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Kenwood TS-430S and digital modes?

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by AE7RZ, Mar 26, 2012.

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  1. KT1F

    KT1F Ham Member QRZ Page

    I operated digital modes on my TS430S for several years. I used one of these interfaces.

    http://www.unifiedmicro.com/sci6.htm

    It's a typical transformer based isolator supplied as a kit.

    It worked well in the end but took some fiddling to get the levels right and there are a few other hassles to deal with which are no real fault of the SCI6.

    I took the audio out from the radio's accessory socket on the back. You need a somewhat uncommon DIN plug for that. They're available from Universal Radio. That's an output for a speaker which is not ideal because it is dependent on the AF gain control. Adding to that, the only input on my Sony Vaio laptop is the microphone input which is a huge mismatch in levels to a speaker output so I had to introduce some extra attenuation with something like a 100:1 resistive voltage divider on the cable.

    The TS430S accessory socket doesn't have a proper ground pin. The only ground is the outer metal shell. That caused me problems. Perhaps my socket was a bit corroded or something. I put a short ground wire from the accessory plug to the plug on my CW key next to it.

    For transmit, I used one channel of the A/V output of the laptop and the microphone input on the TS430S. The SCI6 has an adjustment for transmit level but not receive. I think I ended up changing a resistor value in the SCI6 to get the level down to something sensible. I think there is an audio input on the back of the TS430S intended for phone patch. Looking back now, I'm not sure why I didn't use that.

    After all that and careful fiddling with the Windows gain controls, I was able to get it working quite nicely. I didn't bother with T/R switching but used VOX which worked okay but you do need to be careful with unexpected sounds from the computer.

    I used the mic gain for transmit power control. I think that works okay unless you want to operate very low power. I usually ran at about 5 amps IC. That's about 60 watts input. I could transmit for a couple of minutes before the fan started. That was usually a sign that I had rambled on for too long and it was time to pass it back and let it cool down. You want to get the transmit audio level so that the mic gain is at a reasonable mid point for the desired output. Your levels need adjusting if you find that you need the mic gain near min or max.

    Trying to work a weak signal when another strong signal shows up in the receive passband can be difficult. I guess that's just how it is with an SSB width filter but I think lack of user control of the AGC tends to make it worse. The IF shift can be useful. If you have the 270 Hz CW filter then that can be good for receiving PSK and 250 Hz Olivia but it's not really much use because you need to be in USB mode to transmit.

    So... the TS430S isn't the ideal rig for digital modes but it's still quite usable and lots of fun.

    If I was starting again, I think I'd take the advice of others here and get a more fancy interface with its own sound card and easy level adjustment knobs.
     
  2. KN4OK

    KN4OK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I use a rigblaster plus ($50) and mixw/wsjt software with my TS-430s. My setup works great for me and be sure to turn down the mic gain for lower power.

    GL and see you on the air!

    Dave, kn4ok
     
  3. K0SPN

    K0SPN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Or you could do as I did when I had a SLUSB and just set the jumpers for the radio you plan to use it with the most and get the pre-made cable for that setup (since it comes with one), then get a cable with a bare end and the proper connector for your other radio(s) and wire the connector as appropriate.
    Doing it that way you can always leave the cable plugged into the radio and just swop them on the SLUSB as needed.

    Swop in 10 seconds versus 5 minutes taking the unit apart; no futzing with jumpers, no little jumper wires to lose or jumper blocks to keep track of, and no wear and tear on the sockets changing the jumpers all the time.

    Saves you a good wad of cash too.
    If you use the TigerTronics cables and jumper blocks, it'll cost you $25-$30 for each radio.
    You can use a CAT5 cable for the SLUSB end and get the connectors from Mouser, Digikey, etc for a couple bucks each. Voila, cable for $5 or less.

    When I decided to get one and was pricing it out, I took one look at those jumpers and extra cables and thought 'wow, what a scam'.
     
  4. KT1F

    KT1F Ham Member QRZ Page

  5. AE7RZ

    AE7RZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks EVERYONE! :)
    I went with the "Tigertronics USLB" with the appropriate cables for the Kenwood and the pre-wired jumper block. (mostly due to VE3FMC's recommendation)
    I've decided that for $89 or less it will be easier to get another USLB for VHF. But, not until next month. Still getting the hang of digital. I cannot get HRD to work at all. So far I've been toying with DXLabs WinWarbler with decent results.
    It is very simple to adjust the tx gain with the USB.
    See you on the air!
     
  6. NL7W

    NL7W Ham Member QRZ Page

    Roger that... leave the mic gain at its normal SSB setting, and control the audio input using the SLUSB's "TX" front panel potentiometer. When running digital modes, I'd turn the pot back to where any longer or extended digital carrier is no more than 30 to 40 Watts. In fact, I'd run the 430S at 10 to 20 Watts average carrier.

    TS-430S experience: I purchased new one in 1985 or 1986, and ran this nice rig for several years. It is a decent rig of that era... not bad at all.

    73.

     
  7. AE7RZ

    AE7RZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    What did you use as the replacement to this rig?
     
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