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Author Topic: Sound Card or Serial TNC  (Read 1929 times)
KG2JM
Member

Posts: 5




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« 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.

Thanks
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AA4PB
Member

Posts: 15067




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« Reply #1 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.
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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
VA7CPC
Member

Posts: 2831




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« Reply #2 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.
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