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Howard's Notebook


Tag: amateur

New ham radio for me soon…

I do not do much Amateur Radio stuff.  But I do listen sometimes via my scanner to the local repeaters.  Rare for me to transmit on any of the repeaters.  Rare for me to carry my radio with me.
I do not own a car so all I have is a handheld transceiver.

I have done APRS in the past.  It is interesting.  But does not work as well if you don’t have a radio in a car.  With a 5 watt handheld a little harder to stay connected to APRS.

I been interested in digital.  I was looking in the past at getting a DStar HT.
I am glad that I did not get one.  I have decided to get a Yaesu FT-2DR.  I am not sure I will get it this month.  I am thinking next month.

Here is some information on the Yaesu FT-2DR:


FT2DR C4FM 144/430 MHz Dual Band Digital Handheld Transceiver with 1.7″ Touch Screen Display

This exciting leading edge Transceiver is designed with ease of use in mind now packing an oversized back-lit touch panel display. At 1.7-inches the high resolution touch screen display provides loads of information through an easily navigable interface, providing stress-free operability and a high level of on-screen visibility for the FT2DR operator.

The advanced FT2DR is loaded with various new features including: 700 mW of clear loud audio, Built-in High Sensitivity 66 ch GPS with antenna, 1200 bps / 9600 bps APRS® function, Dual watch (V/V, U/U/, V/U), Dual Monitor (C4FM Digital/C4FM Digital), GPS Logging/Recording capabilities, Water resistant (IPX5 Rating), microSD Card Slot, 2200mAh high capacity Li-Ion battery and Battery charger included as a standard supplied accessory.


Analog/C4FM Dual Monitor (V+V/U+U/V+U)

With two independent receivers for both Analog and digital, you can listen to either the same or different bands simultaneously.

Loud Vibrant Audio

with 700mW of Loud, Crisp and Clear audio the FT2-DR is the perfect choice for noisy and crowded environments.

Wide Band Receiver

Covers from 500kHz to 999.990MHz, continuous reception for Short-wave, FM/AM broadcasts, analog TV stations, audio aircraft, public service channels, etc. (Cellular band blocked)

1200/9600bps APRS® Data Communication

The built-in worldwide standard AX.25 Data TNC Modem permits uncomplicated APRS® (Automatic Packet Reporting System) operation. You will be able to display the information, station list; and use the message, SmartBeaconing TM function . You will be able to track your APRS® movement on the Internet websites.

Digital Group Monitor Function

The digital GM function automatically checks whether members registered in a group are within communication range, and displays information such as distance and direction for each call sign on the screen. This convenient function makes it possible not only to see whether any friends are in communication range, but also to instantaneously determines the location and relationship between all members of the group.

This function can also be used to send messages and data such as images between members of a group, permitting convenient and fun communication between friends when out for a drive or hike. Sent and received messages and images can be checked on the LOG List screen, with icons making them easy to distinguish.

Backtrack Function to Return to Departure Point

This function allows navigation back to the departure point, or a point previously added to the memory. When hiking or camping, just register the starting point or the position of your tent and then you can constantly check the direction and distance from your current position. The arrow of the compass display constantly shows the direction to the registered point, making it extremely convenient in finding your way back to the registered place – just move in the direction so that the arrow in the heading-up display

points straight upward.

Snapshot Picture Taking Capability

When using the handy speaker microphone camera (optional MH-85A11U), press the shutter button to capture a snapshot, then press the image transmit button to easily transmit the image data.

The snapshot image or received data is stored in a high capacity micro SD card that is installed in the radio. You can recall and send that image data from the SD card anytime. The image data size is 320 x 240 dots or 160 x 120 dots. Image quality can set from 3 types, and you can choose a format that is suitable for the image and purpose.

This image data also retains a time record and the GPS location data of the snapshot. It is easy to view and edit the data file after taking the pictures by using a personal computer.

A snapshot aids in navigating and returning to the pictured location; other various uses are possible.

Automatic Mode Selection (AMS)

The Automatic Mode Select function detects the receive signal mode

The transceiver automatically selects one of the four communication modes according to the signal received. This is extremely convenient when listening for communications, as you do not need to be aware of the other party’s communication mode. The transceiver can also be operated in a fixed communication mode.

Four (4) Communication Modes

The FT-2DR operates in one traditional analog mode and three digital modes! Enjoy communication in the mode that best suits your needs. purpose.

1. V/D Mode (Simultaneous Voice/Data Communication Mode)

Half of the bandwidth is used for voice signal with error correction. The transceiver uses powerful error correction technology developed for professional communication devices. The very effective error correction code provides benefits such as minimal interruption of communication. The basic digital C4FM FDMA mode provides a good balance between sound quality and error correction.

2. Voice FR Mode (Voice Full Rate Mode)

This mode uses the entire 12.5 kHz bandwidth to transmit digital voice data. The larger voice data size allows voice communication with high sound quality. Use this mode for pleasing sound quality communication between amateur radio friends.

3. Data FR Mode (High-speed Data Communication Mode)

A high-speed data communication mode that uses the entire 12.5 kHz bandwidth for data communication. The transceiver automatically switches to this mode when sending and receiving images, allowing a large amount of data to be transmitted quickly.

4. Analog FM Mode

Analog FM is effective for communication with a weak signal that causes voices to break up in the digital modes. The analog mode allows communication even at distances where noise and weak signals make communication almost impossible. The tried-and-trusted low-power circuit design uses less battery power than the digital modes.

5 Watts Solid RF Power

The FT-2DR outputs a maximum of 5 Watts of clean RF power, with selectable power-saving choices of 2 Watts, and ½ Watt also being available with a simple touch of the screen.

High Capacity Lithium-Ion Battery

With a high capacity 7.2v 2200 mAh battery pack (SBR-14LI) every operator can enjoy reduced charge time, and extended periods of talk time in between charging cycles.

Integrated 66ch High Sensativity GPS

Integral GPS receiver and antenna (located on top of the radio) provides location, time, direction and APRS® information. The FT2DR has a very useful GPS data transmission capability.

Smart Navigation Function

This is a real-time navigation function that records the location and direction of Group Monitor (GM) stations. Digital V/D Mode communicates information such as position data at the same time as the voice signal, allowing you to view the distance and direction of the other party in real time while communicating. This makes it possible to confirm your position and the other party’s in situations such as hiking and driving where your positions are constantly changing, providing an easy way to meet up or join routes.


Frequency Ranges:

A(Main) Band

RX : 76 – 108 MHz (FM Broadcast) 108 – 137 MHz (Air Band)

RX : 0.5 – 1.8 MHz (AM Broadcast)

TX: 144 – 148 MHz, 430 – 450 MHz

1.8 – 30 MHz (SW Band) 30 – 76 MHz (50 MHz HAM)

137 – 174 MHz (144 MHz HAM) 174 – 222 MHz (VHF Band)

222 – 420 MHz (GEN1) 420 – 470 MHz (430 MHz HAM)

470 – 774 MHz (UHF Band) 774 – 999.90 MHz (GEN2)

B(Sub) Band

RX: 108 – 137 MHz (Air Band)

TX: 144 – 148 MHz, 430 – 450 MHz

137 – 174 MHz (144 MHz HAM)

174 – 222 MHz (VHF Band)

222 – 420 MHz (GEN1)

420 – 470 MHz (430 MHz HAM)

470 – 580 MHz (UHF Band)

Circuit Type: NFM/ AM:Double-Conversion Superheterodyne

FM /AM Radio: Direct-Conversion

Modulation Type: F1D, F2D, F3E, F7W

RF Power Output: 5 W (@ 7.4 V or EXT DC)

Channels: 1245

Waterproof Rating: IPX5

Case Size(W x H x D): 62 x 110 x 32.5 mm (w/ SBR-14LI, w/o Knob and Antenna)

62 x 110 x 27 mm (w/o SBR-14LI, Knob and Antenna)

Weight: 310 g With SBR-14LI and Antenna

Warranty: 1 Year

From <http://www.yaesu.com/indexVS.cfm?cmd=DisplayProducts&ProdCatID=111&encProdID=4A66D869E574453F343581B53E9FAB40&DivisionID=65&isArchived=0>

You can get it at Amazon.  But it cost $454.00 with free shipping.
You can get it at ham radio outlets for $319.00 right now!

Amateur Radio Payloads Released into Orbit from ISS

The following from ARRL:


A package of two satellites carrying Amateur Radio payloads has been deployed into orbit from the International Space Station (ISS) as part of a collaborative Texas A&M and University of Texas at Austin research effort. Built by Texas A&M students, AggieSat4 (AGS4) will release UT’s Bevo-2 CubeSat in about a month, once it is far enough away from the ISS. Both schools received support from NASA’s Johnson Spaceflight Center (JSC) for the design, construction, testing, and launch phases. The goal of the overarching LONESTAR (Low Earth Orbiting Navigation Experiment for Spacecraft Testing Autonomous Rendezvous and Docking) program is for the two satellites to individually rendezvous with each other and perform docking and undocking maneuvers.

“The overall objective is to find ways for small spacecraft to join together autonomously in space,” Helen Reed, KD7GPX, professor of aerospace engineering and director of the AggieSat Lab at Texas A&M told NASA. “We need simple systems that will allow rendezvous and docking with little to no help from a human, which will become especially important as we venture farther out into space. Applications could include in-space assembly or reconfiguration of larger structures or systems as well as servicing and repair.”

The AggieSat team received its first beacon signal from the satellite at its Texas A&M Riverside Campus ground station. The AggieSat4 team is asking any Amateur Radio operators receiving the beacon signal to send any data to the AGS4 team. AggieSat4 will transmit 9.6 kbps FSK telemetry and 153.6 kbps FSK on 436.250 MHz. Once it’s placed into its own orbit, Bevo-2 will transmit on 437.325 on CW and 38.4 kbps FSK.

Both satellites were launched to the space station during a December 6, 2015, resupply mission. Earlier last week, Astronauts Tim Peake, KG5BVI, and Scott Kelly made preparations to deploy the sizeable LONESTAR phase 2 mission satellite package from the ISS, using the SSIKLOPS deployer. The satellite mission also will demonstrate communication cross links, data exchange, GPS-based navigation, and other tasks. AggieSat4 will capture images of the Bevo-2 release.

The satellites were independently developed by student teams at the two universities. Both teams were responsible for development plans for their satellite and had to meet established mission objectives.

The Bevo-2 Satellite was designed, built, and tested in the Texas Spacecraft Lab (TSL) at the University of Texas at Austin. “This whole experience is very exciting,” TSL Director Glenn Lightsey, KE5DDG, said last fall as undergraduate and graduate students were in the final stages of their project. “It’s great to have a research program where our students can build satellites that fly in space.” Reed and Lightsey are co-investigators for the LONESTAR 2 project. 

New XW-2 satellites – linear transponders active

Information below is from AMSAT-UK


Nine XW-2/CAS-3 amateur radio satellites were successfully launched on Saturday, September 19, 2015 at 23:01:14 UT on Beijing’s new Chang Zheng 6 (CZ-6) rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center.

Six satellites (designated XW-2A to XW-2F) carry 435/145 MHz U/V linear transponders for SSB/CW communications, LilacSat-2 (CAS-3H) has a V/U FM voice transponder and APRS. The other two satellites DCBB (CAS-3G) and NUDT‐Phone‐Sat (CAS-3i) only have telemetry downlinks.

The frequencies to be used by the satellites are here. Some satellite frequencies fall outside the international amateur satellite bandplan, so please be aware of local terrestrial users.

camsat-cas3a1David Bowman G0MRF reported “Good signals from CAS3-F at 07.00 UTC  over Europe. Managed QSOs with SP5ULN in KO02  and F1AFZ in JN17 using the special event station at GB0RWC (Rugby World Cup).”

XW-2 / CAS-3 Satellite Frequencies PDF

For the latest status reports join the AMSAT Bulletin Board at

Further information on the XW-2 (CAS-3) satellites is at

LilacSat-2 http://amsat-uk.org/2015/09/20/lilacsat-2-linux-telemetry-decoding/

Online orbital predictor (select XW-2) http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/tools/predict/index.php

Satellite tracking information http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/satellite-tracking/

Adding new satellites to SatPC32, Gpredict and Nova

SatPC32 doppler.sqf http://www.pe0sat.vgnet.nl/2015/xw-2cas-3-launch-information/


Published on Jan 16, 2015

MTN Global’s latest brand commercial tells the story of a little boy who discovers, via MTN’s world class internet, that it is very simple to build a homemade radio that will allow him to actually speak to an astronaut in space. He tries and fails and tries again, using the New World of MTN to embark on a journey of discovery that takes a rather unexpected turn. Because that’s the thing about discovery, there’s always more to discover.

CW Field Day Message on 630 meter band–474 khz

Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2014 09:52:57 -0700
From: John Langridge <
Reply-To: John Langridge <
Subject: CQ FD! 2014! de WG2XIQ

To: “
info@cowtownamateurradioclub.org” <info@cowtownamateurradioclub.org>
Greetings Cowtown club!  I wanted to extend this on-air demo opportunity to you and your group at Field day!
Starting with Field Day 2013, I transmitted a CW field day message on the 630-meter band for demonstration purposes to stations around the Texas area.  Let me be clear that this was not the ARRL’s Field Day message.  I hope to do it again this year, weather permitting, and wanted to let you know about it since I know you have low band enthusiasts out that direction.  Last year’s operation was amazingly successful and the message was copied as far away as Salt Lake City, Utah, using rigs and antennas set up for ham bands at a Field Day site.  All this was done with 1 Watt ERP and a short base-loaded vertical!
The plan will be to run the message on 474 KHz CW starting Saturday morning, June 28, around 8am and it will run through the end of Field Day on June 29, sometime after 1pm CDT.  I hope to run it at 15 minute intervals starting at the top of each hour and expect the message to run 5-10 minutes in length.
In addition to my station, there will be other Part 5 experimental stations around the US following suit with their own messages.  Below is a list:
WG2XKA in VT         472.5 Khz CW
WG2XJM in PA         473 KHz CW
WD2XSH/20 in OR    475 KHz CW
WG2XIQ in TX           474 KHz CW
So why do this?  We are hoping to show the value of the band, both in groundwave and skywave coverage.  The groundwave signals will outperform anything we have available to us under part 97 and the skywave, particularly during the winter, will surprise you, often times being reported thousands of miles from the transmitter site (I was heard in Europe and Alaska quite often last winter and make regular coast-to-coast QSO’s on CW and digital modes on 630-meters).  There are so many misconceptions about what goes on below the AM Broadcast band and we hope to provide opportunities for individuals at their club’s field day operation to experience the band first hand. Summer is not the best time to do this, but week keep signals on the band all year long and make QSO’s all year long.
Whatever antennas and rigs you might have hooked up for your operation, simply tune them to one of the frequencies above and see what you hear.  Again, I will be on 474 KHz CW and plan on running at a 15 minute interval if everything works out.
If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me directly via email.
73 and I hope your group has a wonderful Field Day 2014!
John Langridge KB5NJD / WG2XIQ
Duncanville, TX – EM12MP
PS:  I *may* offer a certificate to those that report my signal around the Texas area so reports, whether copied by ear or software are very welcome!

Possible ISS Contacts on Field Day 2014

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 175.01 
DATE June 24, 2014 
BID: $ANS-175.01 

Possible ISS Voice Contacts on Field Day 
David Jordan, AA4KN, ARISS Public Relations 

Current discussions between the ARISS team and NASA suggest the 
possibility of voice contacts with the International Space Station 
(ISS) during Saturday’s ARRL Field Day activities this coming weekend. 

In a June 23 email, Kenneth Ransom, the ISS Ham Radio payload 
developer, stated “I have received a response from astronaut (Reid) 
Wiseman that he is willing to try and work some stations on Saturday
Pass times begin very soon after the start of Field day.” Wiseman 
would operate under the call sign, NA1SS. Should Alex Gerst 
participate, he would use the call sign, DP0ISS. 

If voice operation does occur, It will likely take place from the 
Columbus (COL) module using the standard Region 2 uplink frequency of 
144.49 MHz and 145.800 MHz for downlink. It’s expected that the packet 
system will be operational on 145.825 MHz during periods when the crew 
is not available. 

It’s not clear whether any of the Russian crew would participate from 
the Russian module, but if so, they would be directed to use 437.550 
MHz for any contacts using the call sign RS0ISS. The COL would also be 
available to their crew using the VHF frequencies above, if Wiseman is 
not operating. 

Listed below are approximate pass times and a chart showing ISS passes 
for the Field Day weekend. The pass times shown are not definite, 
scheduled times with the crew. They may or may not be able to support 
these times. And, updates to this tentative plan will be released as 
they become available. 

Saturday, June 28
+ N. America (18:11-18:33 UTC
+ Hawaii (19:36 – 19:47 UTC
+ N. America (19:48-20:10 UTC

This news release including a color map showing all ISS passes for 
Field Day weekend for North America can be viewed on-line at: 
http://www.amsat.org/?p=2860 http://www.amsat.org/?p=2860 

[ANS thanks David Jordan, AA4KN, ARISS Public Relations for the above 

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