All posts by bdonova1

FT8

You might have read about a new digital mode in QST this month.  Apparently it was part of a pre-release version of WSJT-X, but it is already in wide use.  If you saw our program on JT65 last fall, or have used JT65, this is very similar.  In JT65 each exchange is 1 minute, and a full QSO takes 5 minutes.  In FT8, an exchange is 15 seconds, and a QSO takes about 1 minute and 15 seconds or 1 1/2 minutes.

JT65 obviously allows contacts with weaker stations, but FT8 is substantially quicker to complete a QSO.

Because of the minimal time allowed between decoding a transmission a the start of the next one (2 seconds), FT8 usually requires auto-sequencing of the standard exchanges.  This makes the QSO almost automated (except for choosing the station to contact or calling CQ).

This might make FT8 more fun, or less fun, depending on your point-of-view.

If JT65 was boring for you because of the length of each transmission, FT8 is a mode you might want to try.

Search WSJT-X, and download the latest version (currently a version 1.8 Release candidate.  The released version doesn’t have FT8)

XARC Spring 2017 Fox Hunt Results

The XRX Amateur Radio held our spring Fox Hunt on Saturday May 17th.  The skies looked as if it might rain at any minute, but only a couple of short sprinkles were felt.  Five teams took part in the hunt, with the only solo effort this time being Chris KC2VCK.

Four 2 meter FM transmitters were hidden for this hunt.  Fox #1 was located off a trail in Gosnells Woods near Vosberg Road in West Webster.  It was at the top of a ridge and surrounded by some deep gulleys and ended up being quite a challenge, even for experienced hunters.  Fox #2 was running a bit more power, and was not too far away at Irondequoit Bay Marine Park.  This site was not that difficult, as it was bounded by Irondequoit on one side and a road on the other, but the route coming from the other side of the bay is a bit roundabout.  So to speak.  Fox #3 was on a hill off Orchard Park Blvd in Irondequoit Bay Park West.  Fox #4 was at the southern end of the bay, just a couple hundred yards into Lucien Morin Park, and conveniently located by McGregors.

First place went to the father and son duo of Bill Kurrasch K2WEK and Paul Kurrasch KC2GTO.  2nd place went to Jon Dickason N2JAC and Bob Karz K2OID.  3rd place went to Chris Warner KC2VCK.

Though this hunt ended up being more difficult than anticipated, I think every team found at least one fox, and probably learned what not to do next time!  See you again this autumn.

YouTube Channels for Radio/Electronics Repair

Here are some of my favorite channels:

Mr. Carlson’s Lab

Mr. Carlson is VE7ZWZ.  He has an amazing shop full of test equipment.  It seems like his videos are intended for a wide audience, so depending on your point of view, it may be too basic or too advanced.  But most people will probably learn something.

D-Lab Electronics

Terry Dayton N6TLU specializes in tube equipment, either vintage guitar amplifiers or ham equipment.  Good info on restoring and troubleshooting.

TRX Bench

I’m s sorry I don’t know who this is.  His videos are mostly repair of ham radio gear.  He sounds German, or from that area of Europe.  His English is very good.  The videos are fairly slow paced but quite thorough.  His explanations of his troubleshooting strategies is excellent.

W2AEW

A wide variety of topics.  Repair, tutorials, test equipment.  Some great stuff.

The Radio Shop

Another channel with a bunch of ham radio repair videos.

Uncle Doug

Not really any ham radio content, but vintage electronics stuff. Mostly guitar and audio tube amplifiers.

EEVBlog

Lots of general electronics stuff for a hobbyist.

Fusion Net Mar. 28 8PM

I have schedule another Fusion net on the W2XRX repeater – here is the info:

Fusion Net

Tuesday Mar 28 at 8PM, there will be a Fusion net on the 145.29 W2XRX repeater (Canadice, NY).  The mode will be digital narrow DN.  It will be on Wires-X room #21704.  The purpose will be to discuss Fusion news, equipment, Wires-X, tips, etc.  Check-ins are encouraged from all CNY/WNY Fusion stations.  Initially we would follow-on with a net every 4th Tuesday of the month.  More frequent nets could be added if enough interest.

Yaesu Fusion Radio Comparison

There are often many questions on which radio is best if I want to work Fusion Digital C4FM mode?  It can be a complicated answer, depending on what you might want to do with it.

Disclaimer:  Don’t own or never used an FT2DR, FTM3200D, FT-991.  Only imparting info I have been able to glean from various sources about these radios.

Best to go to Yaesu website and study features in more detail after reading this.

A couple of assumptions:

  • Only comparing C4FM features or related
  • Only concerned with 2m and 440 where Fusion infrastructure might exist (repeaters and Wires-X nodes)
  • The FTM-400XDR is the gold standard – most features
  • Not mentioning basic features found on most FM radios these days
  • DN mode (digital narrow) includes advanced FEC (forward error correction) that increases range usuability

FTM-400XDR

Image result for FTM-400XDR

Street Price – $549 as of 2/2017 (been creeping up)

Yaesu Info Page FTM-400XDR

Key Features
  • 3.5 inch TFT LCD Touch Screen display
  • GPS receiver built-in – Smart Navigation
  • APRS Modem
  • All C4FM modes, DN and VW (digital narrow and voice wide)
  • 2m and 440 bands, 2 VFOs (one digital)
  • Cross-band capable in analog mode
  • 3 watts audio on internal speaker
  • Can be used with camera mic to take and transmit photos
  • Can be used as Wires-X Node radio (not a cost effective option for this)
  • Callsign and  distance information displays during digital QSOs
  • Micro SD card slot
Limitations
  • Only one VFO can be digital (one vocoder chip)
  • Not really a limitation, but display unit does not mount to main unit.  Designed to be separated

FTM-100DR

Street price Feb 2017 – $309

Yaesu Info Page FTM-100DR

Key Features
  • GPS receiver built-in
  • APRS Modem
  • All C4FM modes, DN and VW (digital narrow and voice wide)
  • 2m and 440 bands, only 1 VFO (not as convenient for APRS operation while using radio for listening/communicating)
  • 3 watts audio on internal speaker
  • Can be used as Wires-X Node radio
  • Can control a Wires-X node
  • Callsign and Distance info in digital QSOs
  • Micro SD card slot
Limitations vs. FTM-400XDR
  • Smaller display, no color, no touch screen
  • Menu driven with buttons
  • One VFO

FT-991A

Image result for FT-991 Yaesu

Street Price Feb 2017 – $1390

Yaesu Info Page FT-991A

Key Features

Obviously, not a great comparison, being a full HF radio, but will mention some features and limitations:

  • Covers 2m and 440 with C4FM
  • Wires-X capable (some early models may not, may be available with firmware update, not sure)

FTM-3200DR

Street price Feb. 2017 – $149

Yaesu Info Page FTM-3200

Features/Limitations
  • 2 meters only
  • C4FM DN mode only (not really a problem.  Almost always DN recommended)
  • Can’t control Wires-X nodes via this radio.  Can still operate thru them if connected.
  • Can’t be used as a Wires-X node radio
  • No GPS – no distance during digital QSOs
  • No APRS
  • 3 watts audio
  • 220 memories

FT-2DR

 

Street price Feb 2017 – $359

Yaesu Info Page FT2DR

Key Features
  • Dual Band 2m and 440
  • Micro SD card slot
  • Touch Screen display
  • GPS receiver
  • APRS
  • Wide band receive
  • Band scope
  • 5 watts
  • 700mW audio

FT-1XDR

Street Price Feb 2017 –  $299

Yaesu Website info – FT1XDR

Key Features
  • A Full featured HT – too many to list here
  • Dual Band 2m and 440 – 2 independant receivers
  • Micro SD card slot
  • GPS receiver
  • APRS
  • Wide band receive
  • Does have band scope – (limited display)
  • 5 watts
  • 200/400mW audio
  • Wires-X capable (not as a node)
  • Works with camera mic – can take and xmit photos.  Not view.