R8600 New IC-R8600 software, need some testers

kilocharlie8

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Los Angeles, CA
Hi All,

My friends and I have been working on some software to control recent Icom transceivers. The software is called "wfview". We have noticed that the IC-R8600 seems to have a similar network (ethernet) protocol to the IC-9700, IC-7850, and IC-705, but to date we have yet to actually test it with this radio.

I am wondering if there is anyone here that would like to give it a shot? It is easiest to try using linux, but we can make a windows or mac build available to you. With linux, it is a bit easier to update the code and re-build as we work through whatever bugs may be there.

The software is open source, and provides streaming audio (transmit and receive, as applicable), plus waterfall display and basic radio controls. We would really like to make this software something useful to the community, as there seem to be so few options for this radio, and none for linux and mac users.

If anyone would like to try it, please reply below and I will help you get started with it. We're planning on our first release soon, and would really like to get some basic support for the IC-R8600 worked out if possible. The software is solid right now for the SDR and hybrid SDR Icom transceivers, and I suspect it just needs a few tweaks to support the IC-R8600.

Thanks,

--Elliott
de W6EL
 

KC1UA

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Hi Elliott,

I would love to give this a try but I am restricted to Windows 10 64 bit only at this time. I also have an IC-7300. I am in the midst of a radio room rebuild but I'm about ready to move the 8600 into position. It will be connected by LAN and USB, I'd definitely prefer being able to manipulate it via LAN.

If I can be of some small help I'd be glad to.

Thanks.
 

bagmouse7

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NC, USA
I have an 8600 (and a 705), I will be happy to help test.
Just met me know how I can help.
Thanks!
 

ArloG

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Feb 14, 2020
Messages
145
Mark me up. I'm running Win 10 64 also but if a bootable Linux distro would work, I'm all for it.
Using an R8600 here.
I also have a Linux box running Lubuntu and Arch. Running on an old 486.
Because you will probably be bombarded with questions. Will 1Hz tuning be implemented?
And DSD+ compatibility for us digital decoding guys.
Very cool. Hit me up.
 

wa8pyr

Technischer Guru
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Ohio
Hi All,

My friends and I have been working on some software to control recent Icom transceivers. The software is called "wfview". We have noticed that the IC-R8600 seems to have a similar network (ethernet) protocol to the IC-9700, IC-7850, and IC-705, but to date we have yet to actually test it with this radio.

I am wondering if there is anyone here that would like to give it a shot? It is easiest to try using linux, but we can make a windows or mac build available to you. With linux, it is a bit easier to update the code and re-build as we work through whatever bugs may be there.

The software is open source, and provides streaming audio (transmit and receive, as applicable), plus waterfall display and basic radio controls. We would really like to make this software something useful to the community, as there seem to be so few options for this radio, and none for linux and mac users.

If anyone would like to try it, please reply below and I will help you get started with it. We're planning on our first release soon, and would really like to get some basic support for the IC-R8600 worked out if possible. The software is solid right now for the SDR and hybrid SDR Icom transceivers, and I suspect it just needs a few tweaks to support the IC-R8600.

Thanks,

--Elliott
de W6EL
I'll give it a whirl for you. I've got an 8600, as well as a 7300 and 705. I know a couple of other hams with similar setups who I'm sure would put it through the paces for you as well.

I primarily run Mac OS but can run Windows 7 Pro or Windows 10 Pro as well.

Tom WA8PYR
 

kilocharlie8

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Los Angeles, CA
Hi All,

I asked our windows developer to whip up a debugging build for y'all. We should have it in a day or two. If you're running a debian-based linux (such as Lubuntu), you can try it right now -- just follow the steps in the INSTALL.md file and build it in a few minutes. Make sure to check out the ui-enhance branch (add this to the end of the git clone command in step 2: -b ui-enhance).

ArloG, we will have 1 Hz tuning steps as well as a bunch of others to choose from. There's a drop-down menu for selection. You can also use shift and control as "modifier" keys to alter the tuning step while you're scrolling around the waterfall. We also have direct frequency input. Just hit "star" on the numeric keypad, enter the frequency, and press enter. Pretty quick. Actually, a lot of common functions can be accessed from the numeric keypad (mode and tuning mainly).

wa8pyr/Tom, I'll see about a mac build, what is the version of macOS that you are using? We've never tried distributing a mac build, so you may have to use windows at first.

Thanks!

--E
de W6EL
 

wa8pyr

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wa8pyr/Tom, I'll see about a mac build, what is the version of macOS that you are using? We've never tried distributing a mac build, so you may have to use windows at first.
I'm flexible. I've got both Catalina (10.15) and Big Sur (11.1). Big Sur is on a new Mac mini with the M1 processor. I've also got a Mojave (10.14) virtual machine I can use if necessary, as well as Windows 7 Pro and Windows 10 Pro virtual machines, and a couple of Windows 7 Pro laptops.

One of the other folks I mentioned is also a Mac person, so we could probably give your software a good trial with a Mac build.

Tom
 

kilocharlie8

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Ok. We have a build we are testing for windows 10 and for Big Sur (which ought to be compatible with catalina, but we'll see).

It's our first time testing with the R8600, so be gentle... it may not work at all. We're assuming a lot from what we can gather in the available documentation.
 

kilocharlie8

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Los Angeles, CA
Ok folks,

Here is a link to the download page: https://wfview.org/download/

The actual download is near the bottom under "Windows Test Build:". Note that you'll need the MS Visual C++ runtime installed, and we have a link on the download page for this as well.

When you initially open the program, go under the "Settings" tab and select either Serial (USB connection) or Network. For network connections, you'll need to supply a username, password, and the port (typically 500001). I recommend pressing "Save Settings" once you have it dialed in so that you don't have to do it again. You can then press "Connect".

Please let me know if it works and any suggestions you have.

Thanks,

--Elliott
de W6EL
 

NYG

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Joined
Jun 9, 2006
Messages
253
I downloaded the software and did a little testing with it. I connected to my 8600 over my network. To my knowledge this is the only software program that offers this except for Icom's RS-R8600 software. That is a HUGE win in my book. I'm not sure how much development you're looking to do in regards to the 8600 but the option to tune the digital modes would be fantastic. I was initially monitoring my local P25 public safety network when I dropped connection from the RS software and connected wfview. P25 was working on the initial connect, but as soon as I switch the mode there was no way of going back to P25 because it's not offered as an option. I tuned around in AM broadcast for about a half hour or so and that was it for me. The network connectivity was solid. I'm not sure how wide of a bandwidth you can display on the scope of 7300 etc.. but the max on the 8600 is 5MHZ which is not an option. I think the software is very promising and without question usable with the 8600 right now. If you're looking to program additional features that the 8600 supports that would be terrific.
 

kilocharlie8

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Hi NYG,

This is exactly the kind of feedback we're looking for. We have functionality to define custom modes for rigs (for example, some rigs have a dedicated PSK mode or RTTY mode, others don't), so adding P25 should be fine. I just glanced at the CIV manual for that rig and I see that there are about 10 more modes to add in. This we can do.

The wider spectrum is a bit of a surprise, as I don't think the other radios have more than 1 MHz supported. I'll need to see about adding in a per-rig parameter for this. I don't see any technical barriers, it should work fine.

You probably noticed the "Band" tab is almost useless. This is because the R8600 doesn't have a "band stacking register" of the common ham bands. What we might do is just put some middle-of-the-band frequencies in there for each button. I realize that the concept of a "band" is somewhat different on this radio given it's coverage from DC to 3 GHz (or however far out it goes).

We'd really appreciate any feedback. I'd like to make this program work really well on the R8600, and I'm super excited that it worked on the first go. Please, let me know whatever you notice or think would be a good change.

Thanks,

--E
de W6EL

PS: My post count is only...5... so whenever I post it has to be moderated. Thus, you may see some delay in my replies. If there's any way to remove that restriction, that would be great, but I'll work with it if there isn't too. Mods, I've had this account since 2014, I promise I'm not up to anything!
 

KC1UA

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In my case I'm following the instructions for LAN connection. Upon clicking on connect I see a brief message indicating "Searching CIV Bus for connected radios" but it does not connect. I am on a 192.168.1.*** network and I'm using port 50001 with a username and password. I did not see any errors about Microsoft C++ and I assume the app would not run at all if it were an issue. Not sure what's up with that as it is clear that NYG connected without any problems. I'll keep trying.
 

kilocharlie8

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In my case I'm following the instructions for LAN connection. Upon clicking on connect I see a brief message indicating "Searching CIV Bus for connected radios" but it does not connect. I am on a 192.168.1.*** network and I'm using port 50001 with a username and password. I did not see any errors about Microsoft C++ and I assume the app would not run at all if it were an issue. Not sure what's up with that as it is clear that NYG connected without any problems. I'll keep trying.
Some things you can try:
  1. Ping the radio using the same address from the same computer. Just drop into a command line and use the ping command followed by the ip address or hostname. These radios usually respond to ICMPs.
  2. Reboot the radio. Make sure to power it down all the way (full power off, not "standby").
  3. On the radio, verify that the other two UDP ports are set to reasonable numbers, the defaults are 50002 and 50003
 

roelandjansen

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Feb 12, 2020
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IJsselstein, Netherlands
all,

we also do have precompiled linux versions for some specific tested distributions like

not supported:

centos7 -- no qt support
debian 10 -- outdated
devuan 3.1.1.1 -- outdated
redhat7 -- no qt support


supported:

Debian 11 (Debian 10 is outdated)
Fedora 33
Fedora 34
mint 20.1
openSUSE 15.x
openSUSE Tumbleweed
SLES 15.x
Ubuntu 20.04.2

and others (infomration appreciated.

the software should work reasonably well on the IC705, 7610, 785x, 9700 too


Somewhere this day I also will make it available on wfview.org's site with additional information
what you may need to install from the repos to get it running.
 
Last edited:

kilocharlie8

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Los Angeles, CA
Hi NYG,

We've added in the P25 mode as well as a bunch of other ones mentioned in the CI-V spec for that radio. It's in the source code right now. When we get another windows build together I'll let you know.

de W6EL
 
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KC1UA

Scan New England Janitor/Maintenance
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I solved the problem. User error, didn't have "Network Control" turned on. Some quick observations.

1. I'd like to see a "snap to grid" option, so when I click on the FFT it rounds to the nearest frequency in line with the tuning step being used.
2. Is there a way to move the "keypad" onto the view screen. It would be easier to direct tune a frequency that way, rather than jumping back and forth between tabs.
3. I absolutely LOVE that the controls on the 8600's front panel can be utilized while the software is running. AWESOME.
4. Could the bands under that tab be programmable?
5. I am seeing that the span setting seems irrelevant and is being controlled by whatever span setting is active in the 8600.
6. Would like to see the ability to change the contrast of the screen and manipulate the resolution as well.
7. Ability to pipe audio out via Virtual Audio Cable or VBCable to DSD+ for DMR decoding or to KGTone for CTCSS/DCS decoding would be great.

I'm tired so hopefully some of the above makes sense. GREAT start! Thanks!
 

kilocharlie8

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Los Angeles, CA
KC1UA de W6EL:

  1. We have this checkbox on the settings tab, it is called "When tuning, set lower digits to zero". I will connect that up to the double-click option too. I think that's an excellent suggestion.
  2. Re keypad, check this out, just press "*" on the keypad of your keyboard. The tab will change to frequency input. Key in what you want for frequency, and press enter, and then the tab changes back to the main tab. You can also use "/" to cycle between some common modes, and + and - for tuning. However, more to your point, we do want to see about eventually letting the user re-arrange controls and pop-out options.
  3. Me too. Icom radios have this thing where they announce some control actions without being asked to do so. It's called "transceive" in the settings for the CIV interface. Very few programs take advantage of it though, and thus, they aggressively poll the radios to death, hoping to catch any changes. Our data parsing engine is "from scratch" and was written with this in mind. Anything your rig spits out gets parsed.
  4. The bands. This is an interesting thing where the 8600 has a departure from the other ham-ops-oriented rigs. The ham rigs have this band stacking register in the rig with frequencies ready for each band (and they are 'programmed' by the last frequencies used basically). But really, the 8600 has a lot of bands... so yes, it makes sense. We'll have to think of something. Maybe user-definable bands? Likely this feature will be in the second release because it'll require making some new user interface things. In the mean time, you can use the memory function on the frequency tab to sort of approximate this feature. Simply get the rig to the frequency and mode that you want, and then go to the frequency tab. Press a number between 1 and 99, and then hit "STO". Now that frequency is stored in a location (tracked only by the computer, doesn't change the rig's memory). You can recall by hitting the numbers and pressing "RCL". It's like using a calculator. Make sure to save your settings if you use this feature, as it will save the memories when you do this. This computer-side memory feature is something we want to expand upon in future releases as well (for example, spreadsheet-style editing and ability to store/recall other settings like receiver filter selection). Clearly a computer can have more options for memory than a radio, right?
  5. Spans. I'll have to look into that. The 8600 may have spans that the other rigs don't have, and that probably causes the wrong thing to be selected in the UI. Does the UI control work for the spans that are the same?
  6. Contrast: For now, try the "Theme" pop-down box. Some of the colorschemes may have more contrast (or less). And of course, the "Ref" slider and RF Gain can help you visualize better. I wouldn't mind a real contrast adjustment though. As for resolution, we only get so many pixels from the rig for the horizontal scale. But for the vertical, yes, we will allow that to be adjusted. It's hard-coded at 160 pixels deep right now. I've also thought about a user-zoom option to let users scroll in and see stuff up close. But the interface is tricky because scrolling already does other things. Maybe... maybe if F-Lock is active, then scrolling does zoom? Hmm. Any ideas there? We already use the modifier keys (shift, control) to adjust the tuning step.
  7. Audio pipes: This is a popular thing, for example running the sound into fldigi. I think though, that we have to leave this up to the operating system to handle for now. I know there are ways to do it in pulse (but as to how exactly... not sure). Perhaps someone can chime in here and we can include that tip in the wiki. Also, you can rapidly scroll through PL and DCS tones using the "Repeater" button. Hit that button, turn on the tone squelch, and then tap the mouse on the the tone menu. Pick the tone at the top. Now arrow-key down. The rig will track the box selection so fast that it's like scanning for tones. Not exactly what you asked but that's how I do it on my 9700.
Alright. So I've got some things to work on for the next release (maybe some will end up in the first release, we'll see). And then there's the span bug, which I think we'll get into the first release.

Keep the feedback coming!

--E
de W6EL
 
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