Mac Amateur Radio Digital Applications

The Mac-Based Amateur Radio Digital Applications - Installation and Integration guide below is a guide for setting up your Mac-based system interfaced with an HF transceiver for operating the HF digital modes with Macintosh-based applications. Capabilities being addressed from a Mac-based processing platform are:

  • Mac setup

  • Radio setup

  • Logger and digital applications’ interfacing and configuration

  • Logging

  • Call Book or call lookup data

  • Digital signals’ encoding and decoding. While the main digital signals being covered are PSK31 and FT8, others can be processed with their respective applications.

  • Problems or “gotchas”

The primary Mac-based applications addressed are: MacLoggerDX (MLDX), fldigi, and WSJT-X. The HF transceiver described is a Kenwood TS-990S HF/50MHz Transceiver – other late model Kenwood HF transceivers may also be quite successful since being within the Kenwood family. Appendix A is specific for the applications' configuration changes needed when using an Icom IC-7300 HF/50 MHz Transceiver -- there are some audio drive level screen shots and setup confirmations yet to be finalized. There was a rough and a lot yet needing to be done appendix when using RUMlogNG as the controller, but it was removed from being completed at a later date.

The catalyst and then goal for this guide was documenting the many various configurations and settings in how things came together and successfully worked. Hopefully, that will also save you from going through the hassles and frustration that I experienced – the hours, days, and weeks trying to tie-up various and fragmented bits of information, those that appeared to help at times, those that led down many “bunny holes”, and in discovering ways until finally getting it right. That was especially true for configuring and integrating fldigi with MLDX. There may even be some "nuggets" of information in there too.

The information, details, and recommendations are those of the author as leveraged from what was learned from the applications’ documentation and corresponding with a few persons such as Don Agro, VE3VRW; Tom Lindner, DL2RUM; and Dave Wright, K3DCW. What is being presented is what worked. There is no intent in countering any information from any online or product documentation source.

The guide was updated in a few areas after personally transitioning to MacOS 11.0 Big Sur recently (in late November, 2020). The updated guide remains relevant to those staying with MacOS 10.15.7, Catalina (and even prior MacOS versions), and with those now using MacOS 11.n, Big Sur. The guide's areas impacted due to differences between the MacOS versions are highlighted along with the details.

The guide has also been updated for the installing WSJT-X ver. 2.3.0. The updates have been tested with the WSJT-X application running on an Intel-based Mac, and should be good for those running it on the new M1-based Mac.

Of course, your comments, ideas, suggestions, and feedback are very much welcomed. The Mac-Based Amateur Radio Digital Applications - Installation and Integration document will be updated as needed for corrections, updates, and revisions.

Digital Application Versions with MacOS 11.0 Big Sur and MacOS 10.15 Catalina

Any of the more recently released versions of MLDX, WSJT-X, and fldigi should work good with MacOS 10.15 Catalina and MacOS 11.n Big Sur,.

Running MLDX with etiher WSJT-X or fldigi with MacOS 11.n Big Sur has the following application version recommendations/requirements:

  • MLDX version 6.31 (or later)

  • WSJT-X version 2.3.0 (or later)

    • wsjtx ver. 2.3.0 runs good on Intel and M1-based Mac provided the Release Notes are complied with.

    • The wsjtx ver. 2.3.0 rc2 downloaded from SourceForge does not run on Big Sur (causing a memory allocaiton prompt to appear). WSJT-X ver. 2.2.0 does run good with Big Sur 11.n.

  • fldigi version 4.1.16.02 (or later)

    • fldigi version 4.1.16 or prior will not run with Big Sur. fldigi 4.1.16.02, or a later version, runs good with Big Sur 11.n.

  • I was running MLDX version 6.30, WSJT-X version 2.2.2, and fldigi version 4.1.16 on my Mac PowerBook Pro (2019) with MacOS 10.15.7 Catalina. When transitioning to MacOS 11.0 Big Sur, each of the applications (i.e.: MLDX, WSJT-X, and fldigi) were updated too (just to ensure having the current software baselines for each). The only issue was WSJT-X needing to revert back from ver. 2.3.0 rc2 to ver. 2.2.2 that had been running on Catalina and found to be operating good with MacOS 11.0 Big Sur,. The issue with the WSJT-X has now been resolved with the ver. 2.3.0 release.

Mac_HamRadio_DigitalApps_v0.993_s.pdf

Mac-based Amateur Radio Digital Applications -- Installation and Integration

The Mac-Based Amateur Radio Digital Applications - Installation and Integration document is a low resolution PDF document mainly for viewing online. While the low resolution PDF file can be downloaded as is, the figures and screenshots may be a bit grainy. A larger, higher resolution PDF file can be downloaded using the button directly below in the Downloads area.

The document is being updated as needed.

Downloads

The medium resolution Mac-Based Amateur Radio Digital Applications - Installation and Integration PDF file can be downloaded using the Mac Ham Dig App button. The figures and screenshots should be pretty good showing more detail when viewed either with a PDF viewer or when printed-out.

The small application file, fldigi_PTT_K7UF_WR5E.app, as referenced in the Mac-Based Amateur Radio Digital Applications document is zipped in a zip file. Download the zip file with the fldigi->MLDX Zip button. Then, unzip and install the application as mentioned in the guide.