WSJT-X with the Kenwood TS-590SG

Now that I”ve been using FT-8 for a while, I figured I’d hook up my TS-590SG (Kenwood) to my 2014 iMac running the WSJT-X software and get that running to see how that works. A little more complex than the Icom radios, but not by much.

Rather than repeat all the stuff I said in the Icom post on WSJT-X, I’ll ask you to read that one to understand the interplay between the Power (volume) setting in WSJT-X, the volume on the MIDI interface, and the volume on the radio soundcard.

For those new to this, first install the driver. I actually re-installed the driver for the Silicon Labs sound card (same chipset in the Kenwood as in the Icom) just to make sure I had a clean set of settings after using it for my Icom radio.

Then I plugged in a USB cable between the radio and the PC.

On the radio, you have the option of setting two sets of system settings by using Menus A and B. To switch between them press “Menu” “A/B” “Menu”. I put my routine CW/SSB settings on Menu A and set the screen color to green. then I put my digital settings on Menu B and set the screen color to amber. That way, at a glance I can tell if I need to switch menus depending on the settings I want.

OK, on Menu B, I set the following settings:

Menu 28: I set this to “1” then used the dials to set the low cut at 100 and high cut at 3,400

Menu 29: I set this to “1” then used the dials to set the low cut at 100 and high cut at 3,400

Menu 68: I set the baud rate to 115,200. This is for computer control, you must power cycle after changing the baud rate on the TS-590SG for it to take effect.

Menu 69: I set this to “USB” for audio input line selection for data communications.

Menu 70: I set this to “Rear” for audio source for data communications

Menus 71 and 72, I set both to “1”, the default is “4”. Even with this set to 1, I still had to turn down the midi interface to -43db on output.

Once I had the driver installed, and the radio setup, I power cycled the radio, then, I opened WSJT-X.  

Specific settings for WSJT-X are:

Note the Force Control Lines setting with RTS set to High. I’ve found I need to set this for the TS-480SAT and the TS-590SG. I suspect the TS-890S also uses this. RTS and DTR go way back to the days of terminals on minicomputers and mainframes. DTR stands for “Data Terminal Ready” and RTS stands for “Ready To Send”. They were a way for terminals to set flow control from the mainframe. Radios use them as well, apparently...

Note that you can use the TS-590SG in Data or USB mode. In either mode, see menus 28/29 and set the width accordingly.


Then, I changed the USB Audio CODEC output to -43db for both left and right, and made sure the input and output were set at "2 ch 16-bit integer 48.0 kHz.” 

Finally, I did a power down of the PC and radio, then started the radio and started the PC. Once WSJT-X was running, I tested PTT and CAT control and everything worked fine. I found the appropriate volume level, and I’ve been off and running. On the Kenwood, I set the bandwidth on the filter low to zero and high to 3,400. Turned off noise blanking, notch, and everything else. I found I also had to turn the RF Gain down just a bit, maybe 10% since sometimes the receiver would go quiet (overload?) when set with RF Gain full open.


© Alan W Dye 2020