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Author Topic: fldigi HowTo  (Read 7105 times)
KK4GGL
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Posts: 225




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« on: December 15, 2012, 07:12:03 AM »

I have little experience with my radio (ic-718) and only have around 180 SSB contacts since last February.

I am trying to get into digital modes. I am using fldigi, whatever version is current for  Windows XP. Ubutu and opensuse.

I have been able to set the audio to default. I connect using an audio cable from my headphone jack to  the mic in on my 2 desktops (Xubuntu 12.04 and Opensuse 11) and Aspire One netbook (windows Home XP, Xubuntu 12.04). I'm only using one computer at a time to listen.

I have been trying to listen to the RTTY contest this weekend. The waterfall shows what looks like signals, however, the green meter on the right rarely moves, and all I get is a jumble of letters.

I do have a USB control cable on order, but It is my understanding, I could listen to digital modes using only the sound card.

Can anyone help me troubleshoot this setup?

Thanks.
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73,
Rick KK4GGL
K0JEG
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Posts: 646




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« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2012, 07:57:45 AM »

 A few basic questions, please don't be offended.

1) What color is the majority of the waterfall display? It should be mostly dark blue/black, with signals showing up as bright yellow or red tracks on specific frequencies.
2) Open the signal scope (view, digiscope). In RTTY mode it should be a square with crosshairs in the center. If it is 3 horizontal lines (2 yellow and a green in the middle), click on the actual display and it will change to cross hairs. This will help you properly tune the radio to the signal. When it is tuned properly you'll see green "traces" on the display looping around the crosshairs. Off frequency the loops will be at a different angle or random lines.
3) make sure you are in the right mode. I think RTTY45 is the most used mode.
4) You are using the cursor on the waterfall to "tune" to a particular QSO, right?
5) You can stop the random characters with the squelch control, next to the green signal meter in the lower right hand corner. It doesn't need to be very high. Too high and you'll miss a lot of weak signals, too low and you'll get random characters.
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AC4RD
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Posts: 1236




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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2012, 08:54:20 AM »

JEG gave you a bunch of good starting points; I'd also ask about "the meter doesn't move much"--does that mean the green meter bar is very LOW and doesn't move much?  If so, you may not have enough audio drive from the radio into your sound card--try increasing the volume on the line in and see if that helps.

I've set up radios/interfaces/laptops a dozen times over the years, and every single time, there's been some little thing I didn't have set right.  :-)  And it's just a question of figuring it out, and suddenly everything is working great!  :-)  73 GL!
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KK4GGL
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Posts: 225




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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2012, 11:04:24 AM »

Offended? Ah, no. I am greatly appreciative of the help. I am now able to copy RTTY and PSK31 on two different computers. CW next :-)

I'm leaving the radio in sideband. On 20M, USB. I haven't gone back to 40M yet.

I figured out if I move the yellow lines in the waterfall to properly align with the signals, decoding should take place.

The general color of the waterfall is yellow with the signals in red, and very little blue.

I can't seem to get rid of the random characters, no matter how high the squelsh.
The scope shows .. malformed sine waves... in RTTY, and lines radiating from the center in PSK31

My CI-V cable came today, so now I have to add that to the setup :-)

Thanks for the help.

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Rick KK4GGL
K0JEG
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Posts: 646




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« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2012, 12:38:10 PM »


The general color of the waterfall is yellow with the signals in red, and very little blue.

You have the audio into the computer set too high, or the gain on the microphone input too high (or some combination).

Quote
I can't seem to get rid of the random characters, no matter how high the squelsh.
The scope shows .. malformed sine waves... in RTTY, and lines radiating from the center in PSK31

My CI-V cable came today, so now I have to add that to the setup :-)

Thanks for the help.

If you turn down the audio input the squelch will start to work. As you make adjustments watch the scope and you'll see the signal lines start to look "right." The PSK 31 scope is a vectorscope (phase display). When you are tuned properly the green line with flicker between 0 and 180 (12 and 6 o'clock) on the scope.

http://www.w1hkj.com/FldigiHelp-3.12/DigiscopeDisplay.html
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KK4GGL
Member

Posts: 225




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« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2012, 06:00:43 PM »


The general color of the waterfall is yellow with the signals in red, and very little blue.

You have the audio into the computer set too high, or the gain on the microphone input too high (or some combination).

Quote
I can't seem to get rid of the random characters, no matter how high the squelsh.
The scope shows .. malformed sine waves... in RTTY, and lines radiating from the center in PSK31

My CI-V cable came today, so now I have to add that to the setup :-)

Thanks for the help.

If you turn down the audio input the squelch will start to work. As you make adjustments watch the scope and you'll see the signal lines start to look "right." The PSK 31 scope is a vectorscope (phase display). When you are tuned properly the green line with flicker between 0 and 180 (12 and 6 o'clock) on the scope.

http://www.w1hkj.com/FldigiHelp-3.12/DigiscopeDisplay.html

Thanks. I'll experiment with audio input. I'm also thinking of getting a SignaLink.

The scope now looks much like the pictures in the reference page.

I have now gotten to the point of being able to decode RTTY, PSK31 and CW, with fldigi reading the frequency from the radio.
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73,
Rick KK4GGL
KK4GGL
Member

Posts: 225




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« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2012, 06:02:35 PM »

Does anyone have any advice on how to use fldigi to get my ic-718 to transmit? At the moment I have them connected with a Ci-V/USB cable and and audio cable plugged into phones and mic in.

Thanks,
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73,
Rick KK4GGL
KB3MDT
Member

Posts: 193




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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2012, 04:38:06 PM »

Hi,
   A couple of components are needed to get FLIDGI and the ICOM 718 talking properly.   I have FLIDGI, an ICOM 718,  a Signalink USB Interface and a USB version of CI-V Cable.   I use it all the time for Digital modes.

CI-V Cable
#######
Purpose - This cable allows the PC and the ICOM 718 to talk to each other to change frequencies and modes (USB, LSB etc.).  This allows FLDIGI to change ICOM frequencies, and vice versa.

Setup - The ICOM 718 and the CI-V Cable must be talking the same Serial Speed and settings.  This is like the old phone modem settings.   I use 9600 Baud, 1 Stop Bit.   This must be set in multiple places.

ICOM Setup
-----------
Turn off the ICOM 718 via the power switch.  Press the "SET Button" (to right of the Big Frequency Dial) and KEEP PRESSING IT while you turn on the ICOM 718 Power.   This will put the ICOM in the "Initial Setup Mode".   Use the UP and DOWN Buttons (Lower Right Corner of the ICOM) to toggle through the different menu options.  Go to CI-V Baud.   Use Big Frequency Dial to set the BAUD Rate to 9600.   (The AUTO Setting for BAUD usually causes problems). Once set, you can turn the ICOM OFF via the Power Switch.  ( I usually toggle to another setting before turning off the ICOM.)  SEE PAGES 41 and 46 of the ICOM MANUAL for more info. 

Windows Setup
--------------
Go into Control Panel, Hardware Settings.  Find Device Manager.  Look under COM Ports.   Pick the right one  (Usually COM 1 or 2 if you have a Serial Cable version of the CI-V Cable or COM 3 if you have the USB Version).   Set the Port Settings to 9600 Baud,  8 Data Bits, No Parity, Stop Bits 1, and Flow Control None. 

FLIDGI Setup
------------
Go into FLDIGI / Configure/ Rig Cat.    Use the Rig Description File "IC-718.xml".   I believe I had to hunt around for this file on the internet.  See http://www.w1hkj.com/xmlarchives.html.   Choose the correct COM Port for the Device Box.  Make sure BAUD is 9600 and Stop Bits is 1.  The rest of the settings should be default.   (None of the check boxes should be checked).

Gotya - You must click on the INITIALIZE box in the lower right corner of this screen to enable the settings.   I just switched to the latest version of FLDIGI (3.21.63), and a USB CI-V Cable.   I usually have to click this INITIALIZE Box every time I start up FLDIGI.   I didn't have to do this when I used a homebrew Serial Port version of the CI-V Cable, and older version of software.   I'm still working this minor inconvenence.    The "tattle tale" that tells you you must INITIALIZE is a greyed out QSY Button on the bottom of the FLDIGI main screen.


CAVEAT
-------
This and of itself DOES NOT trigger the ICOM to Toggle between Transmit and Receive.

SIGNALINK USB
##########
Purpose #1 This acts as a sound card for your computer.   Its easier to use this than the one that is built into your computer as FLDIGI (and other ham programs) don't like to hear the Bings, Rings, and Beeps generated by the Windows OS.

Purpose #2 The Signalink USB Box ALSO can be used to tell the ICOM when to transmit and receive.  It does this by toggling the PTT (Push to Talk) capability of the ICOM based on whether or not it hears a signal comming from the PC.   The Signalink Box lets you get rid of another set of cables and settings because of this functionality.  Less cables and settings = better!

(Folks that don't use the Signalink Box can build a little home brew circuit of 1 or 2 transistors, a diode or 2 and a resistor.  The FLDIGI docs may even have a schematic.  The homebrew connects to a computer serial port and the Send Control Jack on the back of the ICOM.   If you use this approach, you must change some FLDIGI settings also)
 
Setup - Follow the manual for the Tigertronics Signalink USB box.  You will need to open the box up, and place a few wires on an IC Socket.   No big deal, but the wires must go in the right places.   You must also get Windows to detect the Signalink as a USB Sound Card.  Again, follow the Signalink directions. 

Set the "Volume Control Knobs" on the Signalink Box as the manual specifies.  Mine are TX at 1:00 , RX at 7:00 (fully counter clockwise) and DLY at 7:00 (fully counter clockwise)

Conclusion
#######
Now with a good dash of Good Luck, everything should be set up for Transmit and Receive via FLDIGI.  Getting every thing right on the interface is the hardest part of using Digital Modes.    Post additional questions here or on the FLDIGI News Group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/win-fldigi/ and folks will see if they can get you going.

Send me an Email at feldmakg@ptd.net and I can send you some FLDIGI screen prints of the configuration menus if needed. 

GOOD LUCK

73

KB3MDT
Ken
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VA7CPC
Member

Posts: 2372




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« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2012, 06:11:14 PM »

Does anyone have any advice on how to use fldigi to get my ic-718 to transmit? At the moment I have them connected with a Ci-V/USB cable and and audio cable plugged into phones and mic in.

Thanks,

You don't need "rig control" (everything happening on the CI-V port) to receive or xmit with the SignaLink.

. . . What do you mean "audio cable plugged into phones and mic in" ?

If that's an audio cable that was supplied by Tigertronics, and it plugs into the IC-718's RJ-45 "mic in" jack, then:

. . . Set fldigi so that it sends it transmit signal to the SignaLink sound card (a "USB audio codec", probably, on the list of available soundcards).

. . . Set fldigi into PSK31 mode

. . . Set the IC-718 into SSB / USB mode (as though you were using a mic);

. . . Reduce the MIC GAIN on the IC-718 -- about 10 (out of 100) should be right.

. . . There's a "TX" button somewhere on the fldigi screen; click on it.  Or click on one of the
. . . .   preset message buttons ("CQ", etc).  The message button will produce a short message,
. . . .   and you'll have to repeat it for the next step.

. . . Adjust the SignaLink TX OUT control so that the IC-718's "ALC" meter is showing _nothing_, and its POWER meter is showing about 30 watts.

. . . Adjust the SignaLink "TX DELAY" to full-counterclockwise (0, if it's calibrated).


.                  Charles

PS -- if the "audio cable" plugs into the DATA IN jack on the rear panel, or the 13-pin connector on the rear panel, the instructions are slightly different.
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KK4GGL
Member

Posts: 225




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« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2012, 06:23:33 PM »

Hi,
   A couple of components are needed to get FLIDGI and the ICOM 718 talking properly.   I have FLIDGI, an ICOM 718,  a Signalink USB Interface and a USB version of CI-V Cable.   I use it all the time for Digital modes.

...

Send me an Email at feldmakg@ptd.net and I can send you some FLDIGI screen prints of the configuration menus if needed. 

GOOD LUCK

73

KB3MDT
Ken

Thanks. I pretty much have the computer and radio talking to each other now. I'll probably order the SignaLink this week. Part of the problems I have been having is disconnecting the IC-V USB cable, then later plugging it back in. The USB port has been know to change, and you have to make sure everything reognizes everything else. Once the cable is CAT cable is connected the settings in fldigi have to be verified and the fldidgi closed. Then turn radio on, start fldigi and the stuff generally works. One I get the Signalink, I won't be disconnecting anything.
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73,
Rick KK4GGL
KK4GGL
Member

Posts: 225




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« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2012, 06:28:29 PM »

Does anyone have any advice on how to use fldigi to get my ic-718 to transmit? At the moment I have them connected with a Ci-V/USB cable and and audio cable plugged into phones and mic in.

Thanks,

You don't need "rig control" (everything happening on the CI-V port) to receive or xmit with the SignaLink.

. . . What do you mean "audio cable plugged into phones and mic in" ?

If that's an audio cable that was supplied by Tigertronics, and it plugs into the IC-718's RJ-45 "mic in" jack, then:

. . . Set fldigi so that it sends it transmit signal to the SignaLink sound card (a "USB audio codec", probably, on the list of available soundcards).

. . . Set fldigi into PSK31 mode

. . . Set the IC-718 into SSB / USB mode (as though you were using a mic);

. . . Reduce the MIC GAIN on the IC-718 -- about 10 (out of 100) should be right.

. . . There's a "TX" button somewhere on the fldigi screen; click on it.  Or click on one of the
. . . .   preset message buttons ("CQ", etc).  The message button will produce a short message,
. . . .   and you'll have to repeat it for the next step.

. . . Adjust the SignaLink TX OUT control so that the IC-718's "ALC" meter is showing _nothing_, and its POWER meter is showing about 30 watts.

. . . Adjust the SignaLink "TX DELAY" to full-counterclockwise (0, if it's calibrated).


.                  Charles

PS -- if the "audio cable" plugs into the DATA IN jack on the rear panel, or the 13-pin connector on the rear panel, the instructions are slightly different.


 I do not yet have a SignaLink. I have an audio cable going from the phones jack on the radio to mic in on the computer. This allows me to use fldigi to decode digital QSOs.

I have a USB Ci-V cable plugged into the appropriate jack in the back of the radio and into a USB port on the computer, allowing me to control the radio, with the exception of transmitting.
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73,
Rick KK4GGL
KB3MDT
Member

Posts: 193




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« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2012, 06:56:15 PM »

Hi,
  I am fairly positive the CI-V cable by itself can't tell the ICOM -718 to transmit.   I'm looking at the Command Table on page 58 of the ICOM Manual and don't see any command to do this.   Plus, I have the exact same setup and needed another interface to make it all work.   My main mode of operation is digital via FLDIGI. 

   There is a "messy" work around where you set the ICOM 718 for VOX Control.  I.e. anytime ICOM receives an audio signal over a certain level (Via Mic or connector on back) it will transmit.   VOX is adjusted via the Quick Set Mode method (Press Set Button while ICOM is on).

   Best bet is to get the Tigertronics Signalink USB box.  Make sure you get the matching cable for the ICOM-718.  It plugs into the 13 Pin DIN Connector on the back of the ICOM.   With this cable, nothing connects to the front of the transceiver.   Some Internet Stores have one part no. for the Tigertronics with the cable, others make you order the parts separately.  Either way costs about the same. 

   Everything said, order the Tigertronics Signalink USB Box with the cable for the ICOM 718!     I just got one for my ICOM 718 about 3 months ago and used it to replace my homebrew interface and rats nest of cables!

73
Ken
KB3MDT

 
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KB3MDT
Member

Posts: 193




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« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2012, 07:06:31 PM »

Hi,
   Just for the record, the ICOM 718 doesn't have an RJ-45 jack for the microphone.  The Mic Jack is an 8 Pin Circular Plug 1/2" in Diameter on the FRONT of the radio.   I'm looking at it right now!  :-)

   Use the 13 PIN DIN Connector on the BACK of the radio with the Tigertronics Signalink.   The 13 Pin plug handles Audio In, Audio Out, Send (I.e. Transmit), etc.   Everything BUT the CI-V Cable Connection.  The CI-V Cable plugs into an 1/8" Mono Audio Jack on the back of the Transceiver.   Enjoy. 

Ken
73
KB3MDT.
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KK4GGL
Member

Posts: 225




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« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2012, 08:36:07 AM »

Hi,
  I am fairly positive the CI-V cable by itself can't tell the ICOM -718 to transmit.   I'm looking at the Command Table on page 58 of the ICOM Manual and don't see any command to do this.   Plus, I have the exact same setup and needed another interface to make it all work.   My main mode of operation is digital via FLDIGI. 

... 

   Everything said, order the Tigertronics Signalink USB Box with the cable for the ICOM 718!     I just got one for my ICOM 718 about 3 months ago and used it to replace my homebrew interface and rats nest of cables!

73
Ken
KB3MDT
 

I'm most probably going to get a SignaLink USB with the ACC cable.

After some more research, it seems there is no TX CI-V command for the 718, so no digital transmitting for a while.


Thanks for your input.
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73,
Rick KK4GGL
AC4RD
Member

Posts: 1236




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« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2012, 09:15:47 AM »

I'm most probably going to get a SignaLink USB with the ACC cable.
After some more research, it seems there is no TX CI-V command for the 718, so no digital transmitting for a while.

You may not NEED the CI-V thingie to transmit with your 718.  I'm using a Signalink USB with my FT-950 and no separate keying line; I've got VOX enabled for the digital input on the back, so when I send a stream to the transmitter, it triggers "digital vox" (check your 718's manual) and sends just fine.  I use it for PSK and RTTY all the time!
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