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Author Topic: Rascal or RigBlaster  (Read 3131 times)
K1RDD
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« on: January 16, 2003, 03:52:58 PM »

I'm still in the discovery stages of digital modes, but am interested in PSK-31, and possibly Packet. I have been able to set up for receive on PSK-31 already, and am moving toward transmit now. It looks like there are 3 flavors of RigBlaster and 2 flavors of Rascal. I have an IC706MKIIG. Any reason why the $25 version of the Rascal won't do all that I'm looking for?
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K0HZI
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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2003, 08:25:22 PM »

Doug,

The RASCAL wlll work great, the Mark V (more $) would be if you want to use it on more than one brand of rig, so the $25 one is the way to go.  Packet would require a TNC or there is a sound card Packet engine out called AGWPE.
See you on PSK soon.
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W9CW
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« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2003, 09:52:45 AM »

Actually, you don't need either.  If you want to ensure isolation, go down to RadioShack and buy two of their audio isolation transformers for $7 each, and roll your own interface.  The PTT is easy to configure with an optoisolator if you wish for the PTT interface the PC.  Total parts cost should be less than $20.00.  A commercial interface is certainly not needed to get on PSK31, or any of the other digital modes using the freeware or shareware available for a download - a common misconception. In fact, there are those who would argue that audio isolation transformers aren't needed as well.  But, if you must have a commercially-built interface, the Rascal will do fine.  It's cheap and does the job well.  My personal choice for a well-designed and extremely well-built interface, however, is the SignaLink by Tigertronics.

Good luck.

73,
Don W9CW
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KF0OH
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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2003, 09:23:17 PM »

I guess part of it depends on what you really want to do down the road.  I started with an MFJ interface using the MIC input but ultimately wanted to run FSK on RTTY.  This required an interface through the accessory port on an ICOM 756 PROII.  Also, the digital mode of USB/LSB on the 756 PROII disables the MIC input.  So, the RASCAL is the only interface that allows both input and output to the ACC port and FSK.  My recommendation is the RASCAL.  I now have an MFJ in the box and haven't decided to sell or hook up to another rig.  The price is right and it works great.
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N4ZOU
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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2003, 11:30:36 PM »

 www.geocities.com/n4zou/files/tnc-psk.pdf
This is an artical on building an interface for not only the sound card in your computer but also allows switching to a TNC with one cheap DPDT switch. This allows all the sound card modes and the FSK modes not available with a sound card like Amtor, Pactor, and Packet. As an added feature the audio from the transceiver is routed through a spliter made up of two 1 uF capacitors to both the input of the TNC and the line in jack on the sound card. This way you can have the very good display of a sound card program like Hamscope in full screen mode and a terminal program for use with the TNC. As everyone that has operated a TNC the built in tuning display on most of them is not very good but the display on any of the sound card programs are great. Also this interface will work with the Winwarbler program for use with both a RTTY TNC and the soundcard for double copy and FSK sending.
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K0BX
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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2003, 01:51:37 PM »

Just though I would add my 2 cents.
The only problem with the RigBlaster is the cost.  It won't send/recieve better the Rascal or any homebrew interface.
I have two Rascals.  One I built from a kit $25.00 and then I added the FSK transistor.
See me webpage http://www.qsl.net/k0bx  and go to soundcard interfacing.  This one is used on my mine home rig a TS-850S.
The 2nd interface is for my IC-706MK2G.  I didn't have the time to built it so I paid the $50 for the ready build one with FSK already.  It worked FB.  I used the 706 during the CQ WW DX RTTY contest last Sept and make over 500 rtty qso's bearfoot.

Before these "Interfaces" came available, I built a homebrew version using transformers from Radio Shack and such.  But I did have problems with audio hum and RFI.  Mostly because of my poor construction.
The Rascal has a nice circuit board and no hum or rfi problems.

So the choise is up to you, but hight cost doesn't not mean better performance.

Joe K0BX
on rtty for 27 years.
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