Tag Archives: radioamateur

Here we go again – Sainsonic AP610 APRS microphone with a twist

 

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Sainsonic was kind to ask me to review their newest APRS product.  A mic with integrated TNC, GPS and BT.   In China this device is also known as AVRT8, which has been on the market for a while but not in EU/US.  This is my short review about the mic (first thoughts) and I will update it along the way I get more experience with it and also from the feedback of you people who read this blog. So feel free to participate and ask some questions. We got an open line to Sainsonic and from my opinion they are quite helpful people. 

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Okay, back to microphone itself. Sample kit is packet with:

– mic
– prolific-chip based usb programming and charger cable

I must assume that the instruction sheet/manual booklet comes with the actual package.
 

Mic specs:

– compatible with baofeng uv5r, prob also with wouxun and kenwood handhelds with the right connector
– internal tnc based on avrt8
– internal gps
– battery for the tnc/gps (charged via usb-port on bottom)

Mic opened. Picture is from the yo27.com forum:

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To get this unit working you need to do few basic steps:
– programming via avrt8 config application which  is pretty straightforward once you get it working)
– configuring your basic data: callsign, beacon value, status etc.
– starting to use the mic either with HT only or with HT and iphone/android via BT-TNC interface
 

Ive had now one week of fun with this device and here is the pros/cons:

– application (as many Chinese based) need work to do before you get it working, for example on this case you need from two to four .dll downloaded separately before the configuration app can start working. This is something that Chinese vendors should already to do better.
– atleast on sample kit USB-port is not protected at all
– there is no indication how big is the internal battery or how long it will hold its charge
+ huge fun factor with this one, just add any* (*baofeng, wouxun) with right connector to your handheld and you have a 5W tracker for bike, hike etc!
+ price is okay
+ sainsonic support is better than the original developers 

 

I will continue to update this post along the summer, so stay tuned! 

 

 

URL and screenshots for the software:

http://www.sainsonic.com/sainsonic-ap610-bluetooth-talk-speaker-black.html

Radio 

 

Good Moooorning Chiiina! TYT UVF-9

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Testing my new blog-app and best way to start is with this cool TYT UVF-9 review :–) I have been testing various of chinese handhelds (vhf/uhf single/dual) in past few years since I got my radioamateur licence and today I am positively suprised for the TYT handheld im holding in my hands.

Handheld itself feels nice, sturdy and finished feeling. One thing what is missing is again the real SQUELCH control as in all chinese

handhelds, so it is done via software. Both receive and transmit audio seem to be very nice. Menus are logical and I was quite fast familiar with the whole setup. TYT’s antenna could be a bit better but you can always replace it with “rat-tail antenna” as nagoya-701. First thing which made me to order this radio was the nice screen and sturdy look (hey im fan of rugged-rigs and ht’s) hi. There is thought ofcourse some negative parts also to be noted: ht seems to pick up rf quite easily, so proper shielding of internal components feels a bit unfinished. I have two examples allready: driving around a car and ht picks up noise, also walking around the neighbourhood and it does the same @certain places.. actually this was inspected further on next day and radio is just so sensitive on RX!. Radio also has 2x 128memories (for both banks) and this is COOL feature among the nice screen too 🙂 I like to use my handheld for RX (scanner like) so the banks were filled up quite fast, too bad it misses AM-mode so no air traffic for me.

 

Here is tech details from http://tyt888.com manufactures site:

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Here is some pictures about the HT, and programming software (best ive met on baofeng/quansheng/tyt/wouxun):

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Cons and pros for the end:

look/feel ++++

working menu/programming software++++

 

73 de OH2FXD/TYT

 

XT60 – To Connect Or Not?

From time to time  on the fields of radio-amateurs you heard about discussions about banana connectors vs powerpole connectors and both parties tend to prove their views to be better than other. I have myself  been using banana connectors as the overprize of powerpole has been too much for me. Also as mostly being a QRP or 100W user bananas (also the eatable) were more than OK. Until now! Happily Im still among friends, and few of those are rc-hobbyists. Slowly they are brainwashing me to the RC-world and while stumbling as a rookie, there is alot of good stuff you can and should use on the HAM side too :–). XT60 connector is the one which im propably at first going to use on my field installations. Here is a short description of the connector and url to sparkfun as the image and description is from their website.

https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10474

and here is where I bought mine!

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=9572&aff=913086

Be extra caution where do you buy the connectors, some sites do sell cheap copies which are not filling the requirements. I have myself using lately http://www.hobbyking.com and price per one pair was about 0.64eur (including postal fees).

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73 de OH2FXD & keep the bands sane!
 

Building a HAM-DRONE

HAM-DRONE v 0.1x

Mission:  Listen, Transmit and Inspect

Target: Sky, alt. max 150m

Estimate time of finished project :  03/2013

IDEA: To be used for inspecting antennas, longwire tests, analyzers.

Codename: He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and You-Know-Who

Parts: (mainly thanks to HobbyKing!)

Flight Controller: Crius All In One Pro V1.0 ebay

Servos: 4* pcs  NTM 2826 1200kv http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=17345&aff=913086

Servo fitting kits: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=16719&aff=913086

Propellers: 8x4R http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=11331&aff=913086

Frame: x666 http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=24227&aff=913086

Transmitter: Spektrum DX7 used

Receiver: AR7000 used

Turnigy Accucel-6 Charger:  http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=7028&aff=913086

Battery: 2x 5000mah turnigy 4S http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=9277&aff=913086

ESC: Turnigy plush 30A: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=9277&aff=913086

ESC: turnigy programming card: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=2169&aff=913086

GPS: Crius CN-06  ebay

12 in 1usb simulator dongle ebay

gopro craddle: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=27153&aff=913086

servos for craddle: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=9392&aff=913086

xt60 connectors: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=9572&aff=913086

xt60 harness: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=10265&aff=913086

polymax connectors: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=68&aff=913086

5V UBEC: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=16663&aff=913086

Software:

MegaPirateNG

Arduino

Mission Planner

Simulator software ie. Phoenix

Notes:

D2-D13 = motor connections

AR7K need to be on 90degree angle

Links:

MegapirateNG+Crius programming: http://www.multi-rotor.co.uk/index.php?topic=380.0

DX7 spesific: http://diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/setting-up-6-different-flight-modes-on-a-spektrum-dx7-using-just

Pictures:

Flight control parts and the x666 frame.

Unpacked

More part pictures.

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Installing the “bed” for the Crius All In One flight Controller

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FC installed.   

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Prepping up the frame and LG (landing gear)         

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Side of the LG’s   

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LG  

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LG installed.          

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Frame built, thought missing few aluminium spacers, so res of the LG’s will be connected later.        

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Crius All In One       

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He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and You-Know-Who is Alive!      

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Starting up Mission Planner after succesfull flash of the MegaPirateNG.

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OK ready to go.. wait! wheres the motors          

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 DX7 controller arrived and some extra items hooray!

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 Landing Gear finished with some homebrew components :–) (bolts and plastic tubes)          

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Crius ALL-IN-ONE V1.0 in all its might!

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Wiring the Crius CN-06 V2.0 GPS module:

GPS-module has 4pin (black/gnd, green/rx/, yellow/tx, red/vcc)

USE i2c port to get power (pin3/5V, pin4/gnd)

USE Serial Port to get TX/RX for GPS (pin3/tx2 –> wire green/RX, pin4/rx2 –> wire yellow/TX from gps-module)

Here is some pictures with the gps-module +installation:

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GPS is on, but no fix yet! Will test it outside tomorrow

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UPDATE: And we have the FIX! 🙂

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Jewellery Box case mod for GPS

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Madlab Industries protective casing is way over COOL aspect!

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battery installed + voltage buzzers ! 🙂

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Got today the PWR wired up and messed up with the receiver! 🙂 It starts to look like insect!

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To be continued.. 73 de OH2FXD/QUAD

Yaesu FT-250e – Its Rugged Baby!

Some weird radio-bug bit me on the last Field Day event and I was destined to get me a new VHF handheld.  My ham radio friend Harri (OH7HL) had Yaesu VX-150 (premodel of FT-250e) and instantly when I got home I started to look same kind of rugged and simplified radio. To my luck Yaesu had pushed in the market newer model which had a bit stronger audio output and added some features related to memory banks. I was ofcourse straight away hooking it up to the computer to notice only software available is something you pay for.  Earlier paying for ft-60, ft-817nd, ft-270 software from same coder I decided that I wont waste my bucks for piece of software and try to do it old way and manual program I did.  Took me up 2 minutes to configure handheld memory banks with simplex and repeater information, naming them would take a bit longer hi.

Here is some info I leeched on Yaesu’s webpage:

– 0.5/2/5W VHF handheld
– 1400 mAh battery
– 700mW of Loud Audio
– Wide/Narrow selection
– Nine DTMF Auto-dialer memories
– Two Front Panel programmable keys
– RF Squelch
– Battery Voltage Display
– TX Deviation Level (5 kHz or 2.5 kHz)
– Transmit Time-out Timer and Automatic Power-Off
– AR- Water resistant case construction
– Automatic Repeater Shift
– Memory-Only operating
– Scanning Mode: VFO / Memory / PMS / Dual Watch
– Busy Channel Lock-out
– ARTS (Auto-range Transponding System)

For short review this is very nice one band handheld to own if you like simple, made to last type design. One thing I would myself do a bit better is the back light on the screen, it is very very dim. Maybe future brings some modification suggestions who knows hi.

More info found on Yaesu’s site:

http://www.yaesu.com/indexVS.cfm?cmd=DisplayProducts&ProdCatID=111&encProdID=13A355C2DE175553305DE961A0A053DD&DivisionID=65&isArchived=0

73 de OH2FXD

First impressions of the Kenwood TM-281

 

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Kenwood TM-281

Kenwood’s small mobile rig is packed with some nice features including:

  • Frequency Coverage: 144-146 MHz TX, 136-174 MHz RX
    201 Memories (100 with alpha-tagging)
    25/65 Watts RF Output
    High-Quality Front Mounted Loudspeaker
    Built-In CTCSS/DCS Encoder/Decoder
    Rugged, Compact Design to MIL-STD 810G

Rig needs 14A on High Power and 8A on Low Power. RX Drain is near 1A. 

Dimensions:  160 mm (W) x 43 mm (H) x 126 mm (D) – excluding projections

After the necessary (need to know) information lets move for the first impressions and the usability of the rig.  After unpacking the rig first I noticed the N-connector behind the radio.. okay this wouldn’t be a problem as everyone have N to UHF adapters @home right?  So for me the N-connector was not an issue, but for some people it may come as a surprise. Wish every connector would be at least N.. hi.   Mounting the rig under my desk was easy and fast, no extra bolts or anything which required rocket science engineer to finish these tasks. It took about ten (10) minutes to get on air after the package was opened on my desk. 

After the mounting it was time to power up this beauty. Firstly I noticed the very clear RX Audio which was very pleasant to listen to (no need for external speakers) Also the position of the speaker (front) would make this rig nice to install on in example  DIN-spot @mobile installations. Next step I noticed (well actually I heard from fellow HAM) was the TX audio which he gave thumbs up. “very clear Mikko, 59”.  After some ragchewing I was running around opening the repeaters and going through of various of the menu-items.

For the first impression only cons I’ve found (depends do you get used to it or not) was that Squelch was behind Function+Rev button and changeable only via software menu. Actually Squelch seemed working quite well on level one but time will tell.. also stuff like “Smartsearch” on Yaesu was not found on Kenwood.

Last time when I blogged about Yaesu FT-1900 I went through programming rig manually fully but this time I ordered programming cable separately. I will update this blog entry after I have received the cable and dwelled into the abyss of programming this tiny monster.

Few links:

More talk about TM-281: http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/9994

Manual: http://www.kenwoodusa.com/UserFiles/File/UnitedStates/Communications/AMA/Manuals/TM-281A_Manual.pdf

 

UPDATE:

I promised to get back within the blog after I tested the software programming on this tiny rig. Software itself is called MCP-1A and it is made by Kenwood.  It only works under Windows (slight maybe for virtual or wine) and to make things easier I honestely suggest you run it on native WinOS. Cable is either easy to make yourself (rs232 +usb adapter maybe) or you buy one, I chose the later. First starting the MCP-1A you notice big difference compared to made in china software for rigs like baofeng and wouxun. Program is stable, rather fast and it didnt die while configuring the rig. Programming is very clear and you are up and running in 5-10 minutes. I used kind of same idea for programming as with Yaesu’s ft-1900 and filled banks with HAM simplex, repeaters and then some stations for pure RX enjoyment.  You can get more information on the links below, I hope you good times with tm-281!

http://www.kenwood.com/i/products/info/amateur/mcp1a_e.html

 

UPDATE: after succesfully running this for some time im having some problems with the factory made mic. Problem is related to TX which for some reason is not activating at all the time. Seems I am forced to get me a new mic.

 

 

Keep the bands safe!

73 de OH2FXD