PART1: Mod for Signalink USB so it can be used with 2 radios

Rear view before the mod's
Soldered jumpers
In an order to simplify my digi setup with the Elecraft KX3 I wanted to take advantage of my Singnalink USB unit. I currently use it along side of my Elecraft k3 for digi mode operations and I have thus become accustom to how it works. So it only made sense to also use it with the KX3 setup. One major issue I had to see if I could overcome was modifying the Singalink USB device to work with 2 radios? The issue was that the Signalink USB has to be internally wired (by the user)to work with a specific rig and I wanted it to work with 2 rigs! Before even going forward with this adventure I had to open up the Signalink unit and do some long overdue maintenance. The Signalink was purchased used and for some reason the previous owner soldered the jumper wires that configure the unit to work with a specific rig. These jumpers are designed to be plug and play, this way you can reconfigure the unit to other radios if you change your rig over time. The 16 pin IC DIP socket was melted and of no use for what I had planned for it. I set the socket up for my Elecraft k3 and these wires I had to solder in as the socket would not allow the “plug and play” feature due to the previous owner. These wires had to be cut out and then the fun job of removing the 16 pin socket! I have built many kits in the past including 2 Elecraft k2’s. As all kit builders can attest to no matter how careful you are mistakes happen. When the mistake happens of soldering a part in the wrong place……the removal of said part can either go well or very bad! I have had it go both ways and as a kit builder one investment that has saved me many a time is the Hakko 808 de-soldering pump. I used it to remove this 16 pin socket and when finished it looked like nothing had ever been installed on the board. I have tried spring loaded de-soldering pumps and the solder wicks but the Hakko solder pump make all jobs painless. Now with the new 16 pin socket soldered in it’s time to look into making the Signalink work with 2 radio…………coming up in my next post “ how I made this happen and it’s working very well”
After the Hakko 808 is done

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

4 Responses to “PART1: Mod for Signalink USB so it can be used with 2 radios”

  • Charles, AD7UF:

    Looking forward to the next post, Mike.

    Another approach that can work in some cases, not requiring modification of the SignaLink, is an adapter cable. I made one a few years ago; here’s a picture of it:
    http://www.mmsherc.net/happenings/homebrewphonepatch/SinaLink_Multi-radio_Adapter.jpg
    It has a modular plug attached to a jack at the other end of a 6″ wire; I switched a couple of wires in the jack housing. I can use it with any radio using the standard 6-pin min-DIN port by using the adapter; pull the adapter out and it works w/ my IC-736.

  • Ernest AA1IK:

    A most excellent post, Mike! TU

    Lately, I’ve been mixing and matching which applications I could use with which radios. My old but very useful ic 703 works well with the Signal link. I’ve been trying to figure out how to use my favorite program, FL Digi work with the Kx3. Other programs work great for CW, Win4kx3 for example and so does the basic Elecraft Utility program.

    The IC 703 works well with my MKII for CW and PSK with FlDigi, but I can’t get the Kx3 to work with it. I think there is a way to run Fldigi and Win4kx3 simultaneously but have not looked into is. There is no waterfall with Win4Kx3, so that makes tuning a signal difficult.

    Using the Signal Link would solve the PSK problem. As a stand alone, the Signal Link would be great to use with FL Digi, for PSK. I can’t thank you enough for this information.

    Good job,

    73 de AA1IK

    Ernest Gregoire

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good morning Charles, when looking into this idea I did think of doing it a similar way but I wanted to not have another “box” to deal with I was looking for an all in one solution. I was looking to have the Signalink USB as the only item that had to be moved from rig to rig. My K3 is setup in my roll top desk and the idea was it I wanted to bring my KX3 over the the living room and do some digi I could just plug and play with the Signalink alone. But having said that if that idea was not possible then for sure I was going to use a similar idea that your link shows.
    Charles have a great weekend and thanks very much for stopping by and sharing your project.
    73, Mike

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good morning Ernest it’s always nice to hear from you, there sure is a way to run FL-digi with Win4k3 and it only involves setting up a com port! Go into the rig settings of FL-digi and choose a comport that is not being used by your PC. I usually pic a high number. Then in Win4k3 go to settings and to the SW/HW tab……I believe the is the name. There you will see AUX/CAT 1-4 you choose the same comport you selected in FL-digi choose connect. Then shut both programs down……not sure if you have to do this but I always do. Then restart Win4k3 once its going start FL-digi and you should be in biz. See how that works if you have troubles email me as I am not in front of my rig at the moment and I am doing this from memory.
    Have a good weekend Ernest
    73, Mike

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