Tag Archives: Yaesu

Listening to ARISS contacts last week

I get just as excited as my kids when I receive any communications from the International Space Station. This past week, we fit an ARISS contact fit into our hectic schedule during lunch break. I gave both of my kids a handheld radio and we all listened together as the ISS passed overhead.

Right on schedule, we heard NA1SS, but it sounded like they were struggling to make contact with KD2IFR at the Central Islip Union Free School District in Central Islip, NY.

I made a short video about one minute into the scheduled contact. I believe both parties were forced to move to their backup channel because we never heard an exchange–only NA1SS calling KD2IFR:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Still…we heard an astronaut live, so mission accomplished!

SWLing Post contributor, Mark Hirst, had much better luck last week monitoring an ARISS contact with King’s High School in Warwick, UK. Check out his excellent video:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Thanks for posting that video, Mark. By the way, I love your FT-817ND setup!

In fact, the King’s High School ARISS contact snagged some excellent publicity via the BBC.  Here’s an article via the Southgate ARC:

King’s High School ARISS contact on BBC TV

On April 19 student Eleanor Griffin led the live question and answer session between King’s High School (GB4KHS) and astronaut Ricky Arnold KE5DAU on the International Space Station (OR4ISS)

King’s High School strongly encourage their girls to develop their interests both inside and outside the classroom. This culture of empowerment led one of their girls to apply to ARISS Europe (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) for a highly prestigious link-up to the International Space Station.

Nicola Beckford reporting on the contact for the BBC – credit KHS

When Eleanor Griffin was selected to hold a space conversation with an astronaut, she was inspired to set up the Warwick Mars Project, for students across the Warwick Independent Schools Foundation, to further interest in Space Science. Eleanor says: “The moon landings belong to the generation of our grandparents, and the International Space Station to our parents. What will happen in our generation? Will Mankind travel to another planet?”

When asked what the incredible experience of the ISS contact had taught her Eleanor replied “Just do it! No one is going to stop you, if you just go and pursue your dreams, you really can do anything.”

Watch the BBC TV news item broadcast on Midlands Today @bbcmtd. Fast forward to 18:45 into the recording at
https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09z9tw6/midlands-today-evening-news-19042018

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS)
http://ariss.org/
https://twitter.com/ARISS_status

King’s High School Warwick
https://twitter.com/KHSWarwick

If you missed these ARISS contacts, no worries! Check out the ARISS “Upcoming Contacts” page where future ARISS QSOs are listed. ARISS contacts are a great opportunity to show kids of all ages what you can hear with even a modest radio!

Spread the radio love

Dave launches the WIRES-X SWL Receiver Net: Test run this week!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow (N9EWO), who follows up after his post last week about a possible SWL Net via the Yaesu WIRES-X network. Dave’s making the net a reality–here are the details:

YAESU “WIRES-X” SWL – RX Net : Right now considering once a month on the FIRST Thursday at 7 PM CDT (8 PM EDT or 0000 UTC Friday) but only if enough activity / check-ins happen. (Updated : April 02)

TEST NET : Thursday April 05, 2018 at 7:00 PM CDT (8 PM EDT. 0000 UTC Friday)
NODE : 30778
ROOM : 40778
Marked as “Dave’s Radio Receiver Page”

Many thanks, Dave, for organizing this!

Post Readers: If you’re interested in this SWL net, please follow updates on Dave’s website.

Spread the radio love

A Yaesu WIRES-X SWL Net?

The WIRES-X Network (Source: Yaesu)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow (N9EWO), who asks:

How many of you Amateur Radio folks reading this web page have WIRES-X capability (either with a local node on your own or have access to it via a repeater) ?? I ask this as a possibility of a casual net of some kind ? We have WIRES-X (local node) here and would be willing to at least try a test run of a weekly or semi weekly “SWL – Receiver Net” IF we receive enough feedback (even if only a few readers). So I would appreciate an email back with a thumbs up or down to this idea and that you would be at least a check in ? Also please give me ideas when you would think a good day of the week and time would be (USA) ? If I receive zero feed back, of course I will not waste my time (but I think it would be fun to at least give it a try).

I only recently acquires a WIRES-X capable handheld: the Yaesu FT2DR. Now I need to find out if there is a WIRES-X capable repeater I can hit from my home. Of course, for me it’s always finding a reliable time to meet–that’s the real challenge! Great idea, Dave!

Post Readers: Contact Dave if you’re interested–his email can be found at the top of his homepage.

Spread the radio love

Yaesu FT-818 details emerge (and beware of the fake “leaked” photo!)

I’ve been following news about the Yaesu FT-818: the next iteration of the venerable Yaesu FT-817ND QRP general coverage transceiver.

The FT-817 series has been on the market for nearly two decades. I remember purchasing one of the first production models when I lived in the UK in 2001.

It was a revolutionary radio at the time.

It was exceptionally suited for portable use, sporting an internal battery pack, on-board keyer, had all mode/all band capability and antenna ports on the front faceplate and rear. It was the most compact full-featured transceiver on the market. All this for about $670 US.

In 2004, Yaesu made upgrades and launched the model FT-817(N)D. In no small way, I’m sure this little radio has been a cash cow for Yaesu. It’s had an exceptionally long market run and has been the only QRP transceiver in the Yaesu product line for decades.

Recently, Yaesu released specifications and retail pricing of the FT-818.  But before we go any further…

Don’t believe the fake prototype photos

It seems like every time a new amateur radio transceiver is announced, someone quickly assembles a “leaked” prototype image and publishes it on the web. Here’s the one someone pieced together for the Yaesu FT-818:

Click to enlarge (and see obvious Photoshop chop job)

To be crystal clear: this is not a leaked photo of the Yaesu FT-818. It’s (frankly) a terrible Photoshop job–someone playing with cutting, pasting and resizing bits from other transceivers.

I fully suspect the new FT-818 will not be a dramatic departure from the FT-817 in terms of styling and design. Perhaps it’ll be nearly identical. In fact, radio retailers have been posting the following image on their FT-818 ordering page:

Image taken from GigaParts.

This may simply be a placeholder, or it may be that all of the upgrades are internal and the ‘818 form factor will be identical to the ‘817.

Enough said…

What we do know about the Yaesu FT-818

Rumors of an FT-818 have been floating around the ham radio community for years. No surprise given the extraordinarily long run of the ‘817 series!

We do have concrete details now since ham radio retailers have been given features, specifications and availability dates. It appears the upgrades are iterative–this is not a dramatically re-designed rig.

Here’s what Yaesu has released (I took this from GigaParts, but retailers are posting variations of the same announcement):

Yaesu FT-818 6W HF/VHF/UHF All-Mode Portable Transceiver

The new Yaesu FT-818 incorporates all of the basic and attractive features of the ever-popular FT-817ND while providing upgrades desired by many existing owners.

The FT-818 provides 6W of solid output power with an external DC power source. The supplied Ni-MH battery pack (SBR-32MH) has been upgraded to now provide larger battery capacity – 9.6v/ 1900mAh. The recent launch of several new satellites is a certain indicator that the large global community of satellite enthusiast are going to be very delighted to learn that the FT-818 includes a Built-in TCXO-9 oscillator that gives the FT-818 fantastic frequency stability (±0.5ppm).

The FT-818 includes all the useful functions that are included in the FT-817ND: Dual VFOs; Split-Frequency operation; IF Shift; Clarifier “R.I.T”; IF Noise Blanker; RF Gain and Squelch control; IPO (Intercept Point Optimization); AM Aircraft reception; AM and FM Broadcast reception; VOX; Built-in Electronic Keyer; Adjustable CW Pitch; Automatic Repeater Shift (ARS); Built-in CTCSS Encoder/ Decoders; 208 memory channels with 10 memory groups; two antenna connectors; Automatic Power-Off (APO) and Time-Out-Timer(TOT) functions; and so on.

Features

  • Increased power output 6W(SSB, CW, FM) 2.0W(AM Carrier) *NEW!
  • Improved frequency stability ±0.5 ppm : Built-in TCXO-9 *NEW!
  • Larger battery capacity : 9.6V/1,900mAh (SBR-32) *NEW!
  • 208 Memory Channels / 10 Memory Groups
  • Operates on 160-10m , HF, 6m, 2m and 70 cm Bands
  • Ultra Compact and Portable
  • Two Antenna Connectors
  • IF Shift, IF Noise Blanker, IPO, ATT
  • CW “Semi-Break-in”, CW Reverse, CW Pitch Control
  • Built-in Electronic Keyer
  • Multi-Color Easy to see LCD
  • Internal Battery Operation Capability
  • ARS Automatic Repeater Shift
  • APO Automatic Power Off
  • Front Panel Key Lock Mode

Specifications

Frequency Ranges:

RX:

  • 100 kHz – 33 MHz
  • 33 MHz – 56 MHz
  • 76 MHz – 108 MHz
  • 108 MHz – 154 MHz
  • 420 MHz – 470 MHz

TX:

  • 1.8 MHz – 29.7 MHz (5.3320 MHz/ 5.3480 MHz/ 5.3585 MHz/ 5.3730 MHz/ 5.4050MHz)
  • 50 MHz – 54 MHz
  • 144 MHz – 148 MHz
  • 430 MHz – 450 MHz (Amateur Bands only)

Circuit Type: Double-Conversion Superheterodyne (SSB/CW/AM/FM)
Single-Conversion Superheterodyne (WFM)
Modulation Type: A1A(CW), A3E(AM), J3E(LSB,USB), F3E(FM), F1D(PACKET), F2D(PACKET)
RF Power Output : 6 W (SSB/CW/FM), 2 W (AM Carrier) @13.8 V
Memory Channels: 208
Case Size(W x H x D): 135 x 38 x 165 mm (5.31″ x 1.5″ x 6.50″) w/o knob and connector
Weight: 900 g (1.98 lbs) (w/o Battery, Antenna and Microphone)

Includes

  • Yaesu FT-818 6W HF/VHF/UHF All-Mode Portable Transceiver
  • Hand Microphone(MH-31A8J)
  • Battery (SBR-32 9.6V 1900mAh Ni-MH )
  • Battery Case (FBA-28) (Requires 8 “AA: batteries)
  • Whip Antenna for 50/144/430 MHz (YHA-63)
  • DC Cable (E-DC-6)
  • Shoulder Strap, Ferrite Core, Rubber Foot
  • Operating Manual
  • Battery Charger (PA-48)

The retail price is roughly $819 US shipped via GigaParts and $849 via Ham Radio Outlet. I’m sure Universal Radio will post the FT-818 to their site soon as well. At time of posting, I haven’t noticed any retailers outside the US including the FT-818 in their catalog.

I will plan to review the Yaesu FT-818, so bookmark this tag to follow any updates: Yaesu FT-818

Spread the radio love

Dave’s Yaesu VX-3R notes

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow, who shares the following in reply to my recent post about the Yaesu VX-3R:

The VX-3R has a tiny internal ferrite bar for AM/mediumwave broadcast listening.

Yes, it’s indeed true the VX-3R is discontinued and is already pretty much sold out.

Rumors of a VX-4R has been around for years and let’s hope that happens–?? Have a sneaky feeling that IF it come to pass it will include C4FM digital (Yaesu Fusion) ?? I actually preferred the older VX-2R over the 3, but that was me (have reviews on both models on my web page). But my two VX-3R test samples were very early production (lots of QC bugs).

http://webpages.charter.net/n9ewo2/vx2r.html
http://webpages.charter.net/n9ewo2/vx3r.html

As I cover on my news page Yaesu is coming out with a number of new HT’s soon.

Sorry no word of a tiny VX-3R replacement yet. Will of course cover that IF and when it happens on the web page.

http://webpages.charter.net/n9ewo2/news.html

Thank you, Dave!  I’ll certainly consider purchasing the VX-4R (if it comes to fruition) if for no other reason than to compare it with the VX-3R.

Again, I love this little all-in-one micro-sized HT as an Everyday Carry radio. If you’re interested in the VX-3R, your best bet will be to check with radio retailers like Universal Radio and Ham Radio Outlet for used/demo units. Of course, as I’ve mentioned before, you might also follow a VX-3R search on eBay where I recently purchased an open box unit for $119 shipped.

Spread the radio love

Yaesu VX-3R: Monitoring ATC over a cup of coffee

While I have a number of amateur radio handheld radios, one of my favorites is the recently-discontinued Yaesu VX-3R.

Saturday morning, I took my father to the his local regional airport’s café (KHKY). It’s a frequent stop when I’m in town visiting.

While sipping coffee, talking with friends and watching GA aircraft land and take off, I tuned to the airport’s tower. It was a pretty busy morning air traffic-wise and it was fun to monitor communications from our table with a view of the runway.

While the little VX-3R lacks the power output of larger HTs, and doesn’t include digital modes like D-Star or DMR, it is dual-band (2M/70cm) and its wideband receiver covers the shortwave, FM and MW broadcast bands in a pinch. Best of all, the VX-3R is amazingly portable.

I take the VX-3R everywhere in my compact EDC (Everyday Carry) pack:

My Everyday Carry (EDC) pack, loaded with all of the essentials.

I’ve used this little radio while traveling (hitting local repeaters and even simplex), I’ve monitored live air support during a local forest fire, and, on a moment’s notice, even caught an ARISS contact.

This week, I decided it might make sense to purchase another VX-3R to carry in the glove compartment of my truck. Since I already know my way around this radio, and since I already have the software and programming cable through RT Systems--it seems to make sense.

I checked the price at Universal Radio only to find the following notice:

AVAILABILITY UPDATE:
This model is being discontinued. We expect one more shipment in late February which will fill our back-orders.  We are not accepting additional orders at this time.

DX Engineering, Ham Radio Outlet and GigaParts also show no stock.

I feel like $139 was a bargain for this versatile amateur HT.

Late last night, a “New Open Box” unit appeared on eBay for $119 shipped. The seller had 100% positive feedback, so I snagged it.

If you’re interested in the VX-3R, your best bet will be to check with radio retailers like Universal Radio and Ham Radio Outlet for used/demo units.

Of course, you might also follow a VX-3R search on eBay.

Post readers: Any other VX-3R owners in our community? Any other fans of monitoring ATC/aviation traffic?

Spread the radio love

Now in the shack: A Yaesu Musen FRG-7

p5290002

Photo sent by Shawn.

In late May, as I was packing for two months of travel in Canada, I received a message from long-time SWLing Post reader, Shawn Aiken.  Shawn was seeking the right home for his Yaesu FRG-7 and Hallicrafters S-38 receivers.

p5290001

I was very interested–especially in the FRG-7. Many SWL friends (Robert Gulley and Mike Hansgen, to name just a couple) love their FRG-7s. I’d been waiting for the right opportunity to snag one at a local hamfest. I’m also a Hallicrafters fan and love the front panel design of the S-38 series: so classy.

I asked Shawn how much he’d like for the receivers–I was very much interested.

Not only would he not accept payment, but he insisted on paying the shipping as well. I felt apprehensive about accepting such a generous gift. Shawn replied:

“Although I understand your reticence, Thomas, just count this as one of the perks of the job that you’ve undertaken and, from what I can tell from a distance, taken on and done well.”

That statement made my day. Thanks, Shawn!

yaesu-frg-7

The FRG-7 now sits in my shack and I’m learning my way around its unique tuning mechanism. It’s a beauty, too: I love the utilitarian front panel and dials/controls.

Other than needing a little DeOxit on some of the pots and switches, it works beautifully!

I’ve been so busy since returning from Canada, I haven’t had the FRG-7 on the air much. That’ll all change, though, as my Fall/Winter listening season kicks in. I’m already looking forward to it.

Thanks again, Shawn! I’ll make sure both of these radios have a good home here in my shack!

Readers: Do you have a Yaesu FRG-7? Any tips/tricks? Please comment!

Spread the radio love