Posts Tagged ‘Programming software’

User Hostile! Radios that you love to hate!

Three band HT Radio, 2 Meters, 70 CM and 6 Meters

Three band HT Radio, 2 Meters, 70 CM and 6 Meters

“I hate this radio”

Have you ever said this?

I certainly have. Some radios are a joy to use. They are intuitive, easy to use and you don’t ‘NEED THE MANUAL’ every time you want to change something!

HT’s seem to be the most ‘user hostile’ radios available to hams. I know! All HT radios should have certain things, VFO, on off knob/button, volume control and keypad, and in my opinion, they should not be so difficult to use that you need to read the manual every time you want to do, what should be a simple task; change CTCSS tone of a repeater, for example!

When HT’s were reduced in size, they became more complicated to use. Menu systems were instituted. They were further reduced in size and menus were multi-layered! How many times have I yelled at my HT after holding button a for 1 second, then within 4 seconds, tried to press button 2, for 1 second but no more than 2.5 seconds, while doing 3 pirouette turns on my left foot, only then, can I use my radio. That same button has 3 functions now a days. Press it once for one thing, press it again within a specified number of seconds and you get another function. Press and hold it and you get yet another option.

Enter the English Translation, manual! Poorly translated from Japanese, but at least its in English!  (With many pertinent things omitted!)

Why do manuals go to great lengths to tell you in great detail everything that you ‘don’t want to know’ and will most likely never use or use very seldom?

But tell you want you NEED TO KNOW, naw!  Tell you how to ‘undo’ something? That would make it too easy!

Actually, I really like this VX5-R HT from Yaesu. It’s a love/hate relationship, however! So very handy, it fits in the palm of my hand, has lots of memories, and many many nice features. Accessing those features is not always easy, especially without the manual right in front of you. If you ever push the wrong button, and send it into ‘never-never-land’, its hard to un-do what you just did! One thing that was left out of the VX 5 is a memory clear feature!  That omission makes life with this radio difficult at best!

You cannot return a designated memory channel to its ‘no data’ state. The only thing you can do from the radio itself is to overwrite that particular memory with another frequency!


2 Meter IC V8000

2 Meter IC V8000

I’m not picking only on Yaesu!

This Icom V 8000 is the most ‘User Hostile’ radio that I have ever owned.

Not only is it difficult to use, but it has problems as well. The mic is notorious for a mechanical problem with the PTT button, and the external speaker jack does not work well. Unfortunately, the external speaker jack is where you have to plug the programming cable in to program the radio. The Icom program for doing this is also ‘user hostile’ BTW!

Editing and Cloning Software RT Systems I bought software and cable from RT systems to program and manage the Icom T 70-A. The HT and its programming software arrived yesterday.


IC T 70 programming software and cable

IC T 70 programming software and cable

Icom T70 A with spare battery, left, drop in charger, and speaker mic

Icom T70 A with spare battery, left, drop in charger, and speaker mic

 The Icom T-70-A, is the replacement radio for the Yaesu VX 5

It will replace the VX5 as my ‘go to’ HT. Just last night, I picked up the Yaesu VX5 the wrong way, mashed some buttons on its face and sent it into never-never-land!  Try as I may, I could not undo it with normal button press. Since the radio has an RT Systems program and cable on its way, I went nuclear, and reset the processor. Finally, the radio was operational once more. It needs programming of course but the display is no longer stuck!

It programmed the Icom T 70-A radio to my specifications with only a cursory reading of the manual. The radio is intuitive, easy to use and has some great features. RT Systems Programming Software and Cable


IC 7100 and Touch Paddles

IC 7100 with Touch Paddles

Funny, I just installed an Icom 7100 mobile HF/VHF/UHF/MF radio in my truck. That radio was ‘done right’ by the manufacturer! Its easy to program and use, so there is no need to keep the manual handy for simple tasks. I run mobile CW/SSB and VHF repeaters with it. If there were any UHF in the area, I’d have that programmed in there too. Its a joy to use!

This photo shows the IC 7100 on a modified clip board held in place with bungee cords. So far, I have not seen the need for programming software. That said, there is an SD card on board this radio. It can save the settings to the SD card. I have not explored this avenue yet. It would be nice to keep a copy of the settings on an SD card and on my laptop for future use. Something unexpected can happen. Spare radio data would come in very handy then. Replacing all the settings would be very easy with the programming/clone software. RT systems sells that one too.

Do you have a radio that you love to hate? 

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