Digital Modes and Computers

I enjoy QSOs in digital modes, especially when the DX enters into more conversation than the rubberstamp QSO text. I mostly use PSK, RTTY, JT9 and JT65 but if you want to have a QSO in some other digital mode, send me a mail message and we can work out some schedule. My mail address is at the bottom of this page.

I have replaced my ancient IBM Pro A Intellistation running Centos 5 Linux. Now I use an Apple Mac Mini for most radio and electronics work. Logging is done using RUMlogNG – thanks to Tom DL2RUM.

I use my Kenwood TS–590S for digital modes, using the USB interface in the 590 for CAT control. However, I use a SignaLink USB interface for the actual audio as I seem to get better results – more decodes on JT65, better decoding on PSK. Also, I prefer to twiddle physical knobs rather than fiddle with virtual sliders. It is much easier to quickly turn down the audio if you make a mistake and start over-modulating! There is a minor problem: if you attach both TS590-S USB and SignaLink USB you see two “USB Audio Codec”’s in the pick list – and you can’t tell them apart. The trick is to use ‘Audio MIDI Setup’ (part of OSX) to give them separate names. You do this by attaching one USB only and aggregating the one ‘USB Audio Codec’ by itself. You can then name that aggregation. Repeat for the other one.

I use some Windows-only programs, such as Elsie. This is run on the Mac Mini in a VirtualBox VM under Windows 10. There are a couple of programs which won’t run under Windows 10 and these are run on a venerable Dell PC running Windows XP (which for safety is not attached to the Internet).

I use fldigi for PSK and RTTY QSOs. The author, David, W1HKJ has made a really good job of this program, and it’s good that it can be run on macOS. Hopefully I’ll soon be using my home-brewed PSK Modem which is currently On the Bench.

I use WSJT-X for JT65 and JT9 QSOs. Thanks go to Joe Taylor K1JT for this excellent program.

Hope to see you on my waterfall!