FreqEZ2 Band Decoder FAQ

INSTRUCTIONS: Click on the Questions to expand and see the Answers

FreqEZ2 is a Ham Radio station accessory for controlling remote antenna switches and other devices.

FreqEZ2 is a combination of hardware and software programs. The hardware is a Raspberry Pi single-board computer with a companion board. The software includes two programs working in concert: the FreqEZwin Console running in Windows on a desktop PC; and the FreqEZrpi Controller running as a terminal application on a Raspberry Pi.

The FreqEZwin Console and FreqEZrpi Controller software are free.
The FreqEZ Controller hardware – including the Raspberry Pi components – will cost between $100 and $150, depending on whether you build your own companion board as a DIY project or buy an Assembled and Tested FreqEZ RPi HAT (Hardware Attached on Top) board from K8UT.

None. FreqEZ2 is installed, configured and operated using familiar software features like menus, mice, and editors. Re-configuring FreqEZ2 is performed via a menu and file editor. There are no DIP switches, diodes or solder bridges.
The only tool required for assembly is a screwdriver.

64, in increments of 16 from 16, 32, 48 to 64. The FreqEZ2 Windows Console can support four FreqeEZ2 Raspberry Pi Controllers. Each FreqEZ2 Raspberry Pi Controller supports 16 output relays. NOTE: If you build a DIY Controller using Sainsmart Relay boards, you could connect as few as 4 or 8 outputs.

Yes. FreqEZ2 is band- and frequency-aware and capable of Automatically (or Manually) adjusting external tuners, selecting receive antennas, enabling bandpass filters, controlling amplifiers and managing other devices.

Yes. When FreqEZ2 is configured for Automatic by Frequency input, the Windows Console will choose outputs based on the UDP packet’s <TxFreq> (transmitter frequency) as listed by your logging program. If your logging program sends two packets (one for each Radio/VFO) FreqEZ selects outputs based on the radio number in the UDP <ActiveRadioNr> field.

When FreqEZ2 is configured for Automatic by BCD, the Windows Console will choose outputs based on band (not frequency) information supplied by your radio or logging program. Unless your radio is capable of cross-band split configuration, there will be no difference in input between Split and Simplex modes of operation.

FreqEZ2 receives band/frequency information via four methods: Manual, Automatic by Frequency, Automatic by N1MM antenna number, and Automatic by BCD Inputs.

  • In Manual mode, FreqEZ2 functions without interfacing to any logging software
  • In Automatic by N1MM, FreqEZ2 receives N1MM <Antenna> configuration data from its UDP <RadioInfo> packet
  • In Automatic by BCD, FregEZ2 will interface with any logging program that sends band data to a PC parallel (LPT) port. Or, without logging program participation, from BCD data that is present on the aux (ACC) jack of many transceivers
  • In Automatic by Frequency, FreqEZ2 receives frequency data from the <TxFreq> field of the <RadioInfo> packet. Logging programs that provide <TxFreq> data via UDP include: N1MM+, DXLab Commander, Logger32 v4, DXLog, UcxLog, and TR4W.

When FreqEZ2 is configured for Auto/FREQ input, output selections will be based on the frequency reported by your logging program. Those frequencies can describe an entire Band ( 80/75m = “<FREQ1>350000-400000,1</FREQ1>” ) or segments within a band ( 80m = “<FREQ1>350000-359999,1</FREQ1> and 75m =<FREQ2>360000-400000,2</FREQ2>” ). The configuration supports 254 segment definitions.

When FreqEZ2 is configured for Auto/BCD or Auto/N1MM input, output selections are based on Band (no Frequency data is available).

The FreqEZ2 Rpi HAT output circuits are designed to handle up to 20 volts A/C, Positive, or Negative voltages at 500 milliamperes. Although the Toshiba TLP240ALF1 opto-MOSFETs are rated for 60 volts, each output is protected from remote relay transients by a 20 volt TVS bi-directional spike suppressing diode. Contact us for customization to accommodate voltages greater than 20.

Yes. While FreqEZ2 is automatically activating outputs based on Frequency, N1MM Settings, or BCD inputs, you can manually activate additional outputs using the FreqEZ’s Manual Forced ON feature. Press the keyboard <ctrl> button and left-click on the desired output to turn it on. For example, when FreqEZ auto-activates your 80 meter vertical transmit antenna, you could manually select the appropriate North-, South-, East- or West-facing beverage receive antenna.

When your architecture includes more than one Raspberry Pi Controller, you can operate with mixed combinations of Automatic and Manual controllers.

The PTT Inhibit circuit prevents the FreqEZ2 RPi Controller from changing antennas while your radio is transmitting. By monitoring the Push-To-Talk line from your radio, keyer, or PC serial port, the FreqEZrpi Controller software “knows” when your radio is transmitting. When that PTT line is grounded (low), the FreqEZrpi Controller will ignore any packets from the FreqEZwin Console or any changes to the BCD input lines. The Controller will only perform output changes when that PTT line remains high (inactive). If you do not connect your station’s PTT line to the input, the Controller will always operate as if it is in Receive mode.

No, not if FreqEZ2 is the only program running on your Raspberry Pi 4. The Pi 4 runs hotter than previous versions of Raspberry Pi computers, and there are many solutions (fans and heat sinks) to avoid thermal slow-downs beyond 60 C. In our opinion those devices are not needed on a dedicated FreqEZ Pi.
FreqEZrpi is a low-impact terminal application that does not require much CPU, Memory, and Graphics processing. In our tests – without fans or heatsinks, enclosed in the listed Argon Neo or GeeekPi cases – the CPU temperature is typically 48 C – well below the point at which performance would be thermally impacted. Of course, if necessary you could always add inexpensive heatsinks or fans to your Controller.
You can read your Pi temperature from the command line by typing “vcgencmd measure_temp”

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