eHam Forums => Digital => Topic started by: KG2JM on July 01, 2005, 07:52:10 AM

Title: Sound Card or Serial TNC
Post by: KG2JM on July 01, 2005, 07:52:10 AM
I am looking to take the plunge into the world of Digital.  I have had some experience with PACTOR II -> Icom 702 while cruising in the Carib --- but that was just a "plug-and-play" solution for eMail when away from land.

Aside from cost, are there are any major performance /reliability /issues when comparing Sound card VS serial interfaced TNCs for (other than Pactor) digital communications.  I don't have any particular area of interest yet ---- just exploring the possibilities.  I will be playing around with APRS, HF and VHF packet and anything else that strikes my fancy.


Title: Sound Card or Serial TNC
Post by: AA4PB on July 01, 2005, 08:31:16 AM
As long as you don't need to do a linked mode like Pactor, the sound card is the way to go. A program like MixW will give you many different mode options to play with. Its pretty easy to build a sound card to rig interface - or you can just purchase one. Be sure to take a look at the SignaLink by Tigertronics.

Title: Sound Card or Serial TNC
Post by: VA7CPC on July 04, 2005, 02:15:59 PM
I have worked a fair bit of PSK31 with an SCS PTC-IIex Pactor modem.  [I'm cruising on a Morgan 36 Out Island, and I hate pulling the back-panel modem plug out of the transceiver.]

Decoding performance is quite good, comparable to Digipan or HamScope.  But it's a _real pain_ to use -- you have no "waterfall display" to show you where the signals are, or where it's safe to transmit.   And the only software I found is NcWinPtc, a freeware program which is very, very basic.  [I have used Airmail's "Dumb Terminal" program to directly send commands to the PTC-IIex, but that requires understanding the PTC-II command set. ]

My advice -- Buy an interface (mine is BuxComm's Rascal) and use the computer's soundcard with Digipan, MixW, HamScope, or any other PSK31 software.  You'll have a much more pleasant experience that way.

PSK31 really is an effective mode -- have a good time.