Setting up the ICOM IC-718 for Digital Modes

Discussion in 'Working Different Modes' started by KD8SWT, Feb 7, 2015.

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  1. KD8SWT

    KD8SWT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hello everyone,
    I have a question on how I would set up my IC-718 to do digital modes. The radio has a RTTY feature and RTTY plug in the back, but I would like to try other modes as well.
    I would like to try and operate PSK31, SSTV, RTTY, and the WSJT modes.
    How should I go about setting up the radio to operate other modes than RTTY?

    Thanks for the help!
    73! John Wirt KD8SWT
  2. N0IU

    N0IU Ham Member QRZ Page

    The plug in the back isn't just for RTTY. For the RTTY mode on your radio, that is for FSK RTTY or Frequency Shift Keying. The diagram in the manual (Page 33) is a bit confusing and not really accurate. You don't need a TU (terminal unit) or TNC (terminal node controller) to do FSK RTTY. All you really need is a serial port (or USB-to-serial converter) and a simple interface like this: You still need to get the audio from your radio into your computer, but you can do that using the EXT SP jack or the ACC jack.

    OK, I know you are pretty confused now, but hang with me for a bit...

    You can still do AFSK RTTY or (Audio Frequency Shift Keying) or any of the sound card based digital modes through the same ACC port on the radio, but you will need to get some sort of sound card interface to go between your radio and your computer. There are several out there, but one of the most popular models is the SignaLink USB made by Tigertronics: Once you get the proper cable with it (SLUSB13I - For Icom 13-pin DIN Accessory Port Connector), you plug one end to an available USB port on your computer and the other end into your radio and you are good to go. You will have to set some internal jumpers inside the box (no soldering!) or order the SLMOD13I jumper board and just plug it in.

    One thing that makes this interface so popular is that it contains its own dedicated sound card. This means that it does not affect the sound card already in your computer. There are also real input and output level controls on the box so you don't have to adjust levels using the sound card "sliders" in your computer. The SignaLink sells for about $100 from most major online retailers. If you want the jumper board (optional if you don't want to set the internal jumpers) for an additional $7.00.

    And if you are not confused enough yet...

    Another sound card interface option is something like the RigBlaster Plug & Play: The major difference between this and the SignaLink is that it relies on the sound card in your computer. (Plus it costs about $20 more). Personally I prefer having a dedicated sound card for the digital modes, but that is up to you.

    There are lots of other sound card interface options out there, but these two seem to be the most popular. They are inexpensive (as sound card interfaces go) and work very well.

    Clear as mud, eh?
  3. KD8SWT

    KD8SWT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the response!
    So if I read every thing correctly, your saying that I can work any FSK of AFSK digital mode with the plug on the back of the radio, right?

    John Wirt KD8SWT
  4. N0IU

    N0IU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes! That is correct.
  5. KD8SWT

    KD8SWT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the information! I can't wait to give it a try.
    73! John Wirt.
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