After seeing how much Kenwood wants for their EchoLink cable SET (that’s right, two cables), I did some investigation. Are you kidding me Kenwood? Anywhere from $50 to $80! It does come with two cables (one for audio IN/OUT, and one for the RST, PTT and all the other data – which I don’t need). Since I’m using EchoLink in VOX mode, I have no reason to use the RST. OK, down to ONE cable? Can I purchase this one cable separately? No, I can not. Is the audio IN/OUT/PTT available at the 6-pin (essentially a PS/2) back-of-radio connector? Yes it is! So, now down to ONE cable. Does the Kenwood cable containing the audio have a PTT line? NO! It’s in the other cable! Oh Kenwood. Now I’m back to TWO cables. Confused? So was I.
Then I came across this website: http://planetkris.com/2009/05/setting-up-a-kenwood-tm-v71a-for-aprs/ Finally, I now know which pin is which. Kenwood doesn’t make this crystal clear do they? Just buy the cables! HAH!
Oh ya. THAT’S what I need alright. Audio IN/OUT and a PTT line – all with one cable. Also, there’s a COS line (SQC – pretty sure – I’ll bring it out anyway) that could also be utilized. So, off to the eBay. I bought some of these parts in quantity (like, 5 or 10 of each) so your mileage may vary but, here is the price breakdown:
- $4.17 UART (serial to USB) (btw, you’d need something like this for the Kenwood cables anyway as they use a standard DB9 serial connection and unless you’re using a 10 year old computer, you probably only have USB ports – yet another Kenwood oversight)
- $2.12 for two 1/8″ stereo plugs (only if you don’t have adapters and stuff for the audio cables – I didn’t)
- $2.60 PS/2 plug (you can hack a PS/2 keyboard connector apart but for $2.60, phhtt, new ones)
- $2.00 audio cable (from Goodwill)
Total, $10.89 (and a month of waiting for China). Now that’s more like it. I also had a couple of USB audio cards that I bought on eBay earlier for $2 each. I got a 4-port USB hub at the Dollarama for $3. This way, I can use just one USB port on my computer for the whole shooting match. Pretty slick eh? You can use 2 USB ports if you desire though to reduce costs.
Hopefully I can get the soldering iron out today and wire this up. I might even take pictures!