TS-590 firmwareThis page triggered me to check if my TS-590 needs a firmware update. In the olden days they use to say: if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it. But nowadays new firmware does not only fix problems/bugs but it also adds new features that was not possible before.
I checked and saw my TS-590 firmware was version 1.07 and the new one is 2.02! Whoops, missed a few releases!
Quickly update it.

According to Kenwood these are the new features:

“TS-590S Ver.2 firmware update” will be released at the end of January 2015.
October 2, 2014
We are to offer some of the new TS-590SG’s functions* to owners of our current TS-590S models via a free firmware download as “TS-590S Ver.2 update”. The updated firmware will be available at the end of January 2015.

The “TS-590S Firmware Updating Program Ver.2.00” can be downloaded from KENWOOD website as well as other current firmware updates. The ARCP-590 and ARHP-590 control programs will also be updated to “Ver.2.00” at the same time.

* The “TS-590S Ver.2 update” revises the functions which can be achieved by updating the TS-590S main CPU firmware. The “TS-590S Ver.2 update” does not include functions involving hardware updates, nor functions involving menu / display items which are controlled by un-updateable front panel CPU.

Main items of the “TS-590S Ver.2 update”.

Frequency setting and display functions.
1) Enables use of the new Split function (TS-990S-style) for quick split operations.
Hold down the [SPLIT] key, and the “SPLIT” indicator blinks. When the [5] key is pressed for instance, the split setting will be completed as “5kHz Up”.
2) Enables the XIT frequency to be set while pressing [TF-SET] key when RIT is OFF in simplex mode.
3) Enables FINE function to be set to ON/OFF in each mode. It may also assist in CW or DATA mode operation.
4) Enables display of the 1Hz frequency digit when the FINE function is turned on below 1MHz (except in transverter mode). It may also assist in 135kHz band opeartion.

RX functions.
1) Enables the status of FIL A/B to be set separately for VFO A/B. This is useful when switching VFO A/B (TX/RX) frequencies for monitoring in split operation.
2) Enables use of the RX ANT in 50MHz band. The status can be set separately in HF and 50MHz band.

TX functions.
1) Enables the setting of RF output power independently in DATA mode. (RF output power in HF SSB-DATA/ FM-DATA, 50M SSB-DATA/ FM-DATA, HF AM-DATA, and 50M AM-DATA can be set independently).
2) Enables setting of the voice message’s PROC level and MIC gain separately from the setting of usual microphone input’s PROC level and MIC gain.
(The optional VGS-1 is required)

General functions
1) Enables setting the RX equalizer / TX equalizer in each mode.
2) Enables deleting CW message memories by each memory channel.

Voice guide functions (The optional VGS-1 is required)
1) Enables announcement of the type of the transmission meter.
2) Enables announcement of the DRV OUT function ON / OFF status.
3) Enables announcement of the RIT/XIT frequency.

PC commands
1) Enables reading the status of the VGS-1 (if installed in the TS-590S).
2) Enables back up of the status of the AI function ON/OFF.
3) Enables deleting Voice messages from a PC.
(Details of the above-mentioned PC commands are described in the revised “PC command list”)

475kHz band*
1) Revises the band memory [GENE] 2nd setting to 472kHz / CW.
2) Enables output of the 475kHz band (472~479kHz) signal from the rear panel DRV (drive output) connector as well as 135kHz band.(1mW approx.)

* Regarding the TS-990S and the TS-590SG, the 475kHz band drive output will be also available from the next firmware updates which are released at the same time with the TS-590S Ver.2 update.

aprs.fiOne of my club-members, Peter PA3PM, showed me a new cool app a few weeks ago; from aprs.fi! A simple sleek app with all the functionality in it that you want from an APRS-app. Really cool!
I searched in the AppStore but no luck. A quick mail to Peter learned me it was still a beta-phase and you needed to be a tester to get the app. I mailed APRS.fi to volunteer but Heikki let me know the app was almost live anyway.
So a few days later I tried to install it on my iPhone 4S with iOS7. No luck again. It needs at least iOS8.0.
I forgot about it for a week or so when I realized I could try to install it on my iPod with iOS9! No problem! It installed in a bit and I was able to play with it.
The next day I picked up my iPhone and to my surprise the aprs.fi-app was on my iPhone too! Apparently the iOS/iCloud-functionality to synchronize apps between devices took care for the installation of the app on my iOS7-device even when it’s not coded for. Even more surprisingly the app runs without any problems on my iPhone.
At least I got bang for my buck on both my iOS-devices!

APRS operatorBob, WB4APR, the creator of APRS (Automatic Packet Reporting System) introduced the term: APRS operator. He wrote about it here. It really gets me thinking about the possibilities of APRS besides position reporting.
As Bob writes: “A perfect example of an APRS operator data
entry station is a home station where a volunteer can serve this
“back room” function. Without even leaving his room, he can
tune to the nets in progress, listen for every tid-bit of information
that is appearing on the nets, and then enter that onto his display
that everyone then at the EOC can see.”

I can see how that works. It would be handy if you’re able to see were accidents happened for instance. These often cause a lot of congestion. Wouldn’t it be handy to follow a Twitter-feed from, let’s say, your local emergency department and somehow reroute accidents from the feed to APRS as (temporary) objects. If that can be done via a script, it wouldn’t even need manual operations. I don’t think that’s the only useful application but maybe it should be one of the tools a APRS operator should have.
The Netherlands is a very small country in comparison with other countries around the world. So APRS is a bit less useful here then in remote area’s. When you want to plot everything that’s happening in The Netherlands on an APRS map, it wouldn’t be readable anymore. If all mobile stations are plotted as well (and they are) it would be one big mush. So we have to be a little selective what to forward and what not.
At the other hand, now there isn’t much dynamic information on the Dutch APRS map besides mobile stations, weather stations and ships. A little more useful information wouldn’t hurt.

If I can find some time, maybe I dive into this aspect of APRS. Maybe I can be a good APRS operator. Would be nice to set up a group of APRS operators and bring APRS more up to it’s potential (at least here in The Netherlands).