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Author Topic: OsX Lion, FLdigi, Signalink USB and IC-7000  (Read 6603 times)
KB3THX
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« on: March 03, 2012, 02:28:10 PM »

I've been wading through info on the web in an attempt to set up FLdigi for eventual NBEMS use.  I have an ICOM IC-7000 currently in use as my base station, with a nearby iMac running OsX Lion.  I also have an older MacBook Pro running Lion.

I am considering buying the Signalink USB interface. My first question is will that alone will allow basic FLdigi operation with my equipment?  Do I *need* to use rig control (e.g. via CI-V cable)?  From what I've gleaned so far, it would seem I could tune manually, and that the Signalink device will handle PTT.

Either way, I would like to add rig control at some point, but don't want to go through what AL3A described  Shocked  - is there anyone running the config I describe (IC-7000/FLdigi + Signalink USB + CI-V cable via OsX Lion)? 

Also wondering if I need to spend the extra $$ on CI-V from BlackCat, or if the $8.95 ones from eBay have a reasonable shot at working  Grin

Thanks for any help / advice!

Scott KB3THX
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KB6HOH
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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2012, 11:03:43 AM »

Scott,

         GM from the SF Bay Area. OK to answer your questions.
Q - I am considering buying the Signalink USB interface. My first question is will that alone will allow basic FLdigi operation with my equipment?
A - YES! Even tho the Signalink has NO CAT capability it will work just fine.
If you plan on using FLdgi even just for Socializing its a Great Rag Chew Program and having CAT control thru the  CI-V Port makes it easier for logging your QSO's. The Signalink will handle all PTT functions with its VOX PTT Relay.

Q - Either way, I would like to add rig control at some point, but don't want to go through what AL3A described  Shocked  - is there anyone running the config I describe (IC-7000/FLdigi + Signalink USB + CI-V cable via OsX Lion)? 
A - YES/NO I run basically the same setup nix the Apple. I run the Icom 718, 706MKIIg and the 703(qrp).
For CAT/CI-V control I would recommend looking at the Radio Shack USB Scanner programming Cable. About $35.00.
Yes you could order one off of eBay for a lot cheaper BUT there has been some issues with the USB to Serial Cables having Fake Chipsets (Clones) in them specifically the Prolific Chipsets. Besides if you get the one from Radio Shack and it's DOA its easier to get replaced. I use the older one which has the Circuitry encased in the Clear Orange Case. These Cables use the FTDI chipsets which seem to be better than the Prolific.
 

Q - Also wondering if I need to spend the extra $$ on CI-V from BlackCat, or if the $8.95 ones from eBay have a reasonable shot at working  Grin
A - Blackcat seems to be overly expensive and on top of that the Box is bigger than a loaf of Bread (So to Speak). Yes cheaper is better  but if it arrives DOA now you have to ship it back to the Vendor.
Checkout the one from Radio shack. I use it on my Windows 7 32bit Ultimate. No Problems.
Here is the link: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4233363


BTW if you haven't already done so, check out the following Yahoo User Groups for FLdigi:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/linuxham/ - For both Apple and Linux Users
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NBEMSham/ - The NBEMS Group
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/win-fldigi/ - For General questions and Windows support as well

Now a couple of receommendations for the Icom 7000.
Use the 6pin Din DataPort and NOT the 13pin Din DataPort. Reason being if you use the 13pin Din you will need to turn the Radios Mic Gain control all the way off to eliminate any Back Ground Noise being picked up. Using the 6pin DataPort the PTT will disconnect the Mic Circuit. You may (not 100% sure) need to make a change in the "SET MODE" menu. See page 131, Menu# 20 of the Radio's User Manual regarding VSEND/HSEND.
When ordering the Signalink USB order the 6-pin Mini DIN Data Port Connector (use SLUSB6PM)
DX Engineering seems to have the best prices on this unit.
Check out the Link: http://www.dxengineering.com/default.asp
DX Engineering does not show it they carry it BUT Tigertronics makes a Prewired Dip Header jumper Module already pre-configured so you don't have to use the Jumpers that come with the Unit and do your own configuring. Checkout the Link: http://www.tigertronics.com/index.htm
One last thing, set the Radio's RF OutPut at Max (100watts) and let the Signalink USB's TX Control handle the RF OutPut settings. Good Luck and shoot me an Email if you have anyother questions.

                                     73 de Steve KB6HOH
                                     kb6hoh(AT)comcast(DOT)net
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KB3THX
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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2012, 02:11:41 PM »

Steve,

Thanks for your detailed reply!

"For CAT/CI-V control I would recommend looking at the Radio Shack USB Scanner programming Cable. About $35.00.
Yes you could order one off of eBay for a lot cheaper BUT there has been some issues with the USB to Serial Cables having Fake Chipsets (Clones) in them specifically the Prolific Chipsets. Besides if you get the one from Radio Shack and it's DOA its easier to get replaced. I use the older one which has the Circuitry encased in the Clear Orange Case. These Cables use the FTDI chipsets which seem to be better than the Prolific."


I see a review on the Radio Shack site stating the cable is not compatible with Macs...might this be an FTDI driver issue?  But the FTDI USB-RS232 solution has been around for quite some time - one would think it should just "work" on OsX..?  Anyone with input on this?

I appreciate the recommendations regarding the IC-7000 - I came across similar info surfing, and was planning on using the 6 pin DIN dataport with the Signalink, and saw the "jumper chips" on the Tigertronics site  Wink

I joined the first two Yahoo User Groups you listed yesterday  Grin

Thanks so much for your help!

73,

Scott KB3THX
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KB6HOH
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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2012, 06:44:34 PM »

Scott,

        All the comments have been geared towards the RS Scanner. The only thing I can say is try it.
You can always return it if necessary. Here is the link to FTDI website: http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm
The latest Drivers are: Mac OS X Dated 2011-02-28. OK that's it for me. Lets us know how things go.

                                    73 de Steve KB6HOH
                                    kb6hoh(AT)comcast(DOT)net
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KB3THX
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Posts: 12




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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2012, 07:27:20 AM »

I picked up the Radio Shack cable, downloaded and installed the latest FTDI OS X 64-bit drivers, and fired up Fldigi...Success!  Fldigi found the port, and was able to communicate and control my IC-7000.  I tested this with both the HamLib tab and the RigCat tab (with the latest IC-7000 vml config file).  I made a PSK31 contact, and have since used Fldigi to decode an NBEMS transmission via MT63-2000 Long, which was very cool  Grin

Now for the weird part.  Flushed with success, I decided to try Flrig, too.  No go - nothing I did could get it to recognize the IC-7000 was there.  So I tried MacLoggerDX, since that program has been on my radar as something cool I'd like to have, and it failed as well  Sad

Both of the latter programs correctly listed the RS cable as a port (identical to Fldigi), but neither could actually connect using it.  MacLoggerDx has error logging, which showed lack of echo from the port on initialization.  I double checked baud rates and stop bits, etc, and even tried lower baud rates, but all to no avail.  Cold restarted the iMac and started MacLoggerDx first (thinking maybe Fldigi had commandeered the port) - no go.

I emailed back and forth with the MacLoggerDx developer, but he was unfamiliar with Fldigi and stumped - advised me that there are, however, lots of folks using IC-7000s with MacLoggerDx on a Mac, so it can be done.  I'm just confused as to how Fldigi can work with the cable/drivers, but the other programs cannot.

I'm probably going to try another cable solution, but wanted to see if anyone had any ideas regarding the current problem first.

Thanks!

Scott KB3THX
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AK4KZ
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2012, 08:48:49 AM »

For what it's worth, I'm currently running Lion and previously ran Snow Leopard. I use the Signalink USB, an Icom IC-7000, MacLoggerDX (and MacDoppler). I use both CocoaModem and FLdigi for digitial My CAT cable is a $9.95 special I got from China on eBay. I've run this set up on my Mac Pro. I may have used the cable on my old iBook.. I don't remember.

I also run (on occasion) a VM window with Windows XP using HRD on the hardware above. I've also tried a slew (although I'm not sure how many a slew really is) of memory management programs. If they didn't work, it seemed to have been the program and not communications over the CAT cable.

The only time I've had any problems was with the USB dropping offline and forcing a computer restart to recover but I noticed that when I tried to add in a cheap Targus USB hub. I just don't know if it's reliable enough to run for LONG periods of time. Or.. more likely.. I may be drawing more power from the USB port on the computer than I should. Either way, I've removed the USB hub and life is good again.

Yes... it can be done. However, it's my understanding that not all CAT cables are equal. I've heard of people saying that some of the cheap ones flat out don't work. Mine did.. as does the one a ham buddy bought on eBay. Perhaps, it's a driver issue. Maybe it's hardware. Not really sure since mine has always worked and I never had to troubleshoot.

So.. not sure if that helps at all but I guess every little bit might.

73 and good luck,
Chris
AK4KZ
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KB3THX
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2012, 09:16:27 AM »

Chris, you gave me an idea:

The only time I've had any problems was with the USB dropping offline and forcing a computer restart to recover but I noticed that when I tried to add in a cheap Targus USB hub. I just don't know if it's reliable enough to run for LONG periods of time. Or.. more likely.. I may be drawing more power from the USB port on the computer than I should. Either way, I've removed the USB hub and life is good again.

I have the cable connected to a USB port on my secondary monitor, which is acting as a USB hub.  I'll have to try plugging it directly into the iMac and giving it a go.

Still, no idea why Fldigi happily works with the current setup while the other apps don't - and I've yet to find anyone with even a theory  Huh

Thanks,

Scott KB3THX
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AK4KZ
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2012, 09:36:21 AM »

Scott,

I went back and read your post a little closer.. cuz I like to do things like that AFTER I reply. It's a nice chance to display that I'm a doofus.

I'm a little confused as to what you've got going on so I'll attack it from what I have and, hopefully, it'll help. If I sound too basic, I apologize. I'm just trying to be clear.

There are three cables involved. One is from the SignaLink USB to the radio. Sounds like that's in place. The other is from the SignaLink to the computer. That feeds audio back and forth between the computer and the radio. It also has a sound activated push-to-talk that will key the radio.

With those two hooked up, you could run FLdigi and do digital (which is very cool). (There's some magic to getting your levels set right on transmit. That's something you may want to think about. You know.. you want enough signal to kick off the PTT on the radio and broadcast audio.. but not so much that you over modulate. It just took some toying around for me and watching my gain on the radio as I adjusted the audio on the Signalink. Also.. I usually make sure I shut off compression and all that when I do digital.) Now.. the Signalink will not get radio information back and forth from your radio.. or control the radio.

For radio control.. you need the third cable.. a CAT cable. This is the one that MacLogger uses to get info from the radio so it can do logging and such. It has what looks like a small headphone plug on one end and a USB port on the other. Like I said, I got mine for about $10 on eBay. Like everything else on eBay, it's buyer beware. But for $10 I took the gamble and it works fine.

Does that help? Or did I just tell you everything you already knew?

73,
Chris
AK4KZ
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KB3THX
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« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2012, 09:55:45 AM »

Chris,

Appreciate the effort, but yes, I'm past that  Wink

I'm not actually even using a Signalink yet... I only have a CI-V (CAT) cable.  It works perfectly with Fldigi, but not Flrig or MacLoggerDx. 

My testing has utilized simply holding the IC-700 mic to the computer's speaker and vice-versa  Grin

Thanks!

Scott KB3THX

Scott,

I went back and read your post a little closer.. cuz I like to do things like that AFTER I reply. It's a nice chance to display that I'm a doofus.

I'm a little confused as to what you've got going on so I'll attack it from what I have and, hopefully, it'll help. If I sound too basic, I apologize. I'm just trying to be clear.

There are three cables involved. One is from the SignaLink USB to the radio. Sounds like that's in place. The other is from the SignaLink to the computer. That feeds audio back and forth between the computer and the radio. It also has a sound activated push-to-talk that will key the radio.

With those two hooked up, you could run FLdigi and do digital (which is very cool). (There's some magic to getting your levels set right on transmit. That's something you may want to think about. You know.. you want enough signal to kick off the PTT on the radio and broadcast audio.. but not so much that you over modulate. It just took some toying around for me and watching my gain on the radio as I adjusted the audio on the Signalink. Also.. I usually make sure I shut off compression and all that when I do digital.) Now.. the Signalink will not get radio information back and forth from your radio.. or control the radio.

For radio control.. you need the third cable.. a CAT cable. This is the one that MacLogger uses to get info from the radio so it can do logging and such. It has what looks like a small headphone plug on one end and a USB port on the other. Like I said, I got mine for about $10 on eBay. Like everything else on eBay, it's buyer beware. But for $10 I took the gamble and it works fine.

Does that help? Or did I just tell you everything you already knew?

73,
Chris
AK4KZ
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AK4KZ
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« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2012, 10:27:47 AM »

Gotcha. Okay. Well.. if you'd like, I can look at my MacLogger settings when I get home and post them to see if there's anything different but.. yeah, it should work.

73,
Chris
AK4KZ
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KB6HOH
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« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2012, 12:24:34 AM »

Scott,

       Hey Great to see you are up and running, sort of!
Now you may want to contact Dave W1HKJ regarding FLrig and the IC-7000.
Now remember when using FLrig you must also use the XML-RPC under Rig Control in FLdigi.
Dave W1HKJ and other users on the Linuxham User group also may be able to shed some light there as well.
For now I would use the RigCat. I use both RigCat and FLrig on my IC718.
Stay in touch and let us know how you make out.

                             73 de Steve KB6HOH
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