Which cable is it tired of buying different cables

Are you monitoring with another radio, perhaps an HT?

It is a good sign you can receive APRS through your radio. Have you considered setting up the Digirig with soundmodem for APRS, just to test a digital mode out?

In 18 months of using Vara FM, I have never gone over 25 mi.

You are probably already using it, but Winlink Express’s Vara FM session manager has a feature called Channel Selector:

This has helped me discover Winlink RMS stations that my ARES group did not know about. If you are in a club, you can get someone to do Vara FM P2P, person-to-person, with you.

73 Constrainted

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Yeah im familar with it. 59 miles is the closet one listed

the closest vara fm gateway for me is also 55+ miles away.

i can connect sporadically.
i’m using a 3 element yagi at 60ft with 7/8" hardline and that’s not enough for the few gateways in my area.
i have much better luck with vara hf

i also do a lot of aprs and run a digi-gate at my qth on a 40’ tower with an omni.

as far as setting the radio to 1200/9600, it depends.
if the radio changes what pin provides what audio, then yes.

i know you’re not using a 6 pin mini din, but the way that connector works is one pin has 1200 capable audio from the radio and a different pin carriers 9600 capable audio.
one pin has the input audio and CHANGES where that pin goes in the radio depending on 12/96 selection in the radio menu. (same pin on the din could go to mic or modulator depending on menu selection)

it appears, according to the pinout, the 10 pin works the same way.
selecting 1200 in the radio menu will send pin 1 to the mic input
selecting 9600 in the radio menu will send pin 1 to the modulator input

so if the cable you have in hand, uses the 1200 radio output audio pin, i would select 1200 in the radio menu. in operation, the radio/vara would work even with 9600 selected.
you could transmit vara data with a wide audio bandwidth but you would only receive audio on the ‘narrrow’ audio bandwidth pin of the radio and super fast vara audio would be ‘shaped/clipped’ and would not be decoded.

on my icom ic-821h, the acc port has an output and an input so 1 cable can be used for 12 or 96 without needing to put audio to different pins. just select in the menu and the audio is routed internally to the correct place.

good luck

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First thanks for the input I have the 10-pin cable direct from digi rig I selected 1200 baud since I see that the 9600 is for cat control which the Yaesu ftm 400 xdr doesn’t support. HF I have no issues with I’m on VARAAC even as I type this. I was hoping digital was more forgiving on the FM side

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In looking at the node map, you’re in a vara fm desert. To the west the closest node is in OH and to the east just north of Altoona.

I make connections out to 40 miles in some cases and I’m in a shallow valley. My typical connections are 18 miles in rolling hills, non-line of sight. Given your location in mountainous terrain, the line of sight rule is more applicable.

Replying to you last post, while the 400 doesn’t do CAT, the choice of 12/9600 does control which pin the audio goes to, as kb0wlf stated. If you intend to run VARA FM NARROW, you need to set the radio to 1200.

Regarding your initial post of reliability - they are some of the most reliable devices available. The issue you are having is not with the Digirig itself. It is with the various configuration settings between your PC and the radio.

I didn’t see anyone mention tips on setting levels. When you are “within range” of a target station… Tune to the frequency you are using on the radio and open VARA FM. Set your Windows audio device level until the VU needle is between 12 and 2. With your Windows sound panel open, go to the playback tab and set the speaker output to 5. Now go to VARA FM, Settings, Soundcard, (ensure your input/output devices are correct), and click Autotune. This will pop another window allowing you to enter a target callsign, then click the plug button. This action sends a series of signals at increasing levels. At the end of the transmission, it waits briefly, then displays one of two messages. The dreaded blue “no signal” or instructions to increase/decrease the level. If you received no signal, go back to the Windows playback slider and increase it to 15, then run autotune again. The previous callsign should remain and just click the plug. Repeat until the message changes from no signal to instructions. If you reach 100 on the playback slider, before wasting time, ensure you truly are within range of a target station.


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Thanks for the awesome reply. Was hoping all it was was distance

One other thing to add regarding “within range”… not all sites are equal. I have a local operator who has a range of about ONE mile. Contrast that with a site that can do 70+ miles from hill tops. Local topography plays a role, especially in an environment such as yours.

So if you’re heading east or west to test, you might reach out to those sysops and see what their typical coverage is, so that you ensure you’re “there.” Most will also standby and give you immediate feedback on the phone/radio to help guide you in level setting.

VARA FM is NOT forgiving on transmit audio levels.