The FT-817ND is a little and versatile all-band multi-mode transceiver which I am using routinely during SOTA (Summits-On-The-Air) activations. Although the little radio is already quite capable in it's default configuration there are several tuning options available. One of these is the integration of the mechanical YF-122S SSB mechanical filter with an bandwidth of 2.3 kHz. The advantage of using this filter is the ability to better suppress strong signals on adjacent channels.
The integration of the filter is already perfectly described in the manual (one could only wish that manufacturers of other electronic products would provide such detailed instruction manuals) and I do not intend to replicate those instructions here. However, I've made a couple of fotographs during the build process which I would like to share with you. The first step is to ensure that the radio is complete without power which requires the removal of the NiMh battery.
The next step requires the top lid to be removed. One has to be careful to not puch too much strain on the speaker cables unless one wants to risk damage to the speaker-pcb connection.
The following picture provides a closer look on the top main board. The place for installing the filter is on the top right corner of the pcb.
The filter comes in a nice little cardboard package and is labelled YF-122S ...
... which leads to a little surprise when opening the package and finding a filter labelled XF-119SN. Fortunately those two filters are the same in term of package and filter characteristics.
In order to install the filter one has to insert it with the description sticker facing upwards Since there are 3 pins on one side and 4 on the other it is difficult to wrongly insert the filter.
The last step is the activation of the filter within the radios software. Enter the secondary menu level by pressing "F" button for 1 s. Rotate the "SEL" knob until you reach manu #38 "OP FILTER". By rotating the "TUNE" knob select "SSB". You can leave the menu by pressing "F" shortly again. Congratulations, your SSB filter has been successfully activated.
Since the first blog post announcing the start of my adventure into the world of ham radio a couple of months have passed in which I have tried to come up with a creative solution to my main problem: I do have two QTH's and whilst the reception is great at my secondary location (OE3) reception is miserable at my primary location (OE5). Since I spend most of my time in OE5 the only solution is to go mobile.
Now this is were my other problem arises: I do only have one radio which I am carrying from QTH OE5 to the car, from the car to QTH OE5, from QTH OE5 to car to QTH OE3, ... The front panel of my Kenwood TM-D700 is not connected with the transceiver which means I have to carry a lot of sensitive equipment around everytime I move the radio. Since I am also starting to look into SOTA participation I have realised the need for a rugged setup for easily carrying around my radio. Let's begin ...
The basic chassis for the portable ham radio rig consists of CNC milled aluminium plates connected via 3D printed connectors:
The transceiver part of the Kenwood TM-D700 is mounted in the middle of the chassis:
In front a 10 mm macrolon plate is mounted to serve as a base plate for the display which is glued to the macrolon plate.
On the bottom of the chassis rubber feet are applied to prevent scratches when keeping the radio rig on smooth surfaces such as your dining room table 🙂
On the next picture you can actually see the portable ham radio rig happily sitting on the dining table:
On this picture you can clearly see that the display mount is glued to the macrolon plate. No external glue was applied since the display mount is delivered with an extremely adhesive base.
A handle was added on top to have an easy way of picking the radio up and move it somewhere else:
Side view of the complete portable ham radio rig with handle
It works terrific 🙂 Setting up ham radio in my car takes now less than half of the time previously needed. I could only further reduce that time by buying a second radio but I'd rather not amass too much different radios this early on my ham radio journey 🙂
Dear reader! 2k16 is almost over and although this post is not a strictly LXRobotics related topic I'd like to write about it on the LXRobotics blog: In October 2016 I sucessfully took the class 1 CEPT amateur radio exam at the Oberösterreichische Fernmeldebehörde. I am now not only eligible to broadcast and listen to a lot of frequencies but also are allowed to design, develop and operate my own communication equipment. While the development of such gear is definitely something not happening too soon I purchased some commercial equipment to get started. On the picture below you can see my temporary shack located at JN78SH consisting of my old thinkbook for looking up stuff like the repeater map of Austria. As radio I am using a Kenwood TM-D700 2m/70cm radio also capable of ARPS/Packet Radio. The necessary power is supplied by a MAAS SPA-8350 13.8 V / 35 A stationary power supply unit. A Diamond SX-400N SWR & Power-Meter is used to monitor output power and standing wave ratio.
The Kenwood radio is connected via a short N-Male/N-Male cable with the SWR-Meter which in turn is connected via a 20 m N-Male/N-Male connector cable with a Diamond X300N antenna which is mounted to a refurbished traffic sign pillar. The whole construction is actually pretty high and easily reaches up to the start of the roof.
After everything was setup I was ready to go on the net. For a while I was listening to a conversation going on via the 2m repeater OE3XLS in Sandl/Langenlois. Later I tried to establish a conversation about aforementioned relais but the incoming signal was barely readable (the propagation conditions had changed). Fortunately my communication partner helped me to change frequency a couple of times which led ultimately to us having a QSO (amateur radio communication) via the 2m repeater OE3XPA at Kaiserkogel. With only 5 watts of TX power I was able to communicate reliably via the Kaiserkogel repeater. And the end of our QSO the other ham invited my to join a broadcast round on the repeater the next day which I gladly accepted. Since my shack was a only temporary first tryout I had to disassembly everything ... nonetheless I am looking forward to soon go QRV (ready to receive) in Oberwölbling/Linz again.
73 OE3LXR/OE5LXR Alex