New ExtIO for Alinco DJ-X11 Allows For Third Party SDR Software Support

The Alinco DJ-X11 even with it’s shortcomings has been a neat little hybrid wideband receiver with SDR capabilities. The DJ-X11 is a decent little receiver on it’s own, but when used with SDR software it gets even better. However, Alinco sort of dropped the ball when it came to developing a dedicated SDR software package for the radio. There was an initial very simple free package that had some basic features, but it now seems absent from Alincos website. You could use most standalone SDR packages to to use the Alinco DJ-X11 IQ output for SDR, but you were stuck having to set the center frequency by hand on the radio. Needless to say this was a bit of a pain, since the DJ-X11 had the capacity to be controlled via it’s computer interface. Thanks to Michael that is now a thing of the past. He has written an ExtIO plugin that will work with HDSDR and possibly other programs that support ExtIO radio programs. The ExtIO plugin allows HDSDR to tune the radio from it’s tuning controls or by clicking on the waterfall display. I tested out the plugin with the Alinco DJ-X11, ERW-8 interface cable, and HDSDR. Everything seemed to work very well. During the test, I was pretty impressed that HDSDR could dig out weak CW signals on 20 meters using the included rubber ducky. Normally on the DJ-X11 without some type of larger antenna on the HF frequencies you normally will just hear static.

To set this up:

  1. Download the ExtIO file.
  2. Download and install HDSDR.
  3. Extract the ExtIO file to a folder.
  4. Using a text editor, edit the ini file contained in the HDSDR DJX11 folder to reflect which com port your EWR-8 cable is using.
  5. Copy the the .ini and .dll file contained in the HDSDR DJX11 to the folder you installed HDSDR into.
  6. Plugin a stereo patch cable to the DJ-X11 IQ earphone jack and to your sound card line in jack.
  7. Put the DJ-X11 into IQ mode and place it into the cradle.
  8. If you did everything right you should be good to go.

Note – The ExtIO worked fine in HDSDR, but I could not get it to work with SDR Sharp which supports ExtIO files. It was the .dll file fine, but could not open the port. This may have been an issue with SDR Sharp or just an issue on my pc.

 

15 Responses to New ExtIO for Alinco DJ-X11 Allows For Third Party SDR Software Support

  1. steve says:

    I followed your instructions, but I still can’t get the software to work on two different systems. What are the ExtIO and DJx11 settings that you used during setup?

    So far I have tried this on a Toshiba S855 Core i7 (Win7 64-bit), and an Acer Inspire netbook(WinXP 32-bit).

    I reset the DJx11 to factory default on both tries, and put the DJx11 into IQ mode. The ERW 8 was recognized by Windows 7, but I had to download the ERW-8 drivers from http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm for the XP system.

    Are there some internal settings that I am missing?

    • KS4JU says:

      Hi Steve,

      What kind of problems are you having? You may want to try your setup with the control software available from the Alinco website, just to be sure everything is setup correctly before trying HDSDR with the ExtIO.dll. If everything works ok with the Alinco control program then it should work with the ExtIO.dll.

      • steve says:

        Thanks for getting back to me. I have communications with the X11, in that I can vary the frequency from the PC if I fool around with the various options. The problem is in the audio output. I have the X11 ExtIO installed, and the SDR hardware coupling to SDR Hardware on IF output at 10.7MHz. I assume that the com port would be the Prolific USB I/O (com7)rather than the USB serial port (com4). I know the com port on the x11 is on, as is the IQ output. However, the IQ is shown as 0 kHz, which doesn’t seem right.

        The channel mode is set to IQ in HDSDR
        On the CAT to HDSDR menu I checked the activated option

        One thing that I noticed is that I am using a 3 port audio cable, although the x11 manual shows a 4 port. Could this be the problem in getting x11 output to the PC?

      • KS4JU says:

        Hi Steve,

        I am not sure exactly what you are trying to do, but the DJ-X11 is designed to send IQ output through the top jack on the radio. You connect a stereo jumper cable between this jack and the stereo line input on your computers sound card. You must then set the DJ-X11s Function menu to send IQ output to the jack. There is an offset number shown in the lower part of the display (typically 0). The offset is used to tweak the IQ setting a bit to shift the center spike, but not critical. Start HDSDR and select your sound card as the input. You should get a waterfall display and decoded audio to your computer speakers. The ExtIO file is only necessary to allow HDSDR to change the tuning on the DJ-X11.

        Hope this helps!

  2. steve says:

    I set everything up according to your instructions, and, as far as I can see, everything is working, except the audio. Sound is coming out of the speakers, but it is garbled, and when I change frequencies, the spectrum doesn’t seem to change. On the web was an article that described how to use HDSDR with the FunCube dongle, and they talked about how the ExtIO control showed up on the input mixer. Mine doesn’t. Maybe this is irrelevant but I have reset the x11 to its default and started over a lot of different times. The only thing that I can see is the 4 pole vs. 3 pole audio cable, but other than that, I am out of ideas.

    It shouldn’t be this hard, so I suspect I am experiencing the bane of engineers – keep them away from hardware.

    • KS4JU says:

      The Funcube dongle is a different designed SDR radio, so not much applies to the DJ-X11.

      The ExtIO file is not related to audio, only allowing HDSDR to set a new center frequency on the radio.

      What you need to do:
      1. Tune the DJ-X11 manually to a known station like a National Weather Service broadcast.
      2. Put the DJ-X11 into IQ mode using the Function menu. You should hear no audio through the radios speaker.
      3. Plug in a stereo jumper cable from the IQ output jack on top of the radio to the line input jack of you computers sound card.
      4. Start HDSDR an got to its menu and find the sound card settings. Set the input to your sound cards line input, If you have more than one sound card input type, you may have to do a little trial an error.
      5. The sound card output is usually set correctly by default.
      6. Start HDSDR decoding the IQ input.
      6. You should hear the NWS station, but it may sound garbled until you select the modulation type like Narrow FM. You may also have to adjust the filtering or change the center of the waterfall.

      There are a number of things that can go wrong, but be sure you have a stereo cable.

  3. tom says:

    Will the .dll work with the Alinco DX r8e receiver as well ..

  4. Urmas says:

    How you change IQ-frequency in DJ-X11? When IQ is enabled, it seem to be imbossible to change anything, nothing happens from knobs or elsewhere(?)

    Also when HDSDR is on and you can see that there is signal, sound still doesn’t work. Soundcard/input/speaker settings seem to be right. How about options/input, is sound card and mme 16bit drivers right ones?

  5. Jack says:

    Im trying to turn on the IQ mode on the DJ-X11T. I can’t seem to find the menu?

    • Jack says:

      I have it in IQ mode. I did a reset and then the
      set clr button worked and I set the IQ on but still
      not working right looks like. Im getting a solid noise up the middle of the screen and doesn’t seem to be any sigs on the 80 or 40 meter band which there should be.

  6. Jack says:

    Can’t seem to pickup any station. Just hash on the screen and a wide line up the middle of the screen all the time.

  7. Zlodei says:

    ERW-8 Enable for IQ setting?

  8. Zlodei says:

    IQ is enabled! File ExtIO_djx11.ini correct! frequencies switched only! Noise from sound card PC! Does Not work with cable ERW-8. What options must be in HDSDR???

  9. Michael says:

    I have purchased my second DJ-X11 and I’m trying to get a signal to HDSDR. The .dll file and .ini file are both in the target directory (HDSDR), .ini has the correct com port open (8 in this case), and HDSDR sees the DJ-X11. I have tuned to 162.450 MHz which has a strong constant signal in this area, and HDSDR is deaf. I’ve tried several other active frequencies and it hears nothing.

    I get no error messages, it is correctly connected with a 1/8″ stereo mini-plug, IQ is enabled on the DJ-X11 (if it wasn’t, HDSDR wouldn’t see it) and still nothing.

    What have I missed or what am I doing wrong?

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