Digirig Lite for Winlink Vara FM + Icom 5100

Thought I’d share a little of my experience in getting the Lite to work on a 5100 using Winlink Vara FM and Windows 8 (although it should be the same on 10/11).

I bought the digirig ICOM cable and have it plugged into the mic connection as well as sp1 on the back. Other TRRS obviously to the sole digirig plugin which is connected to a usb port on my laptop PC.

Plugging in the Digirig for the first time it initializes and the computer recognizes it as a sound device but not a com port. I’m not very PC literate so i didn’t realize this at first and was following instructions for using the digirig mobile and tried installing the Silabs driver etc but it would never recognize it as a com port obviously. I’m sure I’m the only one that didn’t realize this but maybe it’ll save someone a few hours knowing that this is where it diverges from the digirig mobile in terms of setup.

It’s really quite a simple setup but specific to the ICOM 5100 it’s VERY sensitive to level settings in windows in order to get it to activate PTT. Initially I had the playback speaker slider set too high and it would work on a Baofeng 82hp but wouldn’t activate PTT on my 5100 for whatever reason. Lowering it to 80 did the trick and worked fine with that. Obviously you’ll have to tweak for your own setup to make it work.

My settings are roughly as follow:

Radio settings: Squelch - off, head unit volume control knob about 11 o’clock (to tweak later), Cable plugged into mic port as well as sp1. Switched to single channel instead of dual channel.

Windows settings:
1. Playback
1. levels: Sp - 80, Mic - 21 and not muted
2. Enhancements - disable all
3. Advanced - 16 bit, 48000 Hz (DVD quality)
1. Deselect “allow apps to take exclusive control of this device”
2. Recording
1. Listen - deselect “listen to this device”
1. Playback through this device - set to Digirig
2. Continue running on batt power
2. Custom - AGC NOT selected
3. levels: Mic - 30 and not muted
4. Advanced - 1 channel 16 bit 48000 DVD quality
7. Vara FM settings:
1. Vara setup:
1. FM system: Narrow
2. Retries: 6
3. Check allow VARA to check for updates
2. Sound card:
1. Input and output devices set to Digirig
2. PTT: RA-Board-1
3. Channel: L
4. Drive level: 0 db.
3. PTT:
1. Via: RA-Board

I’m sure all of this is obvious and elementary to most here but I don’t come from a PC background and struggled a little bit to get up to speed and get my setup working so thought I would share.

1 Like

Thanks for your detailed account! The observation that different radios will require different input audio level settings will help many users.

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