Sunday, January 15, 2012

PSK is up and running....for real this time!!

1st PSK QSO with K5ZG
I want to thank all those who posted comments and emailed me direct to help my PSK journey along the road to success. Today I sat down and read all the comments and considered the feedback which helped me  get a plan going so I could be on the air with PSK. So what was wrong....well the good old Elecraft K3 was for some reason not set up the way I thought it was. I went back into the manual to see what the recommended settings were. The K3 when in DATA A mode (which is the mode that is recommended for PSK) the Line out to the Tigertronics Signalink is not taken from the MIC but the rear LINE OUT on the K3. That was the first

problem it was not. I am sure I selected LINE OUT rear panel....but the menu does not lie!!! it was set to
fldigi and KI4BIY

something else. So that was changed and I gave some PSKing a go.... but still nothing!!! So it was back to the K3 settings again, this time I had to check to make sure DATA A was set to DATA A.  I thought it had to be as  the LED readout on the K3 reads "DATA A". I checked and DATA A was set to PSK D what ever that is  so I set DATA A to DATA A. It was then that things seemed to be looking up. I saw a station (K5ZG) calling CQ on the waterfall, I gave him a call and he came back to me!!! SUCCESS I made my first QSO on PSk but the QSO was not complete as QRM and the band conditions were changing and he faded away before the QSO was completed. I then closed down DM780 and opened up Fldigi to see how that worked. It was about 20 min's or so later I made contact
My PSK reports with 5 watts

with KI4BIY. The problem here was not the band conditions or the contact but I was using Fldigi and had NO macros setup. So it was live PSKing but I  was able to have a very nice QSO. This gave me the confidence the program was now working. There is one question I still have, when I transmit my output power can start off at 5 watts but as the transmission progress the output can climb as high as 12 watts before leveling out. I can readjust the output and get it to stay at a steady 5 watts but it takes some adjusting and readjusting of the Signalink TX. Any thoughts on it normal or are there more adjustments to be made??


  1. With the K3 in DATA A mode you need to ignore the conventional wisdom about adjusting the audio input level so there is no ALC. Set the meter so it shows the ALC scale then adjust the audio input until 4 bars are showing. Then you can use the PWR control to select exactly the power output you want.

  2. Good evening Julian, I have decided to get rid of the Tigertronics Signalink USB and just try hooking the K3 up to it's line in and line out from the K3 to PC. I did the adjustments you mentioned and that were in the manual. It works great now and I checked my signal on PSK reporter and I was getting out no problem. So Julian I am going to sell the Tigertronics unit and stick with the Elecraft K3 and it's Digi hookup. Thanks for the advice as it had me get back to the K3 roots and set things up according to Elecraft and the onboard system. Things work just great now.

  3. Yes, simplest is best in this case. The K3 is already set up for digi-modes nicely. Hope to see you on the waterfall (though I'm opting for more CW these days).

  4. Good morning Casey, yes it's true the K3 is set up for digi operations. I had read of some advantages of using the Signalink along side the K3. But in the long run for my anyways I found it to be more of a pain than just using the K3 on it's own.