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INTRODUCTION TO THE
DIGITAL MODES
OR HOW TO HAVE FUN WITH YOUR PC
ON HF DIGITAL MODES
OVERVIEW
Presentation focuses on PSK31
RTTY approach is very much the same: just different frequencies
There are dozens of other digital modes
In your hand outs are links to web sites that will show you what these modes
look like on the waterfall
Lets get some terms straight first!
TERMS OF THE ART
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Waterfall Display
Macros
Overdrive
IMD (Intermodulation Distortion)
Passband (Usually a 3000 hz range)
RSQ (Readability, Strength, Quality)
Varicode
EQUIPMENT NEEDED
HF RADIO
Soundcard (internal or external)
Macintosh or Windows PC
Connecting Cables
Software
RADIOS I’VE USED FOR PSK
Yaesu 897D
Yaesu 857D (Current mobile)
Kenwood TS-590S (selling)
ICOM IC-7100
AVAILABLE SOFTWARE
DX Labs Suite (free)
FLDigi (free)
$$ Ham Radio Deluxe $$
CONFIGURATION ONE
To Antenna
Radio
PC
Signalink
SIGNALINK SETUP
Connect the Signalink to the CAT receptacle on the radio.
Connect the USB to the Computer
Signalink identifies itself to your PC as USB Audio Codec
CONFIGURING SIGNALINK
Radio
CAT
USB PORT
ON PC
KENWOOD & ICOM RADIOS WITH
BUILT IN DEMODULATORS
ICOM 7100
USB PORT
PC OR MAC WITH USB
PORT
SOFTWARE
• FLDIGI
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FREE SOFTWARE
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WORKS ON BOTH PC AND MAC BASED COMPUTERS
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FREQUENTLY UPDATED, OPEN SOURCE CODE
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ONE OF THE FEW PROGRAMS THAT WILL WORK IN THE MAC
ENVIRONMENT
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WORKS WELL WITH SIGNALINK USB
DX LABS SOFTWARE
• DX LAB SUITE
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ALSO FREEWARE
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ALSO FREQUENTLY UPDATED
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ONLY WORKS ON A PC
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GOOD SUPPORT FOR SOFTWARE ON YAHOO FORUM
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FAVORABLY REVIEWED IN QST IN DECEMBER
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LIKE HAM RADIO DELUXE IT IS A MODULAR DESIGN
HAM RADIO DELUXE
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HRD SOFTWARE COSTS $99 FOR FULL LICENSE
ONE YEAR OF FREE UPDATES WITH LICENSE PURCHASE
ONLY WORKS ON PCs
GOOD SUPPORT FOR LOTW, eQSL.cc, QRZ, etc.
DIGITAL MODES USES DIGITAL MASTER 780
FLDIGI SET UP
Choose the right rig CAT controls
Personalize your copy with your name and callsign
Personalize your Macros
CHECK SOUND CONNECTION
CONFIGURE OP MODE
PICK A FREQUENCY
MACROS
CUSTOMIZED MACRO
USEFUL MACROS
CQ Macro (cq cq cq de ad0dq ad0dq ad0dq pse k)
Answer macro (<Call> de ad0dq ad0dq ad0dq pse kn)
G2KU Macro: Name, age, location, locator,
QSO macro: (station, software, antenna, S/N, IMD, QSL request)
SK macro (thanks, have a nice life, you’re the 945 th person …)
BTW macro (<call> de AD0DQ….)
COMMON MACRO FEATURES
Most turn on the transmitter when selected
Most transmit consistently to the end
Most shut off at the end of the macro
The closing or SK macro usually makes a log entry.
HAM RADIO DELUXE
$99 product
Easy to configure
Offers remote configuration if you get stuck
Useful for more than just PSK/RTTY
CONFIGURE RADIO
HELPFUL FEATURES
RSID System (Reid-Solomon)
Helps you see and react to new calls
HOVER OVER TRACK
IDENTIFIES PREVIOUSLY
WORKED STATIONS
PULL INFORMATION FOR
MACROS FROM RECEIVED TEXT
FULL RANGE OF MACROS
AUTOMATED LOG ENTRIES
FULL WATERFALL DISPLAY
IMPORTANT TIP
Courtesy of W4RK
Most of the photos here showed bandwidth set very wide
IMPROVE SIGNAL TO NOISE
Purpose of wide passband is to permit you to identify many signals.
Sometimes, particularly with weak signals, that is counterproductive.
To improve the S/N ratio on a weak signal, restrict your passband.
While 2000 might show you a lot of band, it also brings in a lot of noise
If you narrow your bandwidth to 250 or 200, you get a much cleaner signal
MAKING CONTACTS
FIND THE RIGHT FREQUENCY
AND SIDEBAND
USB is
standard
May or may
not want
Preamp on
SET YOUR POWER RIGHT
CHECK YOUR ALC SETTING
Adjust this back by
turning down the volume
on the Signalink device,
or otherwise directly
adjusting ALC on your
radio
TURN OFF SPEECH PROCESSING
Preamp Off
ADJUST YOUR PREAMP
Preamp On
FIND A SIGNAL ON THE
WATERFALL
PSK 31 signals
Find someone calling CQ
TUNE TO CENTER
As noted, tuning the receiver to put the signal in the middle of your passband,
and then reducing the passband down to 250 – 150 will improve signal to
noise ratio.
WATCH A FEW FIRST
NOTE WHAT INFO IS
EXCHANGED
AVOID THE NOID
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If you use Ham Radio Deluxe, macros can give you fits.
The macros supplied with the software are dated around 2007.
There are dozens of helpful macros that you can modify.
But if you modify the standard macros, any modifications are not saved.
You have to create your own set of macros, which can be handy
When I did PSK at Frankenstein, I had my own Special Event macros
When I make contacts from Missouri, my macros are different than when I
am in Alabama or Florida
• There are up to 10 different sets of Macros in HRD
FIRE UP YOUR MACROS!
Get experience by answering CQ calls first.
Then try some CQ calls.
Some people want only reports-and-off
Others want to rag chew
Whatever you like, you can find it.
Good DX’ing folks!

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