[amsat-bb] Software ?

PA3GUO pa3guo at upcmail.nl
Wed Feb 18 19:49:21 UTC 2015

Last December I got myself a new PC, with the ambition to upgrade all old HW & SW to the latest standards. Currently the OS is Windows 8.1, and I am planning to switch (for free) to Windows 10 by the end of this year.

Almost all software is migrated from the old PCs to the new computer - it all went smooth (and runs faster now). Almost all: I still have on an old Windows2000 PC the software running that controls my antennas. This software is all Pascal, and under Windows2000 you could still directly write to serial ports. That changed as of Windows XP.

In the new setup SATPC32 is the central software for satellite tracking (position & doppler). Kenwood TS2000 as well as eg SDR# are connected just fine.
So… the only thing to be done is hooking up SATPC32 to my rotor controller (http://pa3guo.com/zb_rtr_ctrl.html).

Of course my rotor controller doesnt talk any of the standard interface protocols, so I cannot use the default set of outputs of SATPC32. Basically I just need to read from the SATPC32 DDE the string that includes the azimuth & etc, do a minor edit to it and send it to a USB COM port. Fortunately SATPC32 comes with example code for this (Delfi and VB). Unfortunately, Delfi (replaces Pascal) is an outdated standard, and so I opted for the VB example.

Now, the Visual Basic IDE doesn't really exist anymore. Microsoft has now Visual Studio Express, which is impressive btw. Issue though is, the included SATPC32 VB examples use DDE constructs that were supported in the VB IDE , but are not in Visual Studio anymore. So what I *could* do is hack the VB example to make it work in Visual Studio, but it seems not that straightforward. To add to this: SDR# is C# and talks to SATPC32's DDE. So C# must be DDE capable, but I haven’t seen simple example code for that either.

In short: I just need to read from the DDE , do a minor processing on the string (kind of convert degrees into integer + offset) and send the result to a com port.

How would you do this ?
Do you program in C# or Visual Basic ?
In case of Visual Basic, do you use Visual Studio Express ?

Henk - PA3GUO

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