Yaesu ft920 and Digital Modes

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by K2HN, Nov 25, 2021.

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  1. K2HN

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    I have an FT 920 and thinking about getting an interface and trying FT8 with it. My computer has all the necessary software since it was used on ft8 and a 7300. Anyone running wsjt etc. and using one of these older analog rigs? Any suggestions as to which interface would be best (signalink etc.). First impression looks like quite a challenge to get it working, no usb port etc.. Any ideas would be helpful. Many thanks, Jim
  2. WA1YHO

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    Hello Jim, It wasn't that hard to get FT8 running on my FT-920. There are a lot of options out there. I decided to go with a Rigblaster Advantage. It takes two USB ports to make it all work. One USB connection goes to the Advantage for the sound card. For rig control there is a USB to RS-232 cable with a built in USB to serial converter chip that connects to the CAT port on the back of the radio for rig control. I use VOX for transmit control. I had no trouble getting it working with Windows 10.
  3. K2HN

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    Thanks Gary,
    That's encouraging. I read the directions for the Rigblaster usb , about 16 pages of installation and use and was getting a little discouraged. I had a Advantage at one point in time, not sure what I was using it on but I think it was before FT8. I ran ft8 using an Icom 7300 before we moved into an hoa community and decided to sell it rather than have the movers handle it. After getting here I picked up a nice ft 920 which I really like. Using an end fed which is about my last resort as far as antennas are concerned. I think FT8 would keep me a little busier considering my set up. I need to see what the difference is between the usb rigblaster and the Advantage and I'll probably move forward Just one question. Do you have the item numbers for the cables? I may have them. Pretty sure I have the usb to rs232 with the built in usb to serial converter for the CAT port. All I need to do is change the items in wsjt and jtalert, that may produce a snag or two.
    Regardless, many thanks for taking the time. Good to hear.
  4. K8XG

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    Signal Link is the Top Product for digital audio modes, it is simple, and with VOX just works no need for CAT setups or anything...It just works with it's built in VOX
  5. WA1YHO

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    Being lazy I just ordered the USB to RS-232 cable from West Mountain when I ordered the Advantage. The only number I have is the West Mountain number: #58126-990 I am sure it was an off the shelf cable that West Mountain resells. It uses the common Silicon Labs USB to RS-232 chip that Win 10 recognized. If you already have a USB to RS-232 cable I am sure it will work.

    Though, as K8XG noted, if you don't want to do rig control you don't need the CAT cable. I have read good things about the SignalLink products.

    I have WSJT (with JTalert) connected to the DXLabs suite for logging and rig control which makes for quick and easy band changes and one click FT8 logging.

    Glad to hear that you are enjoying the FT-920. It is a very nice radio. It was the only radio I kept on the shelf "just in case" when I got out of the hobby many years ago. I am glad I did as it got me back on the air when the radio bug bit me again.

    I will also pass along one small complaint on my RigBlaster Advantage. The RJ-45 connector on the back for the mic cable to the radio has become intermittent. The cable does not fit snugly into the connector and the low level mic audio gets "scratchy". Cheap RJ-45 connectors.

    Agree! I have had a lot of fun chasing states and DX with FT8, the barefoot 920, a 35' high fan dipole for 80/40/30M, and a an eight foot high Cushcraft R6000 vertical for 20-10M. Got my digital WAS and DXCC. It is certainly a different type of contact but it is curiously addictive. Have fun!
  6. K2HN

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    Thanks to all for the help. I did check the WestMountain website and they had a backorder on the rigblaster usb to February 1. Will check with dx eng. re the Signalinks. I'm trying to avoid using the mic socket and not quite sure which unit you don't have to do that with. Regardless, thanks to all.
  7. WA1YHO

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    Yes, I understand the desire to not interfere with the microphone input but with the older radios that is about the only way to get audio into the radio. One benefit of the Advantage is that it has a place to plug in the microphone so you don't have to plug and unplug the mic switching to FT8.

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