Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Pro-97 Discriminator Tap

A buddy of mine who is also a ham (Mike-KD2KWD) is a DMR fanatic. If you want to know anything and everything about DMR he is the guy to talk to. He mentioned one day on the repeater about scanners and DMR. A few days later his scanner was at my door and the whole surgery took about 30 min.

Most scanners have a tap point on the PCB to allow you to tap the unfiltered raw audio. Doing this to a non digital scanner will allow you to use apps like DSD to decode digital transmission. I haven't done a discriminator mod to a scanner in about 8 years. Parts cost about $1.00. Bare minimum is a 10k resistor and a panel mount audio jack.

More information is available here

Some of the things you can now decode via software on a non digital scanner are.
DMR/P25/FLEX and many many more digital modes.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

FT-450D Punch through the pileup p2

These are the settings that work best for me when I DX. I'm getting excellent reports.

450D Settings (In the menu)
Mic gain set to Normal
EQ set to 0
MH-31 Mic switch set to #2 (on the back of the mic)

80 Hz -6db/250 Hz -6db/500 Hz +1db/1.2 Khz +6db/3 Khz +6db
Comp +3 Mic +6 Out +6

FT-450D Punch through the pileup

Owning the 450d for about 2 months now and chasing DX nonstop since the day I put the radio in the shack I would receive so so audio reports with my stock mic. I wanted something with a little more umph & drive. I also wanted to have some flexibility and control to shape my transmit audio.

The stock mic that is included with the 450D (MH-31) is not that great in my opinion.The 450d does have 9 user selectable EQ curves but I still wanted more control over my sound. This EQ box seems to be what I was looking for without spending a few hundred dollars.

Basically this is a 5 band EQ with adjustable compression. The unit is powered directly from your rigs mic input and your mic plugs directly into the box. The cord is roughly a foot long.

This unit is designed and built by UR6QR and ships directly from the Ukraine. The price is $105.00 and includes the shipping. The seller does accept best offers. I received the unit in under 2 weeks. Setup is idiot proof. Using the monitor feature on the 450d and bugging my friend KC0BRA I was able to dial in the perfect sound for my voice so I can punch through pileups. The unit is built like a tank and is not flimsy at all

The external EQ has the following features & adjustments, You want to use the 450D ALC meter to make sure your not splattering. Use the compression sparingly.

EQ: 80Hz-250Hz-500Hz-1200HKhz &3000Khz. -6dB +6dB
COMP: Compression level amount
MIC: Microphone gain amplifier (minimum level -6db, maximum level + 20db)
OUT: Adjustment level for your output signal (dependent on the mic gain in your transceiver)
LED LEVEL COMP: When the led does not blink often when you speak you will apply a very soft compression, When the led blinks often or stays lit all the time when you speak you are applying a hard compression.

More Info

Friday, May 13, 2016

DB9 Port replacement

Many transceivers & receivers use the standard DB9 serial port to allow control or programming control of the unit. Trying to find a USB to serial converter with a functioning chipset can be a major headache. If you are handy with a soldering iron this might be your ticket to simple computer control without all the fuss.

Basically you will be swapping out the boards DB9 port with a new FTDI USB converter. radios that this will ideal for are the Icom PCR line of receivers and the Ten-Tec or any radio that has a standard DB9 Serial port.

RX-320D receiver with a standard DB9 Port

Icom PCR-100 receiver with a standard DB9 Port

Yaesu 450D transceiver with a standard DB9 Port

This drop in replacement is available direct from Digikey and uses the standard FTDI chipset & drivers that are supported across all operating systems, Going this route will minimize driver headaches vs finding a solid/functioning USB to Serial converter.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

YARD Stick One

YARD Stick One is a sub-1 GHz wireless transceiver controlled directly from your computer. It uses the same radio circuit as the popular IM-Me. The radio functions that are possible by customizing IM-Me firmware are now at your fingertips when you attach YARD Stick One to a computer via USB.

YARD Stick One (Yet Another Radio Dongle) comes with RfCat firmware installed, courtesy of atlas. RfCat allows you to control the wireless transceiver from an interactive Python shell or your own program running on your computer. YARD Stick One also has CC Bootloader installed, so you can upgrade RFCat or install your own firmware without any additional programming hardware.


One ANT500 telescopic antenna – a 50 ohm antenna suitable for radio frequencies between 75 MHz and 1000 MHz.
3d printed case specific to the YARD Stick One.

YARD Stick One has several features not previously seen in CC1111 dongles:

*half-duplex transmit and receive

*official operating frequencies: 300-348 MHz, 391-464 MHz, and 782-928 MHz

*unofficial operating frequencies: 281-361 MHz, 378-481 MHz, and 749-962 MHz

*modulations: ASK, OOK, GFSK, 2-FSK, 4-FSK, MSK

*data rates up to 500 kbps

*Full-Speed USB 2.0

*SMA female antenna connector (50 ohms)

*software-controlled antenna port power (max 50 mA at 3.3 V)

*low pass filter for elimination of harmonics when operating in the 800 and 900 MHz bands

*GoodFET-compatible expansion and programming header

*GIMME-compatible programming test points
open source


BTech UV2501 & UV5001 GEN 3

Yesterday BTECH announced the news that the gen 3 BTECH uv2501 & uv5001 models are available.

Some of the added features to make it's way into these gen 3 models are.

*  Adjustable Microphone Gain - You can now adjust the sensitivity to suit your taste.
Adjustable DTMF Level Gain
*  Power Level - Can now be changed using the microphone keypad
*  Cooling Fans - Included with both models.
Addition Receive Filtering - Added for improved selectivity.

Check John Miklor's site for the full run down.

Monday, May 9, 2016

A decent external speaker

I needed a pair of external speakers for my 450D and UV-5001. I have tried speakers from Motorola, Icom & Uniden. They all sounded very muffled. Taking my search to E-bay I came across these OEM speakers and decided to give them a shot. The seller is based out of NY and has sold over 300 of these without any complaints. I received the speakers in under a week and they sound fantastic. For $12.50 it's a steal. I can hear make out stations so much better now vs the stock speakers.

4 1/2" L-2 1/2"-h 2 1/4"-w
6 ft 3.5 mm Plug 400 hz - 12kh
7 watts max power


Sunday, May 8, 2016

BTECH uv-5001 2nd gen needs fans

 The BTECH uv-5001 run hot as a mother so if your going to rag chew on this unit you really want to add some fans to the unit like I did. I found that anything over a 10-15 minute QSO on high or low power will kick in the thermal protection and shut the uv-5001 down. The metal case gets so hot you could basically put a pan on it and cook something.

I checked my SWR and it was well within range of a good match on 2m and 70cm (1.5). The fans I picked are x2 12v 60mm with the airflow facing down connected with wire ties placed on the rear.

I matched red with red and black with back and wired it up to the uv-5001's molex connector. Next thing I will do it wire it directly to a manual power switch vs being direct to my power supply.

Since adding the fans the unit does not even get luke warm. Why does  BTECH sell this unit without any type of fan to keep the unit from overheating?  The 2 fans I purchased are from this seller on E-Bay. CLICK HERE

I also added two rubber feet to the front of the fans to put them on an angle, My two simple mods make this radio a workhorse that smokes most dual branders.

DX'ing code of conduct

If DX'ing hams followed these very simple guidelines we would all get a chance to work a distant station.

Being new to the hobby I notice that a lot of people step on each other, Throw out the call 15 times  or tune up the on top of a pileup followed up with the words "Check Check Check...AUDIO...AUDIO". Not only is it rude but 9 times out of 10 the DX station shuts down.

​I will listen, and listen, and then listen again before calling.

I will only call if I can copy the DX station properly.

I will not trust the DX cluster and will be sure of the DX station's call sign before calling.

I will not interfere with the DX station nor anyone calling and will never tune up on the DX
frequency or in the QSX slot.

I will wait for the DX station to end a contact before I call.

I will always send my full call sign.

I will call and then listen for a reasonable interval. I will not call continuously.

I will not transmit when the DX operator calls another call sign, not mine.

I will not transmit when the DX operator queries a call sign not like mine.

I will not transmit when the DX station requests geographic areas other than mine.
When the DX operator calls me, I will not repeat my call sign unless I think he has copied it incorrectly.

I will be thankful if and when I do make a contact.

I will respect my fellow hams and conduct myself so as to earn their respect.

If you missed my previous post. I highly suggest you read this free e-book

DXer’s Handbook” by Bryce K7UA

Everyone likes free and this is one of my favorite radio topics.

Info: http://www.k7ua.com/

Direct download : Here

Saturday, May 7, 2016

BTECH uv-5001 uv-2501 mic mod

Very simple cut and dry mic mod to get rid of some of the drowned out muddy tones the stock mic is known for. Before you do this mod please make sure you disconnect the mic from the radio. What works for me might not work for you. This basic mod is perfect for the using this radio in a base operation vs a windy/noisy car. This will void your mic warranty. In the pictures I show a Kenwood mic, They are the same as the Btech mics. Click the pictures to go full screen.

BTECH UV-5001 pro's, con's & mod's

COMING SOON My likes and dislikes on the Btech UV-5001 2g dual band radio. From the pictures you can see I needed to add my own fans.


Deals section is now online. Save a few $$$ at check out.


11 hours of DXpedition videos added to the video section. Watch how the pro's handle the pile up. You can click the bottom left (as shown) to go full screen and hit the ESC key to return back to the windowed mode.