I picked up my technician a few weeks back, and have been shopping around for a decent HF radio setup. My main requirement is to be able to transmit and receive on various digital modes (in addition to CW), on multiple bands, and also have some sort of control via serial port or USB with an non-proprietary and published protocol. I’ll likely be spending 90% of my time on the HF bands with digital and CW, so getting the higher licenses is going to be a ‘must’. I’ll be taking my General in a few weeks, if not sooner, and I’ve already got the Extra manual for studying after that.
My background is software engineering and embedded electronics. Designing, building, and programming electronic projects, and using test equipment is pretty much what I do on a daily basis. Because of that, I’ve been leaning towards a few HF kits, and have purchased a few that are intended to be used for digital modes. At the same time, projects like this can take a while to fully implement, and I’m realizing I might need a daily driver in addition to a project car. Shopping for a ‘real’ HF rig is a bit more confusing for me, non of them really list the specs / usage cases that I’m looking for.
My main question is, if I’m picking up some random HF rig, which digital modes will work (if any), assuming that it’s hooked up to a computer with proper software? I hear that radios like the FT-817 (which I can’t afford) work well for digital modes, but how is that accomplished? Do they output I/Q data to an audio port, that feeds into a computer sound card? I’m assuming that a radio that does not output IQ data cannot be used for modulations that vary carrier phase?