Tips And Tricks

Tips -n- Tricks for the ICOM IC-F8101E

  • Use the Administrator menu item “Setmode/Call/Auto-start Type” and set it to “Scan in link”.  THEN, if you wish to make this the power on default, push the middle button labeled “Default” under the display.
    Scan in link means that the radio will only attempt to resume scanning when in a linked state that has had no activity (mic PTT, modem, or ACC PTT) for the programmed length of time.  If you are NOT working in a linked mode, such as using non-ALE frequencies on a net, the auto-start of the ALE scan will not interrupt what you are doing.
  • Auto-start Type is now selectable from a combo box in the upper center of the program near the A-SCAN button.
  • NOTE: It is recommended that if you are operating unattended to make this setting Scan.  That way a restart will always happen after a pre-programmed timeout. (many folks use around 10 minutes).  F8101ALEv2 allows “front panel” adjustment of this feature.

USB Programming Failures after Win10 1809 Update

2019-01-10

RadCommSoft Note 05/04/2019 (May the Fourth be with You)
This Link: https://www.silabs.com/documents/public/software/CP210x_VCP_Windows.zip

Is a known good working driver for Windows 10 using a USBv2 port.  Some have also reported that it allows functionality with a USBv3 port.  This driver works with the controller software as well as the ICOM cloning software CS-8101 #1 and #2.

A user has reported that after the Win10 1809 update was complete, he was unable to program either of two radios.  He had used the ICOM Cloning software to make some ALE changes.  What follows is his experience, and RadCommSoft, LLC does not formally recommend this, nor are we responsible for computer or radio issues which might follow from mimicking this advice.  This information is provided for your edification and the user is solely responsible for actions taken on their PC and F8101E radio.

“I decided to make some updates to my F8101 code plugs and when I went to write them to the radios, both radios failed. This happened on two separate computers, two separate power supplies, completely independent of each other. Hours and hours of troubleshooting later, the suggestion was made to un-install the Silicon Labs driver and go to a generic Windows driver. Here’s what I did:

1) Starting with the latest Nov 2018 Silicon Labs driver, I un-installed the COM port in Device Manager and selected “Delete drivers”. I did this for the first port and the second doesn’t give the option to delete the driver presumably because it has already been deleted.

2) Rebooted the computer.

3) Looked in Device Manager and noted that the driver now showed Silicon Labs 2015 driver. So I followed the same procedure to un-install the device and delete the drivers.

4) Rebooted the computer.

5) Looked in Device Manager and noted that the driver now showed Silicon Labs 2013 driver. So I followed the same procedure to un-install the device and delete the drivers.

6) Rebooted the computer.

7) Looked in Device Manager and noted that the driver now showed Silicon Labs 2011 driver.  Well, at this point I’m thinking I might be going back too far as there might not be a default Microsoft driver. So I try to write to the radio………and it worked…..twice in a row.

I’m going to call this success. If you run into trouble writing a code plug to your F8101, you may with to try this technique. I do have a trouble ticket in with ICOM America to look into the issue. We’ll see where that leads.”

Tips -n- Tricks for using F8101ALE Software

  • In order to save the items in the four combo boxes in the ALE group at the lower right of the windows, type the values into the box and press the <Enter> key.  This will add the item to the combo box’s list so it can be recalled again.  If you close the program, these values are saved and are then re-loaded upon program start.These values are CASE SENSITIVE! and should correspond exactly to what is programmed into the radio.
  • If you do not have an internal RapidM TC4 modem, the modem support may be disabled by unchecking the “Enable RapidM TC4” checkbox on the Modem tab of the Config dialog.
  • If you have a RapidM RM2 modem, connect a cable from your computer serial port to the J15 port on the back of the RM2 modem.  This is the equivalent of using an internal TC4 modem with the F8101ALE software!

Initial Setup After Using the ICOM Programming Software

  • It has been reported by a few users that keeping the ICOM programming software running ties up the serial port assigned to the radio, thus the F8101ALE software cannot obtain a connection to the serial port.  In some cases, it is reported that after CLOSING the ICOM software, this is still the case, thus a full computer reboot is required before using F8101ALE.  Usually however, if one waits a few seconds before trying to start the software, Windows recovers the state of the serial port and things progress normally.

ERROR Messages When Attempting an ALE Call

If you have encountered an ERROR: message below the frequency display when you attempt to make an ALE call read on!

The error you saw was a radio error message verbatim.  It means that your programming does not allow what you are asking it to do.  You can only make calls which are compatible with the current radio programming.  If you get outside that with supplying a network and/or self addresses, the radio complains.  The software CANNOT make programming changes to the radio.

Using the Four ALE Combo Boxes

1. NET — you will likely never use it, so leave it blank.  2G ALE net calls are an exercise in frustration (and definitely worthless for MARS work).
2. Network — If you rely on the radio programming and make calls to OTHER addresses on their one defined network, you likely will leave Network blank as well.  It is unusal, other than experimenting, to call the same OTHER address on more than one network.  Ensure each OTHER address as defined in the radio programming has a corresponding Network defined.  If you create the OTHER more than once, and have different Networks for each, the radio will by default use the FIRST defined Network when making a simple IND call.  This odd programming practice is the ONLY time you should set the Network in the program.
3. SELF — SELF addresses are also defined in the radio programming for each Network.  You should have the same SELF address defined on all ALE Networks on which you intend to use that SELF address.  You will rarely if ever need to set the SELF address in the program.  Situations where you might use two different SELF addresses are where you might use this combo box (regular station and a relay perhaps).  Personally, when running as a relay, I re-program the radio to be ONLY the relay.  It avoids confusion.

So, if you program the radio properly, it is likely that the only combo box you will ever use is the OTHER address combo box.  Enter the pre-programmed OTHER address and press <Enter> to save it to that list for the future (saved on close of the program).  Otherwise select a saved address.  NET, Network and OTHER addresses may be removed from the program using the Config dialog on the ALE tab.  If you have mistakenly entered an errant SELF address into the combo box, it must be removed by editing of the F8101ALE.ini file.  Be sure to make a backup before attempting to edit that file.

The simple linking or LQA call procedure is then:

Select the OTHER address, then select the call type (IND, LQA, etc.) and click CALL.  That’s it!

If there is an error message under the frequency display, then the issue is in the radio programming somewhere.  Usually, you have not defined the OTHER address or forgot to define your SELF address for that ALE network.  That can only be done with the radio’s buttons or using the cloning software.  I suggest you get used to creating new OTHER addresses by using the radio’s buttons.  It is easy to do and then you can read the radio’s programming into the cloning software later to keep it as a backup.