Archive for the ‘review’ Category
If you know someone who is planning on getting their ham radio license, this app may be just what they need.
It was written by Roy Watson, N1ZTL and has the current question pool (2018-2022). The app has 67 reviews on iTunes and boasts a 4.8 star rating — and it’s also free.
You can study each question in the question pool and each section is broken down by the number of questions per section as well.
Once you select a section, it gives you each question number, the text of the question and the four possible answers as well with the correct answer highlighted in green.
If you’re interested, check out my full review of this app.
This is my reply to many responses that I have been receiving on my original blog entry, located at this AmateurRadio.com website,(my shortened URL: https://g.nw7us.us/arrl2fccR2) as well as to the original video, posted in that blog entry.
I wish to reply to all of those who are against the idea of expanding the privileges of the Technician-class licensee, the expansions including the ability to operate Voice and Digital in limited slices in a subset of lower-than-Ten-Meter amateur radio shortwave allocations.
It seems to me, that…
…the issue is not one of Technician-class licensees wanting more privileges, as a whole. What the ARRL is addressing is the *lack* of desire by most current Techs to upgrade.
The logic behind the idea of expanding privileges concludes that if you give them a taste of lower-shortwave propagation and excitement (by moving past the CW-only restriction on the lower tech allocations), then they *will* want to upgrade.
This logic is already proven as applicable by the fact that the General class exists! All that this proposal will do is allow the Tech to experience what could be very attractive–just like for the General. If it worked in the past with Novice, Technician, General, Advanced, and Amateur Extra (exposing to all of HF, even if by way of a CW-only requirement), then it will work, now. The difference is that the CW-only requirement on lower HF bands is highly restrictive because the mode is no longer needed to operate on any frequency, and, most will not take the time to learn it just to see if they WANT to explore the lower HF bands, or ever upgrade.
The bottom line is that we should make the Tech ticket more relevant. The expansion is not dumbing down, nor does it give away the farm.
I discuss this original point in the two videos that were lower down in the original post:
Thanks for reading, watching the videos, and having a useful dialog about this very important change to the amateur radio regulations in the USA.
That aside: This may, in the long term, reveal one of two possible truths:
1. There is no real need for three license classes. Two would suffice. General and Amateur Extra, or Technician (merged with General) and Amateur Extra.
2. There is no real need for three license classes. One would suffice. Make the test hard enough to cover the Extra-class material, and all material under that class, and merge everyone into one tested class. I believe that this has been tried in other countries, and it appears to work well.
I’ll be crucified for stating those ideas, but, hey, this is just a hobby.
As some of you know, I have had some differences of opinion regarding the selection of frequencies chosen by the FT8 creators and advocates. Regardless, I do still use the mode. Here is proof:
Go ahead and share, if you would. And, please subscribe to my YouTube channel, as I will be creating many how-to videos in the near future.
Thanks and 73 … de NW7US
The AMP-25 series VHF / UHF Amplifiers
The recently announced BTech Digital and Analog amplifier series puts a whole new spin on mobile operation. It performs more like a mobile than it does a power amp. The D series are true TDMA Tier2 DMR amplifiers.
Note: This review was done using an Anytone D868UV on both DMR and analog.
In the Box
Included with the 40W Mobile Amp are:
– Mounting Bracket
– 3′ Interface Control Cable (Kenwood K1 connectors)
– 3′ RF connect cable (SMA-M to SMA-F)
– Microphone and Hanger
– All necessary mounting hardware
– User Guide
– UHF or VHF Power Amplifier
– 2-6W > 20-40W Output
Modes of operation include:
P25 (Phase 1)
| > DMR Tier II (TDMA)
> P25 (Phase 2)
P25 (Phase 1)
A Different type of Mobile Amplifier
I found these to be much more than a typical power amplifier. Although they can function as a simple ‘In and Out’ power amp, this is about as close to a full mobile as you can get. Although the driving force was my DMR handheld sitting in my cup holder, the transmit audio was that of the included hand microphone and the receiver audio out was coming through the built in speaker driven by a four watt audio amplifier.
I tested the power on two different models. The VHF V25 (non TDMA) and the U25D for UHF DMR. The power was tested using the analog side of both into a calibrated Bird Termaline wattmeter. The maximum current drain from my 13.6V 30A power supply was just under 6A. This is low enough for the amp to be powered by the 10A accessory jack in your vehicle.
The basic frame measures 4.6″W x 1.3″H x 5.5″D (excluding the SO-239) and weighs in at 26oz. I was curious to see the internal layout of the amp and to no surprise, there was a 5/8″ finned heat sink spanning the entire length and width of the case along with air vent along the back of the enclosure.
These are single band amplifiers.
V25(D) = VHF 136-174MHz
U25(D) = UHF 400-480MHz.
Note: The V25D and U25D were designed to include DMR Tier II (TDMA) and P25 Phase 2 along with all other modes. Their operation varies slightly.
V25 / U25
To operate VHF through the UHF (U25) amplifier, or UHF through the VHF (V25) amplifier, simply power off the amplifier. This will allow you to run straight through directly to the antenna without power amplification on that band.
V25D / U25D
These amplifiers will only operate within their specified VHF or UHF range. This is due to the circuit switching design of DMR Tier II and P25 Phase 2.
The simplest configuration is using the included RF cable to attach the radio to the amp. You could add a Spkr/Micr to the handheld, but you would still be bypassing some of the best features.
I use the two included cables. The 3′ RF cable to attach the radio to the amp, and the control cable. This allows me to use the full size hand microphone as well as connecting the four watt audio amp powering the speaker. The power included power cable is compatible with handhelds using the standard two pin Kenwood style connector, such as an MD380, D868, GD77, UV5R, F8HP, UV82, etc.
I use an Anytone D868 on DMR as well as analog with the hookup diagrammed below. Depending on your radios antenna jack, you may need to pickup an SMA-M to SMA-M adapter.
All channel selection and volume adjustments are done using the handheld. No duplicate programming or code plugs are necessary. Whatever is in my handheld is what I operate in the mobile
Operating my handheld in the low power position, I still get 22W out on UHF and my handheld’s battery life remains excellent, but high power gives me a solid 39W.
I was glad to see someone finally develop what is a full featured mobile amplifier capable of DMR as well as all other modes including C4FM and D-Star that is small enough to mount in the car, boat, and on top of your computer. This amplifier is Part 90 certified and definitely worth considering.
We talk a lot about the band conditions due to the Sunspot cycle. Most of it on Facebook and other places is about how “dead” the bands are at this point. We all can’t wait until the cycle starts to rise and we will be making contacts with little effort. I remember in my conversation with Chuck Adams, K7QO in Episode 58, that he really enjoys operating is “Pigrig”, one watt, CW transceiver on 20 meters. When I asked him, (I liberally paraphrase) “but Chuck, the bands are dead. How does that work for you?”. His reply was that while most hams are listening to the bands, he calls CQ until he gets a reply. Works every time.
My QSO this week is with Tomas Hood, NW7US, who has years of expertise in propagation and Solar activity. He is the propagation editor of more than a few radio magazines and websites. In our post-recording conversation we discussed this phenomenon of listening and not calling CQ. I even had this idea that maybe one of the reasons that the digital modes are so successful is because they “beacon”, as part of the whole digital experience, the same as calling CQ. This is why they make contacts. From what I see, looking at PSK Reporter, hams are making lots of contacts worldwide using the digital modes. While SSB may not be working so well, CW and the digital modes seem to work fine.
I like to work on my bench or make the podcast while listening to the bands. Jeff Damm, WA7MLH, in Episode 177, says that he will put his keyer in CQ mode while he is working on a new radio. Invariably, sometimes after many minutes, he gets a reply. Great idea Jeff!
Episode 184 can be found here: https://www.qsotoday.com/podcasts/nw7us
Highlights of Episode 184:
Tomas Hood, NW7US is the propagation editor of a number of shortwave and amateur radio magazines, and has a wide variety of websites, that grew out of his love for all things radio, and for listening on the bands to far off DX and commercial broadcast stations. Tomas shares his understanding of propagation and the lessons we can learn from listening, really listening to the QSOs and exchanges during contest operation.
All of the QSO Today episodes are great. I enjoy hearing about many different hams. Do check out all of the episodes that Eric has published.
73 de NW7US dit dit
Are you interested in starting out with the amateur-radio digital modes on the high frequencies? Have you heard of FLDigi? FLDigi is a software control and modem suite that interfaces with your transceiver, your computer sound card, and other input/output interfaces so that you can receive and transmit one of many digital modes. For example, FLDigi allows you to operate using the Olivia digital mode.
Unlike the JT/FT digital modes–modes that do an incredible job under marginal propagation conditions–there are other modes that offer keyboard-to-keyboard conversational QSO opportunities that can overcome rough shortwave radio propagation conditions. (The meaning of QSO on Wikipedia: An amateur radio contact, more commonly referred to as simply a “contact”, is an exchange of information between two amateur radio stations.)
While making quick work of getting DX stations into your logbook by exchanging callsigns, a signal report, and a grid square, the JT/FT modes (JT stands for Joe Taylor, the fellow that pioneered these modes) are limited. They cannot handle any additional communications beyond a callsign, a signal report, a grid square, and a very limited set of acknowledgments and sign-off messages.
When you desire to get to know people from other areas of the world, or if you need to establish networks around the world for passing information–perhaps an emergency net in support of the Red Cross–or if you are motivated by any other of a myriad reasons to establish a keyboard-to-keyboard conversation by way of the ionosphere, modes like Olivia are great candidates for your consideration.
In this video, contributing editor with CQ Amateur Radio Magazine, NW7US shares some starting points in the FLDigi software for Olivia keyboard-to-keyboard chat mode.
Current CENTER Frequencies With 8/250 in MHz:
1.8269, 3.5729, 7.0729, 10.1429, 14.0729, 18.1029, 21.0729, 24.9229, 28.1229, and so on. See the pattern?
By the way: The current suggested CENTER frequency With 16/1000 or 32/1000 on 20 meters is 14.1059.
(Why the …9 frequencies? Experts say that ending in a non-zero, odd number is easier to remember!)
Q: What’s a ‘CENTER’ Frequency? Is That Where I Set My Radio’s Dial?
For those new to waterfalls: the CENTER frequency is the CENTER of the cursor shown by common software. The cursor is what you use to set the transceiver’s frequency on the waterfall. If your software’s waterfall shows the frequency, then you simply place the cursor so that its center is right on the center frequency listed, above. If your software is set to show OFFSET, then you might, for example, set your radio’s dial frequency to 14.0714, and place the center of your waterfall cursor to 1500 (1500 Hz). That would translate to the 14.0729 CENTER frequency.
The FLDigi Manual of Operation is found here: http://www.w1hkj.com/FldigiHelp/
FLDigi can be downloaded here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/fldigi/
Join the Olivia movement:
1. Subscribe to the mailing list: https://Groups.io/g/Olivia
2. Join the Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/olivia.hf
For additional information on Olivia, check out:
73 de NW7US
In this episode of the Everything Ham Radio Podcast, we talk with Garrett Dow, KD6KPC, the creator of RepeaterBook.com. RepeaterBook is a free online repeater directory that covers all of the US and Canada as well as several other countries around the world.
You can use RepeaterBook directly from its website, or through its app. You can find the app on IOS, Android and Kindle. RepeaterBook has done a great job on getting and maintaining the information of about 35,000 repeaters thank in a large part to about 95 admins that maintain the records in their assigned areas and from the ham community at large.