Last weekend I set up all the pieces and got the station working remotely for receive only. I used it for several hours, but when I tried to connect a few days later, I could not access it. So it appears that one of my programs, probably VNC, is hanging the machine. So all the pieces now are working but still need to work on reliability of the software.

While it was working, I was able to completely control the K2. I am not transmitting until I have the 3-minute timeout power-disconnect, as that is required by FCC rules for remote transmitter opration.

I was able to get Skype to work well, but I had to do some tweaking of settings. I use Audacity for testing my PC audio setup. It is an outstanding free program that lets you record, playback, and adjust your PC audio settings. This is critical to get the right settings for interfacing the K2 audio to the PC. I did have to fix one problem: I had checked a box to “play through” (i.e. route the mic audio to the speakers in real-time). That is helpful for setting the levels, but obviously not desirable for station use.

I was trying to improve my audio interfaces and I stumbled across a very nice, inexpensive interface project in March 2011 QST. It is a passive (no power required) audio interface that derives a PTT signal from the transmitted audio. It is intended for digital interfacing, but I will initially be using it for SSB interfacing. It has isolation transformers on both the mic and speaker interfaces, so no ground loop or hum problems.

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