July 31, 1997
Monday, 10-Mar-2014 15:33:41 GMT
Well, it's time for my first real experience with Yaesu repair (with the 920). My last experience went well, when my FT900 lost the ALC circuit.
The antenna tuner on my 920 is shot. Will not tune better than 3:1 into a dummy load. Not that I really care about the tuner (all my antennas offer better than 2:1 anyway except my butternut). But I do need the tuner for 80m, so monday the radio gets driven up to Cerritos. Hopefully they will fix it and call me this time. When the FT900 was repaired, I asked for them to call me so I could pick the radio up, but they decided to ship it instead. The nice part about the service last time was the turn around time. It took less than five days.
I am going to ask them to give the radio the once over, to make sure that everything checks out. I'll write more when the radio is fixed.
July 23, 1997
Participated in the NAQP(RTTY) contest this past weekend. After some sound advice, decided to rewire the Kam to use FSK, and was very pleased with the results. Also decided that I need to get the CW filter in order to effectively participate in RTTY contests. For casual use, the filter is not really needed as the DSP handles filtering just fine. However when there are lots of signals, the DSP does help; but it cannot made up for the front end overload from strong signals nearby. I make 100 RTTY contacts, and had a lot of fun. With the filter it would have been easy to get more.
July 17, 1997
Tried my hand at connecting a new Kam Plus to the data jack last night. Not very successful with that experience. More details to come.
Been using the 920 for RTTY with a connection from my computer soundcard. Found a nice software package called BTL that uses the soundcard for RTTY tones, and the best part is it is free. Email me for more details. I used the AF output jack for the receive audio to the computer, and the patch input jack for the tones from the computer. Seems to work nicely. Being new to RTTY, I wanted to experiment with it for as little monetary output as possible. So far I have worked several new countries with RTTY that I have not been able to get with phone. All with 75-100w and my R5 vertical. I did need to add an isolation transformer to the input line to stop a ground loop problem.
The only real problem with the phone patch input is that it is tied directly to the mic line, and requires that one or the other be disconnected, depending on which mode you wanted to use. I solved this with a toggle switch on the interface I built to connect the soundcard output to the radio.
Now back to the Kam Plus. The Kam is functioning properly, but the radio is not. It seems that there is more to setting up RTTY than the manual would lead me to believe. There has to be a menu setting or something that I am missing. Currently the radio is in FSK mode, and I need it to be in AFSK to use the Kam as wired. I could change the wiring to use FSK, but that does not solve the problem of the manual.
Yaesu tech support is doing a fine job of trying to help me solve this problem, but the "data" expert is apparently not around today. Hopefully they will be able to give me a solution today, and I will make an attempt to muddle through it this evening. When I find a solution, a detailed explaination will be written here.
Right now I think the manual needs a lot of help explaining how to setup the 920 for AFSK data modes.
Part II: Well, the manual is wrong here. Page 56 says to press the Data key until LSB appears. Well, Data[LSB] is FSK and Data[USB] is AFSK. The manual doesn't tell you that one. And the xmit monitor works in AFSK mode, so you can hear what is being sent by the TNC. Selection of Upper sideband or Lower sideband is made via menu selection U46.
Yaesu tech support was almost on the money with this one. The representative I spoke with was able to give me enough clues to solve the problem.
July 07, 1997
It appears that there is a serious problem with the memory keyer. I tried to key in CQ CQ CQ de WM7D WM7D k, and all the keyer took was CS. Go figure. I am going to call Yaesu today, and find out what the scoop is.
Part II: Yaesu was not very helpful with this problem. Basically, I was told to read the manual (in not so many words). But in a way this was good advice. Turns out that a solution does exist, but I am not sure that Yaesu knows about it (at least they didn't seem to know when I called).
I am not sure why this works the way it does, but I will tell you what I did. With the default menu settings, the memory keyer will only record 2 or 3 characters. I don't know why, and Yaesu seems to be lacking in information on this one. However, I found a solution: Menu setting U-20 has three settings. The first is the default, EL1. Second is BUG, and last is EL2. The winner here seems to be EL2. In the manual on page 75 it states; "EL2: Iambic keying with Automatic Character Spacing enabled. This selection is best when programming message memories." There is no mention of this setting on page 52 when explaining the use of the memory keyer.
The default (EL1) is Iambic Keying with Automatic Character Spacing disabled.
After making this change, I was successful (several times) in recording a message for CW playback. Now perhaps I need to give Yaesu a solution to their problem.
July 03, 1997
Well, I guess it is time for another update: Field day was a blast. We camped out on Butler Peak in the San Bernadino mountains north of LA. I decided to use the 920, and it worked very well. Tree has added FT920 support to TRLog, so that was a big plus also.
I found, during the VHF contest, that the radio was easy to overdrive with my Heil headset, so I called Heil, and they recommended adding a 100 ohm resistor in series with the microphone element. I didn't get that done before field day, but it did make a big difference in how the mic gain responds now.
About two weeks ago I was given my first look at RTTY, and really liked it. So rather than spend a few hundred $$ for a new TNC or other RTTY equipment, I found a neat piece of software called BTL (Blaster Teletype). I was able to make my first RTTY contacts with this free software, and a couple of wires connecting my radio to my sound card. Panama, and Argentina with 100w out. The cooling fan seems to make a little noise that I didn't notice when using phone (mainly due to the headphones I use). Not bothersome at all, but you will definitely notice that the fan is on.
I hope to have a KAM+ by the time the NAQP (RTTY) rolls around. Then I will get a chance to work the radio over a bit more with a new mode.
I also decided to connect my amplifier (SB200) to the radio, and it works just fine. Too bad the ALC isn't compatible...I managed to overdrive the AMP the second time I used it. Now here is a great place to use another feature of the 920. I need to get another antenna switch, but you can connect the amplifier to one of the antenna ports, and set the radio to limit the power output to that port. In my case I would limit the radio to 50w out to the amplifier. There is also a pulse tuning mode that will allow you to tune you amplifier without a full carrier. I haven't yet tried it, but the idea is nice.
So, now I have had the radio over a month, and I am even more happy with it now. The AM pass-thru board came in from Yaesu (it's a freebie!), and it installs just like the filter would. It is basically a filter board without the filter installed. Now I have AM, FM, and the only other option that I think I would like to have is the CW filter. All in all, the radio has been great to use. It seems to hold up just fine, and seems to be relatively easy to figure out. A friend used it for CW on field day, and seemed to enjoy using it. It took him about 5 minutes to get it set up for his style of operation.