[Harc] second (main) announcement, Zoom workshop Oct 15

Howard, KB6NN kb6nn at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 14 16:16:39 CDT 2020

Second (main) announcement: October 15 HARC workshop: "Getting started with Digital Modes"
---------------for 10/14/2020:

Thursday, October 15 at 7PM, is the date for the October HARC workshop: "Getting Started with Digital Modes".  This is part of our "Third Thursday" workshop series.

Before the Covid pandemic, we held these workshops in person, once a month.  Before that, they were part of the regular monthly HARC meeting, but moved to a separate date.  Members were asked to demonstrate their skills on various topics.  Topics were also chosen by requests from members.

For the October 2020 HARC workshop on 10/15/20, the most common requests were for how to get operational on digital modes.  Because there are so many variables involved (computer, software, soundcard, cables, and radio) getting them all to work together is an essential first step, and needs to be done before beginning to use digital modes to pass traffic.

I do plan to cover FLDIGI and FLMSG.  I do NOT plan to cover the use of forms, macros, templates, and such, but I may mention them during the workshop.  I do plan to go into the physical layer (computer, sound card, CAT connections, radio settings) and a bit into the software layer (FLDIGI and FLMSG) but NOT Winlink, Ham Radio Deluxe, WSJT-X, or Digipan.  I do NOT plan to discuss Packet Radio, that's a whole other ball of wax.
This month's workshop date overlaps the EmComm meeting date.  Peter, W6IES, has graciously allowed us to use this time slot this month. Thank you Peter.  Actually, this workshop is a good fit for EmComm, since EmComm is one area where digital modes might be used in time of need.

Phil, KJ6GQW, has been holding NBEMS traning sessions, but many are at the step before that - they need to figure out how to get it all working before they can participate.  This month's workshop is designed to help you begin to solve the problem of how to put it all together to work digital data modes.

To participate in this workshop, which will be held on the Zoom meeting platform and announced on the Farwest Repeater linked repeater system, I am suggesting the following:

1. If you haven't done so already, please install Zoom on your computer (https://zoom.us/download).  Prior to the 15th, I will send you a link to the meeting.  Click the link I will send you for further instructions.  If you have never used Zoom, don't worry.  It's designed to be user-friendly.

2. Also, if you haven't done so already, please install the W1HKJ suite of programs: FlDIGI, FLMSG, etc. (http://www.w1hkj.com/).  There you will find download information and instructions. I consider FLDIGI elementary to getting into digital modes.  In other words, if you master FLDIGI/FLMSG, you will be ready to go ahead on your own to more complicated software such as WSJT-X, FT-8, etc.

3. If possible, try and get yourself an external sound card.  Many of us use the Tigertronics SignaLink (http://tigertronics.com/).  There are other options out there of course, but having what other members have can help you with trouble shooting in the future.  But an external sound card is NOT necessary for this Zoom workshop.

4. Also, if you already have your computer and radio audio linked via wires and cables using the speaker and microphone connections or auxiliary jacks, and plan to use the radio's VOX function, and can do so effectively, you may not need an external sound card to work digital modes.  I found digital modes much easier to do with an external sound card.  But again, it's NOT necessary for the Thursday workshop.

5. You will need a CAT connection if you want to have the software control your radio's frequency and mode.  Not necessary, but nice to have.  I can't tell you what one to get because there is one CAT cable for each make and model of radio, and computer, so I can't list all of them here.  Most are available through ham equipment dealers, or on Amazon.  For example, for recent Yaesu radios, it's the CT-62 (either USB or Serial port version, depending on your computer).  For recent Icom radios, it's the CI-V cable, etc.  Be sure you get one that fits your own radio and computer.

6. During the workshop, please avoid talking over one another or using Zoom while someone else has the floor on the repeaters or the other way around.  If holding the repeaters open for questions and announcements does not work for any reason, I will announce which format we will rervert to (Zoom vs. radio) and which one we will abandon (probably keep the Zoom meeting going, because it can do visuals).

7. I have successfully done Zoom while also using the radio and while also using the telephone and while just across the room from another computer running the software (doing so acoustically), so that is why I am suggesting Zoom/FWRA for this meeting, but we will not send digital traffic over FWRA.  I plan to do it using Zoom, acoustically, just like we did a few times at HARC meetings or in-person workshops between laptops that are not connected by wires or radio.

8. Ask any questions you have.  I was told a long time ago by someone wiser than me that the only dumb question is an unasked question.

73, and I hope to see you on Zoom on October 15 at 7PM.  The invitation will be sent separately from this email.


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