2.8 Learning guide   -   Introduction, hardware setup

This guide makes use of three generic radios configured in the database on the supplied SD card.

They are selectable using piWebCAT's drop down radio selector.

The three radios and this guide were a late addition to this manual.

The guide repeats information that is documented elsewhere in a progressive learning presentation.

Whatever rig you are using, please make sure you read section 2.10 Icom --vfo mode

 three configured radios have the following features:

  • They use piWebCAT's HAMLIB setting which uses Hamlib's rigctld system.
    Hamlib rigctld converts generic Hamlib CAT commands into the commands for the selected radio.
  • Initial configuration requires only the Hamlib radio code, USB or SERIAL selection and the baudrate.
  • The three configurations evolve A to B to C with progressive addition of more controls.
    Thus A is very simple with only tuning, band and mode selection, IF width and MOX.
    C is well featured but with controls limited to those that are common in modern radios.
  • My idea is that you gain progressive familiarity with piWebCAT using A to C and then consider
    adding your own rig-specific CAT commands using the remaining large number of unused controls.

In describing the setting up of these example radios, numerous potential side issues and explanations arise.

Some of these are discussed here. Many are referenced to relevant sections of this document / website
in order avoid repetition and to produce a fairly compact guide.  

Hardware setup

You need to start with the correct hardware setup for your radio.

See section 13.1 Serial Pi Zero and G3VPX piWebCAT interface card.  

See section 13.2  piWebCAT card schematic. Ensure link is set correctly for RS232 or Icom CI-V.

Raspberry Pi micro D card
The supplied SD card has preinstalled: Raspbian operating system, Apache2 web server. PHP language,
MariaDb (MySQL) database server, Mumble VOIP server and client, Hamlib rigctl/rigctld,

an FTP server (pure-fptd) for code upload, VNC server and the piWebCAT code and database.

RPi keyboard / mouse /monitor     RealVNC

Either plug in a USB keyboard and mouse and a monitor OR use VNC to control from your PC.

VNC installation on PC: Download and install VNC viewer from ReadlVNC (free).

From VNC Viewer:  From menu - File  - Add connection.
Add the RPi IP address as VNC server ( Give it a name . Click OK. Then click the icon.
Username = pi, password = feline. Check the save-password box.

Note that in normal operation, the RPi can be treated as a 'black box', both for piWebCAT

and for the Mumble audio link. Likewise for CAT configuration changes that are made via piWevCAT.
However, keyboard access to the RPi user interface may be needed during configuration,
eg: for testing  Hamlib rigctrl commands in the RPi terminal window (and finding your Hamlib code)

RPi  IP address

The RPi has been configured to connect via Wifi (wlan0) and via wired internet (eth0).
The SD card is supplied with IP address assigned to both wlan0 and eth0.

If you need to change the IP address, then with RPi terminal: use sudo nano /etc/dhcpcd.conf 
and simply find the two instances of and change to an IP address of your choice.

Then save with  Ctlr X, Y, Enter.   Then  sudo reboot.

Note: I have supplied the SD card with Mumble VOIP audio up and running connected to

If you change your IP address, you need to disconnect Mumble client on the RPi from Mumble server
on the RPI. Reconnect with the new IP address: Accept the dodgy certificate message by clicking YES.

Safety backup of configuration MySQL database

You will eventually be modifying the configuration database on the supplied SD card.

It is a good idea to begin by backing up the whole database (ie: all configured radios and the station log).

Please download and install MySQL Front. This is a free of charge database editor and SQL toolbox.
Section 3.13  gives instructions in how to use MySQL Front to backup the radios database.