Re: Using FLDIGI with Vertex VX-1700

David Ranch

Hello Daniel,

1. I'm not absolutely positive digital modes would be allowed because I do not have the actual text of the spectrum licenses, and public documentation is scarce on bands outside the amateur ranges. That being said, I found no obvious legislation precluding digital modes and the frequencies are exclusive, so, from a purely technical standpoint, there would be no interference with other stations. I will look into that as it is obviously important.

Ok.. please make sure everyone is doing the right thing here.

2. About the sound card setup: I researched signalink before, and I think it is awesome hardware, but the project is cost sensitive. The notebooks themselves are under $300 with shipping. I build a setup at home with simple external USB sound cards (about $10 each) and did a cross connection between two notebooks just to make sure I got a grasp of the concepts involved. The sound cards can be bought in a larger quantity so as to be easily replaced in case of failure. Spurious sounds like notifications are disabled since the notebooks are shipping with a plain Ubuntu 18.04 installation that I control. They will have only fldigi and the bare basics for operation in the field. Also, I will ship an SD card with the entire installed OS and a field manual so that if something goes wrong, the operator just plugs in the sd card and boots into a fresh OS install.

Ok.. if your comfortable with the cheap USB sound card approach, I'm sure it will work well.  Are you using Linux or Windows on those notebooks?   I ask because if you're using Linux with CM108 based soundcard and you're willing to open them up and solder on a wire, you can create a PTT signal right from the USB sound device.  From there, you'll need to assemble a simple transistor circuit to key up the radio.

3. About the pinouts, I read in the manual that VX 1700 supports the CT-62 cable, which connects to the mini-din 6 port labeled TUNE (I double checked that, since it sounds really odd), not to the GPS port that is on the CAT protocol documentation (the one that the other Dave - W1HKJ mentioned) . The pinout for that port ( reveals that it supports the serial protocol, and it does not seem that it is necessary to flip any switches in the radio.

You do NOT want to use the TUNE port.  You want to use the DATA port.  That DATA port will be used to:
   - send audio out the computer and into the radio
   - send audio out the radio and into the computer
   - send the PTT signal into the radio

b. Try to write an XML definition as Dave W1HKJ mentioned.

I would recommend to make rig control the last step as you probably won't need it if your user's can tune the VFO themselves via a simple document

c. Failing that, try to hook up the official programming software to VX1700 to narrow down the problem. If it just works, the issue is with FLDIGI configuration, if it doesn't I need to try another computer or buy new cables. My friend got in touch with a supplier yesterday and he should have the software available sometime next week.

I don't think you'll need to program the radio's memories either.

f. Failing that, it's either your solution with the transistor or vox. I'm not prepared to invest in the signalinks yet, as after taxes and shipping they would be almost $200 each.

There are LOTS of options out there but if you give us some more details on the computer side, we can point you to some other options such as:
   $48 - complete setup :

   - a USB sound card ($10) and

     $25 w/o isolation:

     $37 with isolation:

There are many many many other examples out the on the web that I bet you can find for cheaper.   If you're willing to buy the parts and assemble the cables yourself, you can make them very inexpensive.

Thank you for the time you put in your answer. Also, I have to ask: is it ok to have technical discussions like this in this list? If it is inappropriate I will continue them privately.

Sure.. it's about Fldigi!


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