New StationPro II Firmware Uprade Now Available
StationPro II firmware version 2.0 is now available for downloading from www.w8zr.net/stationpro/ This firmware upgrade has a number of significant enhancements and is recommended for all StationPro owners.
The major new feature is a "lockout" mode, in which users can configure their stations so that undesired transmitter/amplifier combinations cannot be selected. For example, if you have a vintage 500W AM transmitter, you definitely don't want drive your Alpha 9500 amplifier with it! With version 2.0, you can make sure that will never happen.
Or, you may have a monoband 6m amplifier, but only one transceiver that operates on 6m. Now, you can make sure you don't accidentally connect the 6m amplifier to the wrong transceiver. Or perhaps you have a QRP transceiver, which you'd like to pair only with a 50W QRP amplifier. It is important tht you never accidentally drive the QRP amplifier with a 100W transceiver.
The lockout combinations are selected when you upload the new firmware to your StationPro controller, and the instructions are in the "Owner Supplied Data" section of the v 2.0 firmware listing. The default settings will allow any combination of amplifiers and transceivers to be selected (as in the original firmware version), so if that is what you want, then there is nothing to do. My thanks to David Giddy, VK3IL, for suggesting this new feature.
The new update now sequences the TRX and AMP relays, so that when relays are actuated (e.g., by selecting a new amplifier or transceiver), the previous relays will fully open before the newly selected relays can close. This sequencing will prevent accidental hot-switching if, for example, the operator switches to a different amplifier while forgetting to stop transmitting.
There are a number of other minor changes in the update: the beep tones have been changed, the CW identifiers have been speeded up, and so forth. The operation of the StationPro is unchanged, so there is nothing new to learn, but the "feel" of the unit will seem slightly different.
To upload the new firmware, you'll first need to gain access to the programming port by moving the SP-II's rear panel circuit board out of the way. (Unscrew the six 4-40 screws and the nuts on the Key, Line In and Line Out jacks.) With the board moved out of the way, you can then plug your programming cable into the SP-II's program connector. To upload the new firmware you follow the same procedure as with the orignal firmware (described in the assembly manual). There is no need to "unload" the original firmware, but don't forget to reenter your station equipment in the "Owner Supplied Data" section of the firmware listing.
I hope you like the upgrade, which required a significant amount of code reworking. I've tested it carefully and haven't found any bugs, but be sure and let me know if anything unexpected crops up. Thanks!