For anyone interested in a decent hand-held transceiver in the $100 range, the Wouxun KG-UVD1P is an excellent start! I bought two units a couple of months ago and I quite enjoy listening to the local repeater traffic, and participating in the odd net.
Being that I am an experimenter at heart, I wanted to know if the HF digital modes would work well on these hand-held units. In order to feed the speaker output to my computer, I hacked an ear-piece that I bought with the radios. The speaker output for these radios is a 2.5mm jack and computers typically have a 3.5mm jack. The ear-piece / PTT that I bought has the required 2.5mm and 3.5mm jacks in a nice package, so it was natural to reuse that portion.
After some cutting and soldering, I make a very basic “straight thru” cable with no isolation. This is not recommended as you have no electrical isolation between the computer and the radio. A well designed TNC does this for you (along with AX.25 decoding, etc). I plan to make a simple optically isolated connection cable.
So I fired up one radio as the receiver and the other as my transmitter. Using low power on 145.590MHz I sent myself a message consisting of :
TEST TEST TEST de VE3BUX VE3BUX VE3BUX
Lo and behold, the PSK31 transmission was easily decoded at the receiver. I tried various other modes including: PSK500, MFSK8-16-32, RTTY45 & 50 and some others. All modes worked just fine.
My next step will be to design a simple opto-isolator board that will trigger the PTT when the right-channel audio is detected. (Fldigi offers a mode where a steady tone is output on the right channel to function as a PTT trigger). I’ll do the layout in Eagle CAD and breadboard the design prior to having a PCB made. If it works, I’ll release the design with a parts-list for all to use.