Easiest and cheapest way to get on digital modes

Discussion in 'On-Air Operations - Q&A' started by K0HIO, Sep 3, 2019.

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  1. KN4HTC

    KN4HTC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    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

    KG7WGX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    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
    K0HIO likes this.
  3. KF4ZGZ

    KF4ZGZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Like KN4HTC said.
    Simple audio in and audio out cables and use the vox.
    I jumped on the psk bandwagon early with a Yaesu FT 101-EE and made hundreds of psk contacts with this simple set-up.
  4. KF4ZGZ

    KF4ZGZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    OK .... I apologize.
    I went brain dead on this one.
    The Easy Digi by KF5INZ bought in kit form takes your audio in and audio out cables and makes the ptt work like it should.
    A quick search on ebay will do you good.
  5. KN4GCB

    KN4GCB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was in the same boat until I discovered that my FT-450D has digital vox. Just enabled that and set the proper levels. Then, with a few wires plugged into the 6 pin din connector and some alligator clips and an aux cord before you know it I was on SSTV. Obviously, I intend to do better later but I was amazed that it was that easy.
  6. N0YPD

    N0YPD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well,maybe you should wait until you can afford a hobby.
  7. KN4HTC

    KN4HTC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Sounds like your saying Ham Radio is a rich man's hobby.

    Not everyone can drop thousands of dollars on the latest greatest technology. Some people have to make do with what they can and there is nothing wrong with that.

    Your attitude toward the OP is pathetic.
    N1NA, KD4ZMV, KN4GCB and 1 other person like this.
  8. KB3FEI

    KB3FEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    The cheapest way, since you have a radio and computer, is audio coupling--let the signal from your computer be picked up by the radio mic, and the signal from your radio be picked up by your computer. Easiest? Not so much.
  9. N0YPD

    N0YPD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

  10. K0UO

    K0UO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Easiest way to get on digital modes that's the easiest question get a CW key!
    You can make a key out of a piece of tin and a wood board and a screw or nail pretty easy

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