Rig Drivers and Front Panels
In addition to supporting the largest number of models of rigs of any contesting software available, WriteLog supports add-in rig drivers and front panels. WriteLog’s built-in drivers uniformly support setting and reading rig frequency and mode, and commanding PTT for just about all popular contesting rigs, and just about as many not-so-popular models. All but three of these rig drivers have been written and debugged remotely and without access to a working rig by W5XD with beta testers willing to send in input/output log files.
But many rigs have far more capabilities on their remote control ports than WriteLog uses out-of-the-box. These rigs allow filter selection, alternative side band selection, control of sub receivers and other features. Supporting such features requires very rig-specific software components. These components are not included or supported by WriteLog today because it is not possible to test and update these specialized components without having access to a working rig, and the WriteLog support team has access to only a handful of them.
The purpose of WriteLog’s support of add-in rig drivers and front panels is to enable programmers that have access to these rigs to implement, test, and support specialized rig drivers for those rigs.
A rig driver is the component that communicates rig commands between WriteLog and the rig itself. It has no on-screen component. WriteLog calls the rig driver to query the rig’s current frequency and mode, and to command the rig to a given frequency or mode, or to set the PTT state. Most rigs communicate over a COM port, and WriteLog provides the rig driver the ability to read and write characters from a COM port. Because WriteLog might also be using the COM port for sending CW or hardware PTT control, WriteLog does not grant the rig driver direct access to the Win32 HANDLE for the port, but instead offers an interface for reading and writing bytes.
The Front Panel is an on-screen component that WriteLog places in a dockable panel in the main WriteLog screen. You will need to write one of these if you want to the user to be able to control rig features other than frequency and mode, or if you want to display rig settings on the screen. The Front Panel does not communicate directly with the rig or even the rig’s COM port, but instead it talks to the same rig driver that WriteLog is simultaneously using for frequency and mode settings.
More information on rig driver samples and the SDK are on the Programmers Resources page.