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AR8000 and the Optocom


As you may be aware from previous messages, I have in my possession a "pre-trunk" version of the Optoelectronics Optocom. This radio, in addition to its computer control capability, also has a built-in dataslicing circuit and two CI-V ports for pass thru control of CI-V controlled radios such as the R7000, R7100, AR-8000 etc. I had to date successfully used the dataslicing circuit to decode many FM mode digital signals, but had not tried trunker. Well, not only does it work with Trunker very nicely using its built in dataslicing capability, it also drives my AR-8000 thru the CI-V port allowing it to follow the trunked communications that Trunker displays. My only "cable" connections are the RS-232 cable from the Optocom to my serial cable switchbox, and a 1/8" stereo plug to 1/8" stereo plug cable from the Optocom's CI-V port to my modified AR-8000. Here's how it works. The following assumes you have a working knowledge of Trunker. For info on the software, check our Trunker article on this wiki.

  • Connect the Optocom to your receiver, using a MODIFIED RS-232 cable. For DB9 cables, pins 8-9 must be tied together. For a DB25 cable, pins 5-6 must be tied together. Trunker WILL NOT WORK if you don't do this!!!
  • If you are going to drive a second scanner through the Optocom's CI-V ports make those connections now. I use a stereo 1/8" plug to 1/8" plug to drive my modified AR8000. A similiar connection would be made to the R7000, R7100, or any other CI-V controlled radio.
  • My environment settings for trunker 3.7 are as follows:
set TRACKSLICERPIN=CTS
set TRACKCLICERPORT=COM2
set TRACKSLICERMODE=NORMAL
set TRACKSCAN=AR8000
set TRACKSCANBAUD=9600
set TRACKSCANPORT=COM2
set TRACKSCANPARK=851.3125

Obviously if you're using different com ports and a different scanner to track with you will have to make the appropriate changes. The TRACKSCANPARK environment setting should read what frequency you want to monitor when trunked comms aren't being received. This is a neat feature.

  • Prior to running trunker you will need to use your other radio software to tune the Optocom to the data channel of the trunked system you wish to monitor. Once this is accomplished close that program.
  • If the aforementioned environment settings are in your autoexec.bat file and you haven't rebooted your system since making the changes, do so now.
  • Run Trunker. Don't try to run it out of Windows 95 or 98 unless you're running a halfway-fast Pentium (or equivilent) machine. I use an AMD K6-233 machine with 64 MB of RAM and it works fine in a Window 98 window. If you're using a 486, run it from DOS.
  • Enjoy!!!

Remember you must make the modifications to your serial cable to make this all work. From what I can see, the Optocom continues to run just fine in "non-trunker" mode with this cable in place. In other words I can run Scancat, ScanStar Deluxe, etc with the modified cable without a hitch.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Optocom, check it out at the Optoelectronics website. Again, I'm not affiliated with Opto deedle deedle dee. An Optocom mailing list is now also underway. Subscribe to it at QTH.net.

Questions? Drop me a note. Have fun! And Merry Christmas...

A later message in the same thread

Greetings all,

In the earlier message I sent regarding making Trunker 3.7 work with the Optocom, I indicated that it was necessary to tie pins 5-6 together on a DB25 cable, or pins 8-9 together on a DB9 to make the system work. While this does work if you are using the CTS setting for TRACKSLICERPIN, it is not necessary!!!! If you use the settings below a normal DB9 or DB25 cable will work just fine. My apologies to anyone I led down the garden path with this "not entirely incorrect but not necessary" method of getting the job done, and my thanks to Neal Fildes, the Trunker "Guru" for setting me straight. This setup also works fine with the Optolinx Interface/DataSlicer.

set TRACKSLICERPIN=DSR
set TRACKCLICERPORT=COM2
set TRACKSLICERMODE=NORMAL
set TRACKSCAN=AR8000
set TRACKSCANBAUD=9600
set TRACKSCANPORT=COM2
set TRACKSCANPARK=851.3125

Happy Trunking, Happy Holidays.

Credits: Scott Halligen December 20 1998 via Trunkcom


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