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HF Digital Mode Interfaces

PostPosted: 22 Mar 2016, 11:23
If you are considering operating on the Alabama ARES Digital Mode nets, if you already have a computer, either laptop or desktop, and an HF SSB transceiver, it doesn't take very much more equipment to be up and running on the nets.

There are several high-end radio interfaces that can be purchased (RigBlaster, Signalink, etc.), but none of them are really necessary. The main difference between these multi-hundred dollar interfaces and those that cost $20 on Ebay are that the former allow you to use your computer as a replacement front panel for your radio. If you simply want to send and receive messages, the $20 Ebay devices are just fine (search for 'EASY DIGI'). I make no warranty for that vendors offer, but I've bought two and they seem to work fine. Would I have designed them a bit differently? Yes, I would have, but they seem to work fine as supplied.

99% of the Alabama ARES digital activity occurs on just two frequencies, one each on 40 and 80 meters. If you just dial them in on your transceiver, or save them in transceiver memories if available, you do all that is needed to operate on the nets.

So, save your time and money, or your local EMA's, and go with an interface that is simple to install and use. Unless you really want all the bells and whistles provided by the expensive interfaces, they are not at all needed.