Rig Monitoring with
Kenwood ARCP Remote Programs
This article is for vision-impaired amateur radio operators who want to display the settings of a Kenwood transceiver on a computer screen for improved visibility. Kenwood ARCP Remote Control Programs make it possible to monitor Kenwood Model TS-590, TS-480, TS-2000, and TS-990S radios.
The primary purpose of the ARCP programs is to operate a radio using a nearby computer console. ARCP can also be used as part of the Kenwood Network Command System to control a radio from a remote location.
This article is about using an ARCP program for a different purpose—to make radio settings easier to read using a computer screen near the radio. The basics of rig monitoring are described in a separate article.
When an ARCP program is running, both sets of controls—the radio front panel and the computer console—are operational.
Other functions of ARCP programs include:
• Radio menu configuration
• Programming radio channel memories
• Saving and writing configuration data to the radio
Four ARCP programs are available:
TS-590 ARCP-590 v1.02—September, 2011
TS-480 ARCP-480 v1.01—May, 2004
TS-2000 ARCP-2000 v1.10—July, 2002
TS-990S ARCP-990 v1.00—March, 2013
ARCP-590, -480, and -990S are free downloads from Kenwood.
ARCP-2000 is sold by Kenwood dealers. It was not tested for this article.
ARCP-990S also was not tested. It does not run on my Windows 7 system, possibly because no TS-990S radio was available. (ARCP-590 and -480 run without requiring a connected radio.) A screen-image of ARCP-990 is included on the Web site of the Martin Lynch & Sons company with a link to the Kenwood download site.
All four programs work are designed to use Windows XP, Vista, and Windows7. The ARCP-480 Program Description does not list Vista or Windows7, but the TS-480 Network Command System Setting Manual (April, 2011) corrects that omission.
Connecting the Radio to a Computer
Serial data cables for rig monitoring are discussed in a separate article. All four of these radios have a COM port for use with a straight-through RS-232 cable. The TS-590 and TS-990S also have a USB port as an alternative.
Visibility of the User Interface
Figures 1 and 2 (from the TS-590 and TS-480 In-Depth Manuals) show the main program windows.
Figure 1. ARCP-590 Program Window www.Kenwoodusa.com
Figure 2. ARCP-480 Program Window www.kenwoodusa.com
The data display screen on the radio front panel is represented by the colored area in each figure. Both programs have a color setup menu you can use to select high high contrast colors for the background, characters, and graphics in the data screen.
The rest of the display is not customizable. The size of the program window and text are fixed. Full-screen display is not an option, but you can use a bigger screen or magnification software to enlarge the image and choose a high contrast color scheme.
ARCP-590 Window Size
On a typical 22" display the front panel in Figure 1 is 7.6" high x 10" wide (96 dpi), and the letter height is 0.08 inch. At a dpi setting of 120, the window is 9.3" high x 13.3" wide with letter height of 0.1 inch.
ARCP-480 Window Size
On a typical 22" display the front panel in Figure 2 is 5.5" high x 8.4" wide (96 dpi), and the letter height is 0.08 inch. At 120 dpi, part of the front panel is not visible because of the fixed window size.
Using the Programs
Commonly used settings, such as frequency, mode, and S-meter level, are shown in the data panel. Other settings, such as for noise reduction and filters, are on the program front panel.
There are two ways to operate a control—use the program front panel or the corresponding item in the menu.
New Features in ARCP-590
ARCP-590 has all the functions of the earlier ARCP-480 program as well as the new features of the TS-590 radio. Six new ways to change frequency using the program have been added, as described in the TS-590 In-Depth Manual. Also, at the bottom of the window a status bar displays frequently used items, including the transmitter output power.
Using the VGS-1 Voice Guide
If a VGS-1 Voice Guide is installed in the radio, automatic announcements are made when the ARCP program controls are used. For example, when the computer is used to change bands, the frequency is announced from the radio speaker or headset.
There are two keys on the ARCP-480 program front panel that announce the frequency (VOICE1) and S-meter reading (VOICE2). Or, you can select them from the Radio menu at the top of the window.
There are no [PF] or [VOICE] keys on the ARCP-590 control panel, but each of the three VOICE announcements can be selected from the Radio menu at the top of the window.
Kenwood ARCP programs can be used by vision-impaired hams to monitor HF radio settings. The window size is fixed and not full-screen, so magnification software may be helpful. The programs can also be used to manage radio menus, program memory channels, and back-up radio configuration data.
Thanks to Kevin Nathan, K7RX (SK), for helpful information.
Peter DeNeef, AE7PD, is an Extra Class amateur radio operator in the U.S. This web site has no ads or conflicts of interest.