Saturday, February 20, 2010

Setting CW Cable For N1MM Problem

Setting CW Cable For N1MM Problem

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Newer technology require me to adapt and adopt. Before time, I’m a fanatic user of CT K1EA logging contest software. Then suddenly K1EA stop develop his software. It’s going worst when Windows XP go to market and complicated with no more serial ports (COM ports) and parallel port on newer version of notebooks or laptops. So no more possibility to keep using CT K1EA to help me logging during contest. Bye bye CT.

My head then turn to N1MM logging contest software. The only reason I choose (and only reason why I left CT) is N1MM can key up CW on my radio. N1MM can handle keying CW via serial port and trough serial port that converted from USB ports. As you know, newest notebooks are no longer equipped with serial/COM ports and parallel port. It’s replaced with USB ports, 3-4 ports for each notebook computers. So we have to buy a USB to serial cable adapter to convert our USB port to serial/COM port that compatible with N1MM requirements.

usbtoserial2But unfortunately not all USB to serial cable adapter type can be used. Not only with N1MM, I found I can’t used also even with simple program like Hyperterminal. I don’t know why. Driver software was loaded. COM already set to COM8. But still can’t work. Here this the cable I was bought. The cable chipset is USB to serial adapter Semi-tech. This semi-tech usb to serial adapter as you can see on photo, has a white clear plastic cable cover. Inside the plastic cover is aluminium foil as interference shield. USB jack and serial jack DB9 are colored with blue-green clear PVC. This cable is not working to key CW on N1MM and simple loopback with Hyperterminal. I’m not test it with other gadgets.

Then I borrow USB to serial cable adapter from YD0NGA. It’s UMC211 Chipset Technology (Taiwan) but has Prolific chipset inside. The cable color is dark and different model with Semi-tech adapter. And whoala, this UMC 211 is work to key CW with N1MM. And another evidence of old aphorism, Good Thing is Not Cheap, Cheap Thing is Not Good. UMC211 price is US$1.5 while Semi-tech cable is only US$0.5 here in Surabaya city computer mall.

On N1MM side, some important things to notice:

1. set your COM port between number COM1-COM8. Because N1MM coded to work only on that COM range. N1MM programmer notice for COMs higher than COM8 are already a COM branches, not a root COM anymore. It will give some delay or even error during USB scanning.

2. Set DTR to “CW” while RTS to “always off”.

3. Make sure you USB to serial cable adapter driver is successfully installed.

To set you COM port, you can set it from Ports Device Manager. Klik Advance and you will see a radio button to change you COM setting.

So don’t wrong choosing cable. And happy contesting.

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