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.

Radio manufacturer ICOM partnership with Marine Rescue Narooma

ICOM, the manufacturer of marine radios and other electronic safety equipment, has provided two radios on loan to the Narooma division of Marine Rescue NSW.
The radios are for the boating public to experience hands-on training to see the full benefits of Digital Select Calling (DSC) and distress and safety features of these radios.

Special project officer with the Narooma division Ian Noormets said the radios had been modified by technical staff at ICOM Australia to stop any distress messages being generated by the public during training thus avoiding alarming rescue authorities.

“ICOM Australia has gone out of their way to assist the Narooma Division and we appreciate their efforts,” Mr Noormets said.

A free seminar to the public will be held at the Narooma Sports and Service Club in the downstairs conference room on January 10-11 from 7.45pm to 9.45pm.

“So if you miss one night you can catch it on the other night.”

IFR am/fm-1200 – Service communications monitor

IFR FM/AM-1200 Communications Monitor
This is the monitor I have used at a radio shop I used to work. We used it to align/fix all the city and county police car radios. Mainly Motorola trunking XTR mobiles and handhelds.  I now own one of these devices but am in the process of fixing/restoring  it back to fully fuctional status.  See the fixing the ifr am/fm-1200 page.  With the battery option I can take this outside and use it to listen to satellites since the sensitivity is so high! The battery will also make it possible for me to work on the remote solar powered data links that are now so prevelant in the middle of nowhere. More great uses for the ifr am/fm-1200 service communications monitor.

More about the device….
The Aeroflex/IFR FM/AM 1200 is a microprocessor controlled, digitally synthesized communication service monitor, which integrates the functions of several different test instruments into a single, compact and portable unit that can be powered on AC, DC or battery.  The FM/AM 1200 used in a wide range of communication test functions associated with most types of simplex and duplex transceivers equipment, including cell phone systems, AM/FM/SSB transceivers, CB satellite  and two-way radio systems along with two-way radio repeaters.

FM signal generator
AM signal generator
RF Frequency Range: 250kHz to 1GHz
2µV receiver for AM, FM and SSB
RF frequency error meter with 1 Hz resolution
Audio frequency error meter with 0.1 Hz resolution
Deviation/modulation meter
Duplex generator
RF wattmeter – fully protected generator output to 150 watts
Relative signal strength meter
SINAD/distortion meter
Audio function generator with DCS (Digital Coded Squelch) encode and decode
1 kHz audio generator
Spectrum analyzer

two way walkie talkie

two way walkie talkie

So commonplace today that a two way walkie talkie has lost its magic. Imagine the first time someone saw a walkie talkie work.
“hey, check this out, I can talk to you without standing next to you”
“no way”
“With this thingy I can be a walkin and talkin while you are walkin and talkin…”

And so it began, walkie talkies have become a mainstay in every aspect of modern society from safety to business to just some family fun… they are now everywhere…
What is a walkie talkie?
A walkie-talkie (more formally known as a handheld transceiver) is a hand-held, portable, two-way radio transceiver. Its development during the Second World War has been variously credited to Donald L. Hings, radio engineer Alfred J. Gross, and engineering teams at Motorola. Similar designs were created for other armed forces, and after the war, walkie-talkies spread to public safety and eventually commercial and jobsite work. Major characteristics include a half-duplex channel (only one radio transmits at a time, though any number can listen) and a “push-to-talk” (PTT) switch that starts transmission. Typical walkie-talkies resemble a telephone handset, possibly slightly larger but still a single unit, with an antenna sticking out of the top. Where a phone’s earpiece is only loud enough to be heard by the user, a walkie-talkie’s built-in speaker can be heard by the user and those in the user’s immediate vicinity. Hand-held transceivers may be used to communicate between each other, or to vehicle-mounted or base stations.

Walkie-talkies are widely used in any setting where portable radio communications are necessary, including business, public safety, military, outdoor recreation, and the like, and devices are available at numerous price points from inexpensive analog units sold as toys up to ruggedized (i.e. waterproof or intrinsically safe) analog and digital units for use on boats or in heavy industry. Most countries, at the very least, will allow the sale of walkie-talkies for business, marine communications, and some personal uses such as CB radio, as well as amateur radio designs. Walkie-talkies, thanks to increasing use of miniaturized electronics, can be made very small, with some personal two-way UHF radio models being smaller than a deck of cards (though VHF and HF units can be substantially larger due to the need for larger antennas and battery packs). In addition, as costs come down, it is possible to add advanced squelch capabilities such as CTCSS (analog squelch) and DCS (digital squelch) (often marketed as “privacy codes) to inexpensive radios, as well as voice scrambling and trunking capabilities. Some units (especially amateur HTs) also include DTMF keypads for remote operation of various devices such as repeaters. Some models include VOX capability for hands-free operation, as well as the ability to attach external microphones and speakers.

Consumer and commercial equipment differ in a number of ways; commercial gear is generally ruggedized, with metal cases, and often has only a few specific frequencies programmed into it (often, though not always, with a computer or other outside programming device; older units can simply swap crystals), since a given business or public safety agent must often abide by a specific frequency allocation. Consumer gear, on the other hand, is generally made to be small, lightweight, and capable of accessing any channel within the specified band, not just a subset of assigned channels.

[edit] MilitaryMilitary organizations of most countries continue to use handheld radios for a variety of purposes. Modern units such as the AN/PRC-148 Multiband Inter/Intra Team Radio (MBITR) can communicate on a variety of bands and modulation schemes and include encryption capabilities.

[edit] Amateur radioWalkie-talkies (also known as HTs or “handheld transceivers” ) are widely used among amateur radio operators. While converted commercial gear by companies such as Motorola are not uncommon, many companies such as Yaesu, Icom, and Kenwood design models specifically for amateur use. While superficially similar to commercial and personal units (including such things as CTCSS and DCS squelch functions, used primarily to activate amateur radio repeaters), amateur gear usually has a number of features that are not common to other gear, including:

Wide-band receivers, often including radio scanner functionality, for listening to non-amateur radio bands.
Multiple bands; while some operate only on specific bands such as 2 meters or 70 cm, others support several UHF and VHF amateur allocations available to the user.
Since amateur allocations usually are not channelized, the user can dial in any frequency desired in the authorized band.
Multiple modulation schemes: a few amateur HTs may allow modulation modes other than FM, including AM, SSB, and CW,[4][5] and digital modes such as radioteletype or PSK31. Some may have TNCs built in to support packet radio data transmission without additional hardware.
A newer addition to the Amateur Radio service is Digital Smart Technology for Amateur Radio or D-STAR. Handheld radios with this technology have several advanced features, including narrower bandwidth, simultaneous voice and messaging, GPS position reporting, and callsign routed radio calls over a wide ranging international network.

As mentioned, commercial walkie-talkies can sometimes be reprogrammed to operate on amateur frequencies. Amateur radio operators may do this for cost reasons or due to a perception that commercial gear is more solidly constructed or better designed than purpose-built amateur gear.

[edit] Personal useThe personal walkie-talkie has become popular also because of the U.S. Family Radio Service (FRS) and similar unlicensed services (such as Europe’s PMR446 and Australia’s UHF CB) in other countries. While FRS walkie-talkies are also sometimes used as toys because mass-production makes them low cost, they have proper superheterodyne receivers and are a useful communication tool for both business and personal use. The boom in unlicensed transceivers has, however, been a source of frustration to users of licensed services that are sometimes interfered with. For example, FRS and GMRS overlap in the United States, resulting in substantial pirate use of the GMRS frequencies. Use of the GMRS frequencies (USA) requires a license; however most users either disregard this requirement or are unaware. Canada reallocated frequencies for unlicensed use due to heavy interference from US GMRS users. The European PMR446 channels fall in the middle of a United States UHF amateur allocation, and the US FRS channels interfere with public safety communications in the United Kingdom. Designs for personal walkie-talkies are in any case tightly regulated, generally requiring non-removable antennas (with a few exceptions such as CB radio and the United States MURS allocation) and forbidding modified radios.

Most personal walkie-talkies sold are designed to operate in UHF allocations, and are designed to be very compact, with buttons for changing channels and other settings on the face of the radio and a short, fixed antenna. Most such units are made of heavy, often brightly colored plastic, though some more expensive units have ruggedized metal or plastic cases. Commercial-grade radios are often designed to be used on allocations such as GMRS or MURS (the latter of which has had very little readily available purpose-built equipment). In addition, CB walkie-talkies are available, but less popular due to the propagation characteristics of the 27 MHz band and the general bulkiness of the gear involved.

Personal walkie-talkies are generally designed to give easy access to all available channels (and, if supplied, squelch codes) within the device’s specified allocation.

Personal two-way radios are also sometimes combined with other electronic devices; Garmin’s Rino series combine a GPS receiver in the same package as an FRS/GMRS walkie-talkie (allowing Rino users to transmit digital location data to each other) Some personal radios also include receivers for AM and FM broadcast radio and, where applicable, NOAA Weather Radio and similar systems broadcasting on the same frequencies. Some designs also allow the sending of text messages and pictures between similarly equipped units.

While jobsite and government radios are often rated in power output, consumer radios are frequently and controversially rated in mile or kilometer ratings. Because of the line of sight propagation of UHF signals, experienced users consider such ratings to be wildly exaggerated, and some manufacturers have begun printing range ratings on the package based on terrain as opposed to simple power output.

While the bulk of personal walkie-talkie traffic is in the 27 MHz area and in the 400-500 MHz area of the UHF spectrum, there are some units that use the 49 MHz band (shared with cordless phones, baby monitors, and similar devices) as well as the 900 MHz band; in the US at least, units in these bands do not require licenses as long as they adhere to FCC power output rules. A company called TriSquare is, as of July 2007, marketing a series of walkie-talkies in the United States based on frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology operating in this frequency range under the name eXRS (eXtreme Radio Service—despite the name, a proprietary design, not an official allocation of the US FCC). The spread-spectrum scheme used in eXRS radios allows up to 10 billion virtual “channels” and ensures private communications between two or more units.

[edit] RecreationLow-power versions, exempt from licence requirements, are also popular children’s toys. Prior to the change of CB radio from licensed to “permitted by part” (FCC rules Part 95) status, the typical toy walkie-talkie available in North America was limited to 100 milliwatts of power on transmit and using one or two crystal-controlled channels in the 27 MHz citizens’ band using amplitude modulation (AM) only. Later toy walkie-talkies operated in the 49 MHz band, some with frequency modulation (FM), shared with cordless phones and baby monitors. The lowest cost devices are very simple electronically (single-frequency, crystal-controlled, generally based on a simple discrete transistor circuit where “grownup” walkie-talkies use chips), may employ superregenerative receivers, and may lack even a volume control, but they may nevertheless be elaborately decorated, often superficially resembling more “grown-up” radios such as FRS or public safety gear. Unlike more costly units, low-cost toy walkie-talkies may not have separate microphones and speakers; the receiver’s speaker sometimes doubles as a microphone while in transmit mode.

An inexpensive children’s walkie-talkie.An unusual feature, common on children’s walkie-talkies but seldom available otherwise even on amateur models, is a “code key”, that is, a button allowing the operator to transmit Morse code or similar tones to another walkie-talkie operating on the same frequency. Generally the operator depresses the PTT button and taps out a message using a Morse Code crib sheet attached as a sticker to the radio; however, as Morse Code has fallen out of wide use outside amateur radio circles, some such units either have a grossly simplified code label or no longer provide a sticker at all.

In addition, personal UHF radios will sometimes be bought and used as toys, though they are not generally explicitly marketed as such.

Specialized usesIn addition to land mobile use, walkie-talkie designs are also used for marine VHF and aviation communications, especially on smaller boats and aircraft where mounting a fixed radio might be impractical or expensive. Often such units will have switches to provide quick access to emergency and information channels.

Intrinsically safe walkie-talkies are often required in heavy industrial settings where the radio may be used around flammable vapors. This designation means that the knobs and switches in the radio are engineered to avoid producing sparks as they are operated.

two way

two way – a term than carries so much meaning for radio communication. So what does “two way” mean?

two way radio – A two way radio is a radio that can both transmit and receive (a transceiver), unlike a broadcast receiver which only receives content.

Two way radios are available in mobile, stationary base and hand-held portable configurations. Hand-held radios are often called walkie-talkies or handie-talkies. A push-to-talk or Press To Transmit button is often present to activate the transmitter.

A mobile phone or cellular telephone is an example of a two way radio that both transmits and receives at the same time (or full-duplex). It uses two different radio frequencies to carry the two directions of the conversation simultaneously.

Installation of receivers and transmitters at the same fixed location allowed exchange of messages wirelessly. As early as 1907, two way telegraphy traffic across the Atlantic Ocean was commercially available. By 1912 commercial and military ships carried both transmitters and receivers, allowing two way communication in close to real-time with a ship that was out of sight of land.

The first truly mobile two way radio was developed in Australia in 1923 by Senior Constable Frederick William Downie of the Victorian Police. The Victoria Police were the first in the world to use wireless communication in cars, putting an end to the inefficient status reports via public telephone boxes which had been used until that time. The first sets took up the entire back seat of the Lancia patrol cars.

As radio equipment became more powerful, compact, and easier to use, smaller vehicles had two-way radio communication equipment installed. Installation of radio equipment in aircraft allowed scouts to report back observations in real-time, not requiring the pilot to drop messages to troops on the ground below or to land and make a personal report.

In 1933, the Bayonne, New Jersey police department successfully operated a two way system between a central fixed station and radio transceivers installed in police cars; this allowed rapidly directing police response in emergencies. During World War II hand-held radio transceivers were extensively used by air and ground troops, both by the Allies and the Nazis.

Early two way schemes allowed only one station to transmit at a time while others listened, since all signals were on the same radio frequency – this was called “simplex” mode. Code and voice operations required a simple communication protocol to allow all stations to cooperate in using the single radio channel, so that one station’s transmissions were not obscured by another’s. By using receivers and transmitters tuned to different frequencies, and solving the problems introduced by operation of a receiver immediately next to a transmitter, simultaneous transmission and reception was possible at each end of a radio link, in so-called “full duplex” mode.

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

Yaesu VX-7R quad-band two way walkie talkie

Yaesu vx-7r  (vx7r)VX-7R quad band

The VX-7R is a great handheld.  I own one of these and use it mainly for monitoring two frequencies at a time and satellite communications.  The flexibility of the dual receive as well as the great programability make it a solid addition to the shack.  Battery life is pretty decent but after a couple years I am begining to look for extra batteries.

more on this great quad band two way walkie talkie

Unmatched Weatherproofing

The VX-7R case, keypad, speaker, and connectorts are carefully sealed to protect the internal circuitry against water damage. And the optional CMP460A Speaker/Microphone, like the transceiver itself, is rated for 30 minutes of submersion at a depth of up to three feet.

The VX-7R is available in both Silver (VX-7R) and Black (VX-7RB) versions.

50/144/430 MHz: 5 Watts of Power (222 MHZ bonus band 300mw’s)

Utilizing a reliable FET power amplifier circuit, the VX-7R provides a full 5 Watts of power output on the 50, 144, and 430 MHz Amateur bands, with bonus coverage of the 222 MHz band at 300 mW (USA version only). And for 6-meter AM enthusiasts, you also get 1 Watt of carrier power on the 50 MHz band. Four power levels may be selected, each offering its own degree of battery conservation.

Dual Receive

The VX-7R is capable of four modes of Dual Receive, including simultaneous reception of (1) two VHF frequencies; (2) two UHF frequencies; one VHF and one UHF frequency; or one “general coverage” frequency and one “Ham” frequency.

And you can set up the VX-7R to reduce the audio level on the “Sub” band, if you like, when a call is received on the “Main” band.

The Most Memories Ever

Sporting the most memory capability of any Amateur transceiver, the VX-7R includes over 900 memory channels, yet access is simple and intuitive, thanks to the 8-character labeling capability. These memories include 450 “regular” memories, 10 “One-Touch” memories, 40 programmable band-edge-limit memories 12 “Home” channels, 10 Weather Band memories, 89 Shortwave Broadcast preset memories, 280 Marine channels, and 10 “Hyper” memories that store complete transceiver configuration data.

The Most Dazzling Display Ever

No Amateur transceiver has a display that even compares to the VX-7R’s 132 x 64 dot matrix disaply. Providing clear, easy-to-read indication of both the Main and Sub band frequencies, operating mode, and S-meters for both bands, the display includes an unparalleled array of graphical and pictorial tools that make operation a breeze.