Use a USB headset in the shack?

In the LinkedIn ARRL Ham Radio Operators group, Rick, W7STS, asked, “Has anyone noticed that the radio manufacturers have been slow to offer a USB headset interface?” I flippantly replied that this sounded like a business opportunity to me. Rick answered that since ham radio manufacturers seem to have embraced the USB port for connecting keyboards and computers to their rigs, they should also have included an audio interface as well. I agree with that, but I doubt that we’re going to see that with this generation of radios.

Another thought that I had this morning would be to use a Raspberry Pi to provide that USB to audio interface. It doesn’t seem to me that that would be difficult to do, and I can’t think of a less costly way to do it. Anyone else have an idea as to how to do this?

Reusing old sound-card dongles

An idea that was a bit off-topic, but worth pursuing was contributed by George, VE3YV/K8HI. He said, “Another approach is to cut off the USB plug and re-purpose it as a soundcard adapter for working digital modes. I use old Plantronics headset USB dongles.” I like this idea a lot. I’m going to have to go find a dead headset with a good dongle and try this out.

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  1. Manufacturers of computers started to phase out RS-232 in the 90′s, but USB is still rare on many transceivers. The new FT-3000 for example doesn’t have USB at all.

    It would be nice though to connect a headset/mic (such as the ones made by Logitech), set your VOX level and get on the air.

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