I seem to have struggled more than normal, which is a fair bit to begin with, in getting FoxTelem up and running with my IC-9100 and Mac. In fact, I even tried a Windows laptop along the way. So how did I do it?
AMSAT has made it easy to download and install the software, covering Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can find it at FoxTelem Software. While you’re on their website, please join AMSAT to support their mission of keeping amateur radio in space.
Once you’ve installed the software, you can use a .wav audio file to see if it’s working. That proved very helpful to learn exactly what’s expected. They also have a User Guide that’s helpful as well.
This is where it became challenging for me. Perhaps my normal operating set up is a bit unusual and there began my challenge.
My normal set up for WSJT-X, FLDIGI, and Multiscan 3B SSTV uses the IC-9100 ACC (accessory connector) and the Digimode-1 for Icom rigs. The Digimode-1 uses a Bourns 600:600 ohm audio isolation transformer as well as a opto-isolated PTT connection. It further provides full CAT control. The audio then goes into a Xonar X5 Sound Card to get the audio into the Mac.
Now normally you’d use the IC-9100 USB connection for all this but I started down this path when I acquired an IC-910H that doesn’t have a USB connection.
While this would seem like the normal way to set things up, I was also informed that the IC-9100 ACC jack would not provide the correct low-frequency audio for the Data Under Voice (DUV) signal. That instead it would have to come from the DATA2 accessory connection for 9600 baud audio.
Given that information, I wired up a connection to the DATA2 jack and gave it a go. That’s when the head scratching started as well as off and on testing attempts. This is also where I started trying out the Windows laptop, which didn’t seem to go anywhere either. BTW — the best source for this information that I was able find was on the AMSAT-BB at this link IC-9100 AO-85 Telemetry.
Finally, this week as AO-92 was flying by, I set up things in normal mode, using the Digimode-1 interface from the ACC connector. Fortunately, they were sending high-speed telemetry that convinced me things were getting through. And, the DUV telemetry showed up along with a photo from the satellite.
The big key for this set up was pressing the IC-9100 FM button for one second to activate FM-D reception. This opened up the full audio spectrum from the rig to the FoxTelem software. To confirm this I used iSpectrum to monitor the incoming audio. Nearby you can find the images that show signals received from AO-92 in FM versus FM-D, mouse over the images for captions. You can tell that a much broader spectrum of audio is being passed including below 200 Hz.
Passing Thoughts — As in Satellite Passes
That captures my journey in getting FoxTelem working within my station. I hope your journey is much simpler and immediately successful. Plus, with this experience under my belt, I may just go on to try other satellite telemetry adventures.
I will note, with tongue in cheek, that my first upload to the AMSAT FOX Telemetry Leaderboard happened last night as I was listening to AO-92 being opened for general traffic. Now I’m not saying that they were waiting for my telemetry… But it is a remarkable coincidence. Just saying…