Easiest and cheapest way to get on digital modes

Discussion in 'On-Air Operations - Q&A' started by KE8LVV, Sep 3, 2019.

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  1. KN4HTC

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    I have a bare bones setup. It's not ideal but it does work and you can probably get it for $20-$30 as long as your radio takes the same cables.

    I have a Omni D and both the microphone and speaker/headphone jacks take a 1/4 inch plug. I picked up two cables that are a 1/4 inch plug on one end and a standard headphone plug on the other. If you have a Guitar Center nearby you can find those there.

    If your computer has a separate microphone and headphone jack you are good. If not you need a adapter that will give you a separate microphone and headphone plug.

    Then just plug your radio audio out into the microphone in of your computer and the headphone out of the computer into the radio microphone in.

    Set the radio to VOX mode and make sure you turn off all system sounds for the computer. You'll need to keep your computer's volume relatively low and fine tune everything but it does work and is relatively cheap.

    You will also have to manually tune the radio as you will not have any computer control of it.
  2. KG7WGX

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    The FT757GX is a really neat rig! I looked at the manual and it has controls on the top cover for the internal keyer. You can turn it off to use a straight key, or turn it on to use paddles. There is even a sliding pot to control speed.

    Regarding inexpensive keys, you can get a straight key or single- or dual-lever paddles here -


    for $30 or less. No fancy ball bearings or gold-plated contacts, but their products are functional.

    If I was going to use one of these keys at a "base station" rather than for QRP on the side of a mountain, I might mount it to something with 2-sided tape. They are so light weight you have to use one hand to hold the key while you operate it with the other, but a heavy base would fix that.

    In addition to the key, you will need a cable with a 3.5mm stereo plug on one end and a 1/4" stereo plug on the other. You can make one of these, or buy one from Whiterook for $6.

    Good luck. Learning Morse is a rewarding challenge and CW mode is effective even with present band conditions.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2019
    KE8LVV likes this.

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