Category Archives: Equipment

JT65 – Easy as Pie!

Why waiting for the family to get ready, I figured I’d download JT65-HF and give it a try. The hardest part seemed to be finding the actual download. I was not able to download off Sourceforge as the link kept telling me the file wasn’t found. The ARRL has a link at http://www.arrl.org/hf-digital but it is for an older version. I eventually found the current version at http://jt65-hf.com/downloads/ .

You need to have accurate time and need a time check/sync program that is more frequent than one built into Windows. I would suggest the free NetTime program at http://www.timesynctool.com/ which installs as a Windows service.

Installation and configuration was very straightforward for me. Configuration involved just specifying my call, grid square, soundcard input.output and PTT port. I have a SignaLink USB and just needed to select the SignaLink in the drop-downs for input and output devices. I did reduce the audio gain on the main screen until the signals were the only noticeable output on the waterfall. I watched a couple quick YouTube videos to get the idea and I was off and running.

Using JT65-HF is essentially point-and-click. A JT65 cycle occurs as follows:
1) On the top of each minute 47 second transmission occur.
2) There is a pause for 13 seconds which allows everyone to select their next action
3) #1 repeats

A typical QSO is a station sends CQ and at 47 secs after each minute you can see what stations are calling. You double click on their CQ in the list before it hits the top of the minute and the program sends your call back to them for 47 seconds. Your radio is transmitting for the full 47 seconds. Assuming the CQing station picks up your call, he has ~13 seconds to initiate the action which QSLs it from his end. You have 13 seconds to see it and either double click the acknowledgement or click on Send Report. The next 47 seconds your radio is in transmit sending the report. The CQing station then sends 73 and you send 73.

Here’s a screen shot of an exchange (click to enlarge):

jt65-hf

 

1) EA3CS called CQ (green highlighted line) at 20:01z and I decode it at 20:02z
2) I double clicked that line which captured his call and grid square and told JT65-HF to send my call and grid square
3) EA3CS acknowledged and sent my signal report (red line) which I receive at 20:04z
4) I double clicked his response which captured my report and told JT65-HF to send EA3CS his report
5) EA3CS replied back confirming with RRR (red line) at 20:06z
6) I double clicked his QSL and it sent him back EA3CS K2DSL 73

You can see from the times that I saw his CQ @ 20:02 and finished sending my 73 as the last exchange which completed at 20:08. So it’s a 6 minute QSO. Not fast but interesting. It required no typing and just double clicking. You want to remember to re-enable the Enable Multi option or you will just continue to decode the offset for the QSO you just had vs the bandwidth for the waterfall. The program has a built in log which can generate an ADIF file of contacts you can import into your favorite logging program.

73,
K2DSL

2011 IARU Summary & a Busy Ham Sunday

There was the 24-hour IARU ham radio contest this weekend from Sat morning to Sun morning. I checked things out Sat morning and didn’t hear much and had plenty of other things to get done so I didn’t fire up N1MM and start logging. made a few contacts but there wasn’t much in the way of propagation so after about 25 contacts I took a break and did other things inside/outside.

I checked back around 2000z (4pm local time) and there was more activity so I fired up N1MM and started logging contacts. 10m and 15m had very little activity that I could hear so I spent most of the time on 20m. Worked about 1.5 hours, had 35 contacts and took about a 90 min break. Came back, conditions were better and I spent the next 2.5 hours operating finishing up with 121 contacts and hit the sack for the night for an early morning alarm. Nothing exotic in the log but some good contacts and a few stations contacted across 3 bands.

Score summary:

 Band    QSOs    Pts  Mlt   HQ
  3.5       3      3    0    3
    7      26     46    6   12
   14      88    246   11   25
   21       3      3    0    3
   28       1      1    0    1
Total     121    299   17   44

Score : 18,239

I got up early on Sunday morning, picked up N2CG and drove to the Sussex hamfest about 1 hour away. It’s the largest hamfest in the immediate area and up until this years trip to Dayton, it was the largest hamfest I had been to. Shortly after getting there I spotted a light duty Radio Shack rotator, control box and rotator cable that looked in excellent shape and picked it up for $25. Tested it at home and it seems to work well. Strolled around the rest of the day and just picked up some connectors. Saw lots of folks I know and chatted with some vendors. Weather was great if just a bit warm in the sun. I also watched NB2F, Dee, work some satellites from his portable station. I really enjoy the satellite contacts.

We also had our clubs monthly meeting Sun night where I won the 50-50 and about $30. I can’t complain about that – paid for my rotator from the hamfest! Since I usually am the guy going around hawking the tickets a couple of folks commented in jest, but I don’t pull the winning ticket. Also seems that we might look to create a contesting group within our club which could be a lot of fun.

Before heading to the club meeting I was doing a few things and noticed that Jan Mayden was spotted on 20m RTTY. I tuned in and had a light but mostly printable copy on them. I tried for a while sending my call out but had no luck. I needed to head to the club meeting for a while so I shut everything down. After I got home JX5O was calling CQ again and was a bit stronger so I put out my call after each CQ and after a bunch of attempts they came back to me as K2DSR. I resent K2DSL and he came back with the correct call for a 20m RTTY contact with them. Though I made a couple of previous contacts, this one contact alone covers my DXCC Mixed, 20m and RTTY awards.

A very diverse ham radio weekend. Next weekend is the NAQP RTTY contest on Saturday afterrnoon and evening so you’ll know where I will be.

73,
K2DSL

TS-2000 Filter Problem – Static Crashes and No S Meter

This is a going to be a rather long entry and possibly only relevant to those with a Kenwood TS-2000 radio, but feel free to read on. It documents a problem I experienced and what was done to correct it, so hopefully others with the same problem might find this in search results with the info they need. I’m not the original source of all the info but just aggregating it in one place.

A week or two before I was heading out to Dayton for Hamvention 2011 I started to notice noise when using my TS-2000. At first it would come and go infrequently so I didn’t pay too much attention, but as time went on it got worse and more frequent. I initially started troubleshooting the problem as interference from something in my home or the surrounding neighbors. I spent a few hours one weekend tracking down a noise source in my house, but it ended up being unrelated to what I was hearing on the radio. The problem would show as intermittent bursts of what sounded like lightening strikes/static crashes that would push the S meter on my TS-2000 up to S9+60 and then it would go away. As time went on it would become more frequent. Transmitting was fine and when there weren’t those loud crashes, receiving was fine too. When the noise was present, I could press the +/- band buttons and the noise would be there regardless of band. I didn’t try and see if it was on FM or not.

I moved the radio into my car and without an antenna connected and on a standalone battery source I was still hearing the noise as I drove around, essentially eliminating external interference as the cause. I started to search online and through my archived emails I have as a member of multiple TS-2000 groups and came upon what seemed to be a match to my symptoms.   A few folks reported the same static crash symptom with some sending their TS-2000 to Kenwood for service and some adressing the issue on their own. One op, LA4AMA, even created a great PDF file with step by step instructions for anyone that wanted to do it themselves. I checked with LA4AMA and he was fine with me posting it here in case you aren’t a member of the TS-2000 Yahoo group.

The actual problem is 1 to 3 bad filters. Maybe there was a bad batch that Kenwood received but I wasn’t paying enough attention in the various threads to determine the specific range of manufacture dates for those reporting the problem. My TS-2000 happens to be manufactured in April 2008. I’ve also seen subsequent posts about other manufacturers having a similar filter issue but I’m not sure how related their problem might be to the Kenwoods.

The parts are surface mounted and require a desoldering tool that sucks up the solder to do it right. Even if I had that tool, I’m not sure I would have taken on the task myself.  So I checked with a local club member that owned an electronics repair business to see if he might be interested in checking it out, and if not I would just send it to Kenwood for repair. I sent along the PDF that La4AMA created and a couple of posts from the various Kenwood groups describing the problem. He reviewed everything and said he’d give it a shot. I ordered the parts for the 3 filters that share 2 distinct parts from Kenwood Parts aka East Coast Transistor. The 2 parts are L72-0985-05 and L72-0984-05 and each part is under $5. You need at least a quantity of 2 for part L72-0984-05 and 1 of part L72-0985-05. I ordered a spare of each, just in case. With the necessary parts, 2 spares & shipping (USPS), it came to $29. Without the spares it would have been just over $20 total including the shipping. They arrived within a week of ordering.

When the parts arrived I arranged with the very generous friend to drop them off along with the TS-2000. We discussed him checking that with the radio on at his location, he could replicate the problem so he could hear it in action and then after replacing the filters, he should hear a difference. After dropping everything off I was heading over to another club members house to operate the VHF contest that was going on. While operating the VHF contest, I got an email to call him back, and when I did, he was explaining what he was seeing/hearing with my radio. It seems since I last had it powered on (maybe 2 weeks earlier) and with moving it to his house, the symptoms had changed. The S meter was no longer moving, even when receiving a strong signal, and he was hearing no static crashes. I know there needs to be a setting (AGC) enabled for the S meter to move, and it was, so that wasn’t the problem. He also said he was hearing only strong stations compared with moving the antenna over to his radio and hearing more stations. I hadn’t seen posted in the threads discussing the filter problem about the S meter being impacted by the filters going bad.

After operating the rest of the VHF contest I stopped back at his house to see what was going on. We did a full TS-2000 reset to see if that helped, but nothing was moving the meter on SSB, even with injecting a direct signal. We were hearing more stations than he original reported, but it was still VERY quiet compared to what I normally hear with an antenna plugged in. So we decided to proceed with replacing the filters and if things were still not right I’d send it in to Kenwood for servicing. Late that night he sent me an email to say he replaced the filters, reception seemed fine, and the S meter was again accurately registering noise/signals. Woohoo!!

I’ve only had it back home and plugged in for a short while but everything seems to be working well. Thanks are due to many people from the local ham that loaned me a TS-2000 he had, to the folks that posted about the issue, to my very generous friend that replaced the filters. Hopefully the post will consolidate the info and show up in searches for folks that might have the same problem and don’t belong to the Yahoo groups where they could also find the info.

73,
K2DSL

Misc ham radio activities over the past week

I haven’t been on the air much over the past week but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing ham radio activities.

I mentioned a week or so ago that I was experiencing noise on my Kenwood TS-2000 and I thought it was electrical or interference around my house. What seems to be the issue has to do with failed filters in the radio. It seems to be something a few TS-2000 owners have experienced, and even some other radio manufacturers are reporting the same thing, so it could be a bad batch made that is causing the problem. Anyway, it took a bit of diagnosing and researching to determine the likely cause – all a learning experience in troubleshooting RF issues. I engaged the help of K2ZB and K2ZO in my diagnosing/troubleshooting. I ordered the parts (under $20) and they will likely arrive this week. K2ZC has graciously agreed to do the desoldering/soldering to replace them, and K2ZO has loaned me his TS-2000 until mine is back up and running. I’ll report back on the details once there is more info.

Randy, K5ZD, who manages the CQ WPX contests, put out a message about more paper logs arriving for the 2011 WPX SSB contest so I volunteered and entered in 3 sets of logs. One log was from a US ham with a note on his cover sheet that said “Still contesting @ age 91“. You gotta love it!

Saturday morning a few folks from my local club met up at an ops house to assist with some troubleshooting of his Cushcraft R7000 vertical multi-band antenna. We fixed a few problems and replaced the coax, but a few problems remained and there didn’t seem to be an easy way to troubleshoot specific traps, so we put it up and he should be able to operate on what he has until he decides to order some parts, if available, or replace the antenna.

Edit: I forgot I helped out Fred @ QRZ.com clean up dead links on the page at http://www.qrz.com/i/commercial.html .

Tonight is our monthly club meeting and next weekend, if the weather is reasonable, we head up to  an old Nike site for a weekend of VHF contesting.

See you on the air!
K2DSL

TS-2000 Auto Mode – Making it work for you

There’s an option on the Kenwood TS-2000 (and maybe on other Kenwood ham radios including the new TS-590) called Auto Mode. It’s an option that will set the Mode (CW, USB, LSB, etc) for you automatically based on the frequency that the radio is tuned to. By default, in the US model I have from 2008, the only “auto” mode it does is switch to LSB when accessing 40m or below and USB when accessing 30m or above. That’s not very precise unless you only operated SSB.  As an example, if I click a spot in the cluster for say 14.043, I would want it to automatically change to CW since USB isn’t the proper mode for that portion of the band.

There’s a way to program the TS-2000 to be more configured to what you want. I’m aware of 2 ways to program the mode based on what frequency is entered – manually and through the Kenwood ARCP-2000 which isn’t free (not to be confused with the MCP-2000 program which is free but doesn’t read/write this set of configurations). Update: I’m now aware of a 3rd programming option using a newly developed Windows program – info at the bottom of this post.

The manual programming method is described in the Kenwood TS-2000 Instruction  Manual on pages 73 & 74 (or enter “page” 81 if you want to jump to it in the PDF version of the manual). The section is called Auto Mode and it describes the process for configuration which involves turning the radio on while pressing the Auto/LSB/USB button. The manual describes how to specify the frequency ranges and the mode to set to within the range.

Using ARCP-2000 is more user friendly if you happen to have the program. Even if you are going to program the radio manually, looking at the 2 screenshots below are probably helpful in illustrating the info you need to specify. Below is the default screen of what it looks like when it isn’t yet custom programmed and how it comes from the factory (click to enlarge):

As you can see in the default, if auto mode is enabled on the radio (Func + Auto) anything below 9.5MHz will be set to LSB and anything above it will be set to USB. Using the ARRL Frequency Allocation Chart (PDF), I programmed in the CW and SSB ranges for each of the bands. As an example with 40m, below 7.125MHz will be CW while above 7.125MHz will be LSB. You can see in the below screen shot (click to enlarge) a snippet of the different frequency ranges and the mode that my TS-2000 will tune to if manually entered on the radio or if sent to the radio via a program such as clicking a spot within Ham Radio Deluxe.

I did not program in the RTTY segments of the band and will just manually press the CW/FSK button if I want to go into RTTY mode. I will use the Auto Mode option when casually operating, but in a contest, I turn auto mode off and manually set the mode based on the contest. The only contest where you might normally switch around modes is a state QSO party and that’s no big deal.

Maybe the above is obvious to all the Kenwood TS-2000 users and I sort of new about it, but today was the day when I did something about it. I was just tired of changing the mode manually when I’m poking around with spots as folks are gearing up for CQ WW CW this weekend and a lot of ops are on the air before the contest working a lot of different bands/modes.

73 & good DX,
K2DSL

Quick update: I was going to post this into the Kenwood TS-2000 Yahoo Group and when I went there I see there is a very recent discussion on this as well as someone creating a Windows program to do what ARCP-2000 does. See http://wf0gm.fpage.com/ts2000automode.htm for details. I haven’t tried it but it seems to be much more user friendly then manually doing it and even if using ARCP-2000.

Another ISS Packet Session

In the middle of the Makrothen RTTY ham  radio contest I took a break and set things up for another ISS (International Space Station) packet session. As the ISS came into my coverage area I sent my APRS packet info. I also started to decode packets from others from the central US and from the east coast. Halfway through, I stopped xmitting and decoding for some reason so I shut down the apps and started them back up and it seemed fine again.

My APRS position was received and sent back and repeated onto the Internet by KB8YSE. I also sent a received a message with N1RCN in Rhode Island. Here’s the exchange from http://www2.findu.com/cgi-bin/msg.cgi?call=K2DSL:

from to time message
N1RCN K2DSL 10/10 13:06:09z Reply Good Morning From Fletch In Bristol, RI
K2DSL N1RCN 10/10 13:05:34z Send another Hi from Waldwick, NJ, USA

That looks like this mornings overhead pass is the only pass today worth trying. There are some new astronauts on the way to the ISS and they should dock in another day or two.

73,
K2DSL

First ISS Contact via APRS

I must have seen some blog post or article on Friday or Saturday morning that got me thinking about making a contact with the ISS (International Space Station). On Saturday morning I started visiting various sites and trying to figure out how to get things setup and configured to try and make it happen. It wasn’t easy since I really had nothing previously setup for doing this so there are a bunch of things that needed to be done. I’m also documenting what I did here so I can remember for future attempts.

I guess first is defining my home setup used for a VHF/APRS contact with the ISS. I have a Kenwood TS-2000 that has a built in TNC but in the end, the built-TNC proved irrelevant. I have an external Diamond dual band vertical antenna for VHF. I have a SignaLink USB as a soundcard device and I’m running Windows 7 on my notebook.  I needed to use all these components as well as 2 pieces of software to get the job done though I probably downloaded a couple others throughout Saturday as I was trying to get things working. The software is AGWPE from SV2AGW and UISS from ON6MU. I also used a bunch of web sites such as the ISS Fan Club tracking site, the AMSAT Pass Prediction page and the FindU ARISS page for what stations it heard (and repeated to another I-Gate station which put it on the Internet).

The TS-2000 has a built-in TNC which I kept thinking I should be using but proved to not be the case. I used AGWPE and interfaced it through my SignaLink USB soundcard. No need with this solution to deal with the menus on the TS-2000 associated with the TNC and packet radio. What I needed to do was run the main receiver on the TS-2000 on 145.825 FM (as referenced on the ISS Fan Club Frequency page) as keying the SignaLink would do it on the main receiver. You need to turn up the squelch enough to keep the static quiet. Configuring AGWPE took quite a while for me as I was originally trying to do it using the built-in TNC which might be possible (according to various posts I found) but proved not to work for me, though I didn’t try it on the main receiver (or did I?). So then finding instructions for AGWPE & a soundcard I went that route and used my SignaLink. The issue I ran into and found various other online posts about it, is that with the SignaLink not being set as the default device in Windows 7, AGWPE was using the default. So what is necessary is making the SignaLink USB Audio Codec device the default sound device for playback/recording while this activity is going on. You do this through Windows Sound Control Panel and just need to be aware any sound on your computer will go through the SignaLink while this is set that way. Once I did that, AGWPE showed the SignaLink as the soundcard it will use and I was done with that configuration.

Next I downloaded and configured UISS which a Windows program specific to making packet contacts with ISS. The program is free but for some “PRO” features you need to make a donation. Seeing how much fun this is, if I start to make a few more contacts I will definitely donate. Setup wasn’t complex and for its data interface out, it just points to what is defined in AGWPE. There’s just a tiny bit of setup to define your lat/long for APRS and modification of any of the default messages. On Saturday I wasn’t able to get all the components properly configured but Sunday morning and a fresh start, ignoring anything TS-2000 specific, I was able to get things moving. I knew I was making progress when I tuned to 144.390 which is the national APRS frequency and UISS was decoding the incoming packets and showing them on the main screen. I tuned off frequency and pressed the Position button in UISS and it keyed up the SignaLink and TS-2000 and transmitted my position. After a few hours of tinkering and trying various components/configurations, it finally seemed like I had things setup properly.

With Windows 7 configured to use the SignaLink as its default soundcard, the AGWPE & UISS applications up and running and the ISS Fan Club tracking site, the AMSAT Pass Prediction page and the FindU ARISS page opened in my web browser I was ready for my first attempt. The next pass of the ISS was set for 14:35 (10:35am local) so I watched the web pages and listened for the first packets to break the squelch. I was refreshing the FindU page and saw a couple of station in Mexico show up and then N4ZQ in Florida showed up. Watching the incoming packets being decoded, I saw N4ZQ show up at 14:37 followed by a message from N6WPV in FL to 2Y4Q6T come in. I saw a couple more packets decoded including one from N1RCN in RI sending a message. I finally saw K2DSL show up on the FindU ARISS page and I celebrated! Looking at the raw data it looks like my APRS position was received by the ISS and then received by K8YSE who gated it onto the Internet. I then saw the following message come in from N1RCN:

Fm N1RCN To APRS Via RS0ISS-4* <UI pid=F0 Len=44 >[10:41:16]
:K2DSL    :Good Morning From Bristol, RI USA

Since I wasn’t sure how to respond (and I think I know how to respond now), the pass ended before I could return the message to N1RCN. Here are the raw packets associated with me showing I was iGated twice by K8YSE and I also sent the list of folks I heard from received packets back from the ISS which AL0I received and iGated:

2010-09-19 14:41:01 UTC: K2DSL>APRS,RS0ISS-4*,qAS,K8YSE-6:=4101.11N/07407.17W-First ISS APRS {UISS52}
2010-09-19 14:41:33 UTC: K2DSL>APRS,RS0ISS-4*,qAS,K8YSE-6:=4101.11N/07407.17W-First ISS APRS {UISS52}
2010-09-19 14:42:35 UTC: K2DSL>APRS,RS0ISS-4*,qAR,AL0I::Heard    :N6WPV-4,W1GRE-3,N1RCN,KB2M-2,K4IPH,AB9RF,W1GRE-4,VE1WRG{UISS52}

What shows in the UISS programs list of stations heard in the pass are:
RS0ISS-11, N6WPV-4, W1GRE-3, N1RCN, KB2M-2, RS0ISS-4, K4IPH, AB9RF, W1GRE-4 & VE1WRG.

Wow – that was a little bit of trial and error and not really sure everything was right but it worked! I need to make sure I remember to turn the Windows sound device default back after I am done.

As I was finishing this up, another pass of the ISS was coming by so I tried again. This time I made 2 APRS contacts which were shown as iGated again by K8YSE. I also received 2 messages from AB9RF and KB1GVR but the one I sent to AB9RF didn’t show as received and sent back. There’s a strong pass coming later today at 20:59z (4:59pm local) that I will set things up for again and see what comes of that.

There are so many things to do in ham radio that the fun and having another personal “first” seems to be endless. I hope to make a voice contact with the ISS some day.

73 from outer space!
K2DSL

2010 DL-DX RTTY Contest Summary

One leg of my G5RV antenna had come down earlier in the week after the rope holding 1 end finally broke after 2 years, so on Friday I got it back up where it needs to go. My daughters helped me too negotiate getting it up quicker then I could do by myself especially having to be on the roof of the house.

As this is a holiday weekend in the US, I didn’t think I’d get on the air much or but nothing was going on Saturday so in the early afternoon I decided to pop into the DL-DX RTTY amateur radio contest.  The category I was entering was about as targeted a match for me as I could imagine. I was going to operate for 6 hours using nothing more then a dipole and a single radio running at low power. That would be my exact setup. I got on the air around 16:30z (12:30pm EDT) on 20m and started to work stations getting mults from US stations and then some DX stations as well. I took 3 breaks of just over 1 hour whenever things started to slow down a bit.

It wasn’t hard to call CQ so whenever I finished scanning the bands for new stations I’d find a spot and call CQ which usually resulted in a bunch of contacts both from US/Canadian stations and later in the day from DX stations. I checked 15m a couple times but it was dead, even if I spent a few mins calling CQ. Didn’t hear a soul the entire time.

In the first time slot I was on the air for about 2 hours I was able to log another contact with TA2ZF in Turkey for my 3rd contact with that op.  After taking a break and getting back on around 20:00z (4:00pm EDT) I heard A61BK from the United Arab Emirates. I’ve heard Khalid before but was never able to work him until today when I got him in the log for a new one! When I looked this morning I see we matched on eQSL which gave me a big smile so I’ll send off a QSL card to his US QSL manager. I also worked a Japan station which was the only one I heard. I also worked FO8RZ again on Tahiti Island in the French Polynesia.

I starting switching to 40m around 00:00z (8:00pm EDT) and logging stations there, though switching back to 20m often yielded another station or two I hadn’t previously logged. I finished up the end of the 6 hours by calling CQ on 40m for about 7 or 8 mins and getting over a dozen stations logged including 2 from Argentina. I ended up with 184 logged Q’s of which 1 was a dup. Not a bad few hours of ham radio RTTY fun I didn’t expect to have!

Here’s my score summary from the contest. The cabrillo log was sent in last night as well as all contacts loaded to LoTW and eQSL.

 Band    QSOs    Pts  Cty   Sec
    7      31    275    6     9
   14     152   1300   28    15
Total     183   1575   34    24
Score : 91,350

Here’s a picture of the contacts made during the 6 hours ham radio contest:

2010 DL-DX RTTY Contest - click for full size

73 & good DX!
K2DSL

D-Star Presentation

Last night the Fairlawn NJ radio club hosted a D-Star presentation which was fantastic. The presentation was given by WA2EPI (Sam), WA2RMZ (Randy), NI2O (Mark) & N2KTO (Dave). All 4 are active with D-Star though there currently aren’t any D-Star repeaters (or hotspots) in Bergen County. Sam (WA2EPI) kicked off the session with a general intro.

We got an overview of the technology and history behind D-Star by Randy (WA2RMZ) as well as the components (repeaters, gateways, reflectors, trust servers, etc) that make up the D-Star network. Mark, (NI2O) who makes a hotspot board that allows you to relatively inexpensively pop up a D-Star node reviewed the HW and software that would be used. Dave (N2KTO) then discussed what he setup in his county to provide D-Star access.

The session was extremely interactive and though I am sure some folks got a bit glassy eyed at the architecture and capabilities, it all made sense to me. All 4 are extemely enthusiastic about the technology and capabilities of the new platform. The more folks that get involved, the better it is for everyone as it expands the D-Star network.

There are 2 big factors in why I haven’t tried D-Star. The first is the cost as there is no entry level radios so you are looking at $450-700 for a D-Star radio be it a HT or mobile rig. Second is there aren’t any D-Star repeaters in my area so even if I purchased a radio I might not be able to hit a repeater. The hotspot that Mark’s board provides seems to help make the 2nd issue a bit less of a roadblock. For maybe $250 or so you can create a D-Star access point. Since I can’t do everything at once, I think it makes the most sense to get the AP up and running first to provide access to any other D-Star user and then provide access for when I purchase a radio.

Let’s see how this starts to pan out.

73,
K2DSL

N1MM & SignaLink – Playing Audio Files

I decided to try using N1MM to play my call sign and CQ via audio files. As a reminder, my setup is a Windows 7 computer, N1MM for contest logging, SignaLink USB and Kenwood TS-2000. Here’s what I did:

1) Downloaded Audacity though any audio recording program would work, Audacity has a beta version to download that is Windows 7 friendly so I grabbed that one.

2) With a microphone connected to my Windows 7 notebook I recorded kilo-2-delta-sierra-lima until I was happy with it. I then selected the recording and exported it as a WAV file. I did the same for CQ CONTEST … and exported that. I named the files k2dsl.wav and cq.wav.

3) In the N1MM directory I went to the WAV subdirectory and created a K2DSL directory and placed the two wav files in there

4) In N1MM I edited the SSB buttons config and replaced n1mm.wav with k2dsl.wav for the F4 key. The F1 key was already set for cq.wav and I wasn’t using any other buttons at this time.

5) In Windows 7 Sound Control Panel on the Playback tab I set the Speakers USB Audio Codec device to be the default vs my computers speakers which were the default. The USB Audio Codec is the SignaLink USB.

6) In Windows 7 Sound Control Panel on the Sounds tab I set the  Sound Scheme to No Sounds so no system sounds would come out into the SignaLink and out through the radio.

7) I adjusted the DLY knob on the front of the SignaLink USB box so when playing the audio, the PTT stayed lit the entire time an audio file was playing.  Before I adjusted it, it would drop PTT when the audio was between letters/words. It would click on/off like your ready sounds sending CW. Once the DLY was adjusted, the PTT stayed red the whole time which kept the radio in Xmit.

8) In N1MM pressing F1 sent my CQ wav file out the PC, through the SignaLink connected to my Kenwood TS-2000 through the ACC2 port and out onto the airwaves. Pressing F4 sends my call sign.

I just need to reset steps 5 & 6 after the contest and possibly 7 if it impacts using the SignaLink for regular PSK or RTTY sending.

We’ll see how it works in the CQ WPX SSB contest that starts in 10 minutes.

73,
K2DSL