The Antenna Control Unit was a long term project. I have been asked to develop a state of the art controller for telemetry applications, the end result of which was a commercial grade program used all over the world.
The software has two components, a real-time and a user interface component. The real-time portion is targeted at off the shelf low cost AT architecture computers with a few custom components. It also runs on the STD-32 architecture (for rugged environments). The 18000+ lines of code was developed in Borland C++.
The user interface component is a Windows NT program. It was developed in Microsoft Visual C++ and MFC. It utilizes multi-threading and some multimedia techniques that enable near real-time update of the graphics that convey the status of the antenna controller. It requires a high performance AT class computer with a graphics accelerator for best performance. I developed a number of UI components that are not generally available, such as, buttons that light up and high performance LCD type numeric displays.
The two componets of the program are connected via an RS-232C line. I've developed a protocol that is optimized for the purpose. In certain applications the antenna controller connects to external equipment that provides pointing information in various formats. In some cases it was necessary to apply coordinate transformation algorithms to derive the local pointing angles.
The entire software development project was a one man effort, this is quite a contrast to the Iridium program which I was involved in recently. However, best of class techniques have been utilized to deliver a reliable product.
Laszlo Kiss — deltaprime.com — (602) 418-9922