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Author Topic: Signalink best alternative for TS-480SAT?  (Read 9650 times)
KK4RXN
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« on: October 20, 2013, 02:31:54 PM »

I just got a TS-480SAT and want to know if a Signalink is the best alternative for digital work?
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Barry
KK4RXN
Jeremiah 29:11-13 / John 3:16
WD4ELG
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Posts: 869




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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2013, 04:25:45 PM »

It's a good alternative, a popular one (I use it, and I love it) but not your only one. You could use RigBlaster or a bunch of others from smaller companies. (Or even your computer sound card).  What are your plans in terms of digital operation?
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KK4RXN
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2013, 06:39:25 PM »

I am joining MARS and want to work as many digital modes as possible. I have a decent Windows XP computer and will run whatever software I can.

I have a DB9 to USB connector waiting on an extension cable, so do I need a Signalink or RigBlaster?
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Barry
KK4RXN
Jeremiah 29:11-13 / John 3:16
W8JX
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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2013, 02:53:09 AM »

The "problem" with a signal link is that there is no ability for software/hardware PTT control. Strictly VOX keying in signal link unit. I use a Rig Blaster PnP with a USB sound card the size of a ZIP stick so I have a dedicated sound for it and positive PTT control. 
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NA4IT
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2013, 04:47:53 AM »

In my opinion (and you can make it your own) the Signalink USB is THE ONLY option. This coming from someone who spent countless hours building different interfaces, and once I bought a SLUSB, never used anything else.
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WD4ELG
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« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2013, 04:57:52 AM »

Two things to consider:

1. If you want to control the TS480SAT itself, you need the DB9 to USB and the free ARCP-480 control software. You stated you already have the cable on order, so I recommend you go get the software.

2. I recommend you get with another ham who has one or both of the interfaces, and see what your preference is.  You will get a million opinions, all of them valid. 

3. Whatever you decide, I STRONLY urge you to order from a place like DX Engineering who can help you before the sale with questions answered and situations explained.  Plus they have a money-back offer if I remember correctly.
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KK4RXN
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Posts: 110




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« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2013, 05:28:11 AM »

Good info... I guess my biggest question is if I can do a lot WITHOUT a Signalink or RigBlaster?
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Barry
KK4RXN
Jeremiah 29:11-13 / John 3:16
N0IU
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« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2013, 06:20:17 AM »

Tigertronics (the makers of the SignaLink soundcard interface) and West Mountain Radio (the makers of the RigBlaster line of soundcard interfaces) are just two companies that make soundcard interfaces so technically you don't need either one of them in order to do soundcard-based digital modes.

However...

You do need some sort of methodology of getting audio into and out of your radio and into and out of a soundcard, whether it be the one built into your computer or an outboard soundcard. You will also need some way to key your radio so that it will transmit at the proper time. A well-designed and well-built soundcard interface takes care of those things.

Tigertronics and West Mountain Radio are the two names you will hear most frequently because they meet both of those criteria. You might also want to check out the Reviews section of eHam and see what others have to say about them.

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W8JX
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« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2013, 11:42:39 AM »

In my opinion (and you can make it your own) the Signalink USB is THE ONLY option. This coming from someone who spent countless hours building different interfaces, and once I bought a SLUSB, never used anything else.

I started with TNC's and FSK and moved to AFSK digi in late 90's and used home brew cabling for many years till I used rig blaster pnp. With a Rigblaster even Pactor and packet is possible but not so with signal link and sloppy VOX control that is too slow. While you might never use modes like Pactor or Packet the point is that it is possible with a Rigblaster and not with a signal link so why tie you hand?
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KK4RXN
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Posts: 110




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« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2013, 07:07:58 AM »

Last night I hooked up the DB9/USB converter to the Windows XP box, then I connected the female end of the cable to the TS-480SAT along with a cable from my sound out from the 480 into the sound in on the computer. I opened Ham Radio Deluxe (the older free version) and got it configured well enough to get the bandscope and tuning working pretty well. I don't see that it is transmitting, though, when trying to do CW or anything else with other various applications.

Anybody have settings or recommendations for me to try so I can get it transmitting? Do I need a data cable as well?
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Barry
KK4RXN
Jeremiah 29:11-13 / John 3:16
W8JX
Member

Posts: 5604




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« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2013, 08:23:24 AM »

Last night I hooked up the DB9/USB converter to the Windows XP box, then I connected the female end of the cable to the TS-480SAT along with a cable from my sound out from the 480 into the sound in on the computer. I opened Ham Radio Deluxe (the older free version) and got it configured well enough to get the bandscope and tuning working pretty well. I don't see that it is transmitting, though, when trying to do CW or anything else with other various applications.

Anybody have settings or recommendations for me to try so I can get it transmitting? Do I need a data cable as well?

You need a data cable for software to control keying or you could use vox keying on rig.
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KK4RXN
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Posts: 110




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« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2013, 08:59:24 AM »

I started with TNC's and FSK and moved to AFSK digi in late 90's and used home brew cabling for many years till I used rig blaster pnp. With a Rigblaster even Pactor and packet is possible but not so with signal link and sloppy VOX control that is too slow. While you might never use modes like Pactor or Packet the point is that it is possible with a Rigblaster and not with a signal link so why tie you hand?

That's a good point. I see the Rigblaster PlugnPlay is $119.95. Are there any limitations on the Rigblaster vs. the Signalink?
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Barry
KK4RXN
Jeremiah 29:11-13 / John 3:16
W8JX
Member

Posts: 5604




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« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2013, 09:14:30 AM »

I started with TNC's and FSK and moved to AFSK digi in late 90's and used home brew cabling for many years till I used rig blaster pnp. With a Rigblaster even Pactor and packet is possible but not so with signal link and sloppy VOX control that is too slow. While you might never use modes like Pactor or Packet the point is that it is possible with a Rigblaster and not with a signal link so why tie you hand?

That's a good point. I see the Rigblaster PlugnPlay is $119.95. Are there any limitations on the Rigblaster vs. the Signalink?

None other than no built in sound card. You can use PC sound card or a small inexpensive aux USB sound card like I do.
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KK4RXN
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Posts: 110




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« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2013, 11:23:42 AM »

There a Rigblaster Plus II in the classifieds here that I'm talking to the seller about. It looks pretty promising for $95.
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Barry
KK4RXN
Jeremiah 29:11-13 / John 3:16
KK4RXN
Member

Posts: 110




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« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2013, 12:22:18 PM »

Okay... I went ahead and bought the Rigblaster Plus II for $95. I'm thinking it's worth that much.
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Barry
KK4RXN
Jeremiah 29:11-13 / John 3:16
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