Interface Between Radio and Computer

Last Updated on

10-15-18
Net Control Station
Michael – KA7PLE

  • Commercial

      • Easy to configure no drivers for Linux needed (depending on Distro)

      • Level controls on interface

      • Isolation between radio and computer

      • USB interface, or mic/speaker interface

      • May need external power to use the interface

      • Many different manufactures

        • MFJ

        • Westmountain Radio

        • Signalink

        • Many others available.

  • Homebrew

      • Simple to complex

        • You may need to construct a simple switching circuit.

        • Can have level adjustments

        • You can build isolation into to the circuit

      • Schematics for your radio may available on line

      • You will need pinout of radio connection

        • Can use mic/speaker or CAT or CV depending on radio.

      • Some radios require a USB to Serial cable. (FTDI Chip recommended)

      • Match audio levels, not impedance

        • Most modern equipment can handle the difference in impedance unlike the old day when you had to worry about Low impedance commercial hardware vs. high impedance consumer gear.

      • From speaker out to mic in use a 10 – 20 db pad

      • Keep mic level on radio the same, adjust PC to correct level

      • Level should be ½ of normal. If you over drive the input, distortion can cause data loss.

      • Disable any audio processing (compression, equalization, Etc.)

      • May need to use isolation transformer to resolve ground loops and RF interference.

  • Software:

      • Radio programming

        • May need to use Dos type program (dosbox) for older radios

        • Chirp can be a good choice

          • Chirp can corrupt radio memories requiring a factory reset

          • Chirp may not have all access to radio features available

          • Many different models available.

      • Radio programming may use mic connector or other accessory port on the radio

        • Your radio manual should have instructions

      • Radio manufacturer usually provide free software for download

        • This software may run under Windows only.

        • Wine may or may not work for radio programming software

      • Other commercial programming software availabe

        • Can be rather expensive.

        • The software package may not come with an interface cable.

        • Some manufactures won’t allow purchase of programming software unless you are a certified in repairing their radios. Usually commercial business band radios (GMRS, LMR, Marine, Etc.)

  • Lots of information about this topic available online.

      • Use your favorite search engine and search for you particular model of radio


This Site is Updated Often. Thank you for The Visit!
Copyright © 2018-2019 KC7NYR Amateur Radio Site