Archive for the ‘yaesu’ Category

FT817 and FT817ND

These little rigs from Yaesu have basically remained unchanged since 2000. They cover all bands from 160m-70cm (not 4m or 1.25m), all modes, 5W. With transverters, mine have been used from VLF upwards on all available bands. They work well, but I was surprised Yaesu did not do an upgrade in time for the last sunspot peak. Also, I was surprised they had no real competitors. These days there are a few SDR radios around, but the FT817 reigns supreme.

With mine I have worked the world including some great handheld DX. For base station use I recommend the Z817 auto-ATU.

I tried the Elecraft auto ATU but prefer the Z817. I am very happy with the FT817, although the early ones had PA failures with low voltage. This was fixed (I think) in the FT817ND.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/ft817

System Fusion DR-2X Repeater, Solar Eclipse and More – ETH079

In this episode we talk about the Yaesu System Fusion DR-2X repeater, the upcoming Solar Eclipse and more.

There is some interesting new features on the DR-2X repeater over the DR-1X that came out a couple years ago, but there is also something that it doesn’t have. Some of these features, I wish that we had on our club repeater, but those features are not enough for us to go out and buy this version.

There are a lot of special event stations that are going to be on the air around August 21st this year when the full solar eclipse occurs. This is the first time since 1918 that a full solar eclipse has gone from one side of the US to the other. I unfortunately am to far south to the see the full eclipse, but I should get about a 75% one here in the DFW area.

We also talk about some other stuff, but you are going to have to check out the show notes and listen to the episode to find out what that is.

73s de Curtis, K5CLM

New ICOM and Yaesu products at Dayton?

Dayton is often the place where ICOM and Yaesu announce new products. I’d like to see a replacement to the FT817 from Yaesu, but have all but given up hope. Certainly a few years ago they would have released at a time of sunspot peak. As it is, we have years of falling conditions, so not the best “window of opportunity.”

Review – BTech APRS-K2 Cable (TRRS/APRS)

by John ‘Miklor’

aprs-k2-25
APRS-K2
It’s long overdue, but there’s finally a TRRS/APRS cable available for radios using a standard Kenwood style K2 connector.

I’ve been wanting to get involved with APRS for a while now, and this made it extremely easy.

APRS-K2 interface cable
The APRS-K2 cable allows you to interface your handheld transceiver with your existing mobile device, including. iPhone, iPad, and Android.

One end of the cable uses the Kenwood style K2 connector, while the opposite end is aprs-xover-25terminated with a TRRS connector. Also included with the APRS-K2 is a Reverse Adapter to insure compatibility with all devices. This adapter allows cable to connect to earlier 3.5MM TRRS standards, such as Nokia.

App Driven
The APRS-K2 cable uses a virtual TNC found in several apps, such as APRSDroid, APRS.fi, and Pocket Packet. Plug in the cable, turn on the VOX, and you’re pretty much set to go.

Product Description
BTECH APRS-K2 TRRS / APRS Cable A simple way to start using APRS by using devices you already own. The BTECH APRS-K2 Cable will quickly connect your radio to APRS by using virtual TNC (app driven) on your tablet or device. The APRS-K2 cable is built with a custom circuit board that will automatically adjust the audio for clear packet transmissions with minimal adjustment; along with protecting your devices from strong over modulated signals.

Along with allowing APRS functionality the APRS-K2 cable can provide a simple interface gateway to allow several features to your radio!

Easily record radio conversations:
By connecting the APRS-K2 cable between your radio and any recording (line-in) device.

Use the APRS-K2 cable as a Mic In Connector:
Set up VOX on your radio to accept any form of incoming audio – such as a Push-to-talk application on a Phone – or a Line-out application from your computer.

Use the APRS-K2 cable to push transmissions over a speaker system:
Easily play audio over a intercom or speaker system from your handheld.

With a backup radio and your own ingenuity, the APRS-K2 cable can serve as an interface for a variety of applications for any amateur. Compatible with Kenwood K2 Accessory Slot Radios (such as BaoFeng, BTECH, Wouxun, TYT) Compatible with all phones, tablets, and computers with 3.5MM Audio In/Out Ports

Includes:
APRS-K2 Cable
Reverse Connector Adapter
Quick Start Guide

Conclusion:

The cable comes with a simple one page instruction sheet which should have you up and running in about 10 minutes after the appropriate app is loaded.
–  Plug in the cable
–  Set your handhelds volume control
–  Turn on the VOX
–  Set your handheld to 144.390 (US)
–  Activate the app

That’s all it takes. If you’ve been considering building an APRS cable, you might find this an easy Plus and Play alternative.

The APRS-K2 can be ordered from   Amazon, or if outside the US, you can go to their website and contact them directly.   Baofeng Tech

Too many toys, too little time.
John ‘Miklor’   K3NXU
http://www.miklor.com


The Baofeng Experience

Last week I cleared the dust out of my blog and podcast websites and briefly discussed ordering the Baofeng UV5RA HT from Amazon.  While this model was released several years ago, Amazon has them available brand new for $26.06.  This includes the HT, charging stand and hands-free kit.  Here’s the link to the Amazon product page for the Baofeng UV5RA HT.

I guess it’s been several years now since these cheaper (I guess less expensive might be the more PC way of describing these) Chinese made hand-held radios came onto the market here in the US.   Fellow hams began showing these off at local club meetings and I began reading reviews of these radios on various amateur radio blog sites from around the world. 

For the most part, the opinions expressed all seemed to have a common theme around pricing, ease of use and durability/reliability.  Many viewed the low cost of ownership to be favorable over any durability issues.  I guess the idea of use it, abuse it and toss it comes to mind.  I also seem to remember a strong sentiment of “steer clear” when discussing these units. 

I could see all sides of the argument.  But I also fully understand some folks just getting into the hobby may be on a limited budget and may not have the resources to afford the latest and greatest from ICOM, Kenwood or Yaesu.  As time went by, I really didn’t hear complaints regarding the durability/reliability of the radios.  But certainly most everyone I spoke to all said that the programming of the radio was often a challenge and the provided user manual was of little to no help.

As for me and my reasons for not entertaining the idea of these cheaper Chinese made radios all boiled down to the fact that I really didn’t need another HT.  I already own more HT’s than I have hands, so I just didn’t see the need.

So what changed?

Last week I was thinking about future topics to discuss on the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast and was researching just how many different HT models were available and the price range.  This research led me to all the usual amateur radio dealers as well as a quick check of Amazon.  I simply searched for Baofeng and that’s when the UV5RA popped up.   With my Amazon Prime membership and a $3.00 credit, I could actually get this HT home for less than $25.00.  Deal! 

I decided I would gain some first hand experience with at least one of these cheaper Chinese made HT’s and share my knowledge with all of you reading this blog and later on the podcast.

Reverse Bait and Switch???

So my package shipped from Amazon as expected and was delivered on Saturday.  I opened the package and inspected the contents.  Immediately I noticed something was different. 

If you look at the Amazon product page for the Baofeng UV5RA you’ll see the photo below.  This is the Baofeng UV5RA.  However, the HT shipped to me looked nothing like this.

image

Instead of receiving the UV5RA (as shown above), I received the UV-82 (shown below). 

image

Initially I was slightly upset.  We’ve ordered a lot of items from Amazon.  While this was my first amateur radio purchase, it was also the first time I didn’t receive exactly what I believed I ordered.  However, after doing a little more research I discovered the following:

First, while the Amazon store page for the Baofeng UV5RA doesn’t match what I actually received.  If you carefully read the product description, under the section “What’s in the Box?” you’ll see the Baofeng UV-82 listed.

Second, from what I understand…the UV-82 is an upgraded (newer) Baofeng hand-held.  If I read this Baofeng product comparison chart correctly, the UV-82 includes an updated PCB, commercial grade case and other enhancements as compared to the UV-5R models.

Third, the UV-5RA is a 4 watt model with the UV-82 offering 5 watts output.

Did I get what I paid for?  Well…not really….but advantage appears to be all mine.  I can’t guarantee what will happen if you order the same model I ordered…but from all appearances you’ll also receive the UV-82.  Just no guarantees.  Alternatively, you can purchase the UV-82 via Amazon (listed as UV-82) for $28.80.  It’s a few dollars more than what is listed on the UV5RA product page, but you’ll be guaranteed to receive the UV-82 if that is the model you desire.

How I plan to use the new radio

Before I go into my initial thoughts/review/feedback (what ever you want to call it), I think I should clarify exactly how I plan to use this new Baofeng UV-82 transceiver. 

This radio is not replacing anything I currently own.  My main go-to HT is the Yaesu VX-8 which I have the GPS module installed.  I also own an older Yaesu VX-6 (which I should probably sell) and also the ICOM IC-92 D-STAR HT which I also rarely use. 

I actually plan to program a few local repeaters, simplex and NOAA weather frequencies into the Baofeng and leave it at my office.  For less than $25.00 I am really just considering this a weather radio that will do a little bit more. 

Initial Thoughts

I’ve had the UV-82 now a few days and feel comfortable in sharing some of my initial thoughts on just what I think of this radio.   I’ll break my thoughts down under a few different categories.

Over all Design

The overall design of the radio (my opinion) is fine.  The radio fits nicely in my hand (not too small, not too big).  It sort of reminds me of an older Nokia cell phone from the time when cell phones weren’t smart.  

Channel Mode/Frequency Mode

If I’m honest, I really dislike having to power the radio off to switch from channel mode back to frequency mode.  While it’s simple enough, just hold down the Menu button while you switch on the radio.   All my other HT’s have a button which toggles between the two modes.  However, as previously stated…this radio will be programmed with a few local repeaters, simplex and NOAA weather frequencies.  For the most part, the radio will be used to listen to weather information from the national weather service. 

Case Quality

While I’ve not taken a hammer to the case (nor do I plan to) and I’ve not performed a drop comparison from the top of my building (I don’t plan to do that either).  The overall case quality appears to match that of my Yaesu rigs.  As I’ve previously stated, the radio fits nicely in my hand.  It’s easy to grip and the included belt clip has a nice firm spring.   While I don’t plan to use this HT as I use  my Yaesu, I also wouldn’t have an issue clipping this onto my belt or pack and heading down the trail. 

Stock Rubber Duck Antenna

What’s In Your Rubber Duck?  Well this was answered by Bob, KØNR and I would highly recommend reading his excellent review where he reveals the “inner workings” of several popular stock rubber duck antennas (including the Baofeng UV-5R). 

But what can really be said about ANY stock rubber duck antenna?  Regardless if the radio brand is Yaesu, ICOM or Baofeng, you will greatly improve the radio by installing an aftermarket antenna.  I use the Diamond SRH77CA on my Yaesu VX-8 and it works great.  But at the moment, I have no plans to replace or upgrade the Baofeng rubber duck. 

Screen

The LCD screen on the UV-82 is slightly smaller than what I’m used to on the Yaesu VX-8.  But to be honest, if I don’t have my reading glasses with me 24×7 these days…and the screen size doesn’t rival the Dallas Cowboys Jumbotron, I’m not able to see anything.  

Dual PTT functionality

The UV-82 features dual PTT switch functionality.  This is a bit odd (compared to my other HT’s).  I suppose in time I will get used to it. 

FM Broadcast Band

If this is something you care about, the UV-82 features a button on the side which switches the radio to the FM Broadcast band. 

Built in Flashlight

If you are in the need of a hand-held amateur radio transceiver WITH a built-in flashlight, then the UV-82 is the rig for you.  A conveniently placed button on the side will turn on/off the flashlight. 

User manual

This is the radios weakest link and is perhaps not worth the paper they used to print it.  It could be written in Chinese and even non-Chinese speakers would obtain as much knowledge by reading it. 

But seriously, the entire user manual is 29 pages long.  Not one page actually covers how to program the radio.  Thankfully YouTube exists and many others before me figured it all out and shared their knowledge.

Ease of Programming

The UV-82 offers 182 different channels which can be programmed (once you figure out how to program them).  Unfortunately, Baofeng (in their infinite wisdom) pre-programmed 20 channels (1-21).  As you can’t edit a pre-programmed channel, you’ll need to delete these which can be done one-by-one in the menu. 

While I believe it might be a daunting task for any brand new ham (or soon-to-be brand new ham) to sit down with an HT, User Manual and Repeater Directory and successfully program the radio.  The Baofeng (unfortunately) really makes it impossible.  This is part of what I was talking about during the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast (episode 70).  As I’ve always recommended the Nifty Ham Radio Guides for ALL radios, I think it is a must have for the Baofeng

Alternatively, if the UV-82 is going to be your primary hand-held and you’ll want/need to reprogram often.  I would highly recommend purchasing the programming software and cable from RT Systems.  While I don’t plan to purchase the the cable/software for the Baofeng, I do own the software and cables for all my other rigs. 

In Summary

While I’ve not discussed each and every feature/benefit of the Baofeng UV-82 in this blog article.  I’ve identified a few key areas which I’ve discovered and most importantly have feedback/opinions on regarding.  More importantly, as I’ve previously mentioned…I don’t plan to heavily use this radio.  But having said that, I also wouldn’t have an issue with clipping it to my belt and heading down the trail either. 

The opinions within our hobby of what makes a great first radio for a beginning ham are strong.  Some are pro the HT and some are against the HT.  If you are just starting out in our wonderful hobby, on a tight budget and looking to pickup a radio which won’t break the budget and allow you to enjoy the hobby…then I certainly recommend the Baofeng UV-82.  After all, the package contains everything (transceiver, antenna and power source) you’ll need to get on the air.  Get your ham radio license and join the fun of the worlds best hobby.

Until next time…

73 de KDØBIK (Jerry)

KX3 and FT817

Further to my earlier comments in a blog post yesterday, I have received several comments about both rigs. The general view remains that the performance of the KX3 exceeds that of the FT817ND although it is in many ways less suited to field use than the FT817.

I have never owned owned a KX3 as these are very expensive in the UK. I own both a very old FT817 and a recent FT817ND. For the modes I use mostly, the FT817s do a great job. I just wish Elecraft radios were not so expensive and looked, and were, more robust. I for one would think twice about using an expensive KX3 as a field radio. I am sure they work really well, but they look flimsy. A fully loaded KX3 is currently more than twice the cost of the FT817, which is a fine radio. My FT817 gets used from MF (with my homebrew transverter) all the way to 70cms. The FT817 has worked all over the world, including indoor handheld SSB QSOs with the USA.

For the avoidance of any doubt I love the FT817 radios and would like a KX3 for home use, if the latter was less expensive.  My views, others may not agree.

Yaesu, where is the FT-817’s successor?

As a proud owner of Yaesu gear going right back to an FT7 in 1979, I wish them well.  In  recent times, life has been very hard for them, and they seemed to lose their way. Today, they still face a threat from China and many of their radios are struggling to compete on price. I was totally amazed at their stupidity at not bringing an FT817 successor to market as we approached the solar peak.

It is rumoured that an FT817 successor will be announced at Dayton in May this year. Like many around the world, I hope they do. There is (was?) a vast market for this product as the original FT817 is now very very old. To do a successor would be so easy.  Yaesu – get real and release this product before you lose the market. To not put too fine a point on this, I think if you do not, then you risk bankruptcy within 5 years.

My recommendations to Yaesu are:

1. Design in Japan but make in China (but with excellent quality control in place from the start).
2. Launch a successor to the FT817 soon.
3. Look at your product range and rationalise it.

You must survive. This is the real world.


Subscribe FREE to AmateurRadio.com's
Amateur Radio Newsletter

 
We never share your e-mail address.

Please support our generous sponsors who make AmateurRadio.com possible:

KB3IFH QSL Cards

Hip Ham Shirts

Georgia Copper

Ham-Cram
Expert Linears

morseDX

Ni4L Antennas

N3ZN Keys

West Mountain
R&L Electronics


Do you like to write?
Interesting project to share?
Helpful tips and ideas for other hams?

Submit an article and we will review it for publication on AmateurRadio.com!

Have a ham radio product or service?
Consider advertising on our site.

Are you a reporter covering ham radio?
Find ham radio experts for your story.

How to Set Up a Ham Radio Blog
Get started in less than 15 minutes!

Sign up for our free
Amateur Radio Newsletter

Enter your e-mail address: