Posts Tagged ‘Wouxun’

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


Wouxun KG-UV8D memory management

I have had this radio for about three months now. I have not found out how to program any of the memory channels.  If anyone learned the secret please post a comment here.

Anytone and Wouxun Chinese radios

Steadily, the Chinese are entering the amateur radio market. In addition to the “back shed” HF radios, there are now several neat looking VHF/UHF dual band radios and a quad band mobile (Anytone AT5888UV) for 10, 6, 2m and 70cm. See http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/11197  for reviews of the quad bander.

See also the Wouxun KG-UV8D 5W dual band handheld with a  large screen available from UK dealers for under £100.  This is even cheaper on eBay.

Anytone also offer a couple of 28MHz radios at bargain basement prices. They are around £199 or less.

The Chinese are coming. Watch out Icom, Kenwood and Yaesu! Your easy ride is nearly over.

I give the Chinese less than a year to come up with a good FT817 replacement at a decent price. Yaesu seem totally uninterested, so I bet the Chinese will be. The market for a good FT817 replacement is certainly measured in hundreds of thousands of transceiver units.  Enough to wake anyone up, apart, it seems, from Yaesu.

IF Yaesu is working on a replacement for the FT817 it had better be quick about it as the “window of opportunity” is rapidly closing. Band conditions are slipping, the KX3 is selling widely (but expensive over here in the UK as is the Argonaut VI) and the Chinese are coming up fast on the outside.

Weekend

We arrived home from Lake George yesterday.  I went to go pick up Sandy, our cat, from the place where we took her and Jesse to be boarded while we were away.  When Sandy got home, she was as upset as I was. She was looking all over the house for her “big brother”.

They were real good buddies and it’s quite obvious that I’m not the only one around here who has a bit of a broken heart right now.

The manager of Best Friends came over and explained to me that last Tuesday morning they found Jesse laying on his bed, which wasn’t unusual at all.  He was an older dog and was no longer very active. They thought he was asleep and when they tried to wake him, well ……… he didn’t.  The manager told me that one of her own dogs did the same thing.  He was old and hanging on and hanging on and waited until she and her husband were away to pass.  I don’t know if it has any merit or not, but she told me that some dogs do that. It’s like they want to spare their owners the hardship of seeing them pass.

This house is not the same without him, and I am definitely not the same without my pal.  The sun just seems to be a little bit dimmer than it used to be. And while I am thinking of Jesse, I’d like to thank all of you who left very kind comments or sent me an e-mail with the same.  I appreciate it and thank you so much – you’re all in my prayers.

But life goes on, so even though I really wasn’t in the mood, I decided to go to the Sussex Amateur Radio Club hamfest anyway – to at least take my mind off of Jesse for a while.  I got there at 8:30 AM, about a half hour after the doors officially opened.  I got there to a double line of cars, backed up, paying admission and waiting to get in.  When was the last time you saw THAT at a hamfest that isn’t Dayton or one of the other true “biggies”?

It was sunny and hot and humid!  I was sweating just walking around at a leisurely pace.  I ran into Don W2JEK who I have worked so many times in various QRP Sprints.  I walked up to the table where he was selling stuff and shook his hand and said “Hello”.  You could tell he was taken aback for half a split second until he noticed my call sign on my cap.  We talked for a bit and then I continued to meander around.

I noticed a lot of QRP stuff on the tables.  There were at least two HW-8s and one HW-7 that I saw. There were at least two of the Chinese/TenTec HB-1As and there were several MFJ QRP rigs for sale.  I will take it as a good sign for QRP, that when I made my last pass of the tables, all the QRP equipment seemed to have been sold and in the hands of eager, new users.

There was lots of other interesting stuff, too, including this:

A Martin Flash Bug, which is a brand that I never even heard of, before.  It looks to be in very good shape, too.  However, I didn’t want to part with the $100 the seller was asking for.  I also saw this, which was not for sale, but was being demo’ed.
This is the E-APS – the Emergency Antenna Platform System.  It’s a robot that will serve as an emergency platform for a VHF/UHF antenna.  You put the robot on a light pole in a parking lot, for instance, and then remotely control its climb until it’s at the height you desire. It was designed and built by a team of young Hams from New Jersey including Devlin KC2PIX, Chris KD2CXC, Ben KD2DLM, Joe KD2CQL, Kyle KD2DWC, Gavin KD2DPN and Robert KC2WCQ.  This unit is not for sale, but plans and open source programming are available to anyone who wants to build one.  For more information you can go to www.wc2fd.com or e-mail for info at [email protected].  It’s good to see young minds with fresh ideas doing concrete things to make Amateur Radio better; and thinking out of the box, to boot!
I ended up buying two items.  First, I bought a handful of 3.5mm DC connectors.  These seem to have become the de-facto standard power plug for QRP rigs.  You can never have enough, so I bought some to have for spare.
The second thing I bought was an HT holder for my Jeep.  It fits into the cup holder of my Jeep Patriot. There’s a twist ring at the bottom which allows the insert to expand so it fully fills the cup holder and stays in place without budging.

Before this, I had simply rested the radio IN the cup holder.  That was very inconvenient for looking at the display, hitting the search button, etc.  I’m by no means an active VHF/UHFer, but had recently started taking the HT with me to work again, as broadcast radio gets boring to listen to after a while (no offense to those of you in the industry). I still need to get my ICOM  VHF/UHF molbile radio installed in the Jeep by a professional, and this will carry me over until I can find someone good and reliable who can do that for me. Listening to the local repeaters and even chatting on occasion makes the commute more pleasant.
When I got home, I realized that today was “Scorch Your Butt Off“. I had almost forgotten!  And what an appropriate day!  Because of the steamy conditions, I decided to not go far. I went to the Cotton Street Park, here in town …… where I went for FOBB last year.  When I left the house, the thermometer on the back deck said that it was 92F (33C) but that sensor is in the sun and tends to read a little high.  I checked both WeatherUndergound and the National Weather Service.  Most local weather stations close to my house were reading 88F (31C), so that was the temperature I used for the exchange throughout. The humidity was a whopping 91%.  Can you say, “Ugh”?
There didn’t seem to be too much activity. Either that, or the bands were crud, and it may have been band conditions as I didn’t hear too much activity of any kind, anywhere.  My set up was the same, my KX3 and PAR ENDFEDZ hauled up into a tree.  I made a grand total of nine QSOs, and the only person I worked on two bands was Rick NK9G on both 20 and 40 Meters.  QSB seemed to be deep and fast on all three bands I worked – 40, 20 and 15 Meters.
I stayed until the water and freezer pops that I brought with me ran out.  When I got home, the temperature had legitimately climbed to 92F (33C).  Another thermometer that I had on the front porch in the shade gave me that reading, as did another check with WeatherUnderground. The humidity had mercifully dropped down to 65% percent, though. Still tropical, but not as sauna-like.  The bad news is that it is supposed to remain like this for the rest of the week.
Remember, if you SYBO’ed make sure to get your logs off to Rem K6BBQ!
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

Truth in advertising

From the website wouxun.us

If only all amateur radio dealers were this honest!

Third-party Kenwood accessories

Ebay is a good place to buy accessories like speaker/mics and headsets for your radios. A few years ago I used it to buy a speaker/mic for my Kenwood TH-F7E. After I sold that radio I used the speaker/mic with my TH-D72. When I tried it with my old TH-205E however I found that PTT didn’t work. I soon established that the reason was the genuine Kenwood accessories used a monophonic 2.5mm plug with only two contacts, tip and sleeve, for mic audio and PTT. The third-party accessories from eBay used a stereo 2.5mm plug with tip, ring and sleeve, but there was no connection to the ring. It looked as if the plug in the radio was trying to make contact in the area of the ring. This obviously was OK for newer Kenwood radios but with the 205E there was no ground connection for the PTT.

Ring and sleeve of the 2.5mm plug should be connected

My first thought was to open up the speaker mic, find the wire connected to the ring and connect it to ground. However I soon found that the cable of my speaker/mic had no wire connected to the ring at all. My only option was to try to bridge the two contacts together using solder. This I did, and the speaker/mic then worked with the TH-205E.

The Wouxun KG-699E and the Baofeng UV-3R+ also claim to use accessories with a Kenwood-compatible plug but just like the 205E I found that PTT did not work. I have just performed the same modification to the plugs on a “Kenwood-compatible” headset/boom mic and also one of the earpiece/mics that came with the Baofeng and Wouxun so that they would all work with all four radios. It is easy to do, but you need to take care as it’s easy to melt the plastic parts of the plug and you could easily ruin it if too much heat is used.

Using a sharp craft knife cut away a small section of the black plastic insulation between the ring and the sleeve of the 2.5mm plug to reveal an inner metal sleeve. Open this up a bit more using the edge of a jeweller’s file. Then make a solder bridge between the ring and sleeve. You need to apply heat using the edge of the soldering iron bit to the inner sleeve in order that the solder will bridge the gap. Apply the soldering iron for as short a time as possible to avoid melting the plastic insulation and destroying the plug. I used Blu-Tac to hold the plug in a steady position whilst soldering.

After you have bridged the contacts use a jeweller’s file to remove any excess solder from the plug. You should also smooth the plastic insulation between the plug contacts which may have melted and bulged a bit. The plug should be completely smooth between the contacts, the solder bridge and the insulation. It should plug easily into the socket on the radio. If it needs a firm push then try a bit more filing until it goes in easily. You don’t want the plug to get stuck in the radio nor for it to damage the socket contacts if force is needed to insert or remove it.

I accept no responsibility for damaged plugs or radios as a result of trying this modification. However I have done three of them now with success each time so it is possible with care. Now my “Kenwood-compatible” accessories will work with old and new Kenwoods as well as the Baofeng and the Wouxun.

New toys

There is nothing like some new toys to cheer you up when things get a bit boring! The G4ILO shack received two new arrivals this morning. Actually there was a third, non-radio addition that came yesterday as well, but that will have to wait for another posting.

The arrivals are two new handies – one a Baofeng UV-3R+ VHF/UHF dual band transceiver (note the plus,) the other a Wouxun KG699E low band VHF transceiver for 4 metres. My original UV-3R has found a new home, whilst the Taiwanese “professional” radio I got for 4 metres is just a rubbish radio.

I haven’t had time to get to know the new radios. The Wouxun in particular is not intuitive and will require some intensive study of the manual. The Baofeng is functionally identical to the UV-3R Mark II but the build quality is much superior – on a par with the Wouxun and favourably comparable to the ham radio brands like Yaesu.

A major plus of the UV-3R+ is that you now get a professional grade drop-in charger. Besides a more rugged-feeling case it also has a metal belt clip – a big improvement over the flimsy plastic one that came with the earlier model. I believe that both radios use Kenwood specification accessories. This will be useful, if true, as I have two Kenwood radios as well. One of the first things I will have to do is find a wiring diagram for the programming cable because the one I made for the UV-3R Mk I has a 3.5mm 4-pole plug and is no longer useful.


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