Draft-- commments, corrections to george@w4avo.org

Note- I certainly don't take credit for the software and hardware described below. They are the work of others. I just configured the pieces and made them work with the Winlink installation on my boat

AIRMAIL + The $9 Icom CAT Dongle

Jim Corenman built in a CAT feature to Airmail that does frequency and mode control of the HF radio under program control. There are some Pactror modems that have CAT built in ( e.g. PTCII ) but many others don't ( e.g. PK232, PTCIIe). This feature is invaluable as it sets the connect up on the correct frequency, sideband, offset automatically when the desired station is selected in the terminal mode. He supports various radio makes. I have Icoms so this note is about them. Others are similar.

Icom CAT is called CI-V and is an bidirectional single-wire serial asynchronus mode using TTL levels . The Icom interface is called a CT17 and requires a serial port and costs $150. A USB dongle is available that does the job. I got mine on Ebay from kawamall_cool (!) for less than $9 incl shipping.

Here is a pix of the dongle and driver miniCD. Note "mono" 3.5mm plug

The dongle is based on the Prolific USB-to-Serial Bridge chip. I have a 32 bit OS (XPSP3) but drivers for others incl W7 64 bit are included. It would probably be smart to check the Prolific web site for the most up-to-date driver.

Here are my notes and step-by-step: