Barrett SDR Tuning Knob - Option 1
The Ideal Amateur Mobile/Base Radio
Since discovering the MICOM series of HF radios, and later moving to the Barrett SDR platform, I've been fascinated with the idea of adapting a tuning knob. This could be the perfect rig—a commercial grade radio with ham-friendly operation.
In fact, one Internet search resulted in the MICOM-H, an interesting deviant of the robust MICOM-2E HF transceiver with purpose-built frequency turning knob. The specifications sheet advertised the MICOM-H as "the ideal amateur mobile/base radio." But, why were no used units found? And, why was there such little information on this "ideal" rig?
Well, it turns out that the MICOM-H may not have been as popular as what it seemed, and apparently only 50-or-so units were manufactured. Rumor has it that there is even a new-in-box MICOM-H still in existence. Regardless, the MICOM-H unfortunately never gained traction alongside the continued progress of the MICOM-2ES, MICOM-3F, and so on.
Today, the divide between ham-specific HF radios with frequency tuning knobs and commercial radios without has continued. However, with the addition of SDR offerings within the ham radio market, USB-connected frequency tuning knob accessories have bene developed, such as the FlexControl USB Controlled Tuning Knob.
So, my search started for possible solutions that could be easily adapted to the Barrett 4050 SDR. I also noticed in the process that in addition to the Free Scroll Rx/Tx feature, there are several assigned keystrokes while using the application-based Remote Control software.
Option 1: Contour Design Shuttle Xpress
Meet the Contour Design Shuttle Xpress, a USB-connected Jog/Shuttle wheel with 5 programmable buttons, at a reasonable price (around $60 USD).
Once you have one (and also a license for the Barrett 4050 Series HF Remote Control software and the Free Scroll Tx/Rx Feature), here's how to get up and running:
Step 1: Install Drivers and Software
Download and install the Contour Shuttle Device Configuration software from the Shuttle Drivers website, and check to Open the Contour Control Panel at the end of installation or right-click on the toolbar icon and click Open Control Panel.
The Contour Shuttle Device Configuration software is intelligent enough to have different settings on a per-application basis, detect the current active application, and sent those set keystrokes accordingly.
You might notice that there are already dozens of included, pre-programmed application settings--unfortunately, these cannot be removed to cleanup the list, but there is an easy way to add settings for the Remote Control software.
Step 2: Import Settings
While it is possible to manually build a settings profile for the Barrett 4000 Series HF Remote Control software, you might find it easier to import this settings file: Barrett HF Remote Control.pref
In Settings management, click on Options, Import Settings, and select the downloaded file. You should then see the Application setting Barrett HF Remote Control.
Step 3: Verify Target Application
It is a good idea to verify the Barrett 4000 Series HF Remote Control software is set as the target application for the application setting profile. To do this, click again on Options, then Change target application. Locate the executable "Barrett 4000 Series HF Remote Control.exe" file, likely within the folder "C:\Program Files (x86)\Barrett Communications\Barrett 4000 Series HF Remote Control" and double click to select.
This action connects the Application setting with the Barrett 4000 Series HF Remote Control software, so that when the software is running, the specified button settings are active.
Step 4: Scan the Bands!
Even closing out of the Contour Shuttle Device Configuration software, the application is still running with an application icon active in the toolbox.
Start the Barrett 4000 Series HF Remote Control software, connect to a radio, click on the frequency (the Free Scroll Rx/Tx feature), and test the programmed key sequences below.
Button 1: Left Arrow [LEFT / TOGGLE CONTROLS]
Button 2: F4 [EXIT FREE SCROLL TX/RX]
Button 3: F10 [TRANSMIT]
Button 4: Enter [SELECT]
Button 5: Right Arrow [RIGHT / TOGGLE CONTROLS]
Jog Left: Down Arrow [DOWN]
Jog Right: Up Arrow [UP]
Shuttle in Left 7: Down Arrow (45 Times per Second)
Shuttle in Left 6: Down Arrow (30 Times per Second)
Shuttle in Left 5: Down Arrow (15 Times per Second)
Shuttle in Left 4: Down Arrow (10 Times per Second)
Shuttle in Left 3: Down Arrow (5 Times per Second)
Shuttle in Left 2: Down Arrow (2 Times per Second)
Shuttle in Left 1: Down Arrow (Once Every Second)
Shuttle Centered: Do Nothing
Shuttle in Right 1: Up Arrow (Once Every Second)
Shuttle in Right 2: Up Arrow (2 Times per Second)
Shuttle in Right 3: Up Arrow (5 Times per Second)
Shuttle in Right 4: Up Arrow (10 Times per Second)
Shuttle in Right 5: Up Arrow (15 Times per Second)
Shuttle in Right 6: Up Arrow (30 Times per Second)
Shuttle in Right 7: Up Arrow (45 Times per Second)
For more information about the Barrett 4050 HF SDR or accompanying software and accessories, contact Tom Haggerty, Chief Technology Officer at Royal Communications International. Their website address is: www.royalcominc.com