Thursday, August 25, 2016

Easy Digi Interface Review

One of the more popular HAM activities are digital modes of communication. With the vast number of modes available today, you can send messages or other data faster and with fewer errors. Whether you are looking to run digital modes on HF or get into packet radio, you're going to need some new hardware. In this post I'll show you how the Easy Digi interface kit is one of the best options for the HAM who wants an easy DIY option.

When I got into amateur radio, I thought it was just a bunch of old guys talking on the radio. I was surprised once I sat down to study for my technician license. There are a ton of radio related activities. The one that caught most of my attention was packet radio and digital modes of communication. The ability to plug a computer into a radio and send text, files, or even pictures seemed awesome. But I found you usually can't just plug a radio into a computer, you need something in the middle to make it happen.

The device that sits in the middle can be a couple different things depending on what you are trying to do. But with the power of modern computers, you can simply use a sound card interface. One of the most popular today is the Signalink series of interface. Reading the reviews these are great interfaces, but they do come at a price that might be slightly out of reach for the ham on a budget.

After doing research I found the Easy Digi interface by KF5INZ. This is an interface that can be bought to work straight out of the box or as a kit you assemble yourself. If you are on an extreme budget or just want to try a good beginner electronics project, get the kit. Here's what you get:

Easy Digi Kit
With the kit you get a printed circuit board, all the components to put on the board, and some really good instructions. The only thing missing is a soldering iron, an enclosure, and whatever you need to make the cables to attach to your PC and radio.

Easy Digi Components
You should lay the parts out on a clean surface and do some inventor of your parts before getting started. I have found that this really is the easiest and cheapest way to build one of these interfaces. Buying the parts separately and trying to assemble them on some other kind of board costs at least twice what the kit does.

Easy Digi held in vise

Once you begin assembling the board, you may find it handy to have a vice or something to prop the board up so you can access it a little easier. You can bend the leads of each component out away from the holes in the board and they will stay in place while you apply the solder. After you solder a component on, you will need to use a pair of cutters to trim the extra bit of leads off. 

Complete Easy Digi board
This is the second board I have completed and I've found that it only takes about 20 minutes to put one together. The next step is to find an enclosure and build all the necessary cabling to connect everything together. I will show how I finished this all up in the next post.  If you are looking to buy one for yourself, here's a link to the creators eBay store: Easy Digi Store


  1. how do u wire the 3.5 cables? what pin / cable goes where?

    1. The 3.5mm connectors are wired as follows.
      Tip/Ring -> Audio
      Shield -> Ground
      This article has a little more detail on wiring up the audio connections.