eHam Forums => Computers And Software => Topic started by: KD7PML on May 25, 2002, 09:01:42 AM

Title: About TNC's and sound cards
Post by: KD7PML on May 25, 2002, 09:01:42 AM
Getting started in packet and need to understand the need for sound cards for some forms of TNC use. Is the sound card needed for the better sound capability, ie wider sound range and more simultaneous sounds than a standard sound/speaker output? Do you only need the sound card for outgoing information, or is the card needed as well for incoming sound from the TNC? Lastly, for which modes of TNC operation, do you NEED a sound card and which can you get by with just the RS232 port?
Thanks to all , KD7PML  Al in  Oregon

Title: About TNC's and sound cards
Post by: WA5EE on May 25, 2002, 08:41:18 PM
If you're going to use a true TNC , all you need is a serial port .Where the sound card comes in is with some of the newer offerings of multimode interfaces like the RigBlaster and its clones from MFJ and others.If you're willing to let your computer do more of the work ,these will let you work packet and most of  the HF digital modes ,and cost you less besides .The RigBlaster is designed to work with SoundBlaster audio cards,but I've yet to hear of one that  was not compatible .It uses the sound card for TX and RX ,so you'll need both input and output lines.The only downside I see is that if you want your packet station on ALL the time ,your computer must be on as well.It's been a few years since I worked packet , but based on my experience , Kantronics KPC-3 was THE tnc for a beginner to use.It was inexpensive ,small , and included a KISS mode that kept things nice and simple  'til I got the basics covered.If I was buying today,though, I'd look at the RigBlaster for its versatility and price . I used one on PSK-31 last Field Day and had a blast.

Good luck,

Title: About TNC's and sound cards
Post by: KD7PML on May 27, 2002, 12:42:55 PM
Is it the 'quality' of the sound that requires the sound card interface? If I've a laptop with a mic port and a speaker port, will that work or are those just not Hi-Fi enough? Or... is there something special about the sound cards and their drivers that is what's needed?

Title: About TNC's and sound cards
Post by: WA5EE on May 27, 2002, 01:24:08 PM
I told you just about all that I knew in the first response.The folks that make the RigBlaster are at
, and the FAQs there may be helpful.Evidently , compatibility is more related to the software you use with it than the RigBlaster itself .Hopefully someone with experience using one with a laptop will reply.

Russ WA5EE