Hardware and cables needed for Anytone 878 UVII Plus with Digirig for Winlink on Windows

Please tell me exactly which digirig and cables I need to connect my Anytone 878 UVII Plus. I’m looking to do Winlink and have that working fine on my Windows computer if I connect directly to the Internet. I want to add the digirig TNC to do this over the radio.

I know there is a temptation to show many options and links to DIY instructions. I’d just like to buy this stuff because I need it to work for emergency work. If you have bought it and it works, please tell me what is needed. I’m computer savvy, but I just want simple links I can put in the shopping cart and buy them. Thanks

The Digirig is not a TNC, so if you are looking for a TNC, you will need either a software or hardware one.

As far as cables, the 878’s use the same cables with connector for Baofengs, as it is the same normal Kenwood K1 style HT plug.

Here is the link to the cable set that works:

One cable is for comms the other can be used for programming the HT.

That being said, you just don’t buy them and suddenly you are set for EmComms. It has a slight learning curve that is best climbed before you need to use it all.

73
NB8M

Hope that helps

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PS

I do WINLINK on my Anytone with just the cables, DIGIRIG and my PC, or using an android (without Digirig) running the WoAd app. No TNC needed. It’s all VOX keying though.

If you want to run pure packet (not WINLINK) there are software TNC’s (Direwolf comes to mind for PC) that work great, alhough configuration takes a bit of understanding. And APRSDroid works without a TNC using an Android device.

73
NB8M

Bill, do you use radio’s VOX for PTT while using direct audio cable?

Thank you for the answer. From what I understand, you are using your Anytone 878UVII Plus and connecting that directly to your computer for Winlink? Since I can’t find any documentation on making that work, I’d love a bit more guidance.

Are you using the programming cable that comes with the radio? I’m able to use that to program the radio and understand that well.

What software are you using on your computer? I assume you need to run more than just the Winlink software. I have Winlink running on my computer, but just through telnet. I’d like to have it connect through the radio so I can use it when the Internet is down. If you have photos or links to sites that explain this I’d appreciate it.

I’ve asked this question all over the place and I’m being told that the 878 will do APRS (I have that working), but it won’t allow me to connect and do Winlink. Since Winlink is what my local emergency group uses, I have to use that.

I don’t mind spending money. Easy and expensive is better than cheap and hard. I’m computer savvy, but new to amateur radio. Thanks again for your help.

Hi dr OM,

I would like to use the AT878 with Aprsdroid and Android. How does Ptt work with this setting? I am receiving, but found no solution for Ptt
Vox does not work with cable connections in the anytone.

73 Werner OE9FWV

Hi Denis,
Yes it is setup for VOX (not ideal) but with the new DIGIRIG Lite that they are coming out with, you can use it instead of the normal Digirig and it has PTT capability as I understand it by selecting RA board as the keying standard.

Here is a video by Josh, K6NAZ showing that:

Hi Werner,

Are you using the programming cables? I use the APRS K1 cable thats available online for Baofengs, and other HT’s that have the K1 plug design. I dont think the programming cables are wired appropriately for for that use. There are some line/pin diagrams online that would show the difference.

Hi Travis,

I’m using the DIGIRIG audio cable (not the programming one) along with Digirig and the winlink program. I also have VARA FM. VARA is definitely something you will want to get a paid version off. One license allows you to use VARA FM, HF and SAT(ellite) and VARAchat at the high data rates.

You WILL need the audio cable to use with DIGIRIG but you get the programming cable as well in the set, and can use it with the Digirig module for that purpose as well.

Anytone’s APRS implementation is basic at best. In analogue, I believe it only beacons and doesn’t receive/decode. The digital APRS side has some more functionality, although I haven’t gotten too far down that road so I am probably not the person the answer questions about that.

Is your local system using Winlink packet or VARA OR one of the other modes? I would definitely look into getting VARA as it has the highest data rates and can be used on HF for long distance EMCOMMS. I primarily use HF and my nearest Winlink Gateway is at least 60 miles from my base, but I have gotten out as far as 300 miles to one and that opens up a whole lot more options, especially in grid down situations

73

Let’s keep this thread on track until you solve your issues.

That’s a good question. I am currently using Winlink a few times per week for P2P and RMS sessions. To get Winlink Express to work on Windows 11 with an HT, you need:

  1. Computer and Windows OS
  2. Winlink Express, latest version
  3. software modem:
    UH7ZO soundmodem for packet Winlink (latest version)
    EA5HVK Vara FM for Vara FM Winlink and Vara FM P2P Winlink (latest version)
    EA5HVK Vara HF for Vara HF Winlink and Vara HF P2P Winlink (latest version)
  4. soundcard connected with a cable between the radio and the computer:
    Digirig (or other)
  5. radio which can accept external connection for sound and possibly PTT:
    your radio can do this
  6. decide to use VOX or PTT to put the radio in and out of transmit:
    use Digirig for hardware PTT over a cable controlled by software
  7. another station running Winlink RMS or Winlink Express for P2P.

How does that sound? You will probably have more questions, so let us know what you find out.

73 Constrainted

Hope this will video will help some operators. https://youtu.be/qxoqNJoGbJw
SETUP Winlink Anytone 878 or 868 VARA FM & DIGIRIG HAM RADIO EMAIL Grid down Windows 10/11 KH6ML

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Thanks for all the responses. I’m still experiencing a lot of trouble here so I’d appreciate your help. I’ve put in at least 8 hours and watched a ton of videos hoping to figure it out. Here are the details.

The issue I’m experiencing appears to be tied to the radio not transmitting. When Vara FM shows that it is transmitting, the radio transmit light does not go red. I’ve listened to the Digirig with a pair of headphones and I can hear the Test tone, but the PTT never triggers on the radio. I’ve also changed the computer’s output to the speakers on the computer and I can hear the tones clearly. So, I believe this issue is that I can’t get it to PTT. When it does transmit, the Digirig shuts down and windows disconnects it from the machine. Seems like the digirig is crashing.

I have uploaded a video below so maybe someone can help me figure this out. I went to my my monthly emergency comms meeting and had the entire team huddled around me for an hour. They use it everyday and know the ins and outs of the local stations. Plus, we were in the fire station where the Vara station is located.

Here is a video walking through the issue. I’d love if someone has the patience to watch it and figure out what I’m doing wrong.

Travis - 650-740-6055
KK7RKG

Unfortunately, I can not view the video.

When using Vara FM, it is important to update to the latest version, v4.3.7, at this time 4/14/24.

Denis @K0TX has made a video specifically for troubleshooting PTT in a step-by-step way:

If PTT works, but shuts off after putting the radio into transmit, radio frequency interference (RFI) can be the problem. This can be solved by:

  1. RF chokes on the USB cable
  2. using a remote antenna, like a magnetic mount or j-pole, rather than the HT antenna

You are working hard and I think you are getting close to success.

73 Constrainted

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There is also a general troubleshooting guide which gives a step-by-step approach to isolate and solve each issue as it comes up:

Troubleshooting Digital Modes – digirig

73 Constrainted

This very much sounds like RFI kicks out USB communication. Try with minimum power and dummy load if available to see if the problem goes away. Using a short shielded/chocked cable will likely help with the RFI: Short USB-A to USB-C cable – digirig

After a lot of changing of everything, I got the PTT to transmit. I was finally able to send an email.

The Digirig still seems to pause/crash every once in a while. Unplugging it and plugging it back in does restart it. It does seem to work more regularly from my MacBook Pro running a Win 11 image, which is what I prefer. Thanks to everyone that offered help.

As a side note, I’m new to amateur radio and I am surprised that the interfaces to all these different platforms are not more refined, automated and documented. I’m used to troubleshooting, digging through documentation and hacking. But I am seeing so many things where a simple software interface that makes sense would make it all so much easier. Hopefully we will get to fully software defined radios soon and make this all much more interoperable. 73.

I don’t usually take bait like this, but here goes.

I don’t think you have presented any evidence that the Digirig is crashing. You have described symptoms of RFI, which disturbs USB and pcb communication.

On one hand, you have not presented a single configuration screen nor a single result showing which steps you performed in trying to get Winlink to work which might help other users in your situation. On the other hand, I share your concerns.

The Digirig is a breakthrough for simplification of acoustic digital modes for amateur radio. Many users here are attracted to the Digirig’s lack of knobs, wall warts, minimal external connections. Denis @K0TX is introducing even simpler hardware for acoustic digital modes.

Vara FM is an interesting piece of software which helps the user to assess, adjust and qualify a communication channel, all in software. Winlink does calculations to show propagation conditions and distance from RMS nodes. So the software is actually amazing, and getting better all the time. But it is not quite simple yet.

73 Constrainted