My Icom IC-V8000

The Icom IC-V8000 is a powerhouse. This 2 meter FM mobile features high power output coupled with a rugged die-cast design and an easy-to-read alphanumeric display. You can even change the display from amber to green. The transmitter delivers a big 75 watts of output (75/25/10/5 watts selectable). You will be kept informed of weather emergencies with the Weather Alert and Weather Channel Scan features [USA version only]. The fully customizable memory system is awesome. A total of 207 channels (in ten banks) are supported (including 1 call channel and 6 scan edge channels). Each memory is alphanumeric and stores a 6 character name, tone frequency, skip info and more! The V8000 supports three types of scanning. Buy a V8000 on Amazon

ICOM IC-V8000 -View from behindDescription: 2 meter FM mobile radio
75 Watts output power
RX: 136 – 174 MHz
Wide/narrow operation
Front firing speaker
Cooling fan
Dual color display
Auto repeater offset
CTCSS Encode
CTCSS Decode
CTCSS Tone scan
DCS Encode
DCS Decode
DCS Code scan
DTMF Encode
DTMF Decode (optional)
DTMF Code squelch
Dynamic Memory Scan
Weather channels
Weather alert
Weather scan
207 Memory channels (3 scan edges)
Call channel
6 Character alphanumeric display
PC programmable
Radio – radio cloning
Programmable keys
RF Attenuator
Channelized operation
Alpha only operation
Buy a V8000 on Amazon

LightSquared gets satellite waiver…Really?

The marginally insane plan for a US-spanning mobile network using frequencies reserved for satellite is looking more likely, thanks to an FCC decision that handsets won’t have to be satellite-capable.

Earlier this month the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) requested clarification in the rules, which demand that equipment supplied by LightSquared is satellite-capable but are less clear if the same obligation applies to its resellers. Now the FCC has decreed that it doesn’t, making LightSquared a satellite operator in name only despite the fact that it has (and is required to have) an operational satellite.

That’s important, because if LightSquared is going to make back the $7bn it plans to spend building the national network it’s going to have to find new customers for its connectivity. These will come in the shape of companies supplying set-top boxes, washing machines, games consoles and the like, which might not be happy sporting a satellite dish on top.

But the radio frequencies LightSquared is using are supposed to be reserved for satellite communications, which is how the company bought them on the cheap. Competitors were hoping that requiring every device connected to the LightSquared network to be satellite capable would drive up the price, to their advantage, but it seems that won’t be happening.

Even if the devices had been satellite-capable, LightSquared wasn’t planning on carrying more than 0.0005 per cent of the traffic via its bird, so arguments that removing the requirement will lead to increased interference are facetious at best, though that didn’t stop the NTIA making them.

LightSquared will have to undertake some work to ensure that it’s not going to interfere with the low-power GPS signals, but that’s nothing compared to the problems it faces raising the $7bn it needs to build network on the ground. It’s also unlikely the other operators are going to sit back and let this lie when they’ve spent so much money on radio spectrum on the basis that it isn’t encumbered by any satellite requirement.

It’s possible to imagine a similar scenario in Europe, but the task would be complicated by the lack of cross-Europe regulatory body – a satellite operator would need to get a similar waiver for every country, and the UK’s regulator Ofcom has made it clear it won’t be allowing this kind of behaviour.

Read the rest of this great story here

Icom IC-910H VHF/UHF multimode transceiver

Icom IC-910H VHF/UHF multimode transceiver
Can I just say ARGGGGGG!
important note: this model is being replaced by the IC-9100 HF/UHF/VHF/1.2 all mode, as soon as the FCC approves the ic9100, the shack will grow.

Back to the IC-910h, I want one of these so bad and everytime I get close something happens and the deal falls to the ground or the person “sold it to somebody else”. I love working satellites and this is a few years old but is a solid rig. It has the standard features of a good satellite base station. The multi-mode capability take the transceiver from being average to being top-notch! Yet it still eludes me. For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about…

Icom IC-910H front panelIcom IC-910H VHF/UHF multimode transceiver
Icom IC-910H 2-meter & 70 cm multimode transceiver. The most versatile and feature-packed multimode VHF/UHF radio on the market. Great for terrestrial, satellite, and EME (moonbounce).

  • All Mode FM/SSB/CW
  • 100 Watt VHF / 75 Watt UHF
  • Continuously Variable Output
  • PC Controllable
  • Easy to use Soft Key Menus
  • Simultaneously Works Two Bands
  • Four Scanning Functions
  • CTCSS Encode/Decode Tone Scan
  • Built-in CW Keyer
  • Two packet data sockets

The Icom IC-910H VHF/UHF has newly designed power amplifier circuits that provide 100Watts of stable output power on the 2 Metre band, 75Watts on 70cms and 10 Watts on 23cms. Couple this with dual, high sensitivity DSP compatible receivers, weak signal DX and satellite communications are second to none. The aluminium die cast chassis and effective cooling fan ensures stable output for continuous operation.

Packet operation continues to be easy. The IC-910H provides two data sockets for simultaneous packet operation on the main and sub band. High-speed PLL lockup times support 9600 bps packet protocol.

These incredible features don’t come at the expense of size. Measuring just 24x9x24cm and weighing only 4.5kg, the IC-910H is ideal for contest or field-day operations that require a top notch, all mode VHF/UHF transceiver. The large, easy to read LCD display and 10-key entry pad, ensure direct frequency or memory channel control has never been easier.

Add to this a multitude of features, such as speech compressor, VOX, electronic keyer, CTCSS encoder, variable power output, frequency tracking for satellite UP/DOWN link, 99 memory channels, then you have a versatile set which is perfect for anyone interested in any aspect of VHF/UHF/SHF operation… Can’t wait to get an IC-910h to play with…

Icom IC-910H VHF/UHF – Icom IC-910H VHF/UHF multimode transceiver

Don’t forget to check out the IC-9100!

How old is my IFR am/fm-1200

So you have an IFR 1200, 1200A or 1200S? Do you want to know how old or more about it?

Many people want to learn more about the history of the technology they are using. The IFR 500’s and 1200’s have a unique and fun history. Almost all of the history is trackable via the serial number. I will mention several serial numbers in this section and although I should be pretty accurate, I have not cross-referenced this with IFR. As I recall, IFR would select a few units for example SN 5010 to have an upgrade yet SN 5011 – 5022 would not (???). In other words, not everything was uniform.

Here’s a little history of the IFR 500’s & 1200’s. What you need to remember is that the RF block diagrams for the 1200 and 500 are identical, hence, many modules are interchangeable between the 2 units. The IFR am/fm-1200 was in production for approximately 20 years, and an assortment of upgrades were made during that time. The basic “keel” was designed by Harold Silem who died shortly after early production. In the Early 80’s IFR launched the basic 500 and the basic 1200 with Spectrum Analyzer; both with serial numbers starting from (SN)1000. The IFR am/fm-1200A non-Spectrum box started at SN 1000 also. I would guess that there are 25,000 of these units on the planet (possibly more).

If you own a 1200 or 500, you may have the best product IFR has ever produced. They are reliable, very well-engineered and for the most part, almost all failures can be repaired. My only fear is that I am going to have a CRT failure, even though they are durable, and very few failures occur with the CRT (not the scope modules), getting a replacement is because of price and availability. Other than that either box is awesome! People ask me “were there any bad years?” and the answer is NO! Every 500 or 1200 was at the least “good”. Now you might want to take into consideration that they had 20 years to make improvements. So, if you own a 500 with an SN of 5000 or above, or a 1200S with an SN of 10000 or above, it should have had all the bugs or minor flaws eliminated and you have a field tested box for well over 10 years. Obviously, I would prefer to have a 1200 Super S. If you are fortunate to find one at a decent price, BUY IT!. Otherwise, we have to deal with the older units which are great but may have some minor hitches.

On this site you might find the term “Blue PC boards”. These boards were a nightmare. Any excess heat can destroy a pad and possibly ruin the entire board. The very early sets had almost all blue fiberglass boards in them especially the SN 1000 & 2000’s. I was able to pick up an old junk 1200 of this vintage with all of the blue pc boards in top shape. I now use it practically all the time. My point here is, BE CAREFUL WHEN WORKING ON THESE BOARDS!, they are easily damaged. As far as I know the older power supply (SN 4490 and below) are no longer being serviced at the factory. They will only sell you a new style. I will still work on these old power supplies, but they creat noise and cause a 45khz spike noticeable on the Spectrum Analyzer. The new power supplies addressed this snag. A new power supply is very $$$ and the old ones are still okay as long as all the modifications are done on them.

Kenwood TS-520

Kenwood TS-520 front

Kenwood TS-520
SSB transceiver

I own this one and have enjoyed many hours of listening to this hybrid tube/solid state transceiver.  I have an astatic d-104 microphone and although I don’t transmit on it, I had a person transmit on it and they got great voice reports.

The TS-520 is the grandfather of the Kenwood hybrid line, and it was the most advanced transceiver of its day. 35 years later it still holds its own since it has the features most demanded by serious amateurs: 100 watts output for CW with a bit more for SSB; a very stable VFO or selectable fixed frequency crystals; an analog frequency dial accurate to 1 kHz in conjunction with a 25 kHz crystal calibrator; receiver incremental tuning useful in receiving a station slightly off frequency; an effective impulse-noise blanker; and VOX with semi-break-in CW. While the SSB crystal filter is satisfactory for CW operation, an optional 500 Hz wide crystal filter can be installed for excellent CW selectivity. Provision is made for installing a kit to drive Kenwood’s external DG-5 digital frequency display. The combination of solid state and vacuum tube technologies provides an architecture best described as simple but elegant, and it produces the fine audio quality for which the Kenwood hybrids are noted. It is easy to operate, and tuning the power output stage when changing bands can be accomplished in half a minute or less. Frequently used functions are readily accessible from the front panel. It can be powered by 120 or 240 Volt AC mains as well as 13.8 Volts DC, which makes it ideal for mobile, portable and emergency use.

VX-7R-Yaesu amateur walkie talkie mods and info

Yaesu VX-7R

Quick hints…
F + pwron = clone
4 + band + vm + pwron (then F) = reset
band + vm + pwron (then F) = set mode reset
vm + pwron = display test (turn knob)
band + pwron = toggle between “normal” mode & “memory only” mode
internet + pwron = unknown toggle that displays a “U” on the upper left of the power-on splash screen
monf + hmrv + internet key + pwron = seems to be an undocumented way to enter reset mode

VX7R jumper settings-found behind battery (behind plastic cover under battery)
Jumper 1,2,3,4,6,7,8 unset + Jumper 5 set = TX/RX only in US ham bands
all Jumpers unset = Euro freeband mode
all Jumpers unset except for 3 = Euro freeband mode
Jumpers 2,4,5,7 set = Euro stock mode (50-52mhz rx, 144-146 tx/rx, 430-440 tx/rx)

Yaesu VX-7R alignment

Alignment:For this to work, power up the radio. After its powered up hold down the “Main” key so it shows just
the VHF VFO on the display. This will not work if both VFO’s are showing on the display !

Once this is done, power down the radio, then:
Hold down MONI/F + INTERNET + 0 then press the power button.
V/M to change
Press MONI/F to select power & deviation levels for low-end and high-end of the band
Pres F HM/RV to save changes and exit

Default values:               50   52   54  144  145  148  220  222  225  430  435  440

PLL REF                                                          123
HIS SQL               0              0              0              0
THLD SQL            170            172            172            160
TIGH SQL            108            138            138             78
S1 LEVEL (NFM)       36             32             32             50
S9 LEVEL (NFM)       72             68             68             84
S1 LEVEL (WFM)       60             58             58             72
S9 LEVEL (WFM)       82             80             80             94
HI POWER       147       145  145       147  145       147  203       206
L3 POWER       113       112  114       116  114       116  154       155
L2 POWER        82        83   88        89   72        72  113       113
L1 POWER        52        52   56        56   57        59   59        60
MAX DEV        113       113   81        72   41        37   41        38
TN 67.0         45        54   57        56   10        12   89        88
TN 123.0                                                     40        47
TN 151.4                       16        16   19        19
TN 167.9        11        16
TN 254.1         8        11   13        14   22        22   22        19
DCS DEV         40        29   12        11   11        10    6         5
LCD TC V                   2              2         2                   2
LCD IREG                   4              4         4                   4

Deviation settings 

MAX DEV (6m): 81=3.5kc  100=4kc  105=4.5kc
MAX DEV (2m): 81=4.5kc
MAX DEV (220): 39=4kc  42=3.5kc  45=4.2kc  46=4.3kc  47=4.5kc
MAX DEV (440): 38=3.5kc  50=5kc  47=4.2kc  49=4.5kc


IC-9100 Front panelIcom IC-9100
Features that make most hams smile with delight. I will be adding one to my shack if possible! (they are not for sale yet, FCC thing). This really is an impressive and feature rich radio.  I can not wait to see one in action!

Multiple-band, multiple-mode
HF to 1200MHz Mutli-band in one transceiver
The IC-9100 fully covers the HF/50, 144, 430/440 amateur bands in multiple modes. By installing the optional UX-9100 1200MHz band unit, you can be operational on the 1200MHz band immediately.

Independent dual receivers
The IC-9100 has two independent receivers in one radio and receives two different bands simultaneously. In addition, the main and sub-band audio can be controlled with independent volume and squelch knobs, and received audio can be heard separately when external speakers are connected.

Satellite mode operation
The satellite mode synchronizes the uplink (transmitting) and downlink (receiving) frequencies, and tracks the frequencies in the same tuning step. This function matches both normal and reverse mode satellites. Compensation of the Doppler effect can be performed easily. 20 alphanumeric satellite memory channels store frequencies, mode and tone settings for quick set-up.

■Built-in voice synthesizer announces operating frequency, mode and S-meter level
■User programmable band edge beep (can be disabled)
■VSC (Voice Squelch Control) function
■AFC function (FM/DV mode)
■RF speech compressor
■Microphone equalizer and adjustable transmit bandwidth
■Two preamplifier types for HF/50MHz bands: Preamp 1: Increases low level signal improving intermodulation characteristics, Preamp 2: High gain preamplifier
■20dB built-in attenuator
■CTCSS and DTCS tone encoder and decoderic-9100 bandscope
■Triple band stacking register
■Quick split function and frequency lock function
■RIT and ΔTx variable up to ±9.999kHz
■Audio equalizer function
■SSB/CW synchronous tuning automatically shifts the carrier point when switching between CW and LSB/USB modes
■1Hz pitch tuning and display
■Program scan, memory scan, select memory scan, mode select scan and Δf scan
■Automatic tuning steps
■9600bps data socket
■AH-4 control circuit
■Automatic repeater function* and one-touch repeater function.
ic-9100 satellite mode display

ic-9100 rear panel


Icom ic-v8000I use this radio on a daily basis… It really puts out the watts when your in a hole… Hit high power and hole no more!  It is a strong addition to my mobile arsenal for keeping in touch! Check out some of the key features that sold me on the Icom ic-V8000.

75W of output power
The combination of Icom’s one piece, die-cast aluminum chassis and 75W of transmit power gives you the most powerful 2m mobile transceiver in its class! Your communications will get through.

HM-133V, remote control microphone
The backlit HM-133V*, gives you control of your IC-V8000 in the palm of your hand. The Icom exclusive “Hot keys” (F1/F2) memorize the transceiver full settings. As if switching between two separate radios, all operating frequencies, tone settings as well as the display color, fan speed, and set mode settings are memorized.
* Optional for some versions.

Dynamic Memory Scan (DMS)
With 200 alphanumeric memory channels, Icom’s exclusive DMS system gives you flexibility over your scanning lists never offered before in a 2m mobile, fully customizable into 10 banks.

CTCSS and DTCS operation standard
50 CTCSS and 104×2 DTCS encode/decode plus tone scan functions for various communication applications. The “pocket beep” feature gives you an audible and visual indicator of an incoming call.