F8101ALE Software Support

Installation and Configuration of the F8101ALE Software

With the advent of the release of F8101ALEv2, the original version of that software is now UNSUPPORTED.

Updated User’s Guide for F8101ALEv2 – RCS-F8101ALEv2-UG201807.pdf

 A PDF version with extra information RCS-F8101ALE-UG201706

The above PDF is included in the distribution of the software in the “docs” folder.

Help Document for ACU-1000 Configuration and Use

Tips And Tricks Page

System Requirements

  • Windows 7 or newer
  • Minimum 4 Gb RAM
  • 200 Mb free disk space to install.  (the user may shrink the required disk space by 76 Mb after installation only)
  • ICOM IC-F8101E HF Radio with firmware version 4.08.  This software WILL NOT work with any other firmware version.
  • USB 2.0 port (black) on the computer to accept the USB A/B cable used to connect the radio to the computer. (an outboard USB 2.0 hub plugged into a USB 3.0 port has been reported to work)
  • OPTIONAL: RapidM TC4 internal modem card enabled for M110A or M110B modems.

Installation Process

The download from this web site is a Windows installer package.  Follow the instructions in the installer to install the software to your computer.  The default installation path is into the user’s home directory.  The default also places a shortcut into the Windows Start menu system named “F8101ALE”.

The installation process installs the required source code and Open Source licensing that must accompany the product.  This is found in the “.\F8101ALE\license\lgpl3” folder.  Review the README.txt file in that folder for more information about handing the Open Source source code files.

First Time Use

When the software is started for the first time, it is unlikely that the default configuration values will allow it to be functional.  Follow these steps to enable the software to function properly on it’s next invocation.

  1. Ensure that you have already programmed your IC-F8101E radio with the channels and ALE network configuration as directed by your ALE network administrator.
  2. Ensure that the USB A/B cable is plugged into the IC-F8101E radio and into your computer and turn the radio on.  Wait a few moments for the radio to initialize and enable it’s serial interface(s).
  3. Start the F8101ALE software from the shortcut created during the installation process.
  4. A dialog will likely appear noting that the software could not connect to the serial port.  If that is the case, click the “OK” button to accept that notification. (SEE first screen shot below for more help).
  5. The software should now open.  There may be additional dialogs regarding serial connectivity.  Simply acknowledge them.
  6. Click the gear icon in the upper right corner of the window to open the Configuration Dialog.
  7. On the Radio tab of the Configuration Dialog, select the appropriate serial port from the list provided. No other changes are required on the Radio tab at this time.  You may wish to change the logging ID and add priority channels.  It is suggested that you get the software running with the radio first, and then go back and make those adjustments.
    Recommended starting settings for the Radio Config values.
    (Consult the ICOM documentation for more information.)
    Serial Baud: 38400 Serial Bit Params: 8N1 CI-V Timeout: 50 msNOTE: At least one user has reported that the RADIO’s CI-V serial port baud rate may not behave when set to AUTO.  It may be wise to set this to 38400 in the radio directly.  Log in the Admin user, then select Setmode/Serial Port/CI-V Baudrate and set it to 38400 using a long press of the “check” key on the radio.  It may also be wise to explicitly set the COM port baud rate using the port parameters dialog in Windows.  Symptoms are that you know yo have the correct COM port for the radio, but the control of the radio does not function.
  8. IF YOU HAVE AN INTERNAL RapidM TC4 modem card installed in the radio, click on the TC4 tab and click the checkbox to enable the configuration dialog.  This enables the configuration of the modem at program start (you will likely need to restart as well).  Set the serial port associated with the TC4 from the list provided.  You may need to consult the Windows Device Manager to find the correct serial port.
    Recommended starting settings for the TC4 values.
    (Consult the RapidM documentation for more information.)
    TX Audio Level : -10 to -15 dB  Deacquire Limit : 1 second
  9. AT THIS POINT, IT IS WISE TO CLOSE THE PROGRAM AND RESTART IT TO ENSURE THAT THE SERIAL PORTS ARE ALL WORKING AS EXPECTED.
  10. Click the Load Memory Channels to interrogate the radio for it’s list of memory channels.  These will be saved to the program’s INI file.  When the program starts, this list of channels will be pre-populated for your use.  If the programming of the memory channels changes in the radio, it is important for you to click this button once again so that the program has the latest list of memory channels.  This is an IMMEDIATE command and you may watch the progress of loading the memory channels from the main program display.
  11. IF YOU USE DATA TERMINAL SOFTWARE: Make note of the “Data Out IP Address” and “TCP Port”.  These values are how  the program communicates with your Data Terminal software.  These values will be used in the terminal software to configure it for use with F8101ALE.  The Terminal software must be capable of handling message data via TCP Socket in order for it to work with the F8101ALE software.  NOTE: RapidM RM-2 users may also make use of the TC4 tab and enter the serial port that the RM-2 is connected to (J-15).  The F8101ALE software should function exactly the same as with the internal TC4 modem card.
  12. The Channels tab allows you to create up to 16 user defined channels for use with the U-SCAN function and for scrolling through a set of frequencies.  These frequencies DO NOT need to be defined in the radio programming.  All values for the frequency you choose must be in an 8 digit format with leading zeros as required.  After entering the 8 digit frequency, also check the checkbox next to that frequency to enable it for scanning and scrolling.  If a frequency is busy or has interference on it, you may temporarily uncheck it at any time to skip it in the scan or scroll of the user frequencies (U-SCAN).
  13. On the Log tab, you may set “Auto-refresh” but it is designed to be used ONLY when the Log tab is visible.  Every few seconds, the log window will be updated.  Note that each ZULU day, a new log is created.  All information you see on the tab is also in the ZULU day log file in the “.\F8101ALE\log” folder.  Each log file is date stamped.  The user is responsible for deleting the log files he no longer wishes to keep.
  14. Save the Configuration Dialog.
  15. Close the F8101ALE software.
  16. Start the F8101ALE software.  The new configuration values you have set should be in effect.
  17. Please refer to the included PDF file in the docs folder for more configuration and use information.

Which COM ports to look for in Device Manager

 

LOAD YOUR MEMORY CHANNELS INTO THE PROGRAM

STATION MANAGER USERS:

Set your “Modem Type” to “TCP Socket”.  Ensure that the IP Address and TCP Port match between SM and F8101ALE.