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Old 04-06-2020, 05:44   #1
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CORETEX WeatherFax

Our boat came to us with an ICOM M710 SSB. Connected to it is a little playing card sized item labled CORETEX, that plugs into the remote jack on the radio and outputs to a DB-9 (serial) jack at the Nav Station. From what I can tell, this device is a super "sound card," that turns the output into bits for the computer to read. It also may provide the ability to use the PC to control the radio. It is no longer supported by the manufacturer.



I have no software for the unit, so it is of little value right now. The manufacturer still makes a WeatherFax program, but has been de-graded and now uses only an audio jack (either the PC jack, or if one does not exist, a USB sound card). All other features are gone.


Does anyone know anything about this device? Is it worth trying to get it going, or is a modern PC/sound card solution really the best approach (but the PC control of the radio would be nice).


I am not usually an advocate of software piracy, but if anyone would share a copy of a 20 year old program that is no longer supported or sold by the vendor, that would be much appreciated.
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Old 04-06-2020, 06:27   #2
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Re: CORETEX WeatherFax

That thing is old. You would first need a laptop where this card fits in, called a PCMCIA card. Not many have that slot anymore. The SW delivered with this thing is called Weatherfax 2000 from a NZ company "Xaxero". Here is a bit more about it:
https://www.practical-sailor.com/mar...-hf-weatherfax
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Old 04-06-2020, 08:10   #3
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Re: CORETEX WeatherFax

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeaseOnLife View Post
That thing is old. You would first need a laptop where this card fits in, called a PCMCIA card. Not many have that slot anymore. The SW delivered with this thing is called Weatherfax 2000 from a NZ company "Xaxero". Here is a bit more about it:
https://www.practical-sailor.com/mar...-hf-weatherfax

I assume it was provided with the boat when new or shortly after, making it around 20 years old.


Yes, I've seen the PS article on the USB version. I've also contacted the US Distributor of Xaxero, and they told me the software is no longer available (the new version of the Weatherfax 2000 is sound-card only -- it listens but doesn't provide any input back to the radio).


The card looks about the size of a PCMCIA card, but is not. It has a wire on one end that plugs into the radio, and a wire on the other end that terminates in a DB-9 serial plug. I have a USB-serial converter dongle for my laptop (laptops no longer have serial ports -- but boats use them for all kinds of things. On mine, I can configure my AIS, link into the instrument network, and if I can get this running I'll control my SSB, all on a DB-9 plug).


I hate to reinvent the installation just because I don't have the software. I can buy special cables that go from a DB-9 port on the laptop to the SSB (just like I have) for controlling the radio, and I can rig up an audio cable to provide sound input to a Weatherfax program -- but it won't really be better than what I have and may not even be as good as what I have.
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Old 04-06-2020, 12:50   #4
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Re: CORETEX WeatherFax

I don't think there is a need to "reinvent". Just a need to "out with the old" and bring in some "not so old" gear. There should be enough software out there that can be used for WEFAX.

One (that I use) is called JVCOMM. As for audio, the M710 can provide audio to a laptop. You might be able to do it directly, or you may need a USB Sound Card, such as a SIGNALINK. Maybe other external sound cards could work.

Only way to find out is just download JVCOMM, run it in Demo mode, then attach the M710 speaker out to your laptop (just for this test) and see if you can get WEFAX.
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Old 04-06-2020, 13:22   #5
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Re: CORETEX WeatherFax

The internet never forgets. You can download the Weatherfax 2000 install from an archived copy of Xaxero's website. This link is from 2001 and delivers version 602 for Windows 95 (there is also a different version for Windows 3.1).

Here's a link to a slightly differently named version from 2004 that also works as a download. Click on the link for "Weatherfax RS232 Demodulator". Still version 602, but with a different file name.

Two thoughts; you probably shouldn't trust links that download software, here's a link to the archive without a download (not every download link in the archive will work, it depends on how the site stored the file, how it was scanned, etc. - you may have to hunt around for a while), you can look through the 2001-2004 pages and find the downloads that work; and remember, this is proof, the internet never forgets - it just gets harder to find.
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Old 04-06-2020, 15:37   #6
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Re: CORETEX WeatherFax

It's a lazy afternoon, so I installed the WFax 2000 program. The fax receiver program seems to run OK on Windows 10. The Fax scheduler (that controls your radio remotely) relies on information stored in a Jet database and the installer only has a 16-bit version - which is no longer supported in Windows 10. Should (?) still be supported in Windows 7, maybe. Did not look around for a 32- or 64-bit version although something should be available since it was a Microsoft product for a long time. Could also just run it in an XP VM, but now things are getting complicated...

Also, saw this little nugget in the PS article:

Quote:
The demodulator is powered from the serial port on the laptop by using some of the unused RS-232 pins.
Back in the day even laptop serial ports had 5V pins, but most now are at 3.3V, USB adapters can be either. Don't know what the demodulator wants.
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Old 08-06-2020, 18:20   #7
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Re: CORETEX WeatherFax

Dsanduril,


It's been a few days, and I haven't said a word. I don't want you to think that I asked a question, and then vanished (seems to happen a lot around here!). I've downloaded two versions (the second link seems to install better). I tried it on my desktop, and it failed. Then tried it on my laptop (both WIN10), and it seemed to install fine (but there is that database error). Now I need to find time to actually play with it on the boat.


Thanks for the pointer, and I'll post back when I have a verdict.


Harry
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