SignaLink SL-1 & SL-1+
Frequently Asked Questions


This FAQ contains the most commonly asked non-technical questions about the SignaLink™ SL-1 and SL-1+ Sound Card - Radio Interface.  For technical or troubleshooting questions, please see our SignaLink™ Troubleshooting FAQ.

 

  1. Will the SignaLink SL-1+ work with my computer and sound card?
  2. Will the SignaLink SL-1+ work with my new computer that doesn't have a serial port?
  3. Does the SignaLink SL-1+ require a connection to a USB jack?
  4. Will the SignaLink SL-1+ work with my radio?
  5. What SignaLink part number do you recommend for my radio?
  6. What cables/connectors will I need to connect the SignaLink to my radio and computer?
  7. Do you have a radio cable for my particular radio?
  8. What is provided with the SignaLink Cable Kit?
  9. What software comes with the SignaLink SL-1+?
  10. Does the SignaLink SL-1+ require a power supply?
  11. Does the SignaLink SL-1+  use the Serial or USB port to key the radio?
  12. Will the SignaLink SL-1+ work with my Mac?
  13. What modes can I operate with the SignaLink SL-1+?
  14. Can I run APRS® with the SignaLink SL-1+?
  15. What frequencies will the SignaLink SL-1+ work on?
  16. Where can I get Technical Support?

 


Will the SignaLink work with my computer and sound card?

The SignaLink SL-1 and SL-1+ only pass audio signals to and from the sound card, so they will work with ANY sound card that has a microphone input and a speaker output.  The SignaLink Model SL-1+ also works sound card Line Input and Line Output jacks for greater flexibility.  What you should really be asking is if the software will work with your computer and sound card.  Usually, as long as your computer meets the program's minimum computer requirements (see the program documentation) it will work just fine.  There have been a few compatibility issues related to specific hardware in the past, but most of those have been resolved in recent years.  If there are exceptions, they are usually well documented in the program documentation or noted on our software page.

TOP


Will the SignaLink work with my new computer that doesn't have a serial port?

Yes, because the SignaLink doesn't require a connection to the computer's serial port!  Unlike other interfaces, the SignaLink never requires a serial port connection.  This is particularly handy if your computer doesn't happen to have one!  In addition to simplifying your installation, this feature also reduces the likelihood of the computer's RF noise getting into your radio.  It also eliminates serial port related transmit problems that plague other interfaces.  The SignaLink uses a built-in digital Auto-PTT™ circuit that virtually eliminates the need for a serial port connection.


TOP


Does the SignaLink require a connection to a USB jack?

No!  The SignaLink does NOT connect to the computer's USB jack.  This simplifies the installation of the unit and reduces the likelihood of the computer's RF noise getting into your radio.  It also eliminates port related transmit problems that plague other interfaces.  The SignaLink uses a built-in digital Auto-PTT™ circuit that virtually eliminates the need for a USB connection.


TOP


Will the SignaLink work with my radio?

The SignaLink SL-1 will work with ANY transceiver, receiver or scanner, that has an external speaker output and a microphone input (required for transmit only).  The SignaLink SL-1+ will also work with your radio's Data and Accessory Ports.  Unlike many interfaces the SignaLink does not require VOX capability, so it is perfect for that little QRP rig!  Specific radio requirements are dependent on the software you choose and the modes that you wish to operate.  Carefully review your software documentation to determine the suitability of your radio for a particular mode.

TOP


What SignaLink part number do you recommend for my radio?

The SignaLink is available in two models, the "SL-1" and the "SL-1+" (see our Product Comparison page, or the above question for a comparison of the two models).  The SignaLink SL-1 works only with the radio's Mic jack, while the SignaLink SL-1+ works with the Mic jack, Data Port, and Accessory Port.  We recommend that you attach the SignaLink Model SL-1+ to your radio's Data Port or Accessory Port connector.  This will let you keep your microphone attached to the front of the radio, so that you will never have to unplug your mic or the SignaLink.  If your radio does not have a Data Port or Accessory Port available, then you will need to attach the SignaLink SL-1 or SL-1+ to the radio's Mic jack (we recommend the SL-1+ for greater flexibility and compatibility).  Here are the SignaLink part numbers that are available:

SignaLink Model SL-1 (Mic jack Only!)


SignaLink Model SL-1+ (Mic Jack, Data Port or Accessory Port)


TOP


What cables / connectors will I need to connect the SignaLink to my radio and computer?

Radio Cables - The SignaLink comes supplied with a single the radio cable.  Please see Question #5 to determine which SignaLink unit to order.

Computer Cables - The cables that connect the SignaLink to your sound card are not supplied with the unit.  However, we do offer an optional SignaLink Cable Accessory Kit (P/N: SLASSY).  You can also purchase the cables from your local electronics supply store.  If you decide to buy these cables locally, you will need to get two shielded audio cables with male 3.5mm stereo connectors on each end to attach to your sound card.  If your radio does not have a speaker output signal on the microphone connector, then you will also need a shielded mono (or stereo) audio cable with male 3.5mm connectors to attach to the radios External Speaker jack   Note that ALL of these cables plus a stereo splitter (so you can keep your computer speakers connected) are contained in the Accessory Kit for a VERY low price!


TOP


Do you have radio cables for my particular radio?

With the exception of our 13-pin cables, ALL of the SignaLink radio cables are UNIVERSAL and will work with ANY radio, so long as you select one with the right type of connector (see Question #5).  We have made this possible by wiring our cables "straight-through" (pin #1 to pin #1, pin #2 to pin #2, etc.), and using push-in jumper wires to connect the mic lines of the radio to the same lines in the SignaLink (PTT to PTT, Ground to Ground, etc.).  Our 13-pin ICOM and Kenwood cables will work with any ICOM or Kenwood radio that use a 13-pin connector, but they are NOT interchangeable (you can't use an ICOM cable on a Kenwood radio, or visa-versa). 


TOP


What is provided with the SignaLink Cable Kit?

The SignaLink Cable Kit comes with everything you will need to begin using the SignaLink "right out of the box".  The kit contains all of the cables that you will need to connect the SignaLink to your sound card and radio's external speaker output (needed if speaker audio isn't available on the Mic connector).  A stereo audio splitter is also included so that you can keep your computer speakers plugged in (great when using the computer for other things like games, email, internet, etc.).


TOP


What software comes with the SignaLink?

The CD that is supplied with the SignaLink contains the most popular FREEWARE and SHAREWARE programs for all of the most popular modes including PSK-31, SSTV, MT-63, CW, RTTY, AMTOR, & Packet.  Software for other modes can be downloaded from our SignaLink Software Page.  The complete Tigertronics web site, which includes extensive support information for the SignaLink, is also included on the CD.


TOP


Does the SignaLink require a power supply?

The SignaLink is not "passive" like less capable interfaces.  It contains digital CMOS circuitry that does require some power.  However, the SignaLink consumes so little current that it can almost always be powered from the Accessory Voltage found on the Mic or Accessory Port connector of most radios.  If your particular radio does not have that voltage available, then you can simply power the SignaLink using the auxiliary power jack on the back panel (the mating power plug is included with the SignaLink).  See the SignaLink manual for additional details.


TOP


Does the SignaLink use the computer's Serial or USB Port to key the radio?

No!  Unlike other interfaces, the SignaLink never requires a serial or USB connection.  This is particularly handy if your computer doesn't happen to have one available (see Question #2 & #3)!  In addition to simplifying your installation, this feature also reduces the likelihood of the computers RF noise getting into your radio.  It also eliminates serial/USB related transmit problems that plague other interfaces.   The SignaLink uses a built-in digital Auto-PTT circuit that virtually eliminates the need for a serial or USB port connection.


TOP


Will the SignaLink work with my Mac?

Yes, it will.  A program called Multimode will let you run PSK31, RTTY, Fax, WeFax, SSTV, ACARS, Packet, DTMF plus some other interesting modes.  New software is being developed all the time.  See our SignaLink Software page for the latest information.


TOP


What modes can I operate with the SignaLink?

The SignaLink SL-1 and SL-1+ support ALL Digital modes that are available for sound card interfaces, including, PSK31, MT-63, WSJT FSK441, SSTV, APRS®, and Packet (300 and 1200 baud).  The SignaLink SL-1+ also supports ALL Voice modes (VOIP), such as EchoLink®.  About the only modes that you can't operate with the SignaLink, or any other sound card interface, are Pactor, G-TOR and Clover.  These modes are within the capabilities of the SignaLink, but the software is not yet available due to licensing issues**.  For more information on the modes that are available, please see our SignaLink Mode Comparison page.

**NOTE:   Pactor RECEIVE ONLY software is available for Windows-based computers, and Pactor 1 software (transmit and receive) is available for Linux.


TOP


Can I run APRS® with the SignaLink?

Yes, you can.  George Rossopulos (SV2AGW) has written a wonderful program called AGWPE (AGW Packet Engine) that allows you to run 300, 1200, and 9600 baud packet.  See our SignaLink Software Page for more information.  Also, be sure to check out KC2RLM's Sound Card Packet page.  This page has step by step instructions on how to configure and use AGWPE with various packet and APRS® programs.


TOP


What frequencies will the SignaLink work on?

The SignaLink is not frequency dependent so it will work on any frequency your radio can operate on.  The SignaLink only controls the signals going in and out of the radio so it does not affect the actual operating frequency.  If your radio can receive the signal, the SignaLink will deliver it to your sound card for processing!


TOP


Where can I get Technical Support?

Free Technical Support is available for the SignaLink.  Please refer to our Technical Support page for details about contacting us.

NOTE:  If your problem or question involves the software that you are using, then you will need to contact the author of the program directly for help.  Be sure to read the programs built-in HELP documentation before you ask for assistance!  The HELP files usually have the answer that you are looking for!


TOP


Tigertronics - All Rights Reserved  |  BayPac, SignaLink, and TigerTrak are trademarks of Tigertronics
APRS is a trademark of Bob Bruninga | EchoLink is a trademark of Synergenics, LLC
All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners