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Kenwood TS-440S Interfaces... what to expect?

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Software' started by KK4NSF, Oct 3, 2018.

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  1. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    OK... I've finally decided to go computerized, and am working on the hardware / software to control my Kenwood TS-440S. While I am very computer literate, I'm totally clueless about Ham Radio Control and Signal Processing.

    From reading the various websites, it appears that there are two types of interfaces required for my particular radio:
    1- rig control interface (IC-10)- which will allow me to control the rig via ACC-1 thru a cable to my computer. Essentially this will allow me to do the same sort of things I do via the front panel, with added memory channels. That's pretty straightforward.
    2- the other interface is the Signal Data Interface... which is not quite as straightforward. Apparently it requires a Kenwood IF-232 box, which has been out of production for quite some time. It CAN however be had on ebay.

    Here are my questions-

    1- if a computer only has one serial port, how do you use both the IC-10 and the IF-232 box? does the IF-232 handle both functions?
    2- if I only go with the rig control, can I use the audio output from the radio going into a Sound Card for signal processing? Is there any software out there to do this?
    3- Is the Signal Data Interface required to run HRD or other software?
    4- what will the Signal Data Interface do for me anyway?
    5- should I just forget using this rig for computer control altogether since it's old and clunky?

    Thanks in advance for any help / advise / opinions

    Dave
    KK4NSF
     
  2. AA6YQ

    AA6YQ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    This product will enable you to control your TS-440 from a computer using one serial port (or a USB-to-serial-port adaptor, if you wish):

    Piexx IF-232PX RS-232 Level Converter for Kenwood TS-940, TS-440, and TS-850 Transceivers

    The TS440's "conversation" with your computer is limited to controlling and tracking its frequency and mode, selecting a VFO, and managing memories; it won't support remote control, but will enable an application to capture your TS440's frequency and mode when logging a QSO, or to QSY your TS440 when you select an active station. There's no ability to switch the transceiver between RX and TX by sending a command, but the Piexx interface may support RX-TX switching via one of the serial port's modem control signals; I would ask Piexx about this.

    Connecting any transceiver's audio output to your computer soundcard's audio input and connecting its audio input to your soundcard's audio output it typically accomplished with audio transformers for isolation. There are several commercial products available, or you can homebrew an interface, e.g.

    [​IMG]

     
    KK4NSF likes this.
  3. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the info.
    that's what I thought... and is verified by the Kenwood User's Manual. The manual says that the IC-10 by itself will support:
    Programming and recall of VFO A and VFO B frequency
    Memory Input and recall
    Control of the F.LOCK function
    Memory Channel Selection
    MODE Selection
    RIT/XIT functions
    SCAN Operation
    Review of transciever function

    Apparently, it controls a lot of the front-end functions, but lacks any sort of signal processing or transmit capabilities. That will be far better than doing everything manually. To do RTTY, Packet, SSTV, Direct digital (computer to computer) or any other digital modes it looks like I'll need a signal data interface (IF-232C, or one of the newer aftermarket equiv.) OR a soundcard interface. I like the idea of using isolation transformers... especially since I already have all of the parts!

    for software, I'm leaning toward DXLab's Commander. what do you think?
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
  4. AA6YQ

    AA6YQ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    You'll want both CAT control (for frequency/mode tracking and reporting) and a soundcard interface (for digital mode operation). For digital mode operation, you also want RX/TX switching; a soundcard interface with VOX will do that, but it would be better to find a serial port interface that does both frequency/mode tracking and RX/TX switching. Besides Piexx, microHam may have a product that does this.

    I'm the author of DXLab, of which Commander is a component. You'll find step-by-step instructions here. Consider joining the DXLab Discussion group here; all questions are welcome, no matter how many times they may have already been asked and answered.
     
    KK4NSF likes this.
  5. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    AA6YQ- I've been reading about DXLab.... and it looks like you've done a great job! Thanks.
    That's what I've learned.

    I like the soundcard interface you posted above, and will be assembling it today. By the time it's done, my Control Cable from Janke will be here. I should be partially up and running this evening.

    I'll check out the links.
    Thanks for your help

    Dave
    kk4nsf
     
  6. AA6YQ

    AA6YQ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    microHam expert Joe W4TV is very knowledgeable about interface requirements. In response to my asking him

    "Does microHam have a product that provides CAT control, RX-TX switching, and a soundcard interface for a TS-440?"

    Joe responded

    "Yes, any of the microKEYER III (new), microKEYER II, Digikeyer II or USB Interface III provide those capabilities as long as the TS-440 has the (optional) IC-10 chip set installed. The IC-10 chip set is available here.
     
    KK4NSF likes this.
  7. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Status update: the KK4NSF shack now has digital capability! In only a few days, I went from being a totally annoying digi-radio newbie, to having a functional digital setup. I'm still learning the software, but it looks like all of the functionality is there. I went the soundcard route, using the two-transformer interface, and VOX for TX.... at least to get started. Now it's time to explore each function, learn how to best use the system, and enjoy being in the 21st Century.

    Dave
    KK4NSF
     
    AA6YQ and KA9JLM like this.

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