DX WinLink Sessions using QRP & Compromise Antennas

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by OH8STN, Aug 29, 2017.

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  1. W1SRR

    W1SRR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am a new ham but have interest in the digital communications aspect. Can you expand on your rig setup? Do you use any CAT controllers? Thanks in advance
    OH8STN likes this.
  2. OH8STN

    OH8STN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Welcome to the "hobby".
    I am primarily a portable digital mode operator, so I like to keep things as simple and lightweight as possible.

    Ultra portable
    For casual portable comms, I like to stick to chat modes like PSK31, PSK63, ... For that I'm using an Android Tablet, WolphiLink audio interface, and Yaesu FT-817ND without CAT control. For the most part digital modes like psk, rtty, jt65, ... are on a fixed dial frequency, but unique audio frequency. The audio frequency is usually changed within the app itself, so there's no point to have CAT control in those cases, leaving your audio interface and a list of operating frequencies for the mode, all that's required. I have a variety of antennas, so one is picked based on location, mode of transport, ... on the day.

    Advanced fixed/portable comms
    For more Advanced Communications eg. FSQ, Olivia, ... I'm still using the Yaesu ft-817nd, but the audio interface is ZLP MiniProSC. Naturally I move over from a tablet to a laptop. The laptop is running FLDIGI for the most part. I am using a USB CAT control interface for the ft-817, allowing FLDIGI, to control push to talk and frequency of the radio. In hindsight I would have taken the ZLP MiniSCPro which has audio interface and CAT control in the same little device, with individual cables coming out of it for CAT control and audio interface ports on the 817.

    WinLink & PC-ALE, WSPR, FT8, JT65, ...
    I'm also using CAT control for WinLink, ALE, ... through there apps respectively. Same audio interface as mentioned above.

    One mistake we often make as new operators is mixing up cat control with the audio interface. In older radio designs like the Yaesu ft-817 control an audio interface are on two different ports. Many operators use the CAT control for logging purposes, or to simply allow their digital mode app to control the frequency of the radio. The audio interface is used to manage audio levels into and out of the radio or laptop and sometimes to manage the push-to-talk as well. On newer radio designs there's often a sound card already built in with CAT control and audio IO on a USB port.

    Anyway your question sounds like an up-coming video from the field.
    Julian oh8stn

    Welcome to the "hobby".
    I am primarily a portable digital mode operator. For casual comms, I like to stick to chat modes like PSK31/63, Olivia, FSQ, ... For that I'm using the
    WA2LXB likes this.
  3. KM4DYX

    KM4DYX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Julian is the go-to expert on digital comms in my book. FWIW, Julian and I both use FT-817s. The 817 is going to be pretty much functionally identical to your 857 (as listed on your QRZ page.) All you really need to get started is a soundcard like the Signalink USB or similar. The Wolphilink will work with Android.

    May I suggest JT 65 if you like to chase DX and Winlink HF email for contingency communications. Like Irma. Hope you are prepared for that monster heading your way.

    W1SRR likes this.
  4. W1SRR

    W1SRR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thank you for the reply. Never really ready for something like this but still prepping. Antennas are down and will do voice comms only. Right now the 857D is in a pelican case with PS, tuner, and wiring (including a cheap dipole). I will also use my cheapo Baofeng with an Ed Fong J-pole for 2 meters. I will also put up a CB to monitor channel 9. Thanks again.
  5. AL6C

    AL6C Ham Member QRZ Page

    Winlink Africa? That is what is on my mind. I'm new here. Just got my amateur radio license a few hours ago. Only learned of Winlink a few days ago. I am interested in an inexpensive QRP automated solution for emergency coms. Is there some inexpensive (for Americans-Europeans) fully automated thing, maybe using SDR and a Raspberry PI? In my imagination I see a simple vertical 3 band thing. But maybe I don't understand Winlink much... not yet. I have a home in Africa.

    PS. Just opened this, which helps a bit, but demonstrates it is far to expensive, unreliable, and power hungry. So maybe my idea has not ever been done before now. http://www.philsherrod.com/Winlink/Getting_Started_with_Winlink_and_WINMOR.pdf
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
  6. K4CLP

    K4CLP Ham Member QRZ Page


    Good morning Sir. I have received the wolphi link and seem to be having some trouble. When connected to my 857D it automatically goes into TX. This happens even when the link is not connected to either my phone or tablet. I have tried to adjust the pots, and still can not get the link to shut down. I have emailed the manufacturer with no reply. Any thoughts or advice would be great.

    Thank you,
  7. OH8STN

    OH8STN Ham Member QRZ Page

    The very first thing to check is that your phone or tablet has an actual "trrs" connection. That's the 4-pole connector carrying speaker and microphone audio to and from the WolphiLink.
    With that said, I have seen a similar issue once before, but only while connected to a specific phone. That was a Samsung Galaxy S4.

    The only other thing I could think of is redoing the pot adjustments, as outlined in the instruction manual.

    If you don't mind me asking, what app and OS are you trying to use with the WolphiLink, and what Hardware (manufacturer, model, ...).

    Julian oh8stn
  8. K4CLP

    K4CLP Ham Member QRZ Page

    It is a Samsung galaxy tab 4.0 and a Samsung galaxy s6 edge phone. It does this with both. Oddly enough even when the link is not connected to the devices it still triggers the tx on the radio. Both the tablet amd the phone have droidpsk. Adjusting the pots hasn't worked to remedy this problem. I am running a yaesu 857D. I have a signalink that works flawlessly on the 857D. Could the wolphilink interface be defective?
  9. OH8STN

    OH8STN Ham Member QRZ Page

    If it's doing it when not connected to your tablet or your phone, I would look at and adjust the potentiometers again.

    I would aldo make certain the pins on the mini-din are not shorted on one another. Check both ends of the cable.

    One other thing you can look at, ensure the mini din is pushed far enough into the wolphilink itself.

    You can rule out the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 since my own tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab active is based on your tablet, and works fine.
    If you've done all these things, I guess it would be fair to say send it back for Wolfgang to test.
    He can be slow to respond sometimes, but he's pretty good at getting back to people.
    Julian oh8stn
  10. K4CLP

    K4CLP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Will do. Thank you!

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