Re: Station Setup Improvements for Digital Modes

Rick - N7WE


Tried to respond off-list to your email from QRZ and it bounced.  So here it is on list!

Some of this will be repeating stuff you know, but it helps explain my thinking. I note that you are using DX Labs Suite and don't want to change your logging program.  So let me say right up front, I have no experience with DX Labs but hear good things from those that use it.

I have a K3 (not the K3s) and do almost all digital anymore.  I use a microHAM USB III interface to the rig and HRD and WSJT-X for software.  More about that in a moment.  As you know, the K3 did not include a sound card.  It does have a decoder that works on CW, PSK31, and RTTY.  Also, PSK31 and RTTY can be sent using a key or paddle without a sound card.  There is an upgrade ( KIO3BUPKT) that adds USB and a sound card to make it similar to the K3s.  I do not have that upgrade and have always used an outboard sound card/interface.

You said you are using a SignalLink for an interface.  I've been using microHAM interfaces since I got into PSK in 2006.  Right now I'm using the microHAM USB III for two reasons.  First, even though it costs more, it has a better sound card than the SignalLink (better decode), and second (the major factor for me) it handles rig control communications with the K3 which the SignalLink does not do.  Thus using HRD software gives me full computer control of the rig and logging, as well as the most digital modes (but not WSJT modes) through DM780.  For JT modes (there is a new WSJT-X out yesterday that has a new mode - FT8!) having rig control through the microHAM allows me to run WSJT-X (all modes) direct - no HRD.  

WSJT-X has automated rig control built in - band change, frequency selection, key/unkey, the whole works.  I think the problem you have with JT65 is that JT65 is not able to control the rig through the SignalLink.  I do use WSJT-X JTAlert software (old version - release 2.7.8) with HRD logging.  The trick is to open HRDlog (without opening HRD) prior to starting WSJT-X and JTAlert.  That automatically logs your WSJT-X qso's to the HRD log.  But you need to stay with the old 2.7.8 version as Laurie discontinued support of HRD logging with the 2.8 and later versions - but that's another story.  Not sure how JTAlert interfaces to DX Labs logging, but I'm sure it does and there should be plenty of info on the web about that.

I have not used the computer generated CW - but I should.  Don't do CW as I can't hear well and my hands shake.  But I have been looking into the K1EL K42 CW Keyboard Kit.  It gets rave reviews on eHam, does keyboard CW direct (no interface needed), and has a decoder/display built in.  You never see them listed for sale on the used market!  It looks like a fairly straight forward kit to build.  I'm thinking about saving my pennies to make it a project!  Hi hi.

Great to see that you are into digital modes and interested in improving your station.  If I can help in any way, and that includes info about settings, configurations, or anything else, I'd be happy to do so.  I can send screen shots of my configurations if that would be helpful.

Hope this helps without confusing.  73 Bryon, and hope to work you again soon.

PS - I'm definitely jealous of that Hexbeam!!!!  One of my sorrows of HOAs!

Rick - N7WE

070 - #1602

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