Keep trying and you will finally get it!

My first PSK31 contact
For some time now I have been trying to get my feet wet with the digital modes and have had no luck. This morning I gave it another go with the setup, in the past I have tried Fldigi, Digipan, Digital Master 780 and WinPSK and the list goes on. These are all great programs as many use them and have great success but as for me I just was not able to make them tick with my set up. I became frustrated and it was do to me just not figuring out the setup. As I said this morning I tried it again but from another angle, there are two programs I use to control my rig from my PC the first being N4PY's program and the other program is DXlab. The DXlab program has many modules  from rig control, logbook, propagation, DX cluster and a digital program that's called Winwarbler! DXlab already controls my
Screen shot 
radio and does a fine job of it so I added the Winwarbler module and with a few configuration tweaks I had radio control and was able to read signals from the waterfall. It was now time for the moment of truth to see if I am transmitting a PSK signal. On 20m I pressed the "call CQ" macro button and low and behold my power meter showed 5 watts making it's way to the antenna!!! Next was to find someone calling CQ and make my first contact with PSK31. I saw W1AW/5 calling CQ and I gave him a call and W1AW/5 came back to me with a 599 report. I now can say that I am PSK active but there was not much time left to make any other contacts as things around the house had to be done. I was thrilled to get things up and running and the waterfall was very busy. One of the drawbacks to Winwabler is it's limited to PSK and RTTY but for now I'm ok with that.
The K3 all ready to go
This is the setup that I am running….
Rig is the Elecraft K3 in DATA A mode set at 5 watts
The sound card interface is the Signalink USB
Software is DXlab's  Winwabler
Antenna is the MFJ 1788
Some of the items on the "to do list" are
1. Set the macro's up as they are generic ones right now.
2. Learn more about the Winwabler  program.

Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

11 Responses to “Keep trying and you will finally get it!”

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    I am really surprised you had so much trouble. I have run FlDigi and HRD/DM780 from the first month I had the radio with XP, Win7 and now Win8. My rig control is now Win4K3Suite. Really cool and beyond N4PY in many ways, plus a built in panadaptor for the KX3. It is my main control for my K-Line also. In all cases I just run stereo cables and have not bothered with the Signalink. Here is a link for a simple setup procedure. http://k4mtx.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/kx3-fldigi-setup/

    Not sure what logging program you are using, but I have discovered Log4OM and it is fantastic. Inside Win4K3Suite you can link to any logging program. Hope this info helps. Running digial qrp is a blast.

    73 Harry K7ZOV

  • GB KC5GB:

    Welcome to DXLab’s WW, Mike…
    I’ve used DXLab for everything over 6 yrs.
    No pretty GUIs, but lots of function. And the best support, I don’t think Dave ever sleeps.
    73,
    GB

  • Mike Ve3WDM:

    Good evening Harry, I’m not sure what the trouble was and I really have not had that type of trouble in the past but for some reason the digi gods were not smiling down on me. I have looked at the Win4K3suite and got the idea that you had to have a really fast PC for it to work properly. I just have an average PC and was not sure if it was up to the requirements of the program. I do have the K3 and KX3 and maybe I will look into this program again. Also thanks very much for the link to FLdigi setup.
    Mike

  • Mike Ve3WDM:

    GB I have tried other programs and seem to come back to DXlab and as you said it always seems there is updates for the suite.
    Mike

  • john mann kk4itn:

    Kinda like expensive fancy e mail. hi hi.

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    Mike

    Being a ham since 1963 and in the field of electronics for 35+ yrs I have had many chances of running into hair pulling situations in electronics. What worked for one person did not work for me. Or what worked one day/week/month stopped working. ARRRGGGHHH…

    I am glad you got up and running. Also that the info on FlDigi will be helpful
    you might like to download the manual. You will find that FlDigi does a whole lot more then meets the eye. P printed the whole 144 pages a year ago and was amaazed at how many features are in it that never are used or mentioned by anyone.

    As far as Win4k3suite goes. You can download it and use all the features for free for 30 days. The way you can see if your PC will handle it. I would be surprised if it did not. And see if you like the features. I have sued it for so long that using the buttons and menus on the K3 and KX3 almost requires opening up the manual and relearning. The GUI interface seems to have everthing right there for the K3, KPA/KAT500 and for the KX3, KXPA/KXAT100. Give it a try and if you like it do a blog on it.

    73 and have a great week-end
    Harry K7ZOV

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good evening John, nothing wrong with fancy…..now and then we all have to treat ourselves..:))
    John thanks for stopping by and have a good weekend.
    Mike

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good evening Harry, I plan on having a relaxing weekend and I will take a look at the manual and see what it’s all about. As for Win4k3suite I was looking at the website and I am going to email Tom with the video card spec’s and see what he thinks. Thanks again for taking the time to comment back to me and for sure if I do give it a go there will be a blog post about it!
    Mike

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    Have a great week-end. Tom is a great guy and easy to work with. I think he will be a great asset. Reading through the FlDigi manual will take time. It has been a year since I downloaded it, and it was 144 pages. I think later this evening I will see if it is up to 150 pages..hi I am always glad to share my experiences, good and bad. Just saw Wayne has updated the KX3 and PX3 firmware and looking for testers and feedback. So next stop the workshop and download time

    73 to you and yours

    Harry K7ZOV

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good morning Harry, have a great time with the Beta software and thanks for doing the testing and bug finding so the regular release can come out more or less bug free. Something Apple may want to try….Hi Hi…..I did contact Tom and he checked out my setup and advised me to change my Win7 to 64 bit and upgrade to 8GB of ram from 4 lastly I need a vga capture board. So it’s up to me now if I want to do the upgrades or not.
    Mike

  • Harry Latterman:

    Good morning Mike

    Fun stuff debugging new software. I had a funny last night and forgot I can do a screen capture with the PX3. Maybe it will happen again and I will snap it’s picture. What are your running with how much ram? As far as the VGA capture board goes, that is a added expense that is not needed as far as I am concerned. If you don’t have a SVGA board in your P3 and what big screen OK. If you have the SVGA you are not buying yourself anything worthwhile. The small screen in the P3 and PX3 works just fine. But I would like to know what is under the hood of your PC if you don’t mind sharing.

    Harry

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