Selecting Digirig Configuration

Now that you are considering Digirig Mobile for your kit, you may be puzzled by the “CAT Config” selection in the product listing. Here you’ll find answers to the frequently asked questions on the topic of Digirig configuration.

What is CAT config?

Digirig’s CAT config determines which electric levels will be used for serial communication with the radio.

Among other components Digirig Mobile features a serial port (green socket). This port can be used for controlling your transceiver from the computer – setting and reading frequency, bands, filters etc. Another use case involving serial port is for radio’s configuration cloning, uploading station presets and firmware. Not all radios support all these optional features, but those that do adhere to one of the common standards for the electric signals and you can order your Digirig preconfigured to match your gear.

Which config do I need for my radio?

All the use cases involving the serial port (see above) are secondary and optional. Digirig Mobile in ANY configuration can be used with ANY radio for basic operation (Audio + PTT). In this case a single transceiver cable is connected to Digirig’s black socket labeled “audio”, nothing is connected green socket labeled “serial” and the CAT config doesn’t matter – select logic levels (default).

Only if (1) your radio supports CAT control or programming (2) you have correct serial cable for connecting Digirig’s green socket to the serial port of your radio and (3) you choose to use these features then Digirig’s serial port configuration becomes relevant and must match the electric levels used for serial lines in your radio.

If you are not familiar with your radio’s serial capabilities or do not know which port standard your radio uses then first find the compatible transceiver cables and look for the configuration notes in the listing. Other resources include the discussions tagged with your transceiver’s model in the community forum, user groups for your radio model.

Here are some of the shortcuts:

  • Radios with USB connector in the back will likely not need Digirig for serial connection or in any capacity. More on that here.
  • Male DB9 connector in older radios calls for RS-232 config. This port is the same type as some of you might remember from serial mice or dialup modems era.
  • ICOM radios with 3.5mm TRS socket labeled “remote” expect CI-V config.
  • Lab599 TX-500 transceiver uses “TX-500” config, no surprise there.
  • Elecraft KX2/KX3 and Yaesu FTM models use RS-232 configuration for serial CAT and/or programming.
  • HTs and mobile radios typically don’t have CAT control, but with correct cable may support programming. That typically uses logic levels configuration.
Can I share the same Digirig between multiple radios?

Yes, you can share the same Digirig Mobile between all the radios that use the same serial port configuration and those that don’t use serial port connection. You will obviously need a matching transceiver cable set for each radio type. If you have multiple radios that require different port configurations then you can either (1) get and clearly label separate Digirig interfaces for each group or (2) use incompatible radios in basic operation with audio and PTT, but no optional serial CAT control or programming. See previous answer for help determining the required configuration.

Can I change the configuration?

Yes, Digirig Mobile in any configuration is exactly the same hardware and it can be configured to any of the supported options. The selection is done by adding and removing connections between small solder pads on the back of the PCB. The process requires moderate soldering skills and equipment and may not be for everyone. The configuration can be changed multiple times, but it is not expected to be done operationally. Video of the process and illustrated instructions are available.

Why not add switches for Digirig configuration?

This is a natural idea that comes to mind the moment one realizes that the same Digirig can potentially play with all the radios. This can be done, but the resulting product will not be the Digirig Mobile loved for its small size and zero fuss with the controls. In fact the low price relative to the alternatives allows operators to have preconfigured and labeled Digirig units connected to each radio without the need to switch things around and risking incorrect electric level combinations.

Additional resources

Understanding Rig Control Options

Digirig Transceiver Compatibility

Selecting Digirig Configuration

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