DriveR8 Control Program User ManualScan125 Icon

A program to control the Alinco DX-R8, DX-SR8 and DX-SR9 Communications Equipment - Nick Bailey 2016-2018

http://www.nick-bailey.co.uk/DriveR8

You are requested to fully read this and any other documentation prior to installing and using the Program. 

In using the Program you are agreeing to accept all of the terms and conditions stated herein.

Manual Version 2.2.0.0 - 08 September 2018

Contents Index

Author and Copyright Information

Preface

Donate To DEBRA Charity

Program Overview
Program Main Panel for DX-R8E Receiver
Program Main Panel for DX-SR8 and DX-SR9 T/E/J Transceivers
DX-R8 and DX-SR8 and DX-SR9 Model Differences

Program Locale/Region Setting

Program and Driver Installation
Obtaining and Delivery
Driver Installation
Program Installation
Program Patch Installation
Removal
Upgrade Process

Running / Program Start-up
Running when Connected to a Powered On Alinco
Running with No Alinco Connected

Controls and Functions
Title Bar
Menu Bar
DONATE
COMMENTS
About
Check for Program Update
Help
Save Settings
Load Settings
Scheduled Tuning
Reset Colours
Options
Auto PREV File Backup
Virtual Display/Status Refresh Period
Memory Cache and MemX VFO
Memory Match Bandwidth
Program Time Settings in GMT/UTC
Program Update Check
Form Margin Snap Size
Recording File Name Header
WAV File Auto Delete
Illumination Settings
LCD Dimmer
RX LED Light
Key/Dial Settings
Key Beep
Key Lock
Key Repeat
Function Key Repeat
Power Off/Reset/Read Controls
Power Off
APO(Automatic Power Off)
Sleep
Time (Sleep)
RF Settings Main and Other Settings
RF Gain
AGC Speed
Narrow Filter
Noise Blanker
AGC Auto
SSB Auto
U/L Tone
RF Mode and Step Settings
USB Mode
LSB Mode
CWU Mode
CWL Mode
FM Mode
IQ Mode
SSB Step
AM Step
FM Step
IQ Step
<IQ Shift>
Virtual Alinco Display
Frequency Display and Control
Frequency Change Control Group
VFO-A and VFO-B Buttons
VFO A=B Button
MHz and kHz Radio Buttons
Band Drop Down
RIT Drop Down
RIT/TXIT Drop Down
Cursor Drop Down
Frequency Input Box
Frequency Set Button
<< Frequency Step Down Button
>> Frequency Step Up Button
Frequency Control Panel Button - Fc
VFO Scratch Pad
"S" Save Button
"R" Recall Button
Frequency Control Panel
Frequency Display
RF Mode Change Button
Frequency Range Button
Frequency Change Slider
Scan Controls Group
Scan Mode Select
Scan/Search Width Select
Scan Timer Select
Scan Skip Select
Up Scan Button
Stop Scan Button
Down Scan Button
Priority Scan Button
Memory Match Display Group
Memory Tune Controls Group
Memory Input Box
Memory Set Button
Memory Name Display
Memory Bank Main, Bank A, Bank B, Bank X Select Buttons
Memory Bank Main, Bank A, Bank B, Bank X Selected Memory Displays
<< Memory Down Button
>> Memory Up Button
Memory Protection Drop Down
Memory VFO Drop Down
Memory Banks Control Group
Bank Main, Bank A, Bank B and Special Bank X
View/Edit Memory Bank Settings
Form Differences By Memory Bank
Grid Columns / Data Fields
Frequency Prefix Keys and Suffix Keys
Fast Tune Control
Find Control
Store Control
Memory Select Control
Function Select Controls
Cell Copy and Paste Control
Duplicate Frequency Control
Read All Again Control
Memory Print Controls
Form Print Control
Store To Bank Control
SR8-SR9 Transmitter Controls
TXMit Button
PTT Lock
TX Power
Speech Compressor
Split
CTCSS
CTCSS Tone
TXIT Access
Antenna Tune
Notepad and Auto Save Group
Notepad Log and Auto Saved Frequencies
Notepad Log Group
Auto Log Checkbox
Clear Notepad Button
Auto Saved Frequencies Group
Frequency Log File
Audio Recorder and Player Group
Sound System Overview
Record/Play Controls
Record Button
Pause Button
Play Button
Stop Button
Play Saved Button
Clock Display Group
Com Port Control Group
                    Com Port Display
Com Port List Box
Com Refresh Button
Com Error Retry Count

No Alinco Connected Mode

Support, Program Suggestions, Recommendations and Bug Reports

Warranty, Liability and License Agreements

Recognised Trademarks, Proprietary Code and Copyrights

Author and Copyright Information

This program has been written by Nick Bailey and is his sole Copyright.

DriveR8 Control Program Nick Bailey 2016-2018

Debra Logo      Please Donate to my supported charity which I would very much appreciate, as will they, and will keep me developing and supporting the programs.

The Program is currently Freeware (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeware) with a Careware/Charity status and objective (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Careware).  It operates with no limitations.  The author reserves the right to change the program status and limitations on any future release.  Existing releases will retain their status and your right to use them but support may not be available.

This document may mention DriveR8, DriveR8 Program or DriveR8 Control Program. They are the one and the same and are to be read, understood and respected as being so and thus covered by the Copyright, Warranty, Liability and License Agreements detailed here and in Section/Chapter 7.0 of this document.

The creator of this program asserts that the appearance of the user interface screens is a work art and therefore attracts Copyright protection under EU law.

This product contains Alinco proprietary and/or copyright control codes. Used with permission.

My website can be found at http://www.nick-bailey.co.uk and for this program at http://www.nick-bailey.co.uk/DriveR8

My contact Email address is in the table below:

DriveR8
@
nick-bailey
.
co
.
uk
 
I apologise for munging my Email address but as we all know SPAM is a major problem and keeping my DriveR8 email address free of spam will help us all. 

Preface

Welcome to the DriveR8 Control Program specifically designed for controlling the Alinco DX-R8T/E/J, DX-R8T/E/J and DX-R8T/E/J Communications Receiver/Transceivers.

The DX-R8E is a Worldwide market orientated Receiver
The DX-R8T is an American/Canadian market orientated Receiver
The DX-R8J is an Japanese market orientated Receiver
The DX-R8/9E is a Worldwide market orientated Transceiver
The DX-R8/9T is an American/Canadian market orientated Transceiver
The DX-R8/9J is an Japanese market orientated Transceiver

DriveR8 supports both data management and real time control of these receivers/transceivers.

As I do not currently have a DX-SR8 or DX-SR9 Transceiver to test against I have relied on my beta tester (SR8) for confirmation of function and bug fixing.  This means there may be some issues I may have to resolve.  I will only know of these issues if people are kind enough to let me know what they are.

Alinco model determination is done via that which is encoded in the Alinco firmware.  From there DriveR8 uses information supplied to the Author by Alinco Japan to determine what functions each Alinco model supports.  I have since found that there my be some "odd" model configurations out there in the real world and you may encounter and error.  If this happens then *please* contact me and I will do my best to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

When reading this manual you will find that some function explanations are "short and to the point" with little extra information.  This is because the function is self explanatory and fully documented in the Alinco Instruction Manual.
 
Please read this manual in conjunction with your Alinco's Instruction Manual

PLEASE NOTE!   Writing this User Manual requires both pictures and words and a huge amount of time, time that even commercial companies are not prepared to invest in.. To keep EVERY picture completely current with regards to release is not always possible.  What you will see is that function relevant to new release is absolutely 100% current. 

If I've missed, documented incorrectly or totally got it wrong the PLEASE let me know as WE will work to get it sorted out for the benefit of all users.

Donate to DEBRA Charity

Debra Logo      Please Donate to my supported charity which I would very much appreciate, as will they, and will keep me developing and supporting the programs.

The Program is currently Freeware (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeware) with a Careware/Charity status and objective (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Careware).  It operates no limitations.  The author reserves the right to change the program status and limitations on any future release.  Existing releases will retain their status and your right to use them but support may not be available.

Program Overview

The program is a standalone portable application that only requires Microsoft Windows and the Microsoft .NET  V3.5 platform to be installed.  The program is designed to fully function with an Alinco attached.   Without an attached Alinco then functionality is limited.
 
The User Interface design has been created to give maximum and easy control from a single Main Control Panel form.  The other important user interface form caters for the Viewing and Editing of Memory Banks. Use of  other forms/panels has been limited to confirmation dialogs, error messages, options, file management and other items not frequently used. 

HELP - All control groups, keys, buttons and displays have "Mouse Over" help prompts.  The Menu Help function will display the DriveR8-Manual.html in your default Web Browser.
 
Controls and Displays are grouped together into the following main logical function groups (some of which contain sub groups):
  1. Display - (includes frequency changing function)
  2. RF Mode
  3. RF Step
  4. RF Settings Main
  5. RF Settings Other
  6. Frequency Change Controls
  7. Memory Tune
  8. Special Bank X (Special Memory)
  9. Memory Banks (View/Edit/Store Functions)
  10. Memory Match Display
  11. Scan Controls
  12. Illumination Settings
  13. Key/Dial Settings
  14. Power Controls
  15. Alinco Read Refresh
  16. Com Port Settings
  17. Program/PC Clock
  18. Notepad and Autosave
  19. Audio Recorder and Player
  20. Status Latency Display
  21. SR8 - SR9 Transmitter Settings
  22. Scheduled Tuning with Optional Recording
The Menu Bar.  Besides the typical About and Help menu items you will find the following additional functions:
The Memory Banks View/Edit Functions are supported in View/Edit mode with their own dedicated data entry forms which contains additional functions like Save To File, Print, Add, Delete, Copy, Move and Find.

The following section clearly shows the Main Panel and a corresponding table of differences between Alinco models.  With these in mind one should have no difficulty in understanding the differences and relevance of documentation.

Program Main Panel for DX-R8T/E/J Receivers

The Receiver is tuned on Memory Bank A location 050 with a Name of SOLENT.   The frequency is 1.000500MHz in AM mode with an RF Gain of +10dB and AGC set to SLOW.  Noise Blanker is ON, Narrow Filter is on NARROW (Nar).  RIT is ON and Key/Dial lock settings are DIAL.  Sleep timer is set to 30 minutes with 27 minutes remaining.  APO timer is set to 90 minutes with 87 minutes remaining.  The frequency is an exact match on Memory Bank A Location 50.  The Program/PC Clock uses a green coloured background to indicate the currently set  Local or GMT/UTC setting.  All the other settings are also clearly displayed.
 
DriveR8 Main Panel for DX-R8

Program Main Panel for DX-SR8 and DX-SR9 T/E/J Transceivers

The Transceiver is tuned with VFO-A to frequency of 5.250000MHz in USB mode with an RF Gain of +10dB and AGC set to FAST.  This is an [ HF] 60 metres band frequency. Transmitter Power is set to S-LOW and is currently transmitting (Red USB display and TXMit button).  Noise Blanker is OFF, Narrow Filter is on WIDE.  RIT is ON.  TXIT in ON.  Key/Dial lock settings are BOTH.  APO timer is set to 90 minutes with 82 minutes remaining.    The frequency is an exact match on Memory Bank A Location 200 and Memory Bank X Location 125.  All the other settings are also clearly displayed.  The Program/PC Clock uses a green coloured background to indicate the currently set  Local or GMT/UTC setting.  All the other settings are also clearly displayed.
 
DriveR8 Main Panel for DX-SR8/SR9

DX-R8 and DX-SR8 and DX-SR9 Model Differences

The differences between the Alinco DX-R8/SR8/SR9 (types E/T/J) models with regards to DriveR8 are as detailed below.

Item / Function
DX-R8E
DX-R8T
DX-R8J
Frequency Range (base)
135kHz - 29.999999MHz
135kHz - 29.999999MHz 30kHz - 34.999999MHz
Frequency Range Expanded  (model/date variance)
30kHz - 34.999999MHz
30kHz - 34.999999MHz 30kHz - 34.999999MHz
RIT
Yes
Yes
Yes
TXIT
No
No
No
IQ / SDR Support
Yes
Yes
Yes
Sleep Timer
Yes
Yes
Yes
APO Timer
Yes
Yes
Yes
TX Power Change
No
No
No
LED RX Colour Change (Green for RX / Red for RX)   
Yes
Yes
Yes
Transmit Function Support
No
No
No


Item / Function
DX-SR8/9E
DX-SR8/9T
DX-R8/9J
Frequency Range (base)
135kHz - 29.999999MHz
135kHz - 29.999999MHz 30kHz - 34.999999MHz
Frequency Range Expanded  (model/date variance)
30kHz - 34.999999MHz
30kHz - 34.999999MHz 30kHz - 34.999999MHz
RIT
Yes
Yes
Yes
TXIT
Yes
Yes
Yes
IQ / SDR Support (SR9 only)
SR8=No / SR9 =Yes
SR8=No / SR9 =Yes SR8=No / SR9 =Yes
Sleep Timer
No
No
No
APO Timer
Yes
Yes
Yes
TX Power Change
Yes
Yes
Yes
LED RX/TX Colour Change (Green for RX / Red for TX) No
No
No
Transmit Function Support
Yes
Yes
Yes

NOTE! I've had an anonymous comment from a user that their model is a DX-SR9T but DriveR8 identifies it as a DX-SR9J and DriveR8 errors and fails to connect (AL~SR_IQM error).  This is interesting as all the Alinco information I have indicates that all SR9 models support the IQ function.  Clearly something is odd here.  Firmware saying it is an SR9J model but machine is badged SR9T and IQ function is not present when it should be!  I need to know about any of these sorts of errors so I can investigate and correct the DriveR8 software - SO PLEASE email me if you come accross any error!

Program Locale/Region Setting

This program is designed to run in en-GB locale mode where we use the Full Stop/Dot/Period ( "." - ASCII decimal 46) as the decimal mark/separator character and not the Comma ("," - ASCII decimal 44).
 
You DO NOT need to change your system's Region and Language settings to use this program.  You will however have to use the Full Stop/Dot/Period ( "." - ASCII decimal 46) as the decimal mark/separator character when entering data.

Program and Driver Installation

The program is written as a portable application requiring no installation program.   As long as you have Windows and the .NET  V3.5 framework installed then getting the program up and running is simple

Obtaining and Delivery

The program can be obtained from my web site http://www.nick-bailey.co.uk/DriveR8.  Here you will find program information, download link and MD5 checksum information so you can validate the integrity of your download.  The direct download link is http://www.nick-bailey.co.uk/DriveR8/download.

The download will usually consist of a single ZIP file for the program and all associated files and User Manual.

Driver Installation

To control your Alinco from your PC you will need either the Alinco ERW-7 Interface Cable or an alternative USB to Serial Interface Cable.  If you do not already have a USB driver installed for your interface cable then you will have to download and install the appropriate driver.  The Alinco ERW-7 Interface uses the Future Technology Devices International's FDTI Chip for which the driver can be found on their www.fdtichip.com website.

NOTE!  The DriveR8 Control Program will try to locate a powered on Alinco on a USB/COM port does.  If the Alinco is not powered on or the program fails to find the Alinco then you will have to identify and manually select the correct USB port yourself.  See here.

Program Installation

To install the DriveR8 Program is very straight forward.  You will have received DriveR8 in either a ZIP file or as separate files.  The program has no specific install program and does not make registry changes.

Just follow these simple steps.
  1. Create a directory of your own choice on your PC.  It is suggested to give this directory a name like 'DriveR8 Control Program' for easy recognition
  2. Un-ZIP / copy the program files to the directory you have just created
  3. Read the DriveR8-ReadMe.txt and DriveR8-History.txt files.  They have important information 
  4. It is suggested to create a short cut to the DriveR8.exe file on your desktop or elsewhere
  5. Optional/Suggested - backup the original distribution file(s) to a safe location
  6. Read the DriveR8-Manual.html file to familiarise yourself with the program
NOTE! It is suggested that you do not place the program in a system directory like Program Files (x86) or Program Files etc, as these directories require Administrator privileges and you will encounter file write errors issues unless you force the program to Run As Administrator which is not recommended for security and safety reasons.

Program Patch Installation

There may be times when just a Patch Release EXE file on its own is released.  This EXE file must be installed into the program directory of a current DriveR8 program installation.  The EXE file will not work on its own.  If you are a new DriveR8 user then you must first install the base full release and then apply the patch.

Removal

The DriveR8 Program can be simply and fully un-installed at any time.

CAUTION!  The following steps will completely remove DriveR8 Program and all your associated data.   If you want to keep any data files you have created then you should move/copy these files to another directory first.
  1. Delete the folder you created and all the files therein   
  2. Delete the short cut you created (if any)

Upgrade Process

Upgrading to a later version of DriveR8 is simple and straight forward.  Upgrading will retain your important configuration files.  Following all the steps of this procedure will also give you a backup version(s) of the program to revert to should you wish or need to.

Warning!  The program will either create or use any existing configuration files it needs.  These files are:
Other files that contain your personal saved data / settings not be overwritten by the installation process as they are not shipped with the DriveR8 Control Program.  You are however strongly advised to back these files up for your own protection, together with any of your own user files you have created.

To upgrade follow these simple steps:
  1. Locate your current installation folder
  2. Create a new sub folder named Vn.n.n.n corresponding to the version number of your currently installed version, e.g. V1.0.0.9
  3. Copy ALL the contents of the current installation folder into the new backup Vn.n.n.n sub folder you just created
  4. Un-ZIP / copy the new program release files to the current installation folder and OVERWRITE/REPLACE the existing files
  5. Read the DriveR8-ReadMe.txt and DriveR8-History.txt files.  They contain important information
  6. Read the DriveR8-Manual.html for help or details on any new functions that may have been added
If there are any release specific files or instructions then you will be notified of these on the web site prior to downloading the program.

Running / Program Start-up

Running the program is a simple matter of invoking the DriveR8.exe file.  This can be done via a Windows shortcut link or by using the Windows 'run' command.

Running when Connected to a Powered On Alinco

When the program is started and a powered 'On' Alinco is present and connected to the program's currently configured COM port then the program will read ALL the Alinco's current settings and data values with the exception of the MEMO (Bank Main), MEMO A (Bank A) and MEMO B (Bank B) Memory Banks.  These Memory Banks are only read when required due to the time taken to read each of the banks.  However once read their data can be cached and this data will be used on all subsequent program runs.  Memory Bank X is a special memory bank belonging to the DriveR8 program and is TOTALLY independent of the Alinco.

All Alinco data read will be used by the program as a "statement of fact" regarding the Alinco's data state.

Once running then any changes you make via the program will be sent/committed to the Alinco.  Any changes you make directly on the Alinco, with the exception of a frequency change, will not automatically be sent to the DriveR8 Control Program.  In simple terms the DriveR8 Control Program is the Master and the Alinco is the Slave.
 
It is important to understand this Master/Slave operational relationship so that you do not inadvertently lose data. 
 
Where you do make changes on the Alinco, other than direct memory edit and store functions, then you can use the Alinco Read Refresh button to force the program to completely re-read the Alinco.  If you do this then for the duration of the read process the Alinco is the master and the program is the slave.  NOTE!  Any memory changes you made on the Alinco will not be picked up and the program's cache settings will persist.  For the DriveR8 program to pick these 'direct on Alinco' memory changes made then you will have to use the each of the program's Memory Bank Edit/View functions and then do a Read Bank to refresh to update DriveR8's knowledge of those memory changes.

Running with No Alinco Connected

When the program is started with no Alinco attached,  powered on, or with an incorrect COM port selection then the program will enter No Alinco Connected mode of operation..   You will have to power on your Alinco and select the correct COM port manually or close and restart the program.  When a connection is made then the program will read the Alinco data as defined in the above "Connected" state.  See here for information about No Alinco Connected operation.

Controls and Functions

As already mentioned the Main Control Panel contains all the essential controls and functions in one easy to understand and navigate layout.  Controls and Functions are grouped in containing titled and outlined defined areas.

Please Note!  The MEMO (Bank Main), MEMO A (Bank A) and MEMO B (Bank B) Edit/Write functions are disruptive in that the Alinco has to be put into Alinco Memory Write Mode.  Once this occurs then when the Edit/Write has been completed then the Alinco will go into a PASS state.  This PASS state leaves the Alinco in disrupted state in that the Alinco's front panel controls will no longer function.  However the Alinco can still be controlled from the DriveR8 program.

All other controls and functions are not disruptive.

Title Bar

Title and Menu Bar Image

The program title bar displays the following information:

Menu Bar

Title and Menu Bar Image

The menu bar is similar to any Windows menu bar.  Here you will find:

DONATE

This will allow you to make a donation to the DEBRA charity.  Please do this in appreciation of this free program and my user support.

COMMENTS

This will allow you to anonymously give any comments you may have about Scan125.

About

About Form Image

About provides the following:

Check for Program Update Button

If you press this button then the program will check your version against the latest official full version on the DriveR8 website.  The response will look as follows:

Update Info Image

Depending on the version you have you will see one of the following messages:
  1. "You have the latest version so no update is required."
  2. "Your version is NOT up to date.  V1.n.n.n is now AVAILABLE!"
  3. "Your version is later than the official version.  No update available."
If you see "Your version is later than the official version.  No update available." then it means that you are running a "special" patch or test version of the program.
 
Instead of using this manual check you my wish to enable the Automatic Program Update Check on the Options menu.
 
If an update is available then the Information and Download buttons will be enabled.

Please Note!  For both the manual and automatic program update checks no data (other than the update information) is download or installed to your PC.  If you want the updated version of the program then you must go and fetch it yourself.

Help

This will open the DriveR8 User Manual file DriveR8-Manual.html in your default Web Browser.  Besides this help file you will also find that all control groups, keys, buttons and displays have "Mouse Over" help prompts.

Save Alinco Settings

This will save all the program's current Alinco settings, memory data, etc. to a file of your choice.  This is in effect a complete backup/snapshot of all data, all selected states and settings.  The saved data also includes Special Memory Bank X data that is normally stored in the DriveR8-ini.ini file.
 
When this file is subsequently loaded then the program will send all the data, states and settings to the Alinco.
 
This save is FULL save and the file is marked with "#full#" in the header.  When the saved file is reloaded it will clear and overwrite all the Alinco's settings.

It it suggested you choose a sensible and informative file name when saving any data so that you can easily identify what the files contain when you load them in the future.

Load Alinco Settings

This will load the settings and data in the chosen file into the program and into the Alinco.  The file to be loaded may contain a full backup/snapshot as made with the Save Alinco Settings menu item or may just contain data you have previously selected and used the Save To File function in any of the View/Edit forms.

If the file to be loaded is a FULL save file as marked with "#full#" in the header, then when the file is reloaded it will clear and overwrite all the Alinco's settings. The restored data also includes Special Memory Bank X data that is normally stored in the DriveR8-ini.ini file.

If the file to be loaded is a PART save file as marked with "#part#" in the header, then when the file is reloaded it will only update those Alinco settings as defined in the file.
 
When you load a data file, if enabled, the Autobackup PREVnnnn function (control via the Options Panel) will first save a copy of the program's current Alinco data settings to a PREVnnnn file for safety just in case you have any unsaved work.  The autobackup data also includes Special Memory Bank X data.

Scheduled Tuning

This will open the Scheduled Tuning form where you can set/define one or more tuning schedules up to a current maximum of 10 schedules.  Details of the settings are below.  This is a very useful facility for tuning to (and optionally recording) news broadcasts, NAVTEX, or just your favourite radio station program.

Scheduled Tuning Image

Fields Are As Follows:
  1. Number:  This is the schedule number.  You can pick a Start Date on any schedule number row but these will then be re-order in ascending date and time order on form closure.
  2. Date:  This is the schedule start date.  This has to be defined and on clicking this cell the Date Picker calendar will be shown from where you can select the required day, month and year.  Note! A strange peculiarity of the Date Picker is that you can not select/set the same date in immediate succession to each other.  e.g. if you select 14/05/2018 then you can not select 14/05/2018 again.  The solution to this is to close and re-open the form or select/set say 15/05/2018 and then change this to 14/05/2018.
  3. Memory Bank:  This is the target memory bank to be tuned.  If not set then no scheduled tuning change will be made.
  4. Memory No. (number):  This is the target memory location in the selected memory bank to be tuned.  If not set then no scheduled tuning change will be made.
  5. Start Hour:  This is the Hour time that the scheduled tuning is to occur.  Any schedule duration currently active will not be changed/terminated.  Time is in GMT/UTC or Local as determined by the Options setting Program Time Settings in GMT/UTC check box.
  6. Start Minute:  This is the Minute time that the scheduled tuning is to occur.   Any schedule duration currently active will not be changed/terminated.  Time is in GMT/UTC or Local as determined by the Options setting Program Time Settings in GMT/UTC check box.
  7. Stop In x Hours:  This is the duration in Hours duration that the scheduled tuning is to last/expire.  Any recording will be terminated and previous tuning settings will be restored.  This defaults to 00 hours.
  8. Stop In y Minutes:  This is the duration in Minutes that the scheduled tuning is to last/expire. Any recording will be terminated and previous tuning settings will be restored.  This defaults to 30 minutes.
  9. Repeat:  The only options for repeat are NONE or DAILY.  With NONE then the tuning will occur only on the specific date and time specified.  If DAILY then the tuning will first occur on the date and time specified and daily on that time thereafter.
  10. Enable:  This Enables any selected schedule.  If a schedule is not enabled then nothing will happen.
  11. Delete:  This will Delete the schedule.  A confirmation dialog will be present to confirm the delete. 
General Notes! 
  1. DriveR8 uses a simple time stamp ( yyyymmddhhmm) to trigger a scheduled event.   If you have manually started a recording which is currently running then DriveR8 will skip/ignore any conflicting schedule.
  2. If a scheduled tuning event is currently operative,  recording or not, then any conflicting scheduled event will be skipped/ignored.  
  3. When the scheduled tuning event duration time expires then the receiver/transceiver tuning settings will be restored and any active recording terminated.
  4. Scheduled tuning event overlaps are up to the user to manage.  DriveR8 will not give a warning of overlaps.  However using the tables column sort ability overlaps can be readily seen the relevant column sorting.
  5. Time will be as defined by your Local or GMT/UTC time setting in the Options menu.

Reset Colours

This will reset the programs background colours to their default values.

The program allows the user to change the background colours used for the Main Panel/Form, Menu Bar, and all Control Groups.  In all there are over 20 definable background areas that can be configured on the main control panel form.
 
To configure an area colour then use a right mouse button click when over the area and then select your chosen colour from the palette table.

Options

Options Panel Image

The Options Panel allows you to control the following settings:

Auto PREV File Backup

This function can be turned On or Off by checking or un-checking the check box.

When enabled then every time you load a DriveR8 Alinco settings file the program will automatically save the program's Alinco data settings to a PREVnnnn.txt file in the 'prev' directory of your normal  file load and save location.

The combo drop down box allows you to set the number of PREVnnnn files you wish to keep.  The default setting for this is 50 files but you can set from 5 to 1000 files should you so wish.  If you set say 100 then at PREV0100.txt the file numbering will wrap back to PREV0001.txt and overwrite existing files.

Virtual Display/Status Refresh Period

The program dynamically determines the best Display/Status Refresh periods when the AUTO check box is checked. The default settings is AUTO

You should always use the AUTO Status/Refresh unless you experience specific communications and stability issues.  If you are running natively on a Windows machine then there should be no reason to manually select the refresh period.  Manual selection *may* be required if you are running the program on a MAC or Linux PC.

Should manual configuration be required then the following information will be of interest.

The display on the Main Control Panel Status Latency Time and on the right here, shows in milliseconds the actual average time in any given 1 second period the program takes to do the following:
  1. Get all required status data from Alinco
  2. Analyse said data
  3. Build and display the Virtual Alinco Display.
A warning sound may be issued and the background colour changes as follows:
You can change the Status Pole Time refresh period from 5ms to 2000ms.  It should be set the the lowest / fastest time possible but not so fast that it is more often than not in the ORANGE or RED zone. It defaults to the normal/default conservative value of 300ms. For most people and systems a faster/lower value should be selected.

You should ideally set the Status Pole Times for GREEN for reliability and command responsiveness. For more modern PCs / laptops then a pole time setting in the region of 50ms should be achievable.

When running on a non native Windows PC, e.g. Apple MAC machine, Virtual Machine software or Windows Emulator software, then the Status Pole Time may have to be significantly increased to avoid warnings.

The Mute Status Timer Warning Sound check box when checked will turn off the audio warning system exclamation sound.  It is inevitable that periodically your PC's system performance will be impacted by other events and programs and these could temporarily put DriveR8 status times into the Red/Warning zone due to a slower average time.  The more aggressively faster you set the status pole times the more frequently warnings could occur.

Running with ORANGE is normally OK but of little advantage.  Running in the RED may cause user interface command issues as the program is spending all it's time attending to status and display duties.

Note! - The bulk of the latency time is made up of the serial command sending and receiving of data.  The Alinco only supports an incredibly slow COM speed of 9600 Baud.  This means that even the fastest PCs are probably not going to achieve a Status Pole Time of less than 40ms.

Memory Cache and MemX VFO

Enable Memory Cache - when checked then the program will store read Memory MEMO (Bank Main), MEMOA (Bank A) and MEMOB (Bank B) data in the DriveR8-cache.ini file.  Due to the slow 9600 Baud rate of the Alinco's serial port it takes 35 seconds to read each bank (1 minute 45 seconds for all three banks).  By storing already read data in the cache file, then provided memory changes are not made on the Alinco's keyboard and only made through DriveR8, there is a significant increase in performance and usability.

X-VFOA and X-VFOB Radio Buttons select which of the Alinco's VFOs is used when Special Memory MEMX (Bank X) is used to tune the Alinco.  Unlike the Alinco's three memory banks Special MEMX (Bank X) is DriveR8's own custom memory bank.  No data is stored in the Alinco so to tune to a frequency setting the program has to use one of the Alinco's VFOs.  

Memory Match Bandwidth

The Main Panel Memory Match display also uses visual meter bars to show how far above and below the currently tuned frequency is to that of any given frequency stored in memory.  The range of the scale can be set to 0.1kHz, 1kHz or 10kHz
 
The 0.1kHz range is best used when RF Modes USB, LSB, CWU and CWL are used.

Program Time Settings in GMT/UTC

The program can use GMT/UTC time or Local (LCL) time for the following functions:
For GMT check the Program Time Settings in GMT/UTC check box.

Program Update Check

The program can automatically check for updates.  It *always* defaults to never check.  If you leave at the default setting then please remember to occasionally do a manual program update check via the About menu and the Check For Program Update function.

To enable the program to automatically check for updates then check the Enable Automatic Program Update Check check box.  The default interval period in days between update checks is 5 days.  However you can use the Check Every n Days combo box control to select 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 20 or 30 day intervals.
 
The automatic update check will only make a single check per day regardless of how many times the program is started and stopped.
 
Should a later/updated version of the program be available then you will be informed accordingly.  Please Note!  For both the manual and automatic program update checks no data (other than the update information) is download or installed to your PC.  If you want the updated version of the program then you must go and fetch it yourself.

Form Margin Snap Size

Most of the program's main windows/forms can "Snap To" either of the four screen corners or to the screen's top, bottom or sides.  The margin size to which a window/form has to be dragged to, or within, can be set from 0 to 150 pixels.  If a value of 0 is set then the Snap To feature is disabled.  For any other non zero value then when a major window/form is moved to/within the margin snap size then the window/form will snap to the corresponding corner or edge location.

Recording File Name Header

Here you can choose how the recorded audio files are named.  Time is in GMT/UTC or Local as determined by the option setting Program Time Settings in GMT/UTC check box.
 
If Frequency and Modulation is selected then the file names will be of the form "frequency-modulation-yymmdd-hhmmss-timezone.wav".  For example 01.000000-AM-170201-175808-GMT.wav is a recording of frequency 01.000000 MHz in AM modulation, on year 2017, month 02, day 01, started at time 17 hours, 58 minutes and 08 seconds GMT Time.

If Memory Tag Name is selected then the file names will be of the form "name-bank-number-yymmdd-hhmmss-timezone.wav".  For example RADIOX-MEMO-000-170201-175808-LCL.wav is a recording of memory tag name RADIOX in bank MEMO and memory location 000 recorded on year 2017, month 02, day 01, started at time 17 hours, 58 minutes and 08 seconds LCL (local) Time. 

Option selection is disabled if the program is currently recording.

WAV File Auto Delete

Depending on your usage of the audio recording function you may find old WAV files building up and taking valuable storage space.

WAV file management and moving/backup is a User responsibility.
 
To aid WAV file management you can choose to enable the WAV File Auto Delete function, to permanently delete WAV files that are older than the selected number of days.  When enabling this function you will get a warning message which you should review and check the selected days, after deletion will occur, is correct.   

The default settings are:  Off/Disabled and 365 days.

Illumination Settings

 Illumination Settings Image 

LCD Dimmer

Adjust Alinco's Display Backlight.  Use drop down box to select a value between 01 and 64 where 01 is the dimmest value and 64 the brightest.

RX LED Light [DX-R8 only]

Choose Alinco's RX Lamp colour to be RED or GREEN.

Key/Dial Settings

Key/Dial Setting Image

Key Beep

Set Alinco's Key Beep to OFF or ON.
 
Note! When the program starts if Key Beep is ON then every command sent by the program to the Alinco results in an annoying Beep.  To avoid this the program will turn off key beep but will leave the program's screen Key Beep setting showing  ON.  When the program shuts down then the key beep will be turned back ON.  If you change the Key Beep setting then the program will honour that change and not restore the previous setting on program shut down.

Key Repeat

Set Alinco's Key Repeat to OFF or ON.

Key Lock

Set Alinco's Key Lock to OFF, DIAL or BOTH.

Function Key

Set Alinco's Function Key operation to MANUAL or AUTO.

Power Controls

Power Controls Image

Power Off

This will initiate and immediate Power Off of the attached Alinco.  There program will no longer function until the Alinco is powered on again and a COM Port connection made.

APO(mins) - (Automatic Power Off)

Selecting any value other than OFF then the Alinco will be automatically power itself OFF after the set time unless there are Alinco key actions.   Times available to set are 3060, 90 and  120 minutes.

Setting a time other than OFF then a flashing nn (with purple back colour) will be displayed next to the time setting.  This flashing indicator will count down and show you the time in minutes before the Alinco automatically powers off.

Any Alinco key actions (see Note below) will reset the APO timer back to the value you have selected.
 
Note!  VOL, SQL, IF SHIFT, RIT and Main Tuning Dial operations will not reset the APO timer.

Sleep  [DX-R8 only]

This will turn the Alinco's Sleep Timer OFF and ON

If ON then the program's Virtual Alinco Display will show a flashing nn (with purple back colour).  This flashing indicator will count down and show you the time in minutes before the Alinco automatically powers off as set by the Time(mins) setting.

Time(mins) [DX-R8 only]

Sets the Sleep Time.  Available times are  from 10 minutes to 180 minutes in 10 minute steps.

RF Settings Main and Other Settings

RF Settings Image

The RF Settings are split into two groups, Main and Other.

This is done for convenience with the Main (mostly likely to be changed) settings being directly below the main Display.  The Other (less likely to be changed) settings are just to the right of the Main settings so still ready to hand.  A similar layout has been used for the RF Mode and Step settings.
 
Most, but not all, of these settings will also be displayed in DriveR8's Virtual Alinco Display.  If displayed then "(displayed)" will be listed after the available settings values.
 
Documentation here for these settings is limited to the values available.  Refer to your Alinco's Instruction Manual for full details.

RF Gain

Values: -20dB, -10dB, 0dB, +10dB (displayed)

AGC Speed

Values: AGC-F (fast) and AGC-S (slow) (displayed)

Narrow Filter

Values: WIDE and NARROW (displayed : Nar = Narrow, blank = Wide)

Noise Blanker

Values: OFF and ON (displayed: NB = On, blank = Off)

AGC Auto

Values: OFF and ON

SSB Auto

Values: OFF and ON

U/L Tone

Values: OFF and ON (displayed: UT = On (for USB), LT = On (for LSB), else other normal RF Mode values)

RF Mode and Step Settings

RF Mode Settings ImageRF Step Settings Image

These RF Settings are split into two groups, Mode and Step.

This is done for convenience with the Mode (mostly likely to be changed) settings being directly to the right of the main Display.  The Step  (less likely to be changed) settings are just to the right of the Mode settings so still ready to hand.  A similar layout has been used for the RF Main and Other settings.
 
Most, but not all, of these settings will also be displayed in DriveR8's Virtual Alinco Display.  If displayed then "(displayed)" will be listed after the available settings values.
 
Documentation here for these settings is limited to the values available.  Refer to your Alinco's Instruction Manual for full details.

USB - LSB - CWU - CWL - AM - FM/IQ  Modes

These buttons set the relevant mode (displayed).  The current mode button with be coloured Blue when set.  The FM mode button will change to an IQ mode button when IQ Mode is set to ON.

IQ Mode

Values: OFF and ON (displayed)
 
When IQ is set to ON then the above FM button changes to the IQ Mode button.

SSB Step

Values: 0.1kHz, 0.5kHz, 1.0kHz and 2.5kHz

AM Step

Values:  1.0kHz, 2.5kHz, 5kHz, 9kHz and 10kHz

FM Step

Values: 0.5kHz, 1.0kHz, 2.5kHz, 5kHz, 10kHz, 12.5kHz and 20kHz

IQ Step

Values: 2.5kHz, 5kHz, 9kHz, 10kHz, 12.5kHz and 20kHz

<IQ Shift>

Values: -24kHz to +24kHz in 10Hz steps 
 
To adjust the shift value then Single Mouse Click the IQ Shift display box and then use the Mouse Wheel, or the Up, Down, Left or Right Cursor keys.
To reset the shift value to 00000 then Double Mouse Click the IQ Shift display box.

Virtual Alinco Display


Virtual Display Image

The Virtual Alinco Display is a virtual representation of the Alinco's digital display.  The Alinco has no display data feed so this virtual display has to be created by DriveR8.  Not all information available on the Alinco's digital display and graphics is available or represented on DriveR8's virtual display. 

This display is a dynamically constructed display based on some content/status of the Alinco and DriveR8's current control settings.  The display is updated/rebuilt period is as per the Status Pole Time.  
 
The display is also supports the ability to change frequency by use of mouse wheel in the frequency MHz, kHz and Hz display fields.

The table below shows the relevant supported display items.  The two left columns show the display item numbers as shown in your Alinco's Instruction Manual.

DX-R8 Display No. DX-SR8/DX-SR9 Display No. Alinco Display Item
DriveR8 Display Item
1
1
MEMO, MEMO A, MEMO B, Memory Number
Supported + MEMOX
[DriveR8 special]
2
2
VFO A and VFO B
Supported
3
5
AGC-S and AGC-F
Supported

3
TUNE [DX-SR8/SR9 only] Supported
4
6
RF Gain : RF-20 -10 0 +10 dB Graphics
Supported as RF-20 -10 0 +10 text
n/a
4
SPLIT [DX-SR8/SR9 only] Supported
5
7
* Multifunction Graphic
Not Supported
6
8
RF Mode, IQ and Set
Supported
7
9
Cursor MHz/kHz Graphic
Supported
8A
10A
Frequency
Supported + mouse frequency control
8B
10B
Memory Name Tag - See 17
Supported at bottom of display
9
11
FUNC function key Graphic
Not Supported
10
12
Dial or Key Lock Function Graphic
Supported as OFF, DIAL, BOTH text 
11
14
NB Noise Blanker
Supported
12
15
Nar Narrow / Wide Filter
Supported
13
n/a
T Sleep Time [DX-R8 only]
Supported
n/a
16
T Tone Encode [DX-SR8/SR9 only] Not Supported
n/a
13
Transmit Power [DX-SR8/SR9 only] Supported
14
17
BUSY Graphic
Not Supported
15
18
S Meter Graphic
Not Supported - see 17
16
19
RIT On/Off and shift Supported but no shift +/- frequency 
n/a
19
TXIT On/Off and shift [DX-SR9/SR9 only]
Supported but no shift +/- frequency
17A
10
Memory Tag Name
Supported [DriveR8 special]
17B
n/a
Band Display for VFOA & VFOB
Supported [DriveR8 special]
 
Notes for 17A/17B:  In place of the S Meter Graphic at the bottom of the display we instead have an alternative display field for the following:
This means that we have both Frequency and Name (for memory bank use) and Frequency and Band (for VFoA/VFoB use)  available on the virtual display at the same time.

The frequency Band information is derived as follows:
  1. If the frequency falls within an Alinco defined range of band frequencies then the Alinco band name definition is used. 
  2. If the frequency falls outside an Alinco defined range of band frequencies then DriveR8 calculates the band metre length to the nearest 1 metre length

Frequency Display and Control

The frequency display is made of three display fields.  nn MHz . mmm kHz .  iii Hz

Each of the display MHz, kHz and Hz fields allows that part of the frequency to be changed using the mouse wheel.

To change a value then left mouse button click the required field to select it and keeping the mouse pointer over the field rotate the mouse wheel forward to increase the value and backwards to decrease the value.

The frequency fields are interlinked thus, for example, 01.999.000 will change to 02.000.000 and back to 01.999.000 with a mouse wheel forward one click and back one click on the kHz field.  Similarly for the MHz and Hz fields.
 
This method of frequency changing allows for quick and alternative way of frequency changing other than via direct keyboard input.

When the Alinco's display is showing a memory name tag the frequency display will .  The memory name tag will however be displayed in the Memory Control Group's Memory Name Display.

Sleep Time Display [DX-R8 only]

In addition to the associated T indicating that the Sleep Timer is active, the DriveR8 also shows the time in minutes (with flashing purple back colour) the time in minutes before the Alinco powers off next to the Sleep Controls.

Frequency Change Control Group

Frequency Change Controls Image

These are the primary VFO frequency controls.  Some settings are also displayed in the Virtual Alinco Display.

VFO-A and VFO-B Buttons

Sets Alinco to use VFO-A or VFO-B.  Current setting results in the button back colour being Blue. (displayed)

VFO A=B Button

Sets Alinco's VFO-A and VFO-B frequency to be the same as the current frequency.

MHz and kHz Radio Buttons

Sets the Frequency Input Box to be MHz or kHz formats.

Current MHz/kHz setting is saved on program closure and are restored on next program start.

Band Drop Down

Tunes to frequency as the start of the Band.

Values : 160, 80, 60, 40, 30, 20, 17, 15, 12, 10 metres

RIT Drop Down [DX-R8]

Values: OFF and RIT (displayed)

Actual RIT offset is not displayed.

RIT/TXIT Drop Down [DX-SR8/SR9 only]

Values: OFFRIT, TXIT, BOTH (displayed)

Actual RIT and TXIT offset are not displayed.

Note! If TXIT Access is off then only OFF and RIT are available.

Cursor Drop Down

Sets the Alinco's display Cursor (displayed)

Values: Memory, Band, 1MHz, 100kHz, Step

Frequency Input Box

Here you enter, via the PC keyboard, the frequency to tune to.   See MHz/kHz Radio Buttons.  Mouse click this input box to enable keyboard input.

Input Formats:
Current MHz/kHz setting is saved on program closure and are restored on next program start.

Frequency Set Button

This will commit / send the frequency value in the Frequency Input Box to the Alinco.

<< Frequency Step Down Button

Will step change down the frequency value buy the RF Step value for the current RF Mode active.

>> Frequency Step Up Button

Will step change up the frequency value buy the RF Step value for the current RF Mode active.

Fc - Frequency Control Panel Button

Will display the Frequency Control Panel.

VFO Scratch Pad

The VFO Scratch Pad is an instant Save and Recall facility. 

VFO Scratch Pad

Whatever Frequency and RF Mode the receiver/transceiver is tuned to when the "S" Save Button is pressed will result in them being saved to the Scratch Pad Memory.  This memory is a single location only.  When the "R" Recall Button is pressed the Frequency and RF Mode currently stored in the Scratch Pad Memory will be recalled and the receiver/transceiver set to that Frequency and RF Mode.  Any data stored in the Scratch Pad Memory will be displayed on the left of the "S" Save and "R" Recall Buttons.

This program feature allows you to change the Frequency or RF mode away from your currently tuned values and then instantly restore those settings.
 
The Scratch Pad Memory is temporary data that is retained only while the program is running.

"S" Save Button

The "S" button will store the currently tuned Frequency and RF Mode to the Scratch Pad Memory.  The currently store frequency and RF mode, if any, are displayed on the left.

"R" Recall Button

The "R" button will restore the saved Frequency and RF Mode from the Scratch Pad Memory and the receiver/transceiver tuned to those restored values.  The button is disabled if there is no data stored.

Frequency Control Panel

The Frequency Control Panel with be displayed when the Fc Button in the Frequency Change Control Group is pressed.

Frequency Control Panel Small Image

Frequency Control Panel Large Image

In many receive only operation usage cases the full DriveR8 Control Panel is not required are takes up valuable screen space.  This is especially true when using other software to decode transmitted digital modes. 
 
With this smaller control panel you can minimise the main panel and use this one instead. 

Note1. Frequency and RF Mode changes made with this control panel are propagated back to the Main Control Panel and Main Display.  Likewise Main Control Panel changes of Frequency and RF Mode will be propagated to this control panel.

Note2. The width of the control panel can be increased to the full PC monitor display width thus improving the resolution of the Frequency Change  Slider.

The position and width of the control panel are saved and will be restored the next time the panel is used.

Frequency Display

Shows the current frequency tuned to.  Format is nn.nnn.nnn (nn MHz . nnnn kHz . nnn Hz).  

RF Mode Change Button

Displays the current RF Mode set.  Clicking the button will change the RF Mode to the next mode in the sequence of USB -> LSB -> CWU -> CWL -> AM -> FM (IQ) back to USB.

Note: IQ Mode ON has to be enabled on the Main Control Panel for it to appear here otherwise it will be FM mode.

Frequency Range Button

Selects the operating range of the Frequency Change Slider.  In the above pictures 4MHz has been selected and lowest settable frequency is set to 4MHz and the highest settable frequency is  set to 5MHz.   The current frequency range limits are also displayed at each end of the slider bar. 

Frequency Change Slider

Adjusts the frequency up or down within the selected frequency range limits.  Range width is 1MHz.

The slider supports the following change methods:
  1. Mouse Click and Drag the slider pointer up (to right) and down (to left)
  2. Mouse Click to the LEFT of the slider pointer to step the frequency down
  3. Mouse Click to the RIGHT of the slider pointer to step the frequency up
  4. Mouse Click and HOLD to the LEFT of the slider pointer to rapid scroll the frequency down
  5. Mouse Click and HOLD to the RIGHT of the slider pointer to rapid scroll the frequency up
  6. Keyboard Cursor Up/Left keys to step the frequency down (hold to rapid scroll) (select slider first)
  7. Keyboard Cursor Down/Right keys to step the frequency up (hold to rapid scroll) (select slider first)
  8. Keyboard Page Up key to step the frequency down (hold to rapid scroll) (select slider first)
  9. Keyboard Page Down key to step the frequency up (hold to rapid scroll) (select slider first)
The frequency steps values are the same as those used by the Alinco's rotary tuning dial for the selected RF Mode:
NOTE!  Unlike when using the Alinco's rotary tuning dial you will hear the frequency change.    

Scan Control Group

Scan Control Group

This group of scan controls operate the Alinco's inbuilt scanning functions.  For full details of the Alinco's scan functions please refer to the Alinco's Instruction Manual.
 
Note! Special Memory Bank X is excluded and can not be scanned.  If Bank X is active then the Scan Up and Scan Down buttons will be inoperative.
 
When any of the scan functions are active then DriveR8's Virtual Alinco Display will display / emulate the Alinco's display with the exception of memory name tag.  The memory name tag will however be displayed in the Memory Control Group's Memory Name Display.

Scan Mode Select

Selects Alinco's Scan Modes.

Values: Band, Program, Search and Memory scans

Scan/Search Width Select

Selects the Alinco's Search scan range/width when in Search scan mode.

Values: 50kHz, 100kHz and 200kHz

Scan Timer Select

Selects the Alinco's time parameters for how long it stops on a frequency when scanning.

Values: OFF, 0, 1S, 2S, 3S, 5S, 7S, 10S, B0, B1S, B2S ... B10M, B20M and B30M

Please refer to your Alinco's Instruction Manual for full details but here is a quick guide:

OFF - Scans Stops On Signal - Scan Cancelled - Scan Status is Inactive
0 - Scans Stops on Signal - Scan Resumes when signal lost - Scan Status is Active
1S to 10S - Scan Stops on Signal - Scan Resumes after n Seconds - Scan Status is Active
B0 - Scan Does Not Stop - Scan Status is Active
B1 to B30S - Scan Stays on Frequency for n Seconds before stepping to next - Scan Status is Active

IMPORTANT NOTE!  DriveR8 has NO knowledge of the Alinco's signal BUSY/SQUELCH status.  Once DriveR8 Starts or Stops a Scan then this is what the program takes a fact.  The scan status is either Active or Inactive.  However DriveR8 uses an algorithm of checking if, when scanning, the Alinco is still tuned to the same frequency.   In the case of the Scan Timer OFF value then DriveR8 will DriveR8 will issue, to itself, a Scan Stop command so DriveR8 will effectively pick up that the Alinco has halted scanning behind DriveR8's back.

Scan Skip Select

Sets the Alinco's skip action to Alinco's memory location's skip setting.  If a memory location "skip" is set on/checked then if Scan Skip Select is also set to ON then the Alinco will not stop on that memory location when scanning.

Values: OFF and ON

Up Scan Button

Starts the Alinco Scanning Up in the selected Scan Mode.

When scanning Up the button will turn colour Green and the Stop Scan button colour will turn Red.

If the Alinco stops on a frequency then you can either Stop the scan by hitting the Stop Scan Button or you can resume the scan by hitting the Scan Up button.

Stop Scan Button

Stops the Alinco Scanning.

If a scan is in progress then the button will be coloured Red.

Down Scan Button

Starts the Alinco Scanning Down  in the selected  Scan Mode.

When scanning Down the button will turn colour Green and the Stop Scan button coloured will turn Red.

If the Alinco stops on a frequency then you can either Stop the scan by hitting the Stop Scan Button or you can resume the scan by hitting the Scan Down button.

Priority Scan Button

Turns Priority Scan OFF and ON.  This is a "toggle" button.

When Priority Scan is Active the button will be coloured GREEN.

Memory Match Display Group

Memeory Match Display Image

This is a very unique feature and extremely useful feature, Copyright Nick Bailey 2008-2018 and Prior Art - Nick Bailey 2008.
 
For the above picture the Alinco is tuned to a frequency is 01.005000MHz. 

This Display shows how far above, below or exact match the currently tuned frequency is to a frequency an already defined memory in a  Memory Bank and Memory Location.

The features of each of the separate four elements (one for each memory bank) are as follows:
Each of the graphic bars has ten steps.  The full scale deflection range can be set to 0.1kHz, 1kHz or 10kHz in the program's Options settings.  The currently set value is displayed on the top of the display.
 
Using the above image as an example you would read the following:
Using this Memory Match Display, with an appropriate sensitivity, then you can quickly see, without opening any of the Memory Bank View/Edit functions, if the frequency you are tuned to is an exact or near match to something you have already stored/defined in one of the memory banks.

Memory Tune Controls Group

Memory Tuning Controls Image

These controls drive the Alinco's Memory Banks Main, A and B.  They also control DriveR8's Special Bank X.

In the above image Memory Bank X is selected and Location 000 tuned to.  The memory Name is RADIO DRIVER8.

Memory Input Box

Here you enter, via the PC keyboard, the memory number to tune to.  Mouse click this input box to enable keyboard input.

Valid Inputs:

Memory Set Button

This will select the memory number in the Memory Input Box in the current selected memory Bank. (displayed)

Memory Name Display

This display shows the Name of the selected memory location.  Name is RADIO DRIVER8 in the above image.

Memory Bank Main, Bank A, Bank B,  Bank X Select Buttons

The Mem, MemA, MemB and Mem X buttons select the associated memory bank.  The selected bank's button will turn colour Blue. (displayed)

Memory Bank Main, Bank A, Bank B, Bank X Selected Memory Displays

These displays, below each Bank button, the memory number location selected in each bank. (displayed)

<< Memory Down Button

Steps currently tuned memory location down to the next used location.  Empty locations are skipped.

>> Memory Up Button

Steps currently tuned memory location up to the next used location.  Empty locations are skipped.

Memory Protection Drop Down

Values: OFF and ON - (also applies to Special Bank Mem X)

Note!
When Memory Protection is ON then the Main Control Panel STORE button is disabled (pop up message is issued).   Also the Memory Bank View/Edit is restricted to only the Viewing, Fast Tune, Find, Read All Again and Printing functions.  Pop up message is issued.

Memory VFO Drop Down

Values: OFF and ON - (does NOT apply to Special Bank Mem X)

ON allows the currently memory tuned frequency to be varied by the Alinco's Main VFO Tuning DialOFF prohibits memory frequency being changed by VFO on Banks Main, A and B. 

Note1:  Memory Bank X is unaffected by this setting.
Note2:  Change of frequency via the Virtual Alinco Display's frequency change methods are still possible.

Memory Banks Control Group

This group contains the Memory Banks Bank Main, Bank A, Bank B, Special Bank X and Store to Bank controls.

Memory Banks Image

Bank Main, Bank A, Bank B and Special Bank X

This gives access to Setting, Viewing and Editing the Alinco's Memory Banks and DriveR8's Special Memory Bank X.

The Alinco uses MEMO, MEMO A and MEMO B to refer to it's three memory banks.  DriveR8 refers to these as Bank Main, Bank A and Bank B respectively.

When View/Edit is pressed then a new form is loaded where you have full control over that memory bank's settings.

Note! With the exception of Special Memory Bank X the editing of the Alinco's memory MEMO (Bank Main), MEMO A (Bank A) and MEMO B (Bank B) Edit/Write functions are disruptive in that the Alinco has to be put into Alinco Memory Write Mode.  Once this occurs then when the Edit/Write has been completed then the Alinco will go into a PASS state.  This PASS state leaves the Alinco in disrupted state in that the Alinco's front panel controls will no longer function.  However the Alinco can still be controlled from the DriveR8 program.

Note! When Memory Protection is ON then the Main Control Panel STORE button is disabled (pop up message is issued).   Also the Memory Bank View/Edit is restricted to the Viewing, Fast Tune, Find, Read All Again and Printing functions.  Pop up message is issued.

View/Edit Memory Bank Settings

Each memory bank has it's own form/panel that will open when the View/Edit button is selected.  The form title bar will display Memory Bank Main, Bank A, Bank B or Bank X as appropriate. 

Memeory Bank View/Edit Image

Unlike other programs that use a tabbed interface to display a range of memory locations I have chosen to consolidate all the memory locations onto a single navigable form with a scrollable grid view of the memory data.
 
The main advantage of doing this is that one can sort the data by column (by clicking column header).

The vertical height of the form/grid has been chosen so that memory locations are paged up and down in 25 location chunks at a time. 

Form Differences by Memory Bank

The table below shows the differences between the Memory Bank Forms.

Item
Bank Main
Bank A
Bank B
Bank X
Locations
0 - 199
0 - 201
0 - 201
0 - 199
Name
7 characters
7 characters 7 characters 16 characters
P1 and P2
NO
P1=200/P2=201
P1=200/P2=201 NO
Skip
YES
YES
YES
NO
Read All Again
Button
Enabled
Enabled
Enabled
Disabled

For Bank A and Bank B the Alinco's Program Memory Locations P1 and P2 are replaced by 200 and 201 respectively

Grid Columns / Data Fields

The column/field details (left to right) are as below: (all columns/fields can be sorted by clicking the field/column header)

The following columns/fields are always accessible:
Frequency Prefix Keys and Suffix Keys  

The frequency input field supports several Frequency Prefix Keys and Suffix.  These keys fall into the following categories:
  1. Frequency Quick Input Keys - quick frequency input for known CB Channels
  2. Others - to be added as appropriate or asked for
Prefix Category
(with country default modulation)
Prefix
(any case)
Prefix
Example
Prefix Action
Frequency
Prefix Action
Tag Name
Default
Modulation
UK CB Channel Quick Input
cbuk cbuk10
Set 27.69125MHz
CBUK10
FM
EU/CEPT CB Channel Quick Input cbeu
cbeu19
Set 27.18500MHz CBEU19
FM
US CB Channel Quick Input cbus
cbus40
Set 27.40500MHz CBUS40
AM
 
In addition we have modulation suffix keys that change the default modulation.

Prefix and Suffix Category
(with non default modulation)
Prefix
(any case)
Suffix
(any case)
Prefix
Example
Prefix Action
Frequency
Prefix Action
Tag Name
Default
Modulation
UK CB Channel Quick Input
cbuk a
cbuk10a
Set 27.69125MHz
CBUK10
AM
UK CB Channel Quick Input cbuk f
cbuk10f
Set 27.69125MHz CBUK10 FM
EU/CEPT CB Channel Quick Input cbeu
l
cbeu19l
Set 27.18500MHz CBEU19
LSB
US CB Channel Quick Input cbus
u
cbus40u
Set 27.40500MHz CBUS40
USB

Fast Tune Control

Pressing the Tune button will cause the Alinco to directly tune to the frequency and modulation defined in the current row / location in the grid. 

One can also perform a Fast Tune by double left mouse button clicking any of the cells in the Header Prefix, Location, Name or Frequency fields.
 
For Memory Banks Main, A and B then the Alinco will be tuned to that memory Bank and Location.  For Special Bank X then the tuning is done via the VFOA or VFOB tuning mechanism.  The choice of VFO to be used is set in Options Settings Form.

Find Control

Pressing the Find button will use a simple string search term and/or a frequency as entered in the Text String box below the button.  This is a simple search looking for the text or frequency you have entered.  There are no advanced "this and than but not the other" options.  The Find command is currently restricted to finding data in the Name and Frequency fields only.  However all table columns are sortable by clicking the header field so like data is also readily grouped together, e.g. all Modulations of the same value.
 
When entering text into the Text String box any leading and trailing spaces will be removed but middle spaces will be retained.   So becomes " London "  becomes "london" and " London Airport ATC     " will become "london airport atc".  All text searches are case insensitive.

When entering a frequency into the Text String box the entered frequency should ideally be in MHz format and include the decimal point.  Example "25.620".

When the required data is found the table view focus is taken to that table cell and the cell background colour is set to light blue to highlight the found data.  This will happen for all subsequent finds.  All found cells in this find/search session will remain back highlighted until the Find Form is closed.  This means that you can change find/search data within a session and build up a back highlighted composite view.

All highlights are removed on form closure.
 
The Find button will find and highlight data cell by cell on each button click.

Store Control

The Store button will ONLY operate to complete the Store To Bank process initiated on the Main Control Panel form.  This button is enabled and coloured Green when Store To Bank is pending.  The button will not be enabled until an unused channel store location has been chosen.  To complete the store process then click a memory location prefix field (whole row colour will now turn Blue to indicate that the channel row has been successfully selected) and then click the Store button. 

If the desired location already contains data, either a Name and/or a frequency, then an error message dialogue will be shown asking you to select another location/channel to store the data to.

The Store To Bank process can be cancelled by closing the memory bank form or by pressing the Store Cancel button on the Main Control Panel form.

Any pending store is cancelled on form closure. 

Memory Select Control

The Select All button allows the selection of all memory locations in the bank.  When this button has been selected the button colour will turn to Green and it's label change to Deselect.

The Select Count Display displays the number of currently selected channels.
 
Selecting one or more channels will enable the Select Function Control buttons.

Function Select Controls

There are eight function command buttons in this group.  These commands will ONLY operate on the memory location(s).  When a command button is available for use the button colour will turn to Green.

Cell Copy and Paste Control

The data grid / table supports SINGLE cell Copy and Paste to and from the Windows Clipboard.  This means that cell data can be copied and pasted both within DriveR8's Memory View/Edit form and also outside e.g. to and from a spreadsheet cell or other document.
 
The supported actions/methods are:
I will hopefully be revisiting better Copy and Paste support in the future but it is fraught with issues issues and DriveR8 stability is my major objective.

Duplicate Frequency Group Control

The Warning On check box when checked will cause a message box to be displayed if the frequency you have justed entered into a channel also exists in any other channel.  Existing channels containing this frequency will be listed in the message box.  The frequency entry is still permitted but you may wish to review it.  The setting of Warning On is stored in the ini file on program close and is reloaded on program start.

Remember you can bring all the same frequencies together for review by sorting the frequency data column (by clicking column header).

Read All Again Control

The Read Bank button will initiate a full read of all the Alinco's memory data for current Memory Bank.  This button is not enabled for Special Memory Bank X.  A full all again is only required if you have manually changed or stored memory data on the Alinco whilst DriveR8 is running and supposed to be in control.

Memory Print Controls

The Memory nnn - yyy buttons will raise a printer dialogue where you can select the required printer and printer properties to print the chosen memory location data.  The chosen selection are printed 25 to a page.
 
The ALL Mems button will cause all memory bank locations of data to be printed.  This will produce 4 pages of 25 channels per page.

Form Print Control

The Print Form button will raise a printer dialogue where you can select the required printer and printer properties to print the form and it's currently visible memory data.  To print a complete bank of memory data use the Memory Print Controls.

Store To Bank Control

The Store To Bank button is only enabled when the Bank Main, Bank A, Bank B and Special Bank X are NOT open. 

When the button is pressed the following things happen:
  1. The current frequency and modulation are stored to a temporary buffer
  2. If the current frequency and modulation are already stored then a Duplicate Store Dialogue is displayed showing the duplicate Memory Location in each of the Banks.  You can "OK" to continue or "Cancel"
  3. The button turns Green to indicator that there is now a Store action pending
  4. The button text turns to Cancel
  5. Now select a target Bank to View/Edit for you to complete the store process
  6. A Store Information Message box is displayed confirming the frequency and modulation to be stored
You can now complete the Store as described here.

To Cancel a pending store then just press the button again.

DX-SR8 and DX-SR9 Transmitter Controls

The controls in this group are only visible when a DX-SR8 or DX-SR9 Transceiver is connected.  Currently the CW controls relating to Electric Keyer, Paddle, Side-Tone and Break In functions are not supported but if requested I will add support for them but you will have to help me by undertaking your own testing for me.
 
Please refer to the Alinco's Instruction Manual for any additional information not covered here.

SR8-SR9 Tranmitter Controls

TXMit Button

Mouse clicking the TXMit button will put the Transceiver into transmit mode and the button colour will turn RED.  In addition the Virtual Alinco Display modulation Mode background colour will turn RED.   On mouse button release the Transceiver will return to Reception mode.   

The above transmission mode colour RED indications will also occur when the MIC/microphone PTT (Push To Talk) button is depressed.

PTT Lock

The PTT Lock can be set to ON or OFF.  When ON the TXMit and PTT buttons are locked out from use.

TX Power

This allows the setting of the transmitter power.  It can to set to S-LOW, LOW and HIGH.  The approximate powers used for each power level depend on modulation mode and are defined in the table below.

Settings
HIGH
LOW
S-LOW
SSB / CW / FM
100 Watts
10 Watts
1 Watt
AM
40 Watts
4 Watts
0.4 Watts

Speech Compressor

The Speech Compressor can be set to ON or OFF.  When ON the speech compressor increases the talk power.

Split

Split Frequency Operation can be set to ON or OFF.  When ON split frequency operation is enabled and a different frequency is used for Transmit and Receive modes.  Split operation and setup is complex so please refer to your Alinco's Instruction Manual for additional information and usage.

CTCSS

The CTCSS Tone Operation can be set to ON or OFF.  When ON then the CTCSS frequency tone used is as set in the CTCSS Tone setting.

CTCSS Tone

Selects the required CTCSS Tone frequency.

TXIT Access

TXIT Access can be set to ON or OFF.  When set to OFF the TXIT function is not allow to be set/used.  To set TXIT then see RIT/TXIT control.

Antenna Tune

When the Antenna Tune button is clicked then any attached Alinco EDX-2 or other compatible antenna tuner is activated.  The button colour will turn RED.  In addition the Virtual Alinco Display TUNE background colour will turn RED.

Note!  As there is no signaling from the Transceiver to tell DriveR8 that the antenna tuning is complete DriveR8 uses a fixed indication time of 5 seconds.  This I'm told is a typical average time for the antenna tuning process to complete.  The definitive status of the tuning process will be indicated on the Transceiver's actual display.

Status Latency Display Group

Status & Display Time Image

This display shows two values:

 1. On the left - Status Latency Time being the actual average time in milliseconds during any given 1 second period the program takes to do the following:
2. On the right - the currently set Status Pole Time in milliseconds

See Virtual Display/Status Refresh Period Options setting for more details.

Clock Display Group

Clock Group

The Clock Display shows the current Local and GMT/UTC date and time.   These are taken from your PC's Time Zone and Date and Time Settings. 

The current Local or GMT/UTC setting as set in the Options menu is shown with a green coloured background.

It is not possible to adjust these times with the DriveR8 Program.

Notepad and Auto Save Group

Notepad and Autosave Group

The program has built in Notepad and Autosave functions.
 
When the View/Edit button is pressed a new Notepad Log and Auto Saved Frequencies form is opened.

When the Log Current is button pressed then the current frequency and reception mode of the Alinco, along with the date and time are added to the Notepad Log.  Depending on the settings on the Notepad Log and Auto Saved Frequencies form a number of actions may take place.

Notepad Log and Auto Saved Frequencies

Notepad Log and Autosave form

This form is split into two main components.  A Notepad Group on the left and an Auto Saved Frequencies Group on the right. 
 
The Date and Time entries will be in either GMT (06/02/2017,13:48:55,GMT) or Local time (06/02/2017,13:48:55,LCL).  The logging of is in GMT/UTC or Local as determined by the Options setting Program Time Settings in GMT/UTC check box.

Both groups have Goto Top and Goto Bottom buttons which will scroll the relevant data views to the top and bottom of their respective data views.  No further detailed explanation required.  

If either the Notepad Auto Log function and/or the Auto Saved Frequencies function are enabled then frequency data will be stored/added to the file called "DriveR8-frequency.log"

Notepad Log Group

This Notepad information is stored in a file called "DriveR8-notepad.txt" and this will be located in the program directory or where you have chosen to locate your other Alinco data files.  It is capable of storing 2048 MB of data.  The data will be loaded and saved when the program starts and ends.  The current Notepad usage in Bytes/KB/MB is displayed at the top of the Notepad area.  You will receive a program warning when the currently stored data in the file exceeds 5 MB.  When you start to receive these warnings then you should ideally backup your data as soon as possible and then use the Clear Notepad function.  Loading and saving data exceeding 5 MB will slow down the program start and shutdown performance.

The entries in the Notepad are in CSV format.

To manually make a new Notepad entry then double click in the notepad text area and a new data and time stamped, frequency and modulation entry will be created.  To this entry, or any other entry you can add your own text.
Auto Log Checkbox
This check box, when checked, will enable the Notepad Auto Log function.  When the Alinco is scanning and hits and stops on active frequency then the current date, time, frequency, and modulation are automatically entered into the Notepad area together with an AE (auto entry) additional tag.
Clear Notepad Button
This will clear the current Notepad of all data.  Please ensure you have backed up/copied this data as appropriate.  You will be given a confirmation dialog and option to cancel the clear request.

Auto Saved Frequencies Group

Auto Saved consists of 200 separate storage locations where "hits" can be automatically saved.  This information is stored only in the program's DriveR8-ini.ini file.  Any of your personal Alinco saved data files will not contain these autosave frequencies.  
Auto Saved Quick Tune and Store
Any stored entries can be "Quick Tuned" by mouse double clicking any particular entry.  The Alinco will be tuned the the relevant frequency and modulation.  Should you wish to Store this frequency to a particular Memory Bank and Number then use Store Button and complete the store process.
Auto Save Checkbox
This check box, when checked, will enable the Auto Save Frequency function.  When scanning and the Alinco hits and stops on active frequency then the current date, time, frequency, modulation,  and Hit Count are automatically entered into the next available Auto Saved location.    In addition an AS (auto saved) additional tag is added to the reciprocal entry the Notepad area.  This AS entry will be supplemented with either a NEW=nnn or and OLD=mmm entry.  These entries show if the frequency and modulation mode are NEW and have been stored in location new nnn or they are OLD and were previously stored in an old mmm location. 
 
Once the Auto Saved data/locations reach 200 then the entries will wrap back to location 1 thus overwriting previous data.  It is your responsibility to manage these special 200 locations/data.
Clear Auto Saved Button
This will clear the current Auto Saved locations of all data.  Please ensure you have Stored any entries you wish to keep in a Memory Bank/Location.  You will be given a confirmation dialog and option to cancel the clear request.

Frequency Log File

If either the Notepad Auto Log function and/or the Auto Save Frequencies functions are enabled then frequency data will be stored/added to the file called "DriveR8-frequency.log".  This log is cumulative and can be user edited or deleted .
 
The log file is a simple CSV file with entries as follows:

08/02/2017,18:18:41,GMT,01.000000, FM,004
08/02/2017,18:18:45,GMT,27.601250, FM,004
08/02/2017,18:18:48,GMT,01.100000, FM,005
08/02/2017,18:18:48,GMT,01.000000, FM,005
08/02/2017,18:46:35,GMT,27.601250, AM,001
08/02/2017,18:46:37,GMT,01.100000, AM,001
08/02/2017,18:46:47,GMT,01.440000, AM,002
08/02/2017,18:46:54,GMT,01.450000, AM,001
08/02/2017,18:46:55,GMT,01.460000, AM,001
08/02/2017,18:46:55,GMT,01.480000, AM,001

The fields are date,time, local (LCL) or GMT, frequency, modulation and hit count (000-999)

The hit count is a count of the times the given frequency has been encountered.

If the count = 0 then this a frequency that has been logged when the Auto Saved Frequencies function is NOT enabled. 

If the count is 1 or greater then the frequency was logged when the Auto Saved Frequencies function was enabled.

As the log is cumulative all logged frequencies encountered may or may not appear in the current Auto Saved Frequencies table depending on when the table was last cleared or the storage locations wrapped.
 
Apart from writing data to this file the program does nothing else with the data.  The data is intended for use by anyone interested in analysing the gathered data.

Alinco Read Refresh

Recevier Read Refresh Image

DriveR8 is designed to be the Master in controlling the Alinco.  Manual intervention on the Alinco will, in most cases, cause the program's view of the Alinco to become out of step with the Alinco's altered state.   This Read Refresh function will cause DriveR8 to refresh it's view of the Alinco.

See Running when Connected to a Powered On Alinco for more detailed information and when to use this Read Refresh function.

Audio Record and Player Group

The Audio Record and Player Group contains the controls and options for the program's ability to record and playback recorded sound.  Before detailing the various controls and options a little further information is required about the basic sound implementation used by this program.  There is also an option to change the recording file naming convention in "Recording File Name Header".

Audio Record and Playback Controls

PLEASE NOTE!   It may be illegal to record certain types of, or even *any*, radio transmission/traffic in your particular Country, State or Jurisdiction.   It is your responsibility to check the legality of recording any transmission.  Whilst there may be no restriction on recording, the playing of or sharing that recording with another person(s) or party(s) may be illegal.  The author does not condone, support or otherwise encourage any illegal activity.  This program's recording features must ONLY be used in compliance with the laws of your particular Country, State or Jurisdiction.

Sound System Overview

It was never intended that the sound recording and playback functions of this program would be able to compete with other sound recording and playback software available.  Instead the design focuses on using the existing resources that will/should already be available on your Windows system and tightly coupling these to the program thus allowing for a more closely controlled Alinco recording environment and recording control options.

It is important to understand the following points:

Record/Play Controls

These consist of four buttons.  Record, Play, Pause and Stop.  Just to the right of these are two information lines.  The top/first line displays the current status, this being Stopped (in black), Recording (in red), Recording Paused (in red), Playing (in blue) and Playing Paused (in blue).  The second/bottom line displays nothing/blank if status is Stopped or the recording file "tag name" e.g. 01133500-AM.wav in red if status is Recording or in blue if the status is Playing.  Note.  The tag name is a shortened version of the full audio recording file name.

All buttons start with neutral colours.   Only the Record button is initially enabled.

Please read the functions of these buttons taking into consideration the Automatic Record/Settings/Options which can override/take control of the buttons.

Record Button

The Record button when pressed will turn Red and become disabled, recording of the current audio sound stream will start.  The Pause button will turn Yellow and become enabled.   The Stop button will turn Grey and become enabled.  The Play button will be disabled.  The recording can be paused or stopped.  Please Note!  the current recording will have a file name starting with the initial frequency or memory data the Alinco was tuned to when the recording first started. 

Pause Button

The Pause button will become enabled and turn Yellow when either the Record or Play buttons are pressed.   If pressed the current recording or playback will be paused and the button text will change to Resume.  Subsequent Pause button presses will toggle the Pause/Resume action. 

Play Button

The Play button only becomes enabled if there is a recording present in the sound buffer.  The Play button when pressed will play back the currently recorded sound and turn Light Blue.  The Pause button will turn Yellow and become enabled.  The Stop button will turn Grey and become enabled.

Stop Button

The Stop button when pressed will stop the current sound buffer recording or playback.   All buttons will  revert to their neutral colours.  The Record and Play buttons will remain enabled.

Play Saved Button

This button is specifically for accessing and playing files that have been previously recorded and saved to the wav directory.  When clicked a file open dialog box will open where you can choose a WAV file to playback.  This playback function uses your default play program for WAV files and the playback will open in that program's own separate window and it's controls will then take over.  This Play Saved function is totally independent from the above Record, Play, Pause and Stop functions and thus you can be actively recording Alinco audio whilst also listening to previously recorded files.

Com Port Control Group

The Com Port Control Group is for managing the communications port to which the Alinco is connected.  It consists of  the following components:
  1. Current Port and Speed Display
  2. Port Selection Box (not normally required)
  3. Refresh Ports Button (not normally required)
Com Port Group

Note!
Currently the program only supports and lists port names named COMn or COMnn, e.g. COM7 or COM13.
 
The DriveR8 Control Program and the Alinco use 9600 baud, 8 data bits, no parity and 1 stop bit.  The DriveR8 Program will try to configure any selected port to these settings.  If you experience communication problems then it is suggested to try setting these values in  Windows -  Control Panel - Device Manager - Ports - Port Settings for the relevant port.
 
When the DriveR8 program starts it enumerates all available COM ports and adds them to the list of available port.  It will also scan these ports looking for your powered on Alinco.  If there are no COM ports available or the program fails to detect your Alinco an error message will be displayed and the program will enter No Alinco Connected mode.  You will then need to:
  1.  Click the port Refresh Button and if required manually select the correct COM port
  2.  Close and Restart the program
The program does not support dynamic port detection in that ports or devices added or removed whilst the program is operating are not automatically added or removed from the list of available ports.  The program does however have a port Refresh button that performs this function and will then attempt to connect to the Alinco.

Com Port Display

The Com Port Display shows the currently selected Communications Serial Port and Port Speed.
 
It also shows the status of communication as seen by the DriveR8 Program.  The background light colour indicates the following status:

Com Port List Box (use not normally required)

When the program starts it will detect all the COMn and COMnn ports currently available on your PC.  It will also search these ports looking for your Alinco.  If your Alinco is not powered on or the program fails to find it then you will have to manually select the COM port yourself.

The Com Port List Box contains a drop down list of all communication ports that are named COMn or COMnn and are available on your PC.  If your Alinco is not powered on or the program fails to find it then you will have to manually select the COM port yourself.  You should select the appropriate port for your interface.  
 
If you are unsure of which port to use then do the following:
  1. Ensure your interface is connected to the PC
  2. Open Windows -  Control Panel - Device Manager - Ports and review the list of ports and most importantly check the names of devices against each listed port
  3. Note device names and use the port named USB Serial Port (COMn)

Com Refresh Button (use not normally required)

This R button when click will cause the program to go through a port detection routine that will remove missing or invalid ports from the available port list and add any new ports found.

Com Error Retry Counts

The program supports the following COM error retry strategies.
If the program is unable to successfully recover then the program will display permanent COM error messages.

No Alinco Connected Mode

The program is designed to run when connected to an Alinco via the Alinco's USB connection.  The program will enter and run in No Alinco Connected mode whenever there are no COM ports available on the system or a port has not been selected or an Alinco is not detected.

When running in No Alinco Connected mode the Title Bar on the form will also contained the text "No Alinco Connected!"   Only program specific controls will be enabled.

DriveR8MenuBar

The program will automatically exit No Alinco Connected  mode as soon as a valid COM port has been selected and an Alinco is present.

Support, Program Suggestions, Recommendations and Bug Reports

I welcome any suggestions, recommendations or bug reports.  These should be sent to:

DriveR8
@
nick-bailey
.
co
.
uk

I can not guarantee to fix or implement what you report/suggest but what I can say is that this DriveR8 Program would not be what it is today without the feedback, suggestions and bug reports that I have received.

Warranty, Liability and License Agreements

The DriveR8 Control Program is hereunto referred to as the 'Program'.

In using the Program you are agreeing to accept all of the terms and conditions stated herein.

The Program is currently Freeware (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeware) with a Careware/Charity status and objective (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Careware).  It operates with no limitations. 

The author reserves the right to change the program status and limitations on any future release.  Existing releases will retain their status and your right to use them but support may not be available.

The Program is supplied 'ASIS' and the author neither accepts, implies nor offers any warranty, liability or any other responsibility for any damages, loss or other claim of any type in respect of this Program, its usage or consequence of its usage.

**You use it at your own risk**.

The Program has no guarantee of support or implied right to support.

The Program is the sole Copyright of the author and all rights are reserved.   The author's Copyright is restricted to those files containing 'DriveR8' in their name and any other file clearly written by the author.  The Copyright includes the intended operation, design and function of the Program.   The Program requires other runtime files to function and the Copyright of these files belongs to their respective owners/authors.

This product contains Alinco proprietary and/or copyright control codes. Used with permission.

The creator of this Program asserts that the appearance of the user interface screens is/are a work of art and therefore attracts Copyright protection under EU law.

You may not disassemble, reverse engineer or otherwise interfere with any of the Program executable files.

You may not use this Program for any illegal or unlawful purpose.

You may not sell, rent or otherwise charge for this Program.
 
The preferred availability and distribution of the Program is from the authors website to which you and others should refer to. 

You may however freely distribute the Program but must do so entirely free of charge, save for any reasonable charge in respect of any physical media used in its distribution.  All electronic or other non physical media distribution must be free of all charges.  You may not alter, modify, remove, or in any way change any of the files that comprise the DriveR8 Program Control Package as released by the author.  You may add your own text or other information files but these must be clearly identifiable as yours, added by you and in such a manner that they do not in any way form part of the DriveR8 Control Program or could easily be considered to be part of the DriveR8 Control Program.  Neither must they infringe the Copyrights of any author, person or organisation and must not contain offensive, illegal or other illicit material.

Should you believe that your version of the Program package has been subject to any infringement of the above conditions then please contact the author immediately providing as much information as possible.

Prior to release, the author has to his satisfaction checked that the Program is free of any Virus or other potentially destructive software/code, but this is not guaranteed. 

Before using the Program you are advised to Virus check the version of the Program you have prior to using it.  The author's Website may also carry MD5 checksums for the critical files.  You are advised to verify these as well.

You are requested to fully read this and any other documentation prior to installing and using the Program.  In using the Program you are agreeing to accept all of the terms and conditions stated herein.

The author hopes that you find DriveR8 Control Program both easy to use, reliable and of assistance to you and your Alinco.  He may be contacted at his Email address and would certainly like to hear of any bugs, criticism, suggestions etc. that you may have.

Please remember.  The Program is supplied 'ASIS' and you use it at your own risk.

Recognised Trademarks, Proprietary Code and Copyrights

Visual Basic, Windows, Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10, .NET are registered trademarks of the Microsoft Corporation.
Alinco is a registered trademark of  Alinco Incorporated.

This product contains Alinco proprietary and/or copyright control codes. Used with permission.
 
Other Trademarks may be mentioned in this document and the author acknowledges them.

Nick Bailey 2016-2018