Better late than never?

Yesterday I was surprised to receive a package, by air mail, from Greece. It was the micro transceiver module I ordered at the beginning of April from Elcom Research. I was informed that it had been sent by registered air mail, but when it didn’t turn up and further emails went unanswered I opened a dispute with PayPal which was judged in my favour and the money was returned to my account on May 21st.

What I received was just what you see in the picture (less the PL259-BNC adapter which was included in the picture for scale). No documentation, no indication as to what the connections to the 10-pin connector are, nothing. It is completely unusable as sent. What’s more, the Elcom Research website I originally ordered it from now seems to be defunct. The only identification is the part number FC201SA on the circuit board. I typed that into Google and found that the module is an FC-201/SA Audio/Data RF Module manufactured by Friendcom in China. Google also turned up a PDF user manual on the Friendcom site, so I was able to download and print off that.

From the manual it appears that Friendcom would normally supply a cable for the 10-pin connector. I didn’t receive one. Without it I will have to solder directly to the pins, because although it looks like a standard 0.1in PCB header connector it isn’t. The pins have a spacing of about 1.8mm. I haven’t been able to find a mating connector, though I admit I haven’t looked at the professional parts suppliers as with minimum order quantities and so on it isn’t economic to order a single connector from them anyway.

My intention with this module had been to make a micro-power Echolink hotspot. As I no longer expected to receive it I had moved on from that idea, but now it’s here I guess I’ll have to pay for it. I don’t plan on doing anything with it until the autumn at least, as for me summer is not the time for constructional work.

Julian Moss, G4ILO, is a regular contributor to and writes from Cumbria, England. Contact him at [email protected].

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