Configuring Your SignaLink
It's important that you first understand what the SignaLink is used for and how it works. You should read all the documentation that came with your SignaLink before making any connections to your radio or computer.
The SignaLink USB is an audio device only. It is an external soundcard which is used to provide audio between the computer and radio for the AFSK digital modes. It does not provide any rig control functionality except for keying the transmitter via it's internal VOX.
The SignaLink does not require any drivers to be installed in order to use it with Ham Radio Deluxe. It's just a matter of connecting the SignaLink to the computer via it's USB cable and connecting the proper cable/s to the radio, however, prior to connecting the SignaLink to the computer, there is some configuration you must do in the SignaLink itself.
The SignaLink has an internal VOX that is used to key your transmitter. In order for the SignaLink to key your transmitter, jumpers or a pre-configured module must be installed in the Signalink's J1 dip socket.
Small wire jumpers came with the SignaLink for this purpose, or, you can purchase a pre-configured module for your particular radio that
plugs into the JP1 dip socket, from Tigertronics.
If using the jumpers, care must be taken to ensure they are connected correctly or the SignaLink will not provide audio or key your transmitter when you attempt to receive or send a digital signal. If the manual that came with your SignaLink does not cover the configuration for your particular radio, DX Engineering provides a PDF file that has the pin configuration for just about every radio supported by SignaLink. This PDF can be downloaded from the link below.
USB Audio CODEC
When connecting the SignaLink to your computer, it does not require any drivers and it does not display as a virtual com port as most USB device interfaces do. It displays only as a USB Audio Codec in the "Sound, Video, and Game Controller" hive of your device manager, as shown below.
Configuring DM-780 Soundcard
Since the SignaLink shows up in your Device Manager only as a USB Audio CODEC, in DM-780, Program Options, the "Soundcard" options must be set to "Microphone - USB Audio CODEC" as the Receive (input) option and "Speakers - USB Audio CODEC" for the Transmit (output) option.
An advantage of the SignaLink USB is the fact it can be used with just about any radio, even though the radio does not have the capabilities of being controlled via the HRD software. The SignaLink has a built in VOX, which is used to key the transmitter when an audio tone is transmitted. Because of this built in VOX, you must set the PTT option, in DM-780 to "None" (via soundcard PTT or Radio VOX).
Windows Soundcard Settings
Since all the soundcard devices connected to the computer are controlled via the Windows Sound Options, this next setting is very important. when using the SignaLink as the audio device for your HRD Software and radio. In fact, this should be a rule of thumb when using any external audio device that is connected to your radio.
In the DM-780 Soundcard option, we selected the "Transmit (output device)" to "Speakers - (USB Audio CODEC" as the default device used by DM-780 to transmit the digital audio over the air. In the Windows Sound Options, the device selected as default is the device used for audio generated through the Windows programs. If we set the "Speakers - USB Audio CODEC" as the default sound device in the Windows Sound Options, every time the computer makes a sound, for example if you decide to watch a YouTube Video on your computer, the audio from that video would be sent to the external soundcard device, and in this case with the SignaLink, since it uses a VOX to key the transmitter, any sound going to the SignaLink could possibly be accidentally transmitted over the air. Therefore, it's important that you never select the "Speakers - USB Audio CODEC) or other external sound device that's connected to your radio as the default option in the Windows Sound Options settings. Always select the internal soundcard in the computer as the "default" device in the Windows Sound Options.
Never set the "Speakers - USB Audio CODEC", or other external sound device connected to your radio, as the "default" device in the Windows Sound Options. By selecting the audio device that's connected directly to the radio or the radio's soundcard as the default option could result in accidentally transmitting unwanted audio over the air.
SignaLink RX and TX Volume
Your SignaLink instructions indicate that in the Windows Sound Options, you should set the "Levels" for your "Speakers - USB Audio CODEC" and "Microphone - USB Audio CODEC" to 100%. The reason for this is the TX and RX knobs on the front of the SignaLink are used to adjust the TX and RX volume
To set the Receive volume on the SignaLink, just under your Waterfall on the right side of the screen, you will see an "Audio" meter as shown in the image below. Adjust the RX knob on your SignaLink until the receive audio indicates about 75% on the scale. This should give you the best decoding of your signals, especially the weaker signals.
For the Transmit level, you want to keep in mind that you do not want the ALC (Automatic
Level Control) which is built into the radio to kick in when transmitting in the digital modes.
To avoid the ALC affecting your output signal, you should set the RF Output of the radio to 100 watts, then, adjust the audio drive with the TX knob on the SignaLink until the output on your watt meter reads around 25 to 35 watts when transmitting. Setting your output in this way prevents the ALC from kicking in.
If you are unable to get enough adjustment from the RX and TX knobs on your SignaLink, your SignaLink manual will show you two jumpers, located inside the SignaLink, just behind the knobs on the board. These jumpers can be set to give you more or less RX and TX gain if needed. Your SignaLink Manual will show you how to adjust these jumpers.
Once all the SignaLink configuration has been done, you should be ready to enjoy the Digital modes with your radio and the HRD software.
Sending CW With A SignaLink
Before configuring your SignaLink to use the CW modes, you first need to ensure it is configured properly to send and receive PSK, since this is the most common of the digital modes and is usually the easiest to get setup.
The SignaLink does not have any connectivity to your radio to send true CW, as if you have a key connected to the radio's CW Key jack. Keying of CW with the SignaLink is done using the PTT line in much the same manner as it would if you were using a straight key connected to the CW Key jack.
For CW using the SignaLink, you must leave the radio set to Upper Side Band, Data-U, or whatever mode you are using for PSK and RTTY AFSK. You do not have to set the radio itself into the CW mode since we won't be keying the radio through the CW key jack.
To configure the PTT for CW, Open the Program Options. Select "Modes + IDs" from the menu on the left. Select the CW tab (#1) and place a check in the box marked "use PTT" (#2). After
you have made this selection, close the Program Options window.
When you select the CW mode option in DM-780 you will see there are 4 options. You need to select the CW (SSB) mode.
You're now all set to work CW, just as you would do with PSK, using your SignaLink.