Ever tried to work SO2V using this trick? You’ll no doubt have run into the problem that windows doesn’t want you to share a serial port between 2 programs.

So, when working SO2V with N1MM and 2 instances of MMTTY it is not possible to connect the 2 MMTTYs to the same FSK interface through software.

The solution: this interface as shown on the K8UT website.

All you need is 2 com ports (one for each MMTTY instance) and 4 diodes.

Don’t forget to work me in next RTTY contest!

FSK RTTY with Signalink USB? Yes you can!

According to this page on the Tigertronics website you can’t do FSK with the Signalink.

Of course you can, you just have to be a little creative…

Use the Signalink for RX and make this interface from Don AA5AU’s site for keying your transceiver.

It takes only a few euros and a few minutes of work for the hardware.

Configure MMTTY for transmitting FSK through your serial port et voilà!

Do you really want to pay €49 to be able to program your (mobile) radio through your computer?

For years I have been struggling to manage the 1000 memories on my FT-7800 mobile radio. Memory channels, subtones, memory banks ==SIGH==

Recently a friend (thanks Jan ON4KB) gave me the kit he bougth from Yaesu for the FT-8800 and of course, the cable was correct for my FT-7800 but the software didn’t work ==shame on you Yaesu!==.

That’s when I decided to get some help from Google and I found CHIRP, a free, open-source tool for programming your amateur radio. It supports a large number of manufacturers and models, as well as provides a way to interface with multiple data sources and formats.

I tested it for my radio and it works very well indeed! Downloading the data already in the radio, modifying it on the pc and uploading it to the radio again all in a breeze!

CHIRP supports over 60 different radios from 5 or 6 brands (including the ‘big’ ones of course) and is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Programming cables can easily be found on Ebay (for some €12) or you can make your own.

First 2 contests with the FT5K / FT990 combo

As you already know from a previous post I purchased a Yaesu FT DX 5000 MP last december. Since then I operated in both the ARRL RTTY Roundup and in the CQ WW WPX RTTY. Time to write down my experiences:

The combo FT5K/FT990 is of course a great enhancement over the former combo FT990/TS50S :-). Even with the 500Hz filters the TS50S has a poor receiver for contesting, don’t misunderstand, the TS50S is a great transceiver for travelling but filtering in rough contest conditions is pretty poor. Moreover I was persuaded the FT990 had a great receiver but that’s because I never operated anything better… The receiver of the FT5 seems pretty unbeatable to me when compared to the FT990.

With the FT5K, narrow means NARROW! Using the the 500 Hz filter on FT990 you can see a pretty wide band in the MMTTy scope, using the with 600 Hz filter of the FT5k only a fraction of that band is left, when the need arises it can even be made narrower when using the ‘Narrow’ knob and/or when changing the settings of the RX. Sometimes I had the feeling the receiver is even too good 😉 because you get into very narrow holes on busy band to try and start a run. But it isn’t because I have a good RX that the other stations have one that is as good!

Being used to operate the FT990 it was not that hard for me to learn the basic functions of the FT5k, operation seems pretty straightforward to me.

Since I have the FT5k I made 2 RS232 interfaces so I can run both transceivers in FSK instead of AFSK, this avoids me the need to retune the level of the AFSK tx audio at every band change.

The only negative point I see in the MP version is the band scope which is pretty slow and with low resolution. The speakers that come with it are great but the scope isn’t. Guess I’ll have to go look for an SDR solution on the IF output of the FT5K.

I was pretty happy with the results in both contests! In both my claimed score beat the belgian record!

In search of a new contest transceiver, the decision

In my previous post about this topic I started with a list of available HF-transceivers here in Belgium and afterwards I had narrowed it down to 6:

  • Yaesu FT-2000 €2500
  • Icom IC-7600 €3600
  • Ten Tec Orion II €4300
  • Elecraft K3 €5300
  • Yaesu FT-DX5000MP €5700
  • Icom IC-7700 €6000

Prices are merely an estimation for comparison, they’re based on information found on the internet a few months ago.  Some may have changed by a few hundreds of euros by the time you read this!

I did’nt have the time (or rather did’nt make time) to write more about this in the last few weeks but in the mean time I ordered (and received) an FT-DX5000MP.

The decision was a little less scientific than it started in my previous post however. Let’s say it has been partly emotional also.

These are the reasons why I bought the FT5k: (not necessarily ordered by importance) Continue reading In search of a new contest transceiver, the decision

Writer’s block?

A lot of things have happened since my last post here but I didn’t really feel like writing anything about them lately.

A small summary:

  • we did the Region 1 SSB fieldday with the club station ON6CK/p (and came in second behind the OQ8A/p team)
  • the belgian guys conquered Rockall, congrats to the team!
  • the british guys decided not to go to Rockall. I don’t really understand the reasons, if all those who wanted to climb the Everest would have cancelled their plans because someone was there before them then only a few people would have done it. Moreover the pileups from Rockall will not be less for the second team going there than for the first one. And I still need EU189!
  • I finally ordered a new transceiver!
  • I modified my RTTY setup to do FSK instead of AFSK (with the FT990)
  • I made a portable setup to take on holiday

The last 3 of the list will probably be the subjects of some future posts!

So what makes me write this in the last hours of CQ WW SSB? I’m at the qth of my girlfriend and to tired to set up the portable station. Wedding parties are probably more tiring than 24hrs of contesting 🙂 Moreover we have to leave for an other party in less than an hour.

My next contest is in 3 weeks from now… still some work to do (the 4 rotary switches problem, remember?)