Thursday, December 17, 2015

PIGLET interface by Pignology (updated 12/26)

As I prepare for the National Parks on the Air activation from my mobile I wanted a way to log from the drivers seat while stationary. I have used paper logging in the past as there is no easy place to manage a laptop. I have used the Hamlog app for years for casual logging but never in a fast paced event. I played around with the app on my tablet but I thought I could log on paper faster unless I could get the Hamlog to talk to the radio so things such as the frequency and mode fields could be populated.

I purchased the PIGLET from Pignology with is an interface that uses wifi to talk to the phone or tablet and gives a DB9 serial port output to the radio. Since I use ICOM radios it needed to talk to the CIV port on the radio. Pignology also sells a CT-17 module that plugs into the PIGLET's serial port and then outputs to CIV.

The phone or tablet sees the PIGLET as a wifi network so you join that network. The serial port on the PIGLET has a default baud rate of 38.4K which the ICOM radios don't support. So you use a terminal program such as Tera Term on your PC and you plug that into the PIGLET serial port and reprogram the port speed to 19.2K or less. Directions are in the on-line users guide. Next you set the radios CIV port speed to match.

Then with the Hamlog app, you set the baud rate to match the radio and set the CIV address. Now the radios frequency and mode will automatically update Hamlog. For simple logging you type in the callsign and hit save. Then it is ready for the next contact. To make it easier I paired up a bluetooth keyboard to the tablet. My plan is for the tablet to hang from the steering wheel at eye level and the keyboard will be on my lap.

Customer support from Pignology has been great and I would recommend them anytime. I should mention that the Pignology folks are the ones who wrote the Hamlog app.

Update 12/26/15

I needed a case for the PIGLET and the CT-17 board mainly because of the CT-17. Normally I could always count on one of the plastic hobby cases from Radio Shack to solve the problem but there are no Radio Shacks within 25 miles now and they don't have this kind of stuff anymore. Since I am a sucker for cool boxes I remembered that I had a iPhone case that I figured would come in handy someday. I found it (took awhile) and it is a very good fit. I glued a foam pad that I found in yesterday's Christmas trash into the bottom. Then I drilled holes to align with the CIV and power cables, added grommets and then stuck the boards to the pad with double-sided tape. With the lid on it I will feel better about it in the floor board of my truck during a mobile operation. Now I am curious if a Tiny Trak 4 with the bluetooth module would fit in one of these cases. 

Without lid

and with lid.

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