Voicemeeter Banana and FT-991/A
Wanting to spice up your shinny FT-991/A? What about connecting your computer to your 991/A and using your computer to process your audio without extra hardware or even cost?
What about you controlling your FT-991/A like this:
Click to enlarge - Screenshot, PY2RAF's VoiceMeeter and FT-991/A integration
And without rocket science and no solder iron or complex software programming?
Like a boss, right? Let's get started.
Connecting stuff together
This is the high-level diagram of the connections in my setup. Obviously you don't need all of them - Only the USB CAT & Audio cable is required.
In my setup I don't use the PTT mic - matter of fact I have removed/boxed it. I use a Sennheiser SC-60 USB headset plugged to the laptop. I like this headset because it is lightweight, super comfortable for wearing in long periods and the foam cushion instead of those plastic or faux leather that covers the ear - I feel those very uncomfortable as they heats up my ears (and I live in a tropical country).
The audio is then sent to the VoiceMeeter, which undergoes a light transformation and compression, and is then fed to the FT-991A.
The VoiceMeeter channel, setup and configuration is described at this QRZ thread - So this should be your stop number one. There are a number of Radio's Setup configuration clauses that should be checked too, so please visit the above article. If you have any questions, please do ask in the QRZ thread.
To signal the TX mode I use either the footswitch (99% of time) or if I'm real lazy, VOX mode.
After you got the ball rolling in your Voice Meeter and FT-991-A, then it is time to setup your macros.
In the QRZ thread I also gave a glimpse on how to configure the macro buttons.
Creating your macros
Ensure to take a look at the Youtube video to learn how to create your macro buttons.
Open the Macro Buttons app
Right-click the desired button
This is how you configure a pushbutton:
This is how you configure a two-state (on/off) button:
I have provided my batch macro files in in /auto folder. These are used for sending the CAT commands to the radio. Ensure to store the
auto folder in your Home directory (
c:\users\your-username\auto), so you can take advantage of the existing automation.
The initial setup
You need know what's your radio's CAT COM port number. In my case, it is COM4.
Your radio COM port and speed is defined in
setup.cmd file. In the below example:
REM ### CONFIGURE YOUR COM PORT HERE set COMPORT=COM4 REM ### THE BELOW BAUD RATE MUST MATCH REM ### YOUR TRANSCEIVER BAUD RATE! mode %COMPORT% BAUD=38400 PARITY=n DATA=8 > NUL
We have the configuration for a transceiver in the COM4 port, and using 38400 bps speed. It is crucial to match these values to your transceiver settings!
A look into the macros.
Let's dissect one of them. For example,
This macro is triggered when you push the button and engage the CQ mode - In this button I want to:
- Engage VOX mode
- Reduce the TX power to 50W
- Mute my headset.
The macro button has the following VoiceMeeter commands:
So, it will invoke the batch file
c:\users\your-username\auto\modo-cq-on.cmd and then mute the headset's microphone - which is in VoiceMeeter's Strip 1.
Now, checking the content of the batch file:
@echo off call %USERPROFILE%\auto\setup.cmd SET CAT=PC050;VX1; echo| set /p="%CAT%"> %COMPORT%
call %USERPROFILE%\auto\setup.cmdcalls the setup batch file and configures your COM port, preparing for it for the communication.
SET CAT=PC050;VX1;defines the CAT command to be sent to the radio. In this example, it is actually sending two commands to the radio:
PC050;sets the TX power to 50 Watts and
VX1;instructs the radio to enable the VOX mode.
Every CAT command in the FT-991/A line are terminated by the semicolon. No need to send
enter, newline or something like that. If you do, it will fail the CAT command
And finally, the line
echo| set /p="%CAT%"> %COMPORT%sends the CAT command to your radio.
Conversely, when leaving the CQ mode we have the following macro:
Which will unmute the microphone and execute
modo-cq-off.cmd. Which we have:
call %USERPROFILE%\auto\setup.cmd SET CAT=PC100;VX0; echo| set /p="%CAT%"> %COMPORT%
- The first line was already explained;
- The CAT commands
PC100;restoring the power back to 100W and
VX0;disabling the VOX mode and;
- Finally sending the command to the radio.
Reset my radio to my preferred settings!
This is an example of the possibilities that the CAT command set provides you. I have configured a Macro button to tune to my favourite QRG with my favourite settings. So let's take a look. I have depicted the functionality and its respective CAT command:
Freq. 7.130 FA007130000; Mode LSB MD01; NB on NB01; DNF off BC00; DNR off NR00; Contour off CO000000; BW 3200 SH021; AGC slow GT03; Att off RA00; Preamp IPO PA00; Proc on PR01; TX power 100 PC100; Meter PO MS2; VOX off VX0;
Which resulted in this batch file:
@ECHO off call %USERPROFILE%\auto\setup.cmd SET CAT=FA007130000;MD01;NB01;BC00;NR00;CO000000;SH021;GT03;RA00;SH021;GT03;RA00;PA00;PR01;PC100;MS2;VX0; echo| set /p="%CAT%"> %COMPORT%
Can you share your VoiceMeeter button config?
For sure! Check the
macro-buttons.xml in the
auto folder - This is my current button set and it also makes use of environment variables, so you skip the hassle to edit the buttons and specify your path.
All you have to do is open Macro Buttons, click the top-right icon, select
Load Button Map and then load the
A NICE Feature: Different button maps!
This expands enormously VoiceMeeter functionality, without having to keep an enormous Button Map opened - Now VoiceMeeter (as of version 18.104.22.168) can load button maps. So if you need a specific subset of functions, just create a new button map (remember to save your current!) and load it using the command:
Works perfectly. For example, I removed the CQ buttons that I had in the main button map and moved them to a map of its own:
Main Button Map
CQ Button Map
Note: As of VoiceMeeter version 22.214.171.124, the
Load() function does not expand %USERPROFILE% env setting, so be sure to specify the explicit file path. Reported in VoiceMeeter forum.
For more information on the CAT command set check the Yaesu FT-991A CAT command set manual.
VoiceMeeter's Macro Command set - There's a number ot tricks over there. One of the nicest that I did was notching power line hum and its harmonics up to the 4th one.
Enjoy! Explore! Be adventurous!
Bonus points - Wiring, etc.
Here is how I have wired the FT-991A for my silly footswitch and the TX timer (more details on timer here):
Wiring diagram - click to enlarge
How does the real deal looks like:
PY2RAF and his abused FT-991A
That's it! Happy Hacking! 73s de PY2RAF.