I finally broke down and bought a Signalink USB interface/modem for my Kenwood TS-480. So far I have been very happy with the performance of the little unit and have found many uses for it beyond the digital modes of operation. For one; it makes a very good interface for replaying on the air recordings which can help other Hams get an idea of what their setup is sounding like on my end.
So far the majority of my time while in digital has been working PSK31, RTTY, and CW. I worked my first RTTY Sprint contest the other day and despite the unfamiliar format of once working a station after calling CQ, QRZ, etc..having to move to another frequency. I picked up on the rhythm quickly once I finally did get started however it was a 4 hour sprint and I had missed the first hour based on a stubborn nature and being determined to get FliDigi to work properly with N1MM+ Contest Logger.
One area that was originally hard for me to differentiate was the different types of signals being transmitted. If I had visited a site that gives audio examples of the different modes I am fairly certain I could have cut that learning curve down tremendously.
Other than the interface such as the one listed above you will need software that is able to encode/decode the various modes. While some software packages are free to use and have a plethora of features and modes that it will support (FliDigi for example) you might find it difficult to tie that in with HRD's logbook and rig control programs and think about another solution to meet your needs. I will create a new page as soon as I get the chance and in that page I will have links for the majority of free to use as well as paid applications and what i know about each ones features that might cause you to lean toward on over the other.
For example; FliDigi is an excellent application. It seems to discriminate better and produces a greater degree of accuracy when decoding, however the logbook built into FliDigi leaves allot to be desired and after using HRD'd logbook program I find it hard to even think about making a switch this late in the game. Once again I was faced with a dilemma - HRD integration is great between the various programs included in the suite yet I find the DM780 (Digital Master) application not nearly as accurate or fun to use as FliDigi.
More To Come .....
Replaced HF Rigs and no longer can use this SignaLink USB for Kenwood so I will list it for sale soon. If interested - contact me.