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Author Topic: Interface to use for IC-703?  (Read 22184 times)

Posts: 22

« on: April 08, 2008, 10:11:49 AM »

 So I was thinking about starting to use my 703 in PSK when I get my General soon and I've been trying to find the right interface to use with it. I was contemplating the Buxcomm Rascal with my 703 but then I saw this review

"...After inquiries to Buxcom regarding how to operate PSK31 on my Icom 703, IE which product would interconnect PC with 703, I got a reply that said their GLX "RY" series was plug compatible and do the job. I forked out the price and promptly received the RY model whose package declared it worked on ICOM 703 and 706 via a 13 Pin cable to the ACC jack on the radios. Well... the unit would transmit in RTTY mode but not Icom's packet mode (SSB-D). After several inquires back to Buxcom tech support.. I got comments like it works for other 703's.. well... further more they said there was no difference between 703's and 706's.. maybe true but I doubt it. As the setup menu of the 706 is different to same degree and the tech at Buxcom did not seem to know that. The bottom line here is you are your own... fine. After careful review of pin outs of the ACC interface in the ICOM manual, it revealed that the ACC pin definitions for PSK31 in the 703 differs between "RTTY" mode and "SSB-D" (packet mode). So where as the input on pin 10 for RTTY, audio input from PC for PSK31 is input on pin 10. The result is while the PTT activates the transmitter, no out put is applied to the carrier. My opinion is that the manufacturer of the GLX only implemented logic in the interface unit to effect RTTY mode, not grasping that a different pin is used to input AF signal from software/PC sound card."

The above worries me since I have the exact same radio and wish not to spend $50 on something that may or may not work. Unfortunately after checking the RigBlaster site the Nomic is on back order as is pretty much everything else on that site. What interface should I get if the Buxcomm has apparent issues and the Nomic is on backorder?

Posts: 165

« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2008, 06:44:46 AM »

If you only need to provide Audio in and out and PTT, I would recommend the Unified Microsystems SCI-6. Price is $25 + $5 S&H. It is a kit, but if you have minimal soldering skills, takes under an hour to put together, plus additional time to make up cables to the computer and rig. The SCI-6 uses RCA phono jacks for all connections except it has hard wired mini stereo for the Line in and out to the sound card.

If your ICOM can key the rig via the CI-V port, then you can either make a homebrew interface that can connect to a COM port on the computer, or use a USB to COM adapter to your interface. If you would rather not build, and wish to interface from USB to CI-V, the West Mountain RigTalk is probably the best solution on the market. You still need the audio interface though but this gives you the flexibility to use many more digital data programs since some can work through the CI-V (Multipsk with DXLab Commander or Ham Radio Deluxe/Digital Master 780). Many programs can not do this and must have PTT or VOX keying and then the SCI-6 or a similar simple interface with optoisolator keying handles that requirement.

I hesitate to recommend any of the Eastern European products even though they get good reviews. These units typically do not have a return policy if you are dissatisfied.

Based on the exceptionally poor reviews of Buxcomm on eham, this company is not on my list of approved vendors.

Posts: 2831

« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2008, 01:21:42 AM »

I have a Buxcomm Rascal, and it's worked over 4 years on an IC-706, Yaesu FT-817 and FT-450, and Kenwood TS-570D.  And it's worked for any digital mode i've thrown at it.

Don't believe everything you read (especially not on eHam!<g>).  

The Buxcomm (and most other soundcard interfaces) _does not_ support "RTTY" or "FSK", as that term is understood by the rig manufacturers.  It supports "AFSK", in which the audio tones are generated _by the computer's soundcard_.   The audio signal from the soundcard should go to the "MOD" (modulator) pin on the 13-pin rear-panel ACC socket -- that's pin 11, for the IC-706.  

I suspect the reviewer was confused.

The IC-703 and IC-706 ACC sockets _are_ "pin-for-pin" compatible, according to their manuals.  You should be able to use an "IC-706 13-pin connector" Rascal without any trouble.


Posts: 571

« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2008, 08:05:07 PM »

Oddly enough I just did this. I use a Rig Blaster Plug and PLay. Works fine after it was set up. Right now I am using Digipan since it is what I have working. I hope to get some other software running so I can try other modes though.

I did make about 6 PSK 31 Q's last weekend, which puts my lifetime grand total of PSK Q's from my own station at....about 6.

Its a fun mode with some good people even for QRp people like me running a Buddipole.

Dan S

Posts: 301

« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2008, 12:57:47 PM »

In addition, at least in the IC706, which I think is the same as the 703, PTT, audio in, audio out, and a few mV of 8 VDC are available at the Mic connector. So I plug my Tigertronics SL-1 into the RJ45 connector on the back of the rig, and leave the mic connected at the front panel.

This also has the advantage that you can usually dumpster dive an ethernet patch cable where someone has broken off the little plastic locking tab, so all your cabling and connectors are free, and you don't have to mess with those @*&$^@%! DIN connectors.

NB - You may or may not need a resistor in the PTT line, the SL-1 takes cares of this.

Posts: 203

« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2008, 09:17:34 PM »

Get a RigBlaster!
It's a much better built, more versatile interface.
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