Sound Card Packet  with AGWPE

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Most recent AGWPE version is:  2013.415  15 Apr 2013

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The 6-pin Mini-DIN Data Connector

This is adapted from postings that Stephen H. Smith WA8LMF has made on various groups and mailing lists.

The 6-Pin Mini-DIN "DATA" or "PACKET" connector is an industry standard adopted by all the Japanese ham radio manufacturers. It is now superseding the various proprietary 7, 8 and 13-pin full-sized DIN connectors used by various manufacturers.


This diagram from Stephen's site at website at:




This connector is the perfect point to connect packet TNCs, soundcard interfaces, phone patches, IRLP/EchoLink controllers, APRS trackers, paging encoders, or any other device that needs access to the transmit and receive audio of a radio.

Note that this connector type is the same one used on PS/2 keyboard and mouse cables. A PS/2 keyboard extension cable or a KVM (Keyboard Video Mouse)-to-computer cable (has males plugs on both ends) is an excellent source of a plug-and-cable assembly that will mate with the jack on the radio, at a fraction of the cost of the optional manufacturer's cable assembly! 

You might also have luck with a dead mouse or keyboard, but most mice do not have all pins wired through, since pins 2 and 6 are not required for mouse operation. And most keyboard cords only use 5 wires and a shell ground. The omitted wire on some is the 9600 disc out. (This means that many keyboard cables can be used for 1200 operation, but only a few "special" ones can be used for 9600 operation).

Note that you can buy the plug as a stand-alone product to make your own line, but the plug housing may not fit into the radio's jack nicely (the housing is too large).

Despite the misleading labels referring to data input and output, the jack only carries audio, not data. There is no actual RXD or TXD DATA in the sense of RS-232 or TTL-level streams of 1s and 0s anywhere on this connector.

On most radios with this a data jack, grounding the DIN-6 PTT line mutes the front panel MIC input to prevent extraneous shack noises from getting mixed with whatever you feed into the transmit audio input.

More About the Pins On This Connector

DATA OUT - there are two received data out pins which are really carrying RX audio. Both usually output audio at a level similar to what comes out of a speaker but at a fixed level unaffected by the volume control dial, e.g. 500 mV but check your User Manual:

  • 1200: this pin has de-emphasized1 and squelched audio. This audio pin is sometimes labeled "RX Data 1200 Baud", RXA, RXD, or PR1. This is the audio most suitable for 1200 baud packet. (Side note: On multi-mode radios such as the Yaesu FT-817, Yaesu FT-100, and Icom 706, only the "1200 baud" output will be live on AM, SSB or CW, since the 9600 baud output is associated only with the discriminator of FM receivers.)
  • 9600: this pin has non-deemphasized1, direct discriminator output most suitable for 9600 baud packet. This audio pin is sometimes  labeled "RX Data 9600 Baud", DISCR, or PR9.  For most radios, the discriminator output is always live regardless of squelch setting or PL mode.

    The discriminator output is also perfectly usable for 1200 baud RX packet audio, although you may have to play around with a de-emphasis1 network consisting of a capacitor and resistor to get the best results with TNCs that have been optimized for receiving de-emphasized audio. And of course the TNC must be capable of operating open squelch; i.e. have its own true DCD (Data Carrier Detection) to sense when the frequency is carrying data signals and it should not transmit.

1  Emphasis and de-emphasis: To help overcome an inherent audio "hiss" on FM signals, all FM transceivers will emphasize, or increase in amplitude, the higher audio frequencies during transmit. On receive, they de-emphasize, or decrease in amplitude, the higher audio frequencies. This emphasis and corresponding de-emphasis produces normal sounding speech, but with less "hiss".

The key of course is that the sending radio must emphasize the high tones and the receiving radio must de-emphasize them. If one of the radios is not "doing its part", then the "high" packet tone (2200 Hz) will be at a different amplitude than the "low" packet tone (1200 Hz), and the receiving TNC or sound card may have trouble decoding the packet. This is the reason why the direct discriminator audio may need to be de-emphasized by a separate circuit for 1200 baud packet -- to make the amplitudes of the high and low packet tones more nearly equal.

DATA IN -  sometimes misleadingly labeled "TX Data Input" ,"TXD" or "PKD". This is the pin for your transmitted audio. In some radios, a menu choice of "1200" or "9600" baud will determine how this audio input is processed:

  • 1200: will go into the same channel as the MIC input for 1200 baud packet, SSTV, EchoLink, AFSK RTTY, etc. This menu selection typically means that you should use low level input, e.g. 40 mV.
  • 9600: will be DC-coupled directly into the TX modulator for 9600 baud packet. This menu selection typically means you should use a higher level input, e.g. 500- 2000 mV.

Your menu selection will affect your card volume control settings and your cable attenuation circuit. For 1200 you should use lower volume/some attenuation and for 9600 you should use higher volume/no attenuation.

TX PTT is the normal ground-to-transmit line, just like that found on most MIC inputs (confusingly labeled "Standby" or "PKS" by Kenwood).

SQUELCH - is the receiver squelch status line. Normally "no signal/squelch-closed" equals  0 V,  and "signal active/squelch open" equals  5 V. Your radio may label this pin as "SQC", "COR" (Carrier Operated Relay - an archaic term from the early days of FM repeaters), "COS" (Carrier Operated Switch), "CD" (Carrier Detect), "Activity"  or "Busy". 

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