What can I do with this?

Hi, all. I’m a relatively new ham, and I’m trying to figure out what I can do with a Digirig. I’m also trying to figure out if it can work with my radios (pretty sure it can), and what I can do with a Digirig with my radios.

On the transceiver compatibility page, I see that it works with my 3 radios – an IC-706MKIIG, an FT-7800R, and a VX-6R. Now I’m trying to figure out what I can do with a Digirig with these radios.

My only exposure to digital modes has been setting up Winlink over the weekend – took me 5-6 hours to get it working with the IC-706MKIIG, and a borrowed Signalink. Turns out ARDOP didn’t work at all, and VARA HF works.

Other than Winlink, I don’t know anything about digital modes, so I don’t know what I can do with this thing.

Why would I want one?

And, no, I’m not a troll. I’m just a new ham who is trying to understand and to learn. :slight_smile:

One specific question: On the “Understanding Rig Control Options” page, it looks like one has to open up the Digirig and make rig-specific modifications. Am I understanding this correctly? Would I need a separate Digirig unit each of my radios, because of these rig-specific modifications?

I should add that I am a Mac user, if that matters for the Digirig. Other than MacLoggerDX, it seems that Mac & ham radio don’t seem to mesh too well together.

Thanks so much.


Congratulations on getting Vara HF working!

In my case, with an HT, mobile UHF/VHF, and QRP HF rig, one unmodified Digirig 1.9 fits all. It varies radio by radio, and you just have to see.

73 Constrainted

That’s a great question!

Since you have Vara HF working, your next step might be chatting over VaraC.

Do you belong to a club or a service organization like ARES , AUXCOMM, SATERN, or American Red Cross? Have you joined any regional NBEMS or packet organizations on groups.io? These are ways to connect with amateur operators who use digital modes.

Some of the popular digital modes like FT8, psk31, SSTV have customary frequencies on HF bands.

Until you connect with other operators, you can decode digital modes on broadcasts like: Shortwave Radiogram, W1AW, This is a Music Show.

The software you may find useful includes fldigi, soundmodem, multipsk, VaraC and mmsstv.

73 Constrainted

I do belong to my local ham club. No ARES, AUXCOMM, or anything else like that. Never heard of NBEMS. Don’t know anything about packet organizations on groups.io.

Thanks for your replies.

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Thanks for replying. Here are some explanations.

NBEMS (Narrow Beam Emergency Messaging System) is a suite of General Public License programs distributed by W1HKJ & Associates. It consists of fldigi, flarq, flamp, flmsg, flrig, flwrap (see http://www.w1hkj.com). The mailing list is nbems@groups.io

Using Digirig with a computer and an RF transceiver allows the operator to use acoustic digital modes to send and receive data files and short messages. Digital modes can succeed despite poor propagation conditions where voice communication might not be possible.

Winlink is a one-to-one communication system, and NBEMS is a one-to-many communication system.

Many radio amateurs and groups cooperate to make these systems ready for emergency communications. That is a start to what you can do with a computer, a Digirig and a transceiver.

73 Constrainted

Thanks for all that useful into - I appreciate it!

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I’d suggest giving FT8 a try with your HF rig. This is one of the most popular digital modes with lots of traffic on all bands. The software for it is WSJT-X which is available for mac.

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