GUEST POST – Paul AE5JU’s Radio Adventures – Part 3 PSK31

Here is my good friend Paul Coats follow up article – Paul AE5JU’s Radio Adventures – Part 3 PSK31




Part 3

I went back to Larry’s home. He could not get his radios to transmit. A few weeks ago he had made a QSO on his first transmission received a QSL card in the mail. We had it working then, but can’t get it to work now.

Digital Master 780 works, puts out an audio signal, but we can’t get either his Kenwood TS-140 or his Icom 718 to kick into transmit mode. PTT is not working.

What I think has happened is that either his webcam or a camera program has taken over the Comport and will not release it. He had also had a new DVD drive installed and had problems with that. He said the computer tech swapped cables between the CD-ROM drive and the new DVD drive and now has both of those working.

Previously Ham Radio Deluxe would at least connect with the Icom 718 (though not with his Kenwood), but HRD and DM780 would not communicate. At that time we were able to make both radios transmit by using DM780 only, not opening HRD.

Larry has a laptop at his other home which he will bring down and we will try that.

And now on to another subject.

Most laptop computers don’t have Line In / Line Out sound card connections, only mic and earphone. In the past I have used an external USB soundcard, the iMic by Griffin Technology. The iMic is one of the few USB soundcards that has Line In / Line Out. Most external sound cards have Mic In only, and the mismatch in levels is quite a problem.

I have just received the Behringer UCA202, which has Line level inputs and outputs via RCA phono jacks. The UCA202 is about the size of the Rigblaster Plug & Play.

Cost was $30.00 USD purchased from JR Electronics,

The UCA202 has RCA Phono jacks, a pair for Left and Right channel inputs, and another pair for Left and Right channel outputs. To connect to the Rigblaster’s 1/8″ audio plugs I used two Radio Shack Model 274-871 adapters. These have 1/8″ mono jacks on one end, and RCA Phono plugs on the other. Though the Rigblaster’s (and other interfaces) audio connections use 1/8″ stereo plugs, only the left channel is actually used (the “tip” of the plug). This 274-871 adapter’s 1/8″ mono jack works just fine for both input and output with the Behringer’s RCA Phono jacks. The Rigblaster’s input and output cables must be plugged into the UCA202’s left channel input and output jacks.

The UCA202 has a separate 1/8″ stereo jack and volume control for monitoring with headphones.

This soundcard is “Plug & Play” so it does not require installation of drivers, at least with my HP laptop with Vista Home 32-bit.

After connecting the radio with the Rigblaster Plug & Play and Berhinger UCA202 soundcard I had soon made five contacts with no more than a minute between each one.


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4 thoughts on “GUEST POST – Paul AE5JU’s Radio Adventures – Part 3 PSK31

  1. I almost bought a rig blaster, but have had a lot of fun with my own circuits. I haven’t ever built a radio, but I can build a packet interface apparently, and when I got a different radio, it was a 10 minute slight rewire. Thank you for posting this, that USB audio device is a very nice find.

  2. philw KA1GMN says:

    Nice article.

  3. Paul AE5JU says:

    My good friend Larry W5LJL (mentioned in the above article and previous became a Silent Key Sunday, Feb. 7, 2010.

  4. k9zw says:

    Hi Paul AE5JU

    Please pass our condolences to Larry W5LJL’s family and we will have him on our list.



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