This guide describes the initial setup of FreeDATA including Hamlib´s rigctld for radio control under Windows and assumes, that you already downloaded and installed both. The GUI usage is nearly the same on macOS and Linux. Some paths may be different.
Note: Running rigctld in the described manner may result in a crash. If this happens, you are advised to run rigctld in a console window (cmd or Windows Terminal, see epilogue). Please keep in mind, that FreeDATA is in an early development stage and may contain further bugs.
Step 1: Choose the appropriate sounddevice for RX and TX from the dropdown menus, and fill in your callsign and grid locator:
Step 2: Define the Path to rigctld.exe by clicking into the field. As long as you have another rigctld instance running, it´s fine to leave the Port at 4532.
Step 3: Click on the second icon and type in your transceivers model number. As you type, a list of devices will appear and the number on the left side is hamlib´s model number for your radio. Select the corresponding entry.
Step 4: Select the connection button (#3), tick the checkboxes as shown and select the COM-Port and -speed used for rig control.
Step 5: This setting is for how PTT is done. In case of an IC-705, you may select the same COM-Port as for rigcontrol and choose RIG as PTT method (this will use the CI-V command for PTT). If you have an older RIG with an external interface, you may have to choose Serial RTS (using RTS pin for PTT control). CM108 is your choice, when using a CM108/119 based interface such as the DRA-Boards from Mastercommunication´s.
Step 6: You´re almost done. Now you may test the settings from step 2-5 by clicking Start within the heartbeat-tab. If it reads connection possible, you may also run the PTT Test. If the button turns green, you should be good to go.
Hit the Settings button in the upper right corner. You may want to check, whether these options are set. Enable Explorer Publishing will list your station on a map https://explorer.freedata.app, so other stations may find you easier.
Hit the green play button to start the TNC:
If you followed the above steps and your rig is switched on ;-), you may see a screen like this. Your rigcontrol is working properly when you see the RIG´s frequency, mode and bandwidth (depending on your model, not all of these may be shown) in the left bottom area. To ensure that you are working with an undistorted TX audio signal, please make sure that you see the ALC indicator on your radio´s display and hit the Tune button as bordered below:
TX level may be set within a range from 0-250. When hitting the Transmit button, the radio should TX for about 5 seconds. Meanwhile, use the TX Level slider to find a value where your ALC is just being nudged. Close the tuning menu afterwards.
FreeDATA´s setup is now complete and you are ready for testing. Please check https://explorer.freedata.app for available stations. Use chat and datatransfer excessively and report bugs!
As mentioned in the preface, rigcontrol may crash. If you observe such a behavior, please delete the configuration you made within step 2-5. Copy the parameters you see in the Cmd field of step 6 to an editor (such as Notepad). Replace all commas with a space there (no longer necessary as of Version 0.6.7-alpha.1). The string I used in this example should then look like this:
-m 3085 -r COM1 -s 19200 -p COM1 --ptt-type=RIG -t 4532
Open Windows Terminal (usually available within Widows 11) or cmd (Start, Run -> cmd.exe). Change directory to the path where rigctld.exe is located and start rigctld with the above parameters:
When hamlib does not complain about errors, you should only see a cursor blinking after you hit return.
If the PTT Test button turns green after hitting, you´re all ok.