17 May Operating WSJT-X wirelessly on the IC-705 with wfview
Last Updated on May 28, 2021
Operating WSJT-X wirelessly on the IC-705 is possible with with wfview
A necessary evil in the hobby of amateur radio is cable. Coax, Data, Power, USB, you name it, we’ve got it. Everywhere. So, when an opportunity comes along to minimise our cable usage… even just one, it’s got to be worth considering.
If you own an Icom IC-705 by chance, and FT8 is your thing, you can now connect your laptop to the radio and Run WSJTX cable-free for free! That’s right Zip, Zilch, Nada, diddly squat, nought and nil.
So, if you’re and amateur operator with short arms and deep pockets, here’s how to do it!
The Icom IC-705 is a very versatile radio. Amongst many of its cutting-edge features, it also has WiFi. This feature alone puts it in a class of its own. The radio can connect to your home WiFi network, or it can be a stand-alone access port. Perfect for field operation.
Up until recently, the only way to take advantage of operating the radio from a PC was to purchase a copy of Icom’s RS BA1 software, which costs about $150.Now there’s a newcomer on the block called wfview – an abbreviation of waterfall view so apparently.
Comprehensive setup documentation and free download of course can be found on the wfview.org website. At this stage there’s no installer – just unzip the download into a directory of your choice and run the exe. Keep an eye on the website as there’s quite an ambitious development and rollout of the software planned.
wfview uses your PC’s mic and soundcard for voice operation, and this video assumes you have both wfview and WSJT-X setup and running on your PC.
There are two other small programs you need to download and run in order to get things going to allow WSJT-X operation. You’ll need a Virtual Serial Port Driver to replace the USB cable, AND a virtual Audio Cable to patch the sound between WSJT-X and wfview.
After installing VB cable, you’ll notice that you’ve got a new PLAYBACK and RECORDING option in your Windows 10 sound system.
When you install VSPD it will encourage you to purchase a licence key. Don’t worry about that just now. Restart your PC after the installation of both programs.
After a reboot, you should have a new program on your screen. Launch VSPE, clicking NO to continue at the licence nag screen. Now you’ll see the virtual port configuration screen. Create a new connector by clicking the icon with a red star. From the Device type drop-down, choose Connector then next. Choose a virtual com port keeping away from physical ports you may already be using. In this example, I’ve chosen COM 10. Leave emulate baud rate unchecked and click finish.
Now back on the main screen click the green play icon which starts the port emulation. The status should now say ‘ready’ and you can safely minimise the window. Now open wfview and navigate to the settings tab.
In the virtual serial port drop-down, choose the virtual com port you just made. Com 10 in my case. In the audio section of wfview you should now be able to select VB-Audio virtual cable for both input and output devices.
Assuming your radio username and password is correct click connect and you’re nearly done. You’ll see the network condition updates next to the green icon in the bottom right hand corner of the settings panel updating if all is correct.
Now launch WSJT-X and head to the settings tab.
Go to the radio tab and select your virtual com port. Press Test Cat. When it turns green, you no doubt feel a bit of an adrenaline rush.
Now the Audio tab, and VB-Audio is to be set in both the input and output options. Finally, click OK. If you’ve configured things correctly, changing the band in WSJT-X will now change the VFO on the IC-705 and you should now see audio on the input meter.
Don’t forget to change the audio levels in the sound mixer to make sure you’re not overdriving things and you’re ready to go.
One final word if you’ve made it this far… if your WSJTX waterfall has lots of red vertical lines, pull the squelch fader all the way to the bottom on wfview.
WSJT-X wirelessly on the IC-705 is straightforward to get going but a little bit of PC knowledge won’t go astray.