Tag Archives: FT-2900R

IC-7100 now on VHF/UHF

It took long enough but I finally setup the IC-7100 for VHF/UHF use. The rig was programmed with the local repeater frequencies using RT-Systems programming software and a download from Repeater Book. Pretty straightforward overall. I should be able to use the IC-7100 on digital VHF nets run hear locally. There is a 6:30 net on Wednesdays through the repeater and a Simplex net on Thursdays at 7pm. I will still share the discone between this rig and the Yaesu FT-2900R.

One thing I noticed thus far is that he IC-7100 is hitting the repeaters in Harlingen and in South Padre Island. Not sure why this is but glad it seems to work.

Next up I’ll try and configure DStar.

Worked the local VHF Digital Net

W8WKE runs a Wednesday night digital net at 6pm on our local repeater system. I had been wanting to try it for sometime but did not have an interface for my VHF rig. Clifford, N5CEY, hooked me up with one of his Easy Digi USB interfaces for my Yaesu FT-2900R rig. I set up Fldigi on my radio laptop and set it all up to the rig. The net uses MT63-2000L protocol. When the net started I was able to start decoding the transmission without any issues. Unfortunately, I could not transmit. The Interface handles the PTT with the rig and appears to the PC as a serial COM port. I had both DTR and RTS enabled but nothing worked. Then I noticed a small enable check box above the COM setting. I enabled it and the transmit started working without a hitch. I have played with HF modes on DM780 so I need to now learn Fldigi. When I get back from my next business trip I plan to hook up the VHF antenna to the IC-7100 and try and work it from there with HRD. Working this net was a lot of fun and I am looking forward to trying it again.

2m Moxon Update

I did some tests of the 2m Moxon with the FT-2900R and an SWR/Watt meter. I wanted to check the SWR to evaluate the overall matching. I set the antenna up indoors on a tripod up about 4 feet and connected it to the radio through the meter. Starting on low power 5W at the simplex frequency of 146.52Mhz I had an SWR of 1:1. Same on 10W. At 30W I was reading an SWR of 1.5:1 and at 75W the SWR was close to 3:1. This was not unexpected behavior as the way I built the Moxon I have the feedline running through the middle of the RF field. This is not an issue with low power but at high power it puts RF on the feedline. I wound about 6 turns of coax on the feedline and the SWR dropped to about 2:1. Adding a snap on ferrite bead with three turns of coax running through it further reduced the SWR at 75W to about 1.6:1. Aside from this issue, which is easily solved with an air choke on the feedline, it looks like the 2m Moxon is ready for testing at some height and will be ready for full power from the FT-2900R.

More Noise…Sigh….

Now that the RTL-SDR songle is working again as my panadapter…I noticed a lot of noise spikes on my HF spectrum. Tracked it down to the 12V 15A supply I was using for the FT-2900R. I tried to suppress the noise using ferrites but it didn’t have an effect so I am figuring the supply itself is radiating. I moved the FT-2900R to the Samlex supply and it is now sharing with the Yaesu FT-450D. Not a problem running both as long as I don’t try to transmit with both at the same time. I’ll keep the noisy supply when I try and operate the FT-2900R on the 2m Moxon when I get the mast up and running.

Otherwise, the rig is running real smooth now and playing very nicely with all my computer and USB peripherals.

Upgraded my 2m Base station

I setup a new Yaesu FT-2900R 2m base station in the shack here today. The unit is built like a tank and the 75W easily lets me reach the SPI and La Feria repeaters with the existing discone antenna. Looking forward to using this on Simplex.I am interested to see if I can hear any better with this than the Baofeng. The Baofeng HT I was using as a base has returned to service as a spare HT. Hopefully I can use it to experiment with packet once I get some cables wired up. Here is what the shack is looking like now…

shack

Treating myself to Early Birthday Presents

My birthday is in a couple of weeks. With approval from the XYL  I am ordering several birthday treats that can be wrapped up before I turn the big five three. First up is a S9V33+ vertical antenna from Alpha. This is a 31 foot vertical wire antenna that can be used from 40m up to 10m and is light enough to be free standing. I will test this out first as an end fed antenna and see if I can get away with not using radials. Otherwise I will install the 4:1 balun and a set of radials and run it as a 1/4 vertical.Will be interesting to see how it does against the loop and the DXtreme. Worst case is I will have a nice light fibreglass mast.

Next on deck is a 30 foot push up mast kit from ebay. It used aluminum poles to form both a tripod and a mast.Plan to use this for additional testing of the 2m Moxon and may install as permanent mast if all goes well. Found a  low cost balun kit on ebay and ordered two. Will wire one up for 1:1 and the other for 4:1 for wire antenna experiments.

The big daddy buy was a Yaesu FT-2900R 2m mobile rig. I plan to use this as a base rig with an AC power supply. Will output 75W….so….a bit more than the 5W Baofeng I am using now. I am very interested to see how this does on the valley-wide simplex net with the 2m Moxon.