Wednesday, November 08, 2006

RIGtalk work-in-progress

Some time ago I wrote that I had purchased some RIGtalk USB rig control interface devices from West Mountain Radio. The device comes complete with a cable for your particular radio (choose that when you buy the particular model) and a CDROM with the drivers for Windows.
I normally run MacOS X on my Macintosh, not Windows. So, one of the challenges I have is locating drivers for the device. When I first got the package, I used a strong magnifying glass to peek into the device and read the part number off the main interfacing chip. So far, so good. It was then an easy task to use Google to find the manufacturer and locate the drivers they had posted on their web site. Sure enough, there were Macintosh MacOS X drivers. Well, that's the end of the good news. I have tried and tried but I just can't make it work. That is, the operating system doesn't present a serial device that can be opened by a program.
Just to make sure the device itself wasn't broken, I got this idea a couple of weeks ago to test the device on my new Mac mini running Parallels with N1MM logger (though any rig control software should work). After getting Windows 98 loaded on to the machine, I was able to install the drivers from the provided CDROM, plug the RIGtalk device into an available USB port on the Mac mini, and voila!, it worked! Note to Windows users: this works great right out of the box with the drivers shipped with the device.
So, I know the hardware works. And, if I decide that it would be better to use a PC/DOS logger on Montserrat (just for speed reasons, certainly not because they have a better interface!), this part of the system is tested. I would still like to make this work with MacOS X and MacLoggerDX, my primary logging program. There was some chatter on the email support list for MLDX over the last couple of days and it was suggested that somebody contact West Mountain Radio and volunteer to be a guinea pig for any new drivers they might have for this device. I will likely do that in the next day or so.
The extra work I might have to do to make this happen is well worth it. The RIGtalk interface is mind-bogglingly small, which would save both weight and precious space within my Pelican case. I would really like to make this work! We'll see if I can between now and departure time for the Montserrat trip.


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