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RXTX Ensemble questions

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  • caulktel
    Hi all, I ve just finished my second SR Lite II with great success and am ready to start building my RXTX Esemble, but have a few questions before I get
    Message 1 of 6 , Aug 9, 2014
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      Hi all,

      I've just finished my second SR Lite II with great success and am ready to start building my RXTX Esemble, but have a few questions before I get started. I have been trying to take in as much information as possible, and in doing so came across somewhere that Tony Parks was pre soldering the si570 on some boards because of some inconsistency with them. Mine does not have the si570 pre soldered, is there something I need to be aware of before soldering this part in? Another ? is, I've heard that I need two sound cards to transmit SSB, one on board my computer and another USB card, (using a Laptop here). If that is the case which sound card should I get? Lastly, I really want to use mine for SSB when I get it finished, how will I get the mic audio into the radio, do I need a special mic of some kind? When it comes time to test things out, what is going to be the best SDR program to use for simplicity. Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.

      Joel
      KB6QVI


    • Sid Boyce
      On the ends of the si570 there are 2 thin gold stripes, one either side of the thick stripes (Pins 7 and 8). Make sure you do not have a solder bridge between
      Message 2 of 6 , Aug 9, 2014
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        On the ends of the si570 there are 2 thin gold  stripes, one either side of the thick stripes (Pins 7 and 8).
        Make sure you do not have a solder bridge between those pins and the thin stripes.

        For TX you need 2 sound cards - rather regard the one handling I-Q as part of the radio and not really a sound card.
        I say this as I have spent hours on skype with a friend trying to get his RXTX working and eventually discovered he was getting confused with this 2 sound card thing and consequently cabling up incorrectly.

        Another problem which in the recent past seemed to cause debate when it never did even in the early days -
        It's as it says on the tin "RXTX Line In --> I-Q card Line In, RXTX Line Out to I-Q card Line Out"

        Basically you need one card for Mic/SPKR and one card as part of the RXTX, just that it lives in your PC or is outboard USB.

        Explicitly trust and follow what you read at http://www.wb5rvz.org/ensemble_rxtx/
        73 ... Sid.

         
        On 09/08/14 22:53, caulktel@... [softrock40] wrote:
         

        Hi all,

        I've just finished my second SR Lite II with great success and am ready to start building my RXTX Esemble, but have a few questions before I get started. I have been trying to take in as much information as possible, and in doing so came across somewhere that Tony Parks was pre soldering the si570 on some boards because of some inconsistency with them. Mine does not have the si570 pre soldered, is there something I need to be aware of before soldering this part in? Another ? is, I've heard that I need two sound cards to transmit SSB, one on board my computer and another USB card, (using a Laptop here). If that is the case which sound card should I get? Lastly, I really want to use mine for SSB when I get it finished, how will I get the mic audio into the radio, do I need a special mic of some kind? When it comes time to test things out, what is going to be the best SDR program to use for simplicity. Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.

        Joel
        KB6QVI




        -- 
        Sid Boyce ... Hamradio License G3VBV, Licensed Private Pilot
        Emeritus IBM/Amdahl Mainframes and Sun/Fujitsu Servers Tech Support
        Senior Staff Specialist, Cricket Coach
        Microsoft Windows Free Zone - Linux used for all Computing Tasks
        
      • caulktel
        Sid, Thanks for all the good advice. I see the thin strips on the si570 you are talking about, man that is close, but if I heat the pad instead of the 570 I
        Message 3 of 6 , Aug 9, 2014
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          Sid,

          Thanks for all the good advice. I see the thin strips on the si570 you are talking about, man that is close, but if I heat the pad instead of the 570 I will not have much chance of bridging them, I will be very careful. So on the sound card issue, I have a 48khz sample rate card that is internal to the laptop that works fine for the Softrocks that I've used in the past and I have a cheapo Chinese USB 48khz sample rate card that supports 7.1 sound. Between the two, do you think I have what I need, or should I be looking for another USB device that's better. Is 48khz going to display enough spectrum to properly use the RXTX? I'm really sorry for all the questions, but I want to fully understand this.

          Joel
          KB6QVI
        • Sid Boyce
          It s always good to ask and there is always capable help on this list. Go with 48K. Obviously the better the sound card the better the performance but the cost
          Message 4 of 6 , Aug 9, 2014
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            It's always good to ask and there is always capable help on this list.

            Go with 48K. Obviously the better the sound card the better the performance but the cost is higher.
            I have used a lowly old Terratec Aureon 5.1 USB at 48K for I-Q which was a bit noisy but usable.
            The now unavailable SDR-Widget at 192K was excellent. The E-mu 0404 USB which I had been using for guitar work was also fine at 192K under Linux which supports UAC2 (USB Audio Class 2). Only Linux and OSX support UAC2, Windows only supports UAC1.

            https://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/connecting-soundcard-sdr-to-computer has some excellent notes on laptops. Newer ones have a stereo Line IN, some of the older ones are mono only and paired with Mic.

            You will know if there is a sound card problem as you will see both sidebands at the same strength, sideband suppression depends on both I and Q, if one is missing, unwanted sideband suppression fails.
            73 ... Sid.

            On 10/08/14 00:33, caulktel@... [softrock40] wrote:
             

            Sid,

            Thanks for all the good advice. I see the thin strips on the si570 you are talking about, man that is close, but if I heat the pad instead of the 570 I will not have much chance of bridging them, I will be very careful. So on the sound card issue, I have a 48khz sample rate card that is internal to the laptop that works fine for the Softrocks that I've used in the past and I have a cheapo Chinese USB 48khz sample rate card that supports 7.1 sound. Between the two, do you think I have what I need, or should I be looking for another USB device that's better. Is 48khz going to display enough spectrum to properly use the RXTX? I'm really sorry for all the questions, but I want to fully understand this.

            Joel
            KB6QVI



            -- 
            Sid Boyce ... Hamradio License G3VBV, Licensed Private Pilot
            Emeritus IBM/Amdahl Mainframes and Sun/Fujitsu Servers Tech Support
            Senior Staff Specialist, Cricket Coach
            Microsoft Windows Free Zone - Linux used for all Computing Tasks
            
          • warrenallgyer
            Joel I completely concur with Sid s advice. I would like to offer a couple further suggestions regarding audio cards and SSB. The most critical criteria for an
            Message 5 of 6 , Aug 9, 2014
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              Joel

              I completely concur with Sid's advice. I would like to offer a couple further suggestions regarding audio cards and SSB.

              The most critical criteria for an audio card is stereo in and out. If it does this then almost any card will be fine, including USB headsets. The cheaper ones will have a higher noise level as Sid has noted. I have used a number of them however, including an unbranded one I bought at Fryes for $6 and they all have worked fine. The additional noise in the cheap models is still below the antenna noise on HF so it has no bearing on the performance of the radio.

              My experience has been that the simplest SSB setup for me has been HDSDR, a USB headset, and the internal card of my laptop. Line In and Line out are assigned to the laptop internal card as IO for the RXTX as Sid has recommended. Mic and Speakers are assigned to the USB headset. One hint on using HDSDR for transmit in any mode: Transmit settings are only available when you are actually in the transmit mode. So, to set levels, null the image, etc. you must first click on transmit. Obviously this should be done into a dummy load.

              Enjoy the build. Someone will always be here to help if you get stuck.

              Warren Allgyer
              9V1TD
            • Joel Caulkins
              Ok Sid, I think I m on my way, I ve just ordered two different USB sound cards that are known to work well with SDR radios and especially Softrocks. One is
              Message 6 of 6 , Aug 10, 2014
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                Ok Sid,

                I think I'm on my way, I've just ordered two different USB sound cards that are known to work well with SDR radios and especially Softrocks. One is 48khz sample rate and the other is 96khz. I thought I would use the 96khz dongle for the I-Q and use the on board audio on the laptop as the audio. I have a nice USB hand mic that I would like to use for transmit audio, although I have watched some YouTube videos of guys using the on board mic in their laptops with pretty decent audio on SSB. So, all I have to do now is build the RXTX which I will start tomorrow. Thanks for helping me to understand the whole audio thing.

                Joel KB6QVI

                On Aug 9, 2014, at 6:06 PM, "Sid Boyce sboyce@... [softrock40]" <softrock40@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                 

                It's always good to ask and there is always capable help on this list.

                Go with 48K. Obviously the better the sound card the better the performance but the cost is higher.
                I have used a lowly old Terratec Aureon 5.1 USB at 48K for I-Q which was a bit noisy but usable.
                The now unavailable SDR-Widget at 192K was excellent. The E-mu 0404 USB which I had been using for guitar work was also fine at 192K under Linux which supports UAC2 (USB Audio Class 2). Only Linux and OSX support UAC2, Windows only supports UAC1.

                https://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/connecting-soundcard-sdr-to-computer has some excellent notes on laptops. Newer ones have a stereo Line IN, some of the older ones are mono only and paired with Mic.

                You will know if there is a sound card problem as you will see both sidebands at the same strength, sideband suppression depends on both I and Q, if one is missing, unwanted sideband suppression fails.
                73 ... Sid.

                On 10/08/14 00:33, caulktel@... [softrock40] wrote:
                 

                Sid,

                Thanks for all the good advice. I see the thin strips on the si570 you are talking about, man that is close, but if I heat the pad instead of the 570 I will not have much chance of bridging them, I will be very careful. So on the sound card issue, I have a 48khz sample rate card that is internal to the laptop that works fine for the Softrocks that I've used in the past and I have a cheapo Chinese USB 48khz sample rate card that supports 7.1 sound. Between the two, do you think I have what I need, or should I be looking for another USB device that's better. Is 48khz going to display enough spectrum to properly use the RXTX? I'm really sorry for all the questions, but I want to fully understand this.

                Joel
                KB6QVI



                -- 
                Sid Boyce ... Hamradio License G3VBV, Licensed Private Pilot
                Emeritus IBM/Amdahl Mainframes and Sun/Fujitsu Servers Tech Support
                Senior Staff Specialist, Cricket Coach
                Microsoft Windows Free Zone - Linux used for all Computing Tasks
                

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