- What are the Major Components of FreqEZ?
- How Much Does FreqEZ Cost?
- What Special Knowledge or Tools are required to Install, Configure and Operate FreqEZ?
- How Many Remote Antenna Lines Does FreqEZ Control?
- Can FreqEZ Control Other Things Besides Remote Antenna Switches?
- Does FreqEZ Recognize when the Radio is in Split Mode?
- What Logging Programs Support FreqEZ?
- Does FreqEZ Select Antennas Based on Frequency or Band?
- What are the FreqEZ RPi HAT Output Ratings? Can it Handle + or – Voltages?
- Can FreqEZ simultaneously operate Both Automatically and Manually?
- What is the Purpose of the PTT Inhibit Input?
- Will the Raspberry Pi 4 Temperature Derating Curve Affect FreqEZ?
What are the Major Components of FreqEZ?
FreqEZ is a combination of hardware and software programs. The hardware is a Raspberry Pi single-board computer with a companion board. The software includes two programs working in concert: the FreqEZwin Console running in Windows on a desktop PC; and the FreqEZrpi Controller running on a Raspberry Pi.
How Much Does FreqEZ Cost?
The FreqEZwin Console and FreqEZrpi Controller software are free.
The FreqEZ Controller HAT hardware, plus the Raspberry Pi, power supply and case, will cost between $50 and $125, depending on whether you build your own companion board as a DIY project or buy an Assembled and Tested FreqEZ RPi HAT (Hardware Attached on Top) board from K8UT.
What Special Knowledge or Tools are required to Install, Configure and Operate FreqEZ?
None. FreqEZ is installed, configured and operated using familiar software features like menus, mice, and editors. Re-configuring FreqEZ is performed via a menu and file editor. There are no DIP switches, diodes or solder bridges.
The only tool required for assembly is a screwdriver.
How Many Remote Antenna Lines Does FreqEZ Control?
Maximum of 64, in increments of 8 starting at 8 through 64. The FreqEZ Windows Console can support four Raspberry Pi FreqeEZ Controllers. Each Raspberry Pi FreqEZ Controller supports 8 (HAT8 board) or 16 (HAT16 board) output relays. NOTE: If you build a DIY Controller using Sainsmart Relay boards, you could connect as few as 4 or 8 outputs.
Can FreqEZ Control Other Things Besides Remote Antenna Switches?
Yes. FreqEZ is band- and frequency-aware and capable of Automatically (or Manually) adjusting external tuners, selecting receive antennas, enabling bandpass filters, controlling amplifiers and managing other devices.
Does FreqEZ Recognize when the Radio is in Split Mode?
Yes. When FreqEZ is configured for Automatic by Frequency input, the Windows Console will choose outputs based on the UDP packet’s (transmitter frequency) and as supplied by your logging program. If your logging program sends two packets (one for each Radio/VFO) FreqEZ selects outputs based on the radio number in the UDP field.
When FreqEZ is configured for Automatic by BCD, the Windows Console will choose outputs based on band (not frequency) information supplied by your radio or logging program. Unless your radio is capable of cross-band split configuration, there will be no difference in input between Split and Simplex modes of operation.
What Logging Programs Support FreqEZ?
FreqEZ receives band/frequency information via four methods: Manual, Automatic by Frequency, Automatic by N1MM antenna number, and Automatic by BCD Inputs.
- In Manual mode, FreqEZ functions without interfacing to any logging software
- In Automatic by N1MM, FreqEZ receives N1MM configuration data from its UDP packet
- In Automatic by BCD, FregEZ will interface with any logging program that sends band data to a PC parallel (LPT) port. Or, without logging program participation, from BCD data that is present on the aux (ACC) jack of many transceivers
- In Automatic by Frequency, FreqEZ receives frequency data from the field of the packet. Logging programs that provide data via UDP include: N1MM+, DXLab Commander, Logger32 v4, DXLog, UcxLog, Log4OM, FRStack (Flex) and TR4W.
Does FreqEZ Select Antennas Based on Frequency or Band?
When FreqEZ is configured for Auto/BCD or Auto/N1MM input, output selections are based on Band (no Frequency data is available).
What are the FreqEZ RPi HAT Output Ratings? Can it Handle + or – Voltages?
The FreqEZ Rpi HAT output circuits are designed to handle up to 24 volts A/C, Positive, or Negative voltages at 500 milliamperes. Although the Toshiba TLP240ALF1 opto-MOSFETs are rated for 60 volts, each output is protected from remote relay transients by a 24 volt TVS bi-directional spike suppressing diode. Contact us for customization to accommodate higher voltages.
Can FreqEZ simultaneously operate Both Automatically and Manually?
Yes. While FreqEZ is automatically activating outputs based on Frequency, N1MM Settings, or BCD inputs, you can manually activate additional outputs using the FreqEZ’s Manual Forced ON feature. Press the keyboard button and left-click on the desired output to turn it on. For example, when FreqEZ auto-activates your 80 meter vertical transmit antenna, you could manually select the appropriate North-, South-, East- or West-facing beverage receive antenna.
When your architecture includes more than one Raspberry Pi Controller, you can operate with mixed combinations of Automatic and Manual Controllers.
What is the Purpose of the PTT Inhibit Input?
The PTT Inhibit circuit prevents the RPi FreqEZ Controller from changing antennas while your radio is transmitting. By monitoring the Push-To-Talk line from your radio, keyer, or PC serial port, the FreqEZrpi Controller software “knows” when your radio is transmitting. When that PTT line is grounded (low), the FreqEZrpi Controller will ignore any packets from the FreqEZwin Console or any changes to the BCD input lines. The Controller will only perform output changes when that PTT line remains high (inactive). If you do not connect your station’s PTT line to the input, the Controller will always operate as if it is in Receive mode.
Will the Raspberry Pi 4 Temperature Derating Curve Affect FreqEZ?
No, not if FreqEZ is the only program running on your Raspberry Pi 4. The Pi 4 runs hotter than previous versions of Raspberry Pi computers, and there are many solutions (fans and heat sinks) to avoid thermal slow-downs beyond 85 C. In our opinion those devices are not needed on a dedicated FreqEZ Pi.
FreqEZrpi is a low-impact terminal application that does not require much CPU, Memory, and Graphics processing. In our tests – without fans or heatsinks, enclosed in the listed Argon Neo or GeeekPi cases – the CPU temperature is typically well below 60 C – below the point at which performance would be thermally impacted. Of course, if necessary you could always add inexpensive heatsinks or fans to your Controller.
You can read your Pi temperature from the command line by typing “vcgencmd measure_temp”