I recently stumbled down the amateur radio rabbithole, and wanted to try out digital modes like FT4 and FT8 with my ICOM 703+. The 703 was produced well before digital modes, manufactured in (2002)[http://www.icomamerica.com/en/products/amateur/hf/703/default.aspx]! However, it’s still possible to bring it on the air with some neat tech.

Hardware: The DigiRig

Most online guides suggest using the MountainRadio RigBlaster or Signalink USB devices. These can run upwards of a hundred dollars, and require very precise cabling and setup to work properly. I also couldn’t find a great dealer online or local to take a chance on. That’s when I discovered the (DigiRig)[https://digirig.net/], an open-source integrated digital modes interface for amateur radio.

If you’re using an ICOM radio, pick up a model for CI-V. Yaesu and Kenwood and Other manufacturers (will depend)[https://digirig.net/understanding-rig-control-options/].

I chose the CI-V version with the provided ICOM cables, but you could also roll your own cables.


Next up is the software configuration. The DigiRig has it’s own set of (drivers for the serial port control)[https://www.silabs.com/developers/usb-to-uart-bridge-vcp-drivers] and the audio should work with the built-in.

Device Manager

You should be able to leave the default settings for the serial port driver once installed, but if needed you can tweak it manually to match what you put into WSJT-X. I set mine to:


When you open WSJT-X for the first time, you’ll need to configure your radio. Open up settings, choose Radio, and pick the ICOM 703 from the list:

Don’t forget to then save, choose the AUDIO tab, and set the input/output to the digirig soundcard and NOT your internal audio.

See you on the air!