Standby problems with the TM-D710

Standby problems with the TM-D710This morning it occurred to me my car almost didn’t start. The battery seemed almost dead. It couldn’t be the battery itself since it is about a year old. When I was thinking about it, I did noticed a low voltage in my battery before. It had to be standby problems with some device in the car. Today I pulled one of the battery leads and put an ampere meter in between.
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Update 23cm trx

23cm TRXDid a lot of work the other night at the 23cm trx. Build in the speaker (drilled a lot of holes!) and did the last mod to do more filtering in the VCO voltage. Also fixed the phantom power for the electret microphone. Modulation and LF-sound are now in an acceptable range. There is always room for improvement, but at least I can leave this little puppy running in the background without scaring up every time some one opens the repeater.
Now I have my ‘reference rig’ I found out the filtering of the 23cm TRX is indeed under average. The reference rig can easily hear repeaters from miles away and doesn’t have a S6 to S7 noise without an signal. I think the UMTS-antenna that is about 50 meters away must have something to do with this. I think the next to do for this trx is building a bandpass filter.

Kenwood TM-241E

TM-241E (RigPix)When trying to improve my 23cm trx I was in desperate need of a reference 23cm rig. I need something that just works and can make a little more power then 400mW. Asking around gave me a Kenwood TM-531E for borrowing. I fell a little in love with this little puppy. On a local eBay-like site I spotted the 2meter brother of the TM-531E: the TM-241E. Actually it is one type newer (the same line should be the TM-231) but they look almost the same. I ordered this puppy, so hopefully (if everything goes well) I can hang him besides his 23cm sister in a few days.

Maybe one of these days I’ll spot the 70cm model too (TM-431E/441E). Who knows I’ll buy that one too 🙂

DRA-818V project

7dc169314a5773a452cdfb58d6b19586For a few years now I tried several radios for VHF and UHF here in the shack. I am unable to find one that really suits my needs. I have used a Yaesu FT-817 (not handy), an Icom IC-910H (more a DX-radio), some surplus (clunky), an Kenwood TM-D710 (way to much options for base station) and many others. Main problem: they are too expensive and have too many options I never use.
Last night I was in QSO with a fellow HAM-operator nearby and I told him about my idea to convert the design of my 23cm transceiver to a VHF and UHF meter version. He liked the idea but pointed me to the DRA-818-module instead. Just connect an Arduino to this module and you have a complete transceiver. Great idea! Immediately my mind starts spinning, I could buy a BGY-module (BGY36 for VHF and BGY22 for UHF) for some more power and put it behind the modules.
Googling around found me SV1AFN who build great looking kits based on the DRA-818 with a low pass filter and small audio amplifier on the same board. I immediately ordered his VHF-version! Very curious to see if this will work with an Arduino attached to it. Now I have myself a full transceiver for around 50 euro’s and I can program is myself. Seems a neath solution!

Will keep you posted on this blog about this new project.

New casing 23cm trx

Lately I have lots of problems with my home made 23cm transceiver. But before I will go hunt for solution I decided it was time to replace the 19-inch casing with something more decent. The 19-inch housing was way to big and not practically because of the thick steel.
So I wanted a somewhat smaller case, preferable made of aluminum. I always liked the cases of MicroHAM so I looked up the dimensions. It could fit in the same dimensions as the USB micro Keyer II.
So I made a design based on those dimensions and cut and fold some aluminum at the club. A lot of drilling and filing had to be done to fit everything. But I’m pleased with the end result. Unfortunately the problems with the transceiver didn’t disappear with the old housing, so I still have to find out what is wrong with it. Since the LF-sound screams when I turn on the volume, I assume it has something to do with the LF-amplifier (LM386) or the radio-chip (MC3362). I tried to reach out to the designer of the transceiver (Bas PE1JPD), hopefully he can help.

Spring cleaning

Icom IC-7300 main shack rig

Early spring cleaning

The spring cleaning of 2016 is early this year. Lot’s of other stuff going on, but a visit to our local HAM club last week turned things up side down. Marcus, PA2DB from the Hamshop payed a visit to our “Radio Souterain” and he did bring a demo model of the Icom IC-7300. I already had my eye on one but didn’t see the rig live yet. Of course it got quite busy when the rig was connected to an antenna in our shack. I waited a little and after a few hours (when most members went back to the bar) I got 15 minutes playtime.

First impression

First thing I noticed was the low QRM the rig picked up. In the shack there is also a Kenwood TS-870 which can give up to S9 of noise (it is a environment with a lot of industrial QRM). The IC-7300 showed S1 noise tops. And when I use the NR and NB the noise even got out of the QSO’s I was able to receive. Really impressive for such a small rig.

Fast waterfall

Second thing I noticed is the really fast waterfall. There must be quite a lot of research put in to designing the sofware and layout of the menu’s. To my surprise it took me 2 minutes to figure out the menu structure and I could find my way around the IC-7300.
And finally I noticed something else: since a long time I had fun again searching HF for stations. I could spend hours operating this little piece of genius but there where more people who wanted to play with it.

Make a decision

Back home this experience got me thinking. I looked around in the shack and I saw all the great radio’s I purchased in the last years. I owned a Elecraft K1. Never use it much. The idea was to go outside to the nearby nature parks and do some morse code. Together with the BuddiPole. But there is so less time to spend on radio, I never got to go out. I owned a TM-D710 in the shack. Great rig! But I’m really not that much of an VHF/UHF-guy. Local repeaters tire me more and more. APRS is fun but then again, I hardly ever use it.

Kenwood TH-D72

My kind of new Kenwood TH-D72 I use daily when riding my bike to work. It has been fun for a year. But the local repeater got so busy, I lost interest. I got a great HF rig, the Kenwood TS-590. For years my solid work horse. But for some reason it doesn’t get me excited anymore. It’s a great rig, don’t get me wrong. But I think I like something new.

And action!

A little voice in my ear whispered: why not selling everything? Leave the old, embrace the new! Sounds like a plan! Spring cleaning came early this year.
Thursday afternoon I photographed every item and put it on a Dutch eBay for sale. It rained e-mails and phone calls! Friday (a day later) I sold everything! Everything except the good old 590. I got a few potential buyers who come take a look next week. I think it won’t be long before it is sold too.
In the meantime my order for the IC-7300 is out. Of course placed at the Hamshop. Not yet available yet, but first shipment arriving the Netherlands is expected next week (around the 29th). I’m really excited. Fun in the hobby again!