Someone asked if it was possible to use the Xiegu X5105 and Xggcomms Digimode-4 audio/CAT interface with Winlink. After 30 minutes of experimenting to find the best settings, I can definitively say YES!
Here’s a short video showing a winlink session using the x5105 with a Vara HF modem. You can see that the x5105 and xggcomms digimode-4 are fast enough for the rapid switching of high-bandwidth Vara HF. This isn’t always possible with a USB soundcard, or often when using VOX with a low spec CPU/computer.
The session was between my station and the OH6IJ RMS. His station is about 250km south. I used 5 watts, through a Chameleon EMCOMM 3 portable, horizontal configuration, about 3m above the ground. The session was on 80m.
I configured the winlink radio as an Icom ic-7200. Unfortunately winlink doesn’t have the Xiegu radios listed, so we need to rely on the in-build Icom CI-V rig control of these radios. It could have worked with FLrig, but winlink doesn’t support FLrig CAT control either. You can see the settings used, in the images below.
The Xggcomms Digimode-4 really makes a difference with data communications using the G90 or X5105. Not only is it compact, lightweight, and robust, it’s also fast enough for reliable full bandwidth Vara HF sessions.
As mentioned in other posts, I have begun a transition back to low power communications where possible. Low power is much more sustainable for emergency communications, and communications in the field. There certainly are those times when we need a little more power, but training and understanding which band, at what time of day, with which antenna configuration, can really make all the difference between fast efficient Winlink session, or a complete emcomm fail. For the past half year, all of my WInlink sessions have been carried out with 10 watts or less. The session in this video was 5 watts, using Vara HF, and a horizontal endfed 3 meters above ground, on 80m. It is not difficult, but I know how, when and where to get connections throughout the day or night. That’s where training and equipment testing comes into play.
So why the Digimode-4? Well as I mention every chance I get on the channel, we must reduce the cable mess. We can call it cable management if we like, but calling it like it is really brings the issue home. A signalink is larger than my X5105, and it only does audio. I’ll still require cat control interface, if i’d like to do automatic band switching, channel hopping, … It is also safe to say, the fewer pieces of gear we have to carry, the better off our field deployments are going to be. Ever better if that gear is well designed and functions above expectations. Honestly, I didn’t expect Winlink to work with this rig/interface combination. You can imagine i’m quite stoked right about now, since not everyone can afford to latest greatest, top shelf rig for emergency communications or preparedness.
You can find the Digimode-4 from XGGComms on ebay This link will also help support this blog without any cost to you. (XGGComms Digimode-4 on ebay http://ebay.us/Y9btkx)
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