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Author Topic: TS-50 PSK31, Anyone?  (Read 5894 times)
MW1CFN
Member

Posts: 31




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« on: June 08, 2012, 11:58:00 AM »

I see a couple of hams online are using the Signalink USB with the old (but very good) Kenwood TS-50.

I wonder if anyone here has direct experience of this or other interfaces with this old time rig?  I look at the manuals, listen to the moans about wrong diagrams, the cables that do or don't come with the unit, and quickly give up trying to figure out what might actually be a simple PSK31 solution (if such a thing exists!)  I'm rather amazed at the contacts made already with manual keying of the mic, but it's a bit tricky typing and keying at the same time, hence the need for an interface!

Any help, advice or experience greatly appreciated (don't tell me I can build one - I'm about as useful as a 'p' in pneumonia with electronics; I just like communicating!) 

Thanks,
J.
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KB6HOH
Member

Posts: 189




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« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2012, 02:09:53 PM »

J,

      Greeting from the SF Bay Area. I don't own a TS-50 but I have helped a friend who does and also has the Signalink USB and it works just fine. Mind you the TS-50 has NO Data Port or Fixed RX Audio Jack so you will have to use the Mic Jack BUT the Mic Jack does have a RX Audio on Pin# 6.  Biggest issue here is with the TX Audio/Mic Gain Control and the TX Level Control on the Signalink USB and that equates to ALC action. You want to have the least amount of ALC showing on the Meter on TX. See page 27 of the TS-50 User Manual.
Anyway IMHO I would look at getting a later model Rig that has a Data/Packet Port but if not then make do with what you got. I own 3 of the Signalink USB Interfaces and if I become as SK they will go with me still. (LOL)
Anyway Good Luck and let us know how you make out.

                                     73 de Steve KB6HOH
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MW1CFN
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Posts: 31




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« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2012, 11:48:55 PM »

Thanks very much Steve!  Very practical, comprehensible advice there (a rarity in amateur radio!)

I'm sure the TS-50 will do just fine for now, but I agree that a newer model would be a simpler nut to crack. 

I just need to work on the XYL interfacing, then  ;-)

73 from Wales,
J.
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NA4IT
Member

Posts: 873


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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2012, 03:19:55 AM »

I see no reason your ts-50 wouldn't work. However, the RX may or may not be present on the mic jack. If not, a cable to the external speaker jack will work for RX. Just the settings will be more tedious, but doable.

de NA4IT
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VA7CPC
Member

Posts: 2375




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« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2012, 12:59:50 PM »

One more thing --

If you're feeding the SignaLink output to the TS-50 mic input, you'll probably want to reduce the SignaLink audio output.  You can do that by using a 100K-ohm resistor, instead of a jumper wire.  Instructions are on the website, and (I think) in the SignaLink manual.

         Charles
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KB6HOH
Member

Posts: 189




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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2012, 03:39:36 AM »

J.

 OK Not a problem and glad to help out. Is the Radio a TS-50 or 50s?
Just as a FYI the TS-50s Manual does show RXD on the Mic Jack but doesn't hurt to double check.
Like I said the TS-50 does work well with the Signalink. I did forget to mention if you do a lot of SSB Voice
having to Plug and unplug the Mic and the Signalink can be a real drag and also wear and tear on the Mic Jack itself.
If this is setup is going to be long term as much as I like the Signalink USB (I own 3 of them) maybe either build yourself
a Switch Box to toogle between the Mic and Signalink OR maybe look at the RigBlaster Advantage by West Mountain.
http://www.westmountainradio.com/product_info.php?products_id=rb_adv
It to has a built in Sound Card also. Check out the link above.
The Rigblaster is also twice the cost of a Signalink and is more involved to Configure and has a few more features like CAT/CI-V Interface for Computer control of the Radio.
The TS-50 can do CAT Control but the cost of it out weighs what you get out of it. Also as stated by Charles VA7CPC you may need to use a Resistor to drop the TX Audio BUT I would set Radio for Normal SSB voice ops and then use the TX Level to set the RF Output.  Set the TX Level fully Counter clockwise. Placing the Radio into TX rotate the TX Level Control on the Signalink USB and set it for 25 to 30watts. Just don't forget about the ALC level on TX. Suggest setting the RF level and Mic Gain on the Radio where you would normally have it set for SSB Voice ops. Set the Radios AF Gain/Volume Control at a comfortable listening level and the RX Level at the 9 O'clock. Now set the Radio to 20meters/14070khz USB. The convention for the Digital Modes is Upper Sideband (USB). Now as a New User I highly recommend FLdigi as you main Sound Card Program. Very easy to install and configure vs a program like HRD/DM780 which has all the Bells and whistles you want BUT since the TS-50 is not readily easy to setup for CAT control you could just run DM780 by itself but it still has a BIG learning curve to it but over time you wil get to like it. Now back to FLdigi. Check out Fldigi at www.w1hkj.com and download the latest ver which is 3.21.43. While you are on that Website look at the section called "Sights and Sounds of Digital Signals". BTW if you want to get a taste of FLdigi and copy Signals right off the Radio, using a  Computer Microphone or a Headset with a Boom Mic you can simply place it next to the Speaker on the Radio and with the program configured for the PC's sound Card you can start copying sigs right away. J are you on Skype at all. Skype is a VOIP full duplex operation over the Internet. Sorta like talking on the Telephone but does require a PC Mic and Speaker or a Headset with Boom Mic.  Nice feature in Skype is the ability to Share our Video Screens with each other. I use to help out other Users as well. Skype is FREE and can be found at www.skype.com  If so maybe we can talk some more there! Also if you like you can drop me an Email as well. I'm am good on QRZ.

                                      73 de Steve KB6HOH
                                kb6hoh(AT)comcast(DOT)net
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KE4DRN
Member

Posts: 3721




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« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2012, 06:20:22 PM »

hi

also use my ts-50 with the signalink SL1+, before the USB model
was available.  used it for field day just fine.

the receive audio in on pin 6, or you can
use the speaker jack on rear of radio,
better if you have more then  one HF radio.

follow the adjustments as written in the signalink manual and your good to go.

73 james
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W4FID
Member

Posts: 132




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« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2012, 09:07:23 AM »

I use a NUE PSK dedicated modem on PSK-31 and RTTY with my TS-50 and really enjoy it. It's basic and simple but works well. Easy to learn and use. Small. No RF/ground loop issues. I run th rig at about 1/3 to 1/2 power and have a 30M hamstick dipole about 20 feet high under HUGE trees and routinely work DX, contests, whoever I like.
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KC4MOP
Member

Posts: 731




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« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2012, 05:17:13 PM »

Nothing wrong with that reliable Kenwood TS50..love that radio and took mine to the Philippines to operate during our visit two years ago. The settings AIF and NB for extreme tropical conditions and mother nature's noise was a winner.
I loved the TS50 so much I found it's 6M brother, the TS60 on eBay. Nice bare foot stations to have some fun.
The Signalink should work well with their mic cable and the little plug-in module for that particular radio.

Fred
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VE3WMB
Member

Posts: 286




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« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2012, 06:56:06 PM »

I used my TS50 with an original RigBlaster Interface for many years.

One thing you will note is that the TS50 doesn't have any ALC indication, which you
would normally rely upon when adjusting TX audio for Digi-modes. PSK31 in particular
is picky about the audio levels.

The trick to survive without the ALC indication is to follow what I call the 50:50:50 rule.

1) Set the power output on the TS50 to M which is 50 watts (ie 50% of maximum power). You need to do this as PSK31 is essentially 100% duty cycle on TX. (Be nice to
your PA transistors!)

2) Adjust the soundcard TX level slider so that it is not more than half way (ideally it should be a bit less to give you some room for adjustment). Most computer
soundcards produce very poor output if overdriven. This is the source of most IMD.

3) Adjust the TX audio level on your interface box (there should be an adjustment) so that that rig is showing 50% of the power that you have selected (i.e about 25W) on peaks in tune mode in PSK31. You should now be able to make minor adjustments with the software slider without
overdriving anything.

So 50% of total power (50w), software TX slider level at no more than 50% and adjust interface so that peak output in PSK31 Tune mode does't exceed 25W (ie 50% of the selected 50W).
 
If you follow these simple "rules" you should get good IMD reports on PSK31 and you should
have plenty of power to make lot of QSOs.

Michael VE3WMB

P.S. I now use a SignalLink USB (which I really like) with a couple of different rigs (the TS-50
has been relegated to backup rig status). What like about the SignalLink USB is that it is in itself a decent external USB soundcard, but it is also very convenient to have access to TX and RX audio controls on the front of the box without have to fiddle with slider controls in software.

I see a couple of hams online are using the Signalink USB with the old (but very good) Kenwood TS-50.

I wonder if anyone here has direct experience of this or other interfaces with this old time rig?  I look at the manuals, listen to the moans about wrong diagrams, the cables that do or don't come with the unit, and quickly give up trying to figure out what might actually be a simple PSK31 solution (if such a thing exists!)  I'm rather amazed at the contacts made already with manual keying of the mic, but it's a bit tricky typing and keying at the same time, hence the need for an interface!

Any help, advice or experience greatly appreciated (don't tell me I can build one - I'm about as useful as a 'p' in pneumonia with electronics; I just like communicating!) 

Thanks,
J.
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