FT8 w/ SignaLink and 756Pro......pulling my hair out

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by N4EYZ, Nov 24, 2019.

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  1. N4EYZ

    N4EYZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm cabled correctly, internal jumpers checked multiple times. All sound card selections made as per the SignaLink manual and their website. And all the levels set as per recommendations.

    The SignaLink came from a friend who used it successfully but found he cared little for digital modes. So I know it was once working.

    #1..I can only see and decode signals when the interface is powered off. Turn it on and signals disappear. I can hear them thru the rig's speaker but they disappear from the waterfall. BTW---SignaLink is going into the rear accessory port of 756. I've looked and re-looked at internal jumpers(SignaLink--made sure they're configured for 756Pro), double checked my cables into acc port etc. Clock is kept accurate by Dimension 4 btw.

    #2..This seems to be even more curious. When everything is powered up for the first time...computer, rig, soundcard......on the first tx or use the "tune" function within WSJT-X program the output will go to whatever power level I have set (evidenced by outboard meters) and immediately fall back to zero even though the rig is still in keyed mode. Just no audio going into the transmitter hence no output. I can then hit tune or enable tx and it will not show power out even though rig is in tx mode. Power cycle everything again and it will act the same way.

    Anyone have any similar experiences or offer some direction? I'm running out of ideas.
  2. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Depending on the version of Windows (assuming you're using Windows) you need to select the proper sound card in the Windows program as well as the sound card selection in the FT-4 program. I know it can get frustrating and I find that most of my problems arise out of improper selection in windows and not the selection in the digital mode software. I don't know if it should be this way but frequently the problem is solved, after making the correct selection, by restarting the computer.
  3. KE5MC

    KE5MC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Following on the heels of K3XR, hearing the received signals on the speakers and not seeing them on the waterfall is a symptom of mis-selected audio on the computer. Agree that received signals on my setup "leaks" thru to my computer/software decode program when I forget to turn the SignaLink on. However, I can tell on the waterfall it is off because of noise spikes across the waterfall when off that clear up when on. Correct the audio selection before moving on to your #2 which might go away. One thing that can trip you up is having the software key the radio by command or control line and the SignaLink keying by audio level. The radio will be very confused if keying comes from two sources, don't ask me how I know. Another point if using the SignaLink for keying is the input audio level from the computer must be set high enough to keep the VOX function in SignaLink active for the duration of the transmission. Then use the TX knob of the SignaLink to set the audio drive level to the transceiver and thus the power output.

    P.S. A security/safety "feature" depending on operating system is a 'mute' check-box for the microphone input at the system level audio configuration on the computer. It's suppose to keep "big brother" from eavesdropping without use know. In this case it block your receiver input to computer.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2019
    K3XR likes this.
  4. AA4PB

    AA4PB Ham Member QRZ Page

    You want Windows configured to use the computer's built in sound card and speakers so that all Windows sounds go to the speakers. You want WSJT-x configured to use the USB Codec (i.e. the SignaLink) for the radio Tx and Rx audio. The first thing I would do is to connect the transceiver to a dummy load in order to ensure that you don't have any RFI getting into the SignaLink or computer. Then try transmitting in TUNE and/or transmit a CQ message. If that works okay then you have an RFI issue. If you don't have a dummy load then use the antenna but turn the SignaLink Tx level fully CCW and bring it up to get about 5W output. That'll minimize the potential RFI issue.

    The SignaLink-USB does not process CAT commands (it's an audio device only). In the WSJT-x configuration you should set the radio type to NONE and the PTT to VOX for use with a SignaLink. You then need to set the VFO frequency on the radio manually. If you want to use CAT, you have to do that by adding a CIV to USB converter to the setup to process the CAT commands. CI-V connection is to the little phone jack labeled REM on the back of the IC756.
  5. N4EYZ

    N4EYZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm using a separate CIV to USB for CAT as I did read in the manual concerning that issue. And I'm doing all the transmitting into a load as I don't want to be transmitting my adjustments. Oh and I'm using Windows 7 too. This afternoon is pegged as my start all over day and again go thru every aspect of this. And to answer one of the earlier responses I thought I was careful to go thru all the proper assignments of computer speakers, internal sound card as well as the USB Codec etc. But that being said I'm going thru it again. I appreciate all the responses. I'll report back.

    Many thanks

    K3XR likes this.
  6. W5DXP

    W5DXP Ham Member QRZ Page

    If I had a SignaLink, I would sell it:) and use this KISS configuration instead:

  7. N4EYZ

    N4EYZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well I have one........a possibility it may be used again. My goal is/was not having to plug/unplug audio cables when I want to listen to programming. We’ll see.
  8. AA4PB

    AA4PB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I used a SignaLink-USB with an IC-756PRO and a Win7 computer for several years, primarily on PSK31 with MixW, and later with FT8. I never had any issues with it. I upgraded that computer with W10 and still never had a hitch. For CAT I used an original Icom CT17 connected to a real RS-232 port on the computer. I later upgraded to a RigExpert TI-8 only because I wanted to add FSK, computer controlled PTT rather than VOX, and CAT all via a single USB connection. I later moved the old SignaLink-USB to a Dell laptop with W10 for some testing and had no issues on that computer either.
  9. N4EYZ

    N4EYZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here is an update. I found I had made a mistake in the internal jumper socket. That cured the decoding signals when the SignaLink was off. I still could not get it to transmit. I saw the rig switch over to tx but no audio signal into the transmitter (apparently). Checked over the various sound card settings and they appear to be correct. In an effort to make sure the problem was not the SignaLink I moved everything over to a fairly new laptop that has Windows 10. As well as the C-IV cable portion of another unused interface for CAT control. It all worked right off the bat.

    I can play music or system sounds on/thru the W7 desktop. Somewhere/somehow I'm losing the audio out of the computer that goes into the mic input of my 756. Odd, strange and curious. I'm putting all of this aside till either Thanksgiving afternoon or this weekend. On that note I'd like to thank all of you for your insight and advice and wish all a good Thanksgiving!
  10. N4EYZ

    N4EYZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I finally found my problem (which I'd guess most would guess). Sound card level settings. First got it all working on my Win 10 laptop. Noted all settings there and went back to desktop. Duplicated all settings. And made sure what was to be enabled was enabled etc. Took me a while but finally stumbled thru it. Thanks again!

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