INTERESTED IN DIGITAL MODES?……READ ON!
TNC and Modems ruled the world of digital communications until recently. With the advent of high speed computing and digital signal processing (DSP) all this has changed. If you own a home computer (PC) with a sound card, all you need to do is download software and obtain an interface between the PC and your radio.
Soundcard interfaces are not data controllers, TNCs, decoders or signal processors. A good Soundcard Interface minimize computer noise entering the sensitive radio section, while isolating DC and AC parths of the audio generated to and from the soundcard.
Couple audio from the radio receiver to the computer sound input. Couple computer-generated audio from the soundcard output to the radio transmitter. Provide some way for the computer to key the transmitter.
Due to lack of locally available interfaces in the past many radio amateurs imported them for large sums of money. No longer necessary……….You can now order the ready build ZS1I SOUNDCARD INTERFACE II and ZS1I "ECONO" SOUNDCARD INTERFACE locally at a very reasonable price. This project is used extensively in the Southern Cape Region by Gizmo Amateur Radio Forum members. Some radio amateurs might consider this project to be simple and straightforward without the necessary bells and whistles. You're right.....that was the intention when I planned this project. Something simple but yet effective. I am not going to discuss the working of the soundcard here as the Internet is “infested” with information regarding the working of soundcard interface projects. I have used this soundcard effectively with various digital modes, even in contests. If you want a no fuzz no frill interface that delivers, than this one is for you.
PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU WILL HAVE TO BUY A MICROPHONE CONNECTOR FOR THE SPECIFIC RADIO YOU INTEND USING. THE PTT/MIC AUDIO LINE IS MARKED ON THE SCREENED CABLE AND MUST BE SOLDERED AS ILLUSTRATED IN YOUR RADIO’S INSTRUCTION HANDBOOK.
There are a number of interfaces on the market, listed in ads in Amateur Radio Magazines and on the Internet. The recommended unit however to use is the “ZS1I Soundcard Interface”. This Soundcard Interface is available already assembled and tested, and you can order it now from ZS1I ELECTRONIC PROJECTS at a substantial saving.
There are several reasons why you should use the ZS1I SOUNDCARD INTERFACE II. While using a simple patch cord between the mic/speaker connections WILL work, there are many reasons why this is not desireable or even safe for your computer (and possibly yourself).
1. RF isolation - Nothing will kill your computer faster.
2. This interface has a keying circuit built in.
3. Many sound cards have 5 volts DC on the output, not good for your mic jack.
4. This interface has level controls built in, set 'em and forget 'em.
5. The interface provides isolation for all signal paths.
6. This interface do not use the VOX function to avoid embaressing situations.
7. This interface has positive control of the transmit function.
8. This interface works with all operating systems. ( As long as your operating system has good software and soundcards, serial port support, the interface couldn't care less which operating system you prefer.)
9. This interface is equipment independent and will work with allmost all radios.
10. This interface will give you hours of pleasure in working digital modes successfully.
The ZS1I SOUNDCARD INTERFACE II has been tested successfully with the following software:
DIGIPAN, HAMSCOPE, HELLESCHREIBER, ECHOLINK, UIVIEW, WINPACK, AGW, MMSSTV, MMTTY, MIXW, STREAM, WINPSK, WIN WARBLE, WSJT, WIN APRSM, CWGET, AGW TRACKER, DTMF, ECHOSTATION, HAMDREAM, HAMSCOPE, MT63, SPECTRAN, HAMRADIO DELUX, MULTIPSK, W95SSTV AND MANY MORE.
COMMENTS ABOUT THE ZS1I SOUNDCARD INTERFACE II:
Eddie ZS6BNE writes:
I must compliment you on your digital modes sound card interface!
I wired it up to my Icom 706 mkiig and initially could not get any signal from the rig to the PC. Connecting a COM port cable powered the unit and it works great! (No separate power supply nescessary) Clean signal to the PC's sound card and a clean signal from the PC to the rig and thus a clean transmitted signal.
Nico ZS4N and Stephan ZS3S:
Successfully connected the ZS1I SOUNDCARD INTERFACE to Stephan's Kenwood TS2000 during the past week. Several Digital Modes and stations were worked without any problems and from reports received we had a "blast" on the HF bands working digital modes.
Johan is using a Yaesu FT1000MP with the ZS1I SOUNDCARD INTERFACE and is currently working PSK31 DX around the Globe. The Souncard Interface needed a small modification as Johan wanted to use theDVS-2 connector of the Yaesu FT1000MP instead of the microphone connector.
Download a copy of the ZSI1 SCD II INTERFACE SETUP AND TEST MANUAL. (PDF Format) (Size 592.326 kb)
I have received several emails from radio amateurs relating to connections for soundcard interfaces and other devices. I appreciate the fact that many radio amateurs buy the ZS1I SOUNDCARD INTERFACE from me. I include an instruction manual with every soundcard sold and also label all the cable leads for your convenience. However it is practical not possible to answer all the questions relating to different makes and models of radios. In order to assist radio amateurs I must firstly advise you to read your operating manual for your specific radio. Most of these manuals have full information and diagrams illustrating the different connections points.
In the event that you need more information have a look at the following web page:
I also received several emails relating to the Data Socket of Yaesu and Icom radios. Many of these data sockets are numbered the same and is therefor standardized in many cases although:
DO NOT TAKE THIS FOR GRANTED
I have however decided to make the Yaesu data plug information available.
Pin 1: Data In = Audio to Radio (Microphone) = Tx Audio
Pin 2: Ground = Data In + Data Out + Rx Audio Output + AF Out
Pin 3: PTT = Push to Talk
Pin 4: Data Out = 9600 bps Rx Audio Output
Pin 5: AF Out = Audio from Radio = Ext. Spkr Radio = 1200 bps Rx Audio Output
Pin 6: Squelch Control Output
YAESU has included a special connection to and from the radio via the DATA connector which is a 6 pin MiniDin which supplies the RX output, the TX input and although not needed the PTT signal(s) for all modes of AFSK operation. YAESU placed the RX output of the radio to the sound card on pin 5 and made it a constant level signal that is not changed or affected by the volume control. You can copy PSK or RTTY, SSTV, MFSK and other signals with the volume set to Zero. The Input to the radio from the sound card is on pin 1 and is the signal that will modulate the transmitter similar to the Mic input.
Now the only thing left to do is to set the level of the TX modulation which is done in Menu step 37 called DIG GAIN. The DIG GAIN default value is 50 which is way to high for PSK operation. Remember you can QSO the world with 10 to 20 Watts of transmit power so set the value to around 5 and check the power out. Adjust it until you have about 20 watts. This was very good planning on the part of YAESU as the DIG GAIN has no affect on the setting of the MIC Gain so you don't have to do any readjustments to go from one mode to the other.
There is only one more thing to do to get to the first QSO. You must go to the Sound Card control panel and see that everything is set up and working. Because no two computers and sound cards are the same I can't tell you what to do here but you received a little booklet about the sound card when you bought it which will tell you how to get signals in and out of the thing.
THIS INFORMATION IS PROVIDED AS IS AND I WILL NOT TAKE ANY RESPONSIBILITY IF ANYBODY MAKES THE WRONG CONNECTIONS AND DAMAGE ANY OF THEIR EQUIPMENT!!
Please note that I am NOT a Radio Dealer nor do my activities constitute a Business. The selling of this product constitute an activity conducted primarily for private pleasure, recreation, research and development. I am not interested in making a profit and any sales are of secondary importance. Purchasing of this product enable me to further my Research and Development studies, benefiting Amateur Radio and enabling me to produce more homebrew projects for Radio Amateurs and Electronic Enthusiasts. Your contribution towards Research and Development in Amateur Radio is highly appreciated!!
The ZS1I SOUNDCARD INTERFACE is supplied as shown in the above photographs. It includes all the necessary cables except for the serial cable from your computer to the soundcard interface and the connector (Data and Mic) for your specific radio. Currently only available to South African Radio Amateurs.
Email: Click HERE