A Pointing and Info Helper for iDirect
by Don Bradner
iDModTool is a utility based on a John Watson concept, originally designed for users on multi-beam accounts to easily switch between beams. I have refined and expanded this concept into a general purpose utility for monitoring iDirect modem function and also a help in achieving TX Lock.|
You can download it here. The download is a simple install program to register the few necessary components.
|The image at right shows the utility as it looks to a user on a single beam|
Configuration consists of entering correct IP addresses for the iDirect Modem and the Datastorm Controller. The information items should be obvious to any user familiar with the Datastorm and iDirect.|
The one non-obvious function of the program is that it will advance Tx Power in small increments if Tx Lock is not achieved. Maximum increase in power is 8dB, which is enough to overcome most changes in needed power as the user moves about North America. Once network lock occurs there will be no more adjustments by the program, and final power will be set from the iDirect hub.
|The image at right shows the utility as it looks to a user with the ability to select multiple beams.|
For users on accounts with access to multiple beams there will be a number of additional information items, as well as selection tools. In the screen above, the user is on Beam 5 out of Gilbert, and has a second Gilbert choice as well as an unidentified Beam 4. More about that unidentified choice later.|
|In the image at right, the user is on Beam 5, but has selected Beam 4.|
Now there is a label "Switch" and the button indicates the beam that will be switched to. The process, once the Switch button is clicked, proceeds like this: The Search button is disabled, and the modem is instructed to change to Beam 4. After a few seconds the modem will reset itself, and the modem connection is lost. When the modem comes back to life the program will read the satellite longitude (which in this case will be 121) and will change the "(not in map)" readouts to reflect the actual values. The program will push the satellite longitude information to the Datastorm Controller, and the Search button will be activated.|
Clicking "Search" will cause the Datastorm Controller to seek the new satellite.
The "(not in map)" display is unfortunate, but it reflects the information that is in the Beam Selector portion of the modem's options file. Hopefully as time goes on the writers of those option files will start to provide a more descriptive name for each beam so that it is clear what satellites they refer to.
Important note: You should always run iDModTool after turning the iDirect modem on, even if the dish is already pointed. There is a 50% chance that the modem will start on the wrong beam, and you won't be online. If the dish is stowed, run iDModTool before deploying the dish, so that the modem and controller are in agreement for satellite assignment.
For support with this program, contact the author through the forums at www.datastormusers.com|
About the author: Don is a semi-retired pet shop owner and long-time programmer who runs this site for the fun of it.