Category Archive: Radio and Computers

Fix for an old irritation

For a long time I had a problem where system sounds would key up my rig if the SignaLink was turned on and connected.  To prevent it, I’d pretty much disabled all system sounds on the machine.  (Hate most Windows system sounds anyway.  First thing I always do on a new install is disable the startup/shutdown and login/logoff sounds.)

Anyway, I finally got fed up with the problem and solved it the other night.

There are two soundcards in the machine — the regular, default soundcard for system sounds, music, what have you — and the “USB Audio Codec” for the Signalink. Digging around with Google I found a page (unfortunately didn’t bookmark it at the time) that said to check to see if your default soundcard had Exclusive Mode enabled.  Which apparently it does by default; I know I never turned that on, but sure enough, it was turned on.

To turn it off, right-click the speaker icon in the system tray, choose “Playback Devices”, double-click whichever device is your regular sound card. (In my case it’s “Realtek High Definition Audio” for the shack machine, “IDT High Definition Audio Codec” for my laptop. Your mileage will likely vary.)

Under the “Advanced” tab, look for the Exclusive Mode box. If “Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device” is ticked, then untick it and click “OK”.  (If the second box is also ticked, no worries, it will untick when you untick the first one.)

Voila, your rig will no longer key up when you make a mistake and your computer lets you know about it in song.

Note that you should NOT change the Exclusive Mode for the codec that’s in use for your digital mode sound card. I think I tried that, and the software wouldn’t key up the rig till I turned it back on.

The one thing that has caused me the most grief with digital modes over the last four and a half years is the incomplete documentation for ham-created software that assumes you must already know this stuff.

FWIW, I know what a pain it is to write documentation; it’s my job at work, and I’ve written, maintained, and updated hundreds of pages of it for the last 23 years.  As we say, the job’s not finished until the paperwork is complete.