Using the PW-1 safely (and with non-Icom transceivers)
The Icom PW-1 is a solid, reliable, 1 KW PEP output automaticly tuned amplifier that makes a fine addition to most stations. Unfortunately, defects in Icom's CI-V protocol mean that The Icom CI-V bus does does not work and play well when more than two items are on the bus. The PW-1 becomes a ticking time bomb and Icom has released an erratta sheet that warns against connecting your transceiver and amplifier to a computer.
In addition, the PW-1 can only follow the Icom transceivers using the CI-V protocol. Although there are automatic amplifiers from several other manufacturers - including SPE and Tokyo High Power - that support multiple control protocols, this means that a PW-1 is relegated to manual band switching when used with non-Icom transceivers.
For many years, starting with the now discontinued microHAM Band Decoder, microHAM have provided solutions which allow the use of automatically tuned amplifiers made by one manufacturer with transceivers by other manufacturers. This experience has been leveraged to bring support for the PW-1 to microHAM microKEYER II, Digikeyer II and MK2R/MK2R+ as well as microHAM Station Master and Station Master Deluxe. All of these products provide an optional, isolated CI-V bus emulating an Icom transceiver that will provide frequency control over a PW-1 (or any other accessory using CI-V protocol).
Although its primary function is as a band decoder, microHAM Station Master provides a highly configuratble sequencer and control for automatic amplifiers - including isolated CI-V support - via the "PA Port." In addition to support for the PW-1, the PA Port will control other amplifeirs with CI-V support (e.g., SPE Expert 1K or 2K and Tokyo High Power HL1.5Kfx or 2.5Kfx), BCD controlled amplifiers like the Yaesu Quadra or FL-7000 and Elecraft KPA-500, and, by using an external BCD to 1 of 10 decoder, "1 of n" amplifiers from Ameritron (ALS-600 and ALS-1300) as well as Ten-Tec (Hercules).
microHAM microKEYER II, are DigiKeyer II are primarily Digital, CW and CAT/CI-V computer to rig interfaces (microKEYER II also support microphone/DVK switching for voice modes) but both provide an isolated CI-V bus that will control the a PW-1 (or any other accessory that uses CI-V for frequency control).
MK2R/MK2R+ is an SO2R interface with many advanced features - but specifically the ability to provide an isolated CI-V bus for each transceiver. This allows any supported transceiver to automatically control a PW-1 or other CI-V compatible automatic amplifier (one amplifier for each transceiver).
Please refer to the User Manual for each device for the appropriate configuration information. Basic connection diagrams are available for the PW-1 with Station Master, Digikeyer II and microKEYER II. With minor changes to accommodate the proper amplifier connections, the Station Master diagram represents the connections for any automatic amplifier and Station Master.
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