frequency to a lower frequency the Doppler shift does not change. For example, a low earth orbit satellite such as VO-52 transmits on 2M and has a Doppler shift of approximately +/- 3.5KHz during a typical pass. However the downconverted 2M signal from the AO-51 S-Band transmitter does not behave like a 2M signal but retains the +/- 40KHz doppler of the 2401MHz source. Therefore, Doppler shift has to be calculated for the operational frequency at the satellite.

In order for SatPC32 to make these calculations correctly it must know the offset frequency (sometimes called the local oscillator) against which the transverter or downconverter signal is being mixed. These offsets are unique to specific transverters or downconverters and you should consult the information provided by your device manufacturer however here are some examples:

Satellite Freq

Offset Freq

Radio Freq

2400000.0

2256000.0

144000.0

5760000.0

5616000.0

144000.0

1296000.0

1152000.0

144000.0

5760000.0

5328000.0

432000.0

The easy method of calculating the offset frequency is to subtract the radio frequency from the satellite frequency.

The offset frequencies must be manually entered into the Doppler.SQF file as shown above in Section 5. They are the last two entries and must be entered in kilohertz (KHz). Do not use commas or periods to separate thousands values as these will be interpreted as a parameter separator. Only use a decimal to enter fractional kilohertz.

If no downconverter/transverter is used you should enter zero (0) for this value.

To test this example, create an entry for AO-51 Mode L/S as follows:

AO-51,2401200.0,1268700,FM,FM,NOR,2256000.0,0

When you select this mode for AO-51 using the CAT menu SatPC32 will set the frequencies to the values stored in the line  +/- the Doppler shift for AO-51. If the file contains more than one line for the same satellite, the program will start with the first one. To select another one, click on it in the CAT menu..

SatPC32 also uses the offset frequency to calculate frequencies when you are tuning while using SSB/CW on a system that has a downconverter or transverter.

g. Transceiver Band Switching

With most satellite transceiver models, band switching or switching between MAIN and SUB bands is necessary when switching between satellites that use different uplink/downlink bands.  For example, when switching from FO-29 which operates in Mode V/U to VO-52 which operates in Mode U/V it is important to switch the main and sub bands of the transceiver. In most cases SatPC32 will automatically switch bands for you, however with some transceivers you may need to switch the transceiver manually.

Important:  The following applies to SatPC32 version 12.0 and greater. If you are running a version of SatPC32 older than version 12.0 you should consider an upgrade.


·         Yaesu FT-847 transceiver:
Band switching is not necessary because both VFOs will accept any legal frequency.

·         Icom IC-820, IC-821, IC-910H, and Kenwood TS-2000 transceivers:
SatPC32 automatically switches bands as needed. 

·         Yaesu FT-736R and Kenwood TS-790 transceivers:
The Computer Aided Tuning (CAT) systems of these radios do not provide a command that will allow the computer to switch bands.  Therefore you must manually switch bands when switching between satellites that have different uplink/downlink bands. 
Band switching on the FT-736R can only  be done with the REV key after the SAT mode has been activated (SAT button). On the TS-790 band switching is done by pressing the MAIN/SUB key.

Under SatPC32, manual band switching can be accomplished by using the SatPC32 commands (buttons in the upper left of the window) as follows:

·         Yaesu FT-736R
Please execute the following steps:

1.                 Automatic satellite  change OFF (A-)

2.                 CAT OFF (C-)

3.                 Press the REV key on the radio

4.                 CAT ON (C+)  

5.                 Switch satellites (use the Satellite menu or click the corresponding letter)

6.                 Automatic satellite change ON (A+)

·         Yaesu FT-847:
 
Band switching is not necessary because both VFOs will accept any legal frequency


·          Kenwood TS-790 E/A
Please execute the following steps:

1.                 Automatic satellite change OFF (A-)

2.                 Switch satellites (click the ident letter of the new satellite) 

3.             CAT OFF (C-)            

3.                 Press the MAIN/SUB button on the radio

4.                 CAT ON  (C+)

5.                 Automatic satellite change  ON (A+) (if wanted) 

·      

        Kenwood TS-2000
SatPC32 will automatically handle band switching via the CAT

·         ICOM IC-820, IC-821, IC-910H
SatPC32 will automatically handle band switching via the CAT

 

Appendix: AO-40 operation with SatPC32 (Wisat 32)

Note: The following instructions were written when AO-40 was still operational. Unfortunately the satellite stopped working in  January 2004.  I left the instructions unchanged, however, since they  will become valid accordingly for P3E and Eagle when these satellites will be successfully  launched. 

SSB operation over AO-40 can only be achieved on a 13 cm Downlink and a 70cm  and/or 23 cm Uplink (S2 Transponder and U / L receivers of the satellite). Furthermore, the telemetry sent by the 13cm middle beacon can be received.

 

Upon delivery of the program,  'Doppler.SQF' contains the following line:

 

AO-40,2401323.0,435667.0,USB,LSB,REV,2256000.0,0

 

This entry specifies a 13 cm Downlink (S2), a 70cm Uplink and a 13cm/2m Converter. When you switch to AO-40 the program will tune the RX to the beacon frequeny ( 2401323.0 kHz) +/- actual Doppler shift.

 

Nevertheless you will probably  not hear the beacon signal immediately, due to frequency deviations of your hardware (radio and converter L.O.) and temporay frequency changes of the converter L.O.   


To my experience there are significant deviations between  the radio brands up to several kHz. Also the particular converter mixer crystals (L.O.) may differ. 
Therefore no frequency entries that come with the program will immediately match all rigs. These hardware dependent deviations can be compensated  by calibrating the frequency entries for your particular equipment (below C., D.).   

 Note: The  following steps A. – F. have to be done only once!
At future program starts simply  proceed like described under G.

              Please proceed as follows :  

a. Verify that the CAT tuning is activated (button C+)

 

b. In the Satellite menu, select AO-40 as the active satellite or click on the corresponding identification letter.


If you have been working a satellite using a reverse frequency scheme (70cm Uplink and 2m Downlink like FO-20), some radio models require you  to switch bands before selecting AO-40 (cf. 3. above). The program then switches to the first AO-40 frequency pair found in 'Doppler.SQF' to activate CAT tuning. In the program’s delivery state these will be the frequencies contained in the above mentioned line.


Your radio display should then show 145323.0 kHz +/- Doppler shift for the receive frequency (Downlink) and 435667.0 kHz +/- Doppler shift for the transmitting frequency (Uplink). The mode indicator should show USB for the Downlink and LSB for the Uplink.

 

d. (Note:  You may execute step F. below before you continue with the following step.)            

      Tune to an unused frequency and try to receive your donwlink signal. This is usually achieved by whistling or by sending a CW signal to the satellite.

 

 Because of the afore mentioned phenomena  you may not hear your own signal back at all or at least not with the right audio pitch. Mostly (for instance if the outdoor temperatures are low) your signal will appear below the chosen frequency. To find it and to tune it for best audio pitch, different ways of frequency calibration can be used:

 

      aa.  Open the CAT Menu and modify your transmitting frequency in 1000, 100 or 10 Hz steps with the help of the "Uplink Calibration" buttons until you hear your own signal. Then set the correct tone pitch by proceeding in small steps. (Don't try to calibrate the frequency with the 5 up/down controls beside the SatPC32 frequency window. These controls serve to tune the radio (QSY), but not to adjust the uplink frequency.)

 

      bb. You can also modify your transmitting frequency in steps by pushing the +/- keys on the numeric keypad  (100 Hz steps) or the "normal" +/- keys (10 Hz steps). (The bigger step rate of 100 Hz is only available from Version 8.0 on).

 

            cc. Do not  use the XIT control of your radio. Frequency changes by this methode do not change the TX-VFO frequency. With the FT-847, however,  the Sub-VFO can be used to adjust the uplink frequency (from program version 11.0).

 

dd.  When you receive your signal with the right audio pitch open the SatPC32 CAT menu. Click the "Change/Store Data File" button. In the sub window, that  will open,  click the "Uplink Calibration" button. The program then will automatically change the TX entry and store the new value  in the Doppler.SQF file (you may watch the change in the CAT menu frequency list). The correction counter (that is displayed in the CAT menu and also above the SatPC32 frequency window)  will be reset to 0.   

 

e. With satellites that don't require a converter/transverter (i.e., FO-20, FO-29) the procedure described above is the only modification of the Doppler.SQF file that is necessary to calibrate the file for your rig.  

When you switch to the satellite at later program starts, you will probably hear your signal immediately with the right audio pitch.

Small deviations then may be corrected with the CAT menu controls or the +/- keys or the radio's XIT control  or the FT-847's Sub VFO.

 

f. With AO-40, however, you will probably have to search for your signal at every program start, (mainly) due to the temporary frequency changes of the converter L.O, caused by the outdoor temperature changes.


The SatPC32 CAT functions, however, will allow you to find your signal very easily. Therefore the  frequency entries have to be calibrated for the AO-40 beacon frequency:              

 

           aa. Click on the AO-40 letter below the map. That will cancel possible frequency changes with the VFO and tune the RX to the frequency entered in the Doppler.SQF file +/- actual Doppler shift.

           bb. Tune the RX to the beacon frequency until you receive the beacon signal with "zerobeat". Use the VFO or the 5 frequency controls or the direction keys of the keyboard.

           cc. Click the "Change/Store Data File" button. In the sub window click the "RX/TX Freq. Data" button. The program then will automatically calculate the RX/TX frequency entries that match the present RX/TX frequencies - taking into account the Doppler shift changes - and store the new settings in the Doppler.SQF file. You may watch the change in the CAT menu frequency list.  

 

 

g. With these modifications the frequency entries in the Doppler.SQF file are optimally calibrated for AO-40 operation at future program starts. When you want to operate  AO-40 later on simply do the following:


 aa. Select AO-40.

The program will tune the RX immediately to the expected beacon frequency. Mainly due to different  temperatures, however, you will probably not receive the beacon on that frequency. Therefore:   

 

      bb. Tune to the beacon signal until you receive it with "zerobeat".

 

      cc. Open the CAT menu and click the "Correct Actual Deviation" button. The program then will automatically calculate the difference between the actual beacon frequency and the expected one and  correct the TX frequency accordingly.  Then you should hear your signal with the right audio pitch or close to it when you call on an unused frequency.

 

If you want to repeat the "Correct Actual Deviation" procedure, first click the  AO-40 letter, then repeat steps bb. and cc.



h. While operating over AO-40 or other SSB transponders like FO-20, FO-29 you can tune the radio (QSY)  like you can in terrestrical operation.  You may, i.e., tune it to the beacon freqency if you want to receive  telemetry. The automatic Doppler correction then will allow to receive the beacon signal flawlessly for hours.

 

With all radios supported by SatPC32 except the FT-736R  the frequencies can be tuned by the VFO and alternatively by the 5 up/down controls or the direction keys of the keyboard.  With the FT-736R the frequency can be tuned only via the mouse or keyboard because  the VFO cannot be read by the software.   

 

The CAT control can easily be checked whether it works flawlessly. To do that switch on the 'TRACK' function of the radio (both frequencies are changed then when the VFO knob is moved,  either in the same ('nomal') direction or in the opposite ('revers') one). SSB satellites like AO-40, FO-20, FO-29 are using 'reverse' frequency patterns. When the uplink frequency has been increased, the downlink frequency has to be decreased to receive the own signal again.  For testing  switch the "TRACK"   function of the radio to 'normal',  however. Then decrease the RX frequency by 5 kHz by using the VFO. The TX frequency then also will be decreased by 5 kHz. The TX frequency therefore is 'wrong' by 10 kHz.  1 or 2 seconds,  after the motion of the knob has stopped, the program then should increase the TX frequency by about 10 kHz  to tune it on the right frequency.    

  

4. Rotor Control (Port Addresses, Delays)

This section will provide information about how to set up SatPC32 with various rotor interfaces so that SatPC32 can control how your antennas are pointed. Generally SatPC32 will interface to a rotor control using either a serial port or parallel port.

a.  IF-100

The IF-100 interface is directly connected to the PC's parallel  port. The programs read out the port address from the 'ParPort.SQF' file in the SatPC32 directory. This file by default contains the standard address of LPT1 (hex. 378) in line 1 and the standard address of LPT2 (hex. 278) in line 2. When you choose Port 1 in SatSetup, the program outputs data to the address stored in line 1, when Port 2 is selected, the data are sent to the address in line 2, etc.

Some PCs don't use these standard addresses for their parallel ports. The addresses used by your PC can be found in the Windows Control Panel (System - Device manager - Ports - LPT and COM - LPTx - Resources). 

The port address of an additional parallel board, which I am using on my WinXP PC, are not shown there, but in the Multi-IO-Controller section in the device manager. The same may apply for multi-port serial IO cards and serial port emulators.

The data throughput of the PC is too fast for the IF-100, so the transfer speed has to be delayed. Delay values can be entered in SatSetup. Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP need other values than Windows 95/98/ME. These delays will be largely dependent on your processor speed and may require experimentation to finely tune.

From experience, the following settings should be tried:

Processor

CPU Speed
MHz

NT/ 2000/XP 
Delay mSec

Win 98/ME
Delay mSec

Athlon

1800

500

1800

Pentium II

350

Unk

200

Pentium

90

30

30

b.  RifPC      

Generally, the delay values for RifPC need to be about 4 times higher than those for the IF-100. 

 c. Kansas City Tracker

See the help window in the ServerKCT file.

d. FODTrack

See the Readme(FODTrack). text file in the sub folder FODTrack.

e. EGIS, SDX, W0LMD, SaebreTrackBox, Labjack

See the Readme text files in the corresponding sub folders.  

f. WinRotor32, ARS, HalloRotor

See the Readme text files in the corresponding sub folders.
These interfaces come with their own driver software.

5. Known problems and error messages

The following is a summary of known errors and probable solutions.

a. Error message or similar at program start:

Exception EoleSysError, class not registered

As far as is known this message only appears in the first Windows 95 version. Some older system files cause it. Performing a Windows update or upgrading to a newer operating system should correct the problem. After updating or upgrading the operating system you may need to re-install SatPC32.

 b. Message during installation:

The following files could not perform selfregistration:
C:\windows\system\MSComm32.OCX
C:\windows\system\IOPort.OCX


The remedy is the same as under a., however instead of a new installation, registration can be done manually with Regsvr32.exe. This is not recommended except for only the most advanced users.

c. Graphics Errors or Corruption

1. Lines or other disturbances appear in the graphics display or the entire worldmap appears bright.
The reason may be your graphics accelerator, which is known to produce image disturbances. Reduce the setting from 100% to the first division on the scale. (Start-Settings-Control Panel-System-Performance-Graphics).

 2. Graphic functions are executed very slowly.
On my Athlon 1800+ PC under WinXP the graphical functions seemed to work very slowly despite the fast device. Particularly the preview function in the 'Tracking' menu was executed slowlier than on my Pent.II/350 under Win98. I reduced the graphics accelerator (see above) to the first division on the scale. Then the graphic functions worked as fast as could be expected. 

3. One or two lines are not completely displayed at the lower map border.
In one case, the reason was the choice of excessively big fonts in the upper menu bar. By using very big fonts, the menu line is displayed in two lines. That space is then missing below. But even if the menu remains on one line, the last line below may still be truncated. Choose the pre-set MS Sans Serif font, size 8 (or max. 10) for the menus (Start-Settings-Control panel-Display-Settings-Advanced), if Small Fonts are selected. If necessary you may change this to Large Fonts.

d. Message: 'Ungultige Gleitkommaoperation' ( = 'Invalid floating point operation'), or 'Fliesskomma-Fehler' (= 'Floating point error')  and other starting problems

Users noticed the error message  "Ungueltige Gleitkommaoperation"  (= "Invalid floating point operation")  in the following case: 
a.  In menu "Optons" the SGP8SDP8 model had been chosen (the SGP4SDP4 model works flawlessly). 
b. An element in the Keplerian data set ("bstar drag term", data line #1, col. 54 - 60) contains the value 0. Presently (Dec. 2009) that is the case with data sets for HO-68.

I have uploaded revised SatPC32.Exe and Wisat32.Exe files that fix the problem. They can be downloaded from my English page "Downloads", sect. Patches. 

Selecting the SGP4SDP4 model fixes the problem also. The results of both models are of equal precision. 

The message, however,  is a common Windows error message occurring if mathematical calculations goes wrong, like calculating the square of a negative number. Normally, this message is rare and harmless. The program continues to run as usual. As calculations are performed in one-second steps, corrections occur immediately.

If the error occurs repeatedly, it may be due to a faulty Keps file or because the Keps file doesn't contain valid data for a selected satellite.

Try the following: The SatPC32 DATA folder contains the subfolder 'Data_Repair'. The path to the SatPC32 data folder is displayed in a foot line of menu 'Satellites'. Under Windowx XP the path will usually be: C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\SatPC32\DataRepair. 

The folder DataRepair contains backups of the files 'SatSources.SQF', 'Standard.Sat' and 'nasa.all'. Copy 'SatSources.SQF' and 'Standard.Sat' into the SatPC32 data folder and the file 'nasa.all' into the sub folder 'Kepler'.  Then restart the program.   

An adequate Keps file may be chosen manually for SatPC32, Wisat32 and WinAOS  
with Notepad:

  The names of the Keps files used are saved in the files

·         SatSources.SQF (for SatPC32)

·         WisSources.SQF (for Wisat32)

·         AOSSources.SQF (for WinAOS)

At program start, the 'Standard' group is always displayed. The Keps file for this group can be found in the first line in the above mentioned files (see the manual under 'Auxiliary Files').

              The names of the selected satellites are stored; for the 'Standard' group in the files

·        Standard.Sat (for SatPC32)

·        Standard.Wis (for Wisat32)

·        Standard.Aos  (for WinAOS)

There you may edit or delete satellites manually with Notepad. Similar files exist for the other groups which may be created to organize your satellite group names. The name 'Standard' can be replaced by another group name, for instance 'Weather' or 'Amateur'.

e. TX frequency error with the  FT-847
2 users reported an error regarding the TX frequeny of their FT-847. While steering the radio by SatPC32 the TX frequency jumped to a value outside the band. The error seems to be caused by an inproper setting of one of the radio’s parameters. However, it could not be dertermined which particular parameter caused this error. The problem could be solved by a CPU Reset (see FT-847 manual).

 f. I/O error 103 or message: Error while loading file (name)
 This message will be displayed when the program fails to open one of the auxiliary files.
 Regarding the most important files the program will display the name of the file that caused the error.
 If you can’t fix the error re-install SatPC32.  Important: Don’t overwrite your present files but install the program in a new folder, i.e. SatPC32_B. When the new installation works in this folder  configure it step by step (QTH,  rotor steering ,  CAT steering,  new Keps file, etc.). When it works properly you may remove the old installaton simply by deleting the program folder and renaming the new one SatPC32.

g. Error message: Operation only valid when the port is open
This message will occur when you try to steer your radio at a COM port and have set the COM port number to a value > 0, but have checked the option "DDE Cat" in the SatPC32 menu "Options". This option must be UN-CHECKED when the radio shall be steered directly via a COM port.

 
h. Error message: No source file was found for group....
SatPC32 stores the paths and file names of the chosen  Keplerian data files (separately for each of the 12 possible satellite groups) in the  auxiliary text  file "SatSources.SQF" in the SatPC32  DATA  folder. The path to that folder is shown in the bottom line of the SatPC32 menu "Satellites". 
Usually the path will be:

Under Windows XP  "C: Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\SatPC32\Kepler",
under Windows Vista and Windows 7: "C:\User\Username\Application Data\Roaming\SatPC32\Kepler".

Note: The folder "Application Data" (or "AppData")  is hidden by default. So, make sure that the Windows Explorer displays also HiDDEN  files and folders (Windows Explorer - Tools - Folder Options - View). 

Upon program installation the file "SatSources.SQF" will look as follows:

Kepler\nasa.all
Kepler\nasa.all
etc. (over all 12 such lines)

Line #1 contains the path and file name of the source file used with the group "Standard".

The error message will occur if no valid file name has been stored for the particular group or if the file has been removed or renamed.

To fix the problem open the SatPC32 menu "File | Open" and in the Dialog window navigate to the sub folder "Kepler". (see above).

The sub folder "Kepler"  should at least contain the Keps file "nasa.all" which comes with SatPC32. Mark this file and click on "Open". SatPC32 should now start with this source file.
Important: Open the menu "Satellites" and click on "OK" to save the file name for future program starts.
When the program works you may download a Keps file as usual.

When you don't find a usable Keps file try the following:
The sub folder "Data_Repair" in the DATA  folder "SatPC32" contains the files "SatSources.SQF", "Standard.SAT" and "nasa.all". Using the Windows Explorer (which can be started from the SatPC32 menu "Programs") copy the files "SatSource.SQF" and "Standard.SAT" into the DATA folder "SatPC32" and the file "nasa.all" into the sub folder "Kepler". Then restart SatPC32.  

i.   Steering of AlfaSpid rotors

The latest release of SatPC32 V. 12.8c (April 24th 2014) comes with driver files for the Spid Mod2 and the Spid MD mode (ServerSpid.exe and ServerSpidMD.exe). If you use such controllers choose the item Spid or Spid MD from the list of supported controllers in menu "Rotor Setup".  For detailed instructions click the "Help"  button of ServerSpid or ServerSpidMD. 

The following hints are important if you run the Yaesu mode of the controller..  

To steer AlfaSpid rotors with SatPC32 choose the option  „Yaesu_GS-232“ (menu “Rotor-Setup”).
LX1BB sent me the following description of his rotor setup. He is using a combi control box for azimut and elevation.

SatPC32 setup:
Max. Elevation: 90 (menu Rotor Setup)
Park Position: Az=0, El=0 (Menu Rotor)

ServerSDX-Setup:
Com = x?
Baudrate: 600

AlfaSpid Setup:
P = 1.00    1.00
PH = 359    90
PL = 340    -1
PS = 4A
PP = 0.00   0.00

Press the  F key until „A“ appears. 

The PL setting is very important. I set the “Overtravel” 19 degs. With this setting I have no problems with my cables.  A few degs. more or less would also be sufficient. I had to set the elevation to –1 deg. to allow parking at 0,0.


j. Error message with  Labjack U3: "Ljackuw.dll not found" or similar.
A user and I got this message although we had installed the Labjack U3 software. The file seems to be a Labjack U12 file. Installing the Labjack U12 software fixed the problem. The latest U12 software can be downloaded from the Labjack website. The U12 software will be installed  into a different folder (LabjackU12Legacy), so, it doesn’t overwrite the Labjack U3 files.

k. Ole error 8004503A……
The SatPC32 voice feature requires the Microsoft Speech SDK (for Windows XP: SAPI 5.1 ) to be installed on the PC. If it is missing you will get the aforementioned error message.  The SAPI 5.1  could  be downloaded for free from the Microsoft web site:
http://www.microsoft.com/reader/developers/downloads/tts.mspx

Unfortunately this site is no longer available. But  you will find other links, search with the keywords "SAPI 5.1 Download".

Windows 7 and 8 come with the Speech SDK installed. A user got the errror message under Windows 7, but found the reason: The message appears if no speakers or headphones are plugged into the computer.

 l. Error message: Can't Open COMxx, Invalid Port number or similar
This error message appears if
1. the program tries to open a COM port that has already been opened by another application. Choose another COM port for one of the programs.

2. the chosen COM port is not available on the PC. Check which ports are installed on the PC (Start - Control Panel - System - Hardware - Device Manager - Ports (COM and LPT).
 
3. the chosen COM port is faulty.
Windows marks a faulty port with a yellow exclamation mark. A short description and the error code appear In the 'Properties' window of the Device Manager.. The error can be caused by a wrong or faulty driver. A COM port that has been generated by an USB-to-Serial converter can fail if the voltage of the USB port is unsufficiently stable. That will happen - for example - if multiple devices have been conneted directly to the USB ports of a mobile PC (Laptop etc.) To avoid this put a self-powered USB hub between PC and USB cable. 

4. (only program version 12.8b or older)  
The chosen Port has a port number > 16. The tool used by SatPC32 to manage the serial ports supports only port numbers up to 16. The system, however,  increases the port numbers with each installation of a new port (i.e. a new USB-to-Serial adapter). So,  port numbers can be 17 or higher. To fix the problem,  you can decrease the number of the port you want to use to be 16 or less. To do this,  do the following:
aa. In the Device Manager check which ports are available on the PC (see 2).   

bb. Right click on the port number (> 16)  you want to change.
cc. Choose Properties - Port settings - Advanced.

dd. Open the list of possible COM  ports (click on the control to the right of the port number).
ee. The  port numbers 1 - 16 (or at least most of them) will be marked as "in use". Only the ports listed in the Device Manager are actually in use, however. Choose one of the port numbers not actually in use. Ignore the marking "in use" and the Windows warning. The change might require you to reboot the PC to take effect.
Choose the new port number also in SatPC32 and restart the program.
 
Program version 12.8c and higher:
The program supports up to 100 COM ports. The port numbers can be changed as described above.

m. Error messages regarding IOPort.SYS
The rotor interfaces IF-100, FODTrack, RifPC and KCT require the kernel driver IOPort.SYS to be installed on the PC. The SatPC32 setup program installs the driver and adds it to the Windows registry. The program sets the "Start" value to 2. With this setting the driver is started automatically when the system boots.
Error messages may occure if the driver can't be found or if it has been disabled. To fix such errors start the "reg" file "IOPort.reg" in the SatPC32 program folder via RIGHT click on the filename. From the list that opens choose "Open with". Then choose "Registration Editor" and allow the  changes. The file will then add then driver to the registry or correct wrong settings.

IOPort.SYS is a 32-bit driver that doesn't work on 64-bit systems. To avoid error messaes  the driver should be disabled with  64-bit systems . IOPort.SYS  can also be disabled with 32-bit system if no one of the aforementioned rotor interfaces is to be steered.  The driver can easily be disabled  with the "reg" file IOPortDeActivate.reg in the SatPC32 program folder. Proceed as described above for IOPort.reg. IOPortDeActivate.reg disables the driver by changing the "Start" value to 4.

Attention: The changes require to re-boot the PC to take effect.

                n. Running SatPC32 from a “standard” user account
The SatPC32 setup program expects the user to be an administrator. So, it installs the program data into a folder in the administrator account. If you try to run SatPC32 from a “standard” user account you will get the error message “File not found”.   To fix that issue do the following:
Start the Windows Explorer and navigate to the data folder “SatPC32”. The path to that folder is shown in the footline of menu “Satellites”. Under Windows XP the path will probably be “C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Application Data\SatPC32”,  under Windows 7 “C:\User\Username\Application Data\Roaming\SatPC32”. Copy the complete data folder “SatPC32” and store the copy under the corresponding data path for  the particular user (that means the pathnames are equal except regarding the usernames).  

 

 
o. CAT control of the IC-9100
The IC-9100 allows CAT steering
aa. via the traditional CI-V jacket. For detailed instructions read the “Hints[Radio] ..for Icom users”. The  file can be opened from the SatPC32 menu “?” or with Notepad in the sub folder “Icom” in the SatPC32 program folder..
bb. Via a USB cable that connects the radio directly to a USB-port of the PC. The IC-9100 contains a built-in USB-to-Serial converter that generates 2 virtual COM ports. One of these ports is suitable for CAT control, usually the first one.  If necessary, test which of the two port is the right one.  
Important: 
The USB port must be sufficiently resilient. A user connected the IC-9100 and other devices diretly to the USB ports of his laptop. CAT control didn't work and in the 'Poperties' window of the Device Manager Windows marked the ports with a yellow exclamation mark. The solution: A self powered USB hub between the PC and the USB cable.    

The driver for this adapter can be downloaded from the ICOM website (see IC-9100 manual, page 12). The radio must not be connected to the PC via USB before the driver has been installed (see manual page12). 

In the “Radio Setup” menu select the suitable generated COM port.

Operation:
Switch on the radio before you start SatPC32 or activate it’s CAT functions (C+). The 2 COM ports of the IC-9100 are only available if the radio is on.
Close SatPC32 or disable the CAT control functions (C-) before you switch off the radio. Otherwise Windows will repeatedly send the error message: “Internal error retrieving device control block for the port” (German: “Interner Fehler beim Abrufen des DCB-Blocks fuer den Anschluss”).  

p.  C             

p. Error while loading file xxxx

This message appears if one the SatPC32 data files could not be opened, for example, if a file is missing or damaged. (If the message relates to the file "Prior.SQF" it could also - and more probably - be the file "SatStart.SQF".)


The SatPC32 program stores data files for configuration #1 in the program's default data folder.  The typical path is:
C:\Users\<yourname>\AppData\Roaming\SatPC32\

Data files for configurations #2, 3 and 4 are in Roman numeral named sub-folders below the default data folder.  
Typical paths are:
C:\Users\<yourname>\AppData\Roaming\SatPC32\CfgII
C:\Users\<yourname>\AppData\Roaming\SatPC32\CfgIII
C:\Users\<yourname>\AppData\Roaming\SatPC32\CfgIV

The path to the data folder is displayed (if the program works) in the foot line of the "Satellites" menu.

Note: the path contains the "Application Data" folder which is usually hidden. To make it visible, start Windows Explorer and go to menu Tools->Folder Options->View.  Then check the option "Show hidden files and folders".

All data files are text files that can be opened and edited with a text editor such as Notepad.

There are several ways to replace a damaged or missing data file:

1. Copy the file of the same name from a different configuration folder.

2. Copy a file of the same name from the “Data_Repair” sub-folder which contains copies of the most important files.

3. Use the DataBackup menu (Programs-> DataBackup) to restore the entire set of SatPC32 data to a previously saved backup data set.

4. If the program data is so corrupted that SatPC32 can't function, use Windows Explorer to manually launch the DataBackup program. Typically: C:\Program Files\SatPC32\DataBackup.exe or C:\Program Files (x86)\SatPC32\DataBackup.exe

Once you have a flawlessly working configuration you should run DataBackup to save a copy the settings. If problems occur later, you can run DataBackup to easily restore the working setup.


q. Kenwood TS-2000 CAT problem with SatPC32 vers. 12.8c and later

With SatPC32  and SatPC32ISS version 12.8c I use a new component to manage the serial ports. The old component supported only COM port numbers up to 15. The new USB-to-Serial adapters generate often virtual port numbers > 15, however.

Steering  the TS-2000 with SatPC32 and SatPC32ISS vers. 12.8c  requires the option "RTS+12V" (SatPC32 menu "Setup" > "Radio Setup") to be checked.  That imitates the hardware handshaking the TS-2000 expects.  

 

Another solution is a homemade RS-232 cable with only the 3 lines Ground, RxD, TxD wired and a wire bridge between CTS and RTS (pins 7 and 8 of the DB-9 plug) on the TS-2000 side.   


r. Controlling WinRotorPlus by SatPC32ISS

With the WinRotorPlus rotor controller you can choose SatPC32 as the server program, you can not choose SatPC32ISS, however. 

 

To use also SatPC32ISS as server program do the following:

a. In the SatPC32 program folder make a new sub folder and name it - for example - SatPC32ISS. 
b. copy the sub folders Maps2D and BM_Maps2D from the SatPC32 program folder into the sub folder SatPC32ISS.
c. Copy also SatPC32ISS.exe into that folder and rename it SatPC32.exe.
d. Draw a short cut to this SatPC32.exe on the desktop and name the shortcut SatPC32ISS

Start SatPC32ISS with the shortcut, then start WinRotorPlus. WinRotorPlus will now connect to SatPC32ISS and  receive the DDE string from SatPC32ISS. 
If you start the normal SatPC32 WinRotorPlus will read the string from the normal SatPC32.




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