Archive for February 2013

Kenwood TS-2000 delayed transmission fix

Well, I had to do something to sort this out. I can’t cope with a radio that’s not working as intended, it really

TS-2000 with the control board removed.

TS-2000 with the control board removed.

bothers me 🙁 After some digging around, I found a Yahoo-group where this case was discussed (see it here). To sum it up, it suggests that you put control and PTT over to the sub band and the radio will transmit at full power immediately. I tried this, but didn’t work at all – still the same. Seeing that my radio had a pretty old firmware (F095) I decided to try an update. The update procedure is easy enough and was done in no time. After this update, I could do the PTT/control trick – which works (wicked). This workaround creates a new problem though; the log program will save my contacts as worked on the sub receiver, which isn’t very handy. I could of course edit all those logs, but what a pain! At the very least it makes me able to do the important Winlink-tasks over Winmor.

TS-2000 R708 removal

Removed R708 from the control board.

need a proper solution to this, so had a new look at the bulletin from Kenwood. I could easily do the suggested mod, but I miss the flash-IC (IC508). Can’t exactly see why they have to change that one, unless it was for some other preventive measure.. No idea, so let’s try! Opening up the transceiver is trivial, just remember to be gentle with the flat flex cables (there’s plenty of them). I desoldered R708 and put in a 47kOhm resistor between C705 and C701 per the bulletin. I didn’t have any smaller resistor than an 80’s 1/4W device, but it fits ok. I put it all together and fired it up, anxious to see the results, but (bah!) – it’s still the same.

 

 

TS-2000 resistor mod

A new 47kOhm bodge resistor in place.

What now? Should I try to source the flash IC and change it, or would it be a waste of money? I haven’t decided yet.. There’s another “redneck” solution though, making a mike-selector box. Put in a couple of male 8-pin connectors for microphone and interface so I can switch between them. It’s possible, but I don’t like it! It would also require me to feed the interface from the ACC2 or a speaker jack, absolutely not elegant.. A third possibility would be getting a newer control board off ebay, but might have some issues pairing it with the other boards as it could contain different firmwares and of course calibration data. Will consider everything right now. Might also need a new encoder for the multi function wheel as mine is bouncing a bit.

Will come with a new update soon 🙂

 

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Kenwood TS-2000 delayed transmission

So I have my TS-2000 in house, finally! The rig looks super and it feels quite comfortable using it too. Tried it in a few QSO’s on HF and VHF and after some tweaking the sound is superb! As a lot of other people mention, the VHF could use a mast mounted preamp to get sensitivity like a normal VHF-only rig. Will look into that, but that’s not the main dish for me.

As I’m into digital modes, especially PSK and Winmor, I had to connect it to my computer via an interface. I didn’t want a “cowboy” solution, and as audio transformers are hard to get and quite expensive, I went for a ready made box – the TigerTronics Signalink USB. It all hooks up nicely to the TS-2000 and the process is foolproof. When everything was connected and set up, I tried some PSK31 to see if I could have some quick contacts, but things started to look ugly.. When the Signalink is keying the radio, it fades the modulated signal (fading in) and takes about three-four seconds before I have a stable output. At first I thought that the Signalink might be the cause for this, so I checked all connectors and the jumper settings according to the schematic that was provided. Everything looked good. Next up was resetting the radio to see if something was set wrong, then I checked all settings again, but still giving me the same result.

Ok, further investigation was needed, so I opened the Signalink and had it connected while open so I could take out the jumper links while transmitting. I set DM780 to send a PSK31 carrier and took out the audio jumper to the radio. While the radio was transmitting, I put the jumper on to the pin to see if the audio would “fade in” at that point – and it didn’t. Ok, so it might be the PTT, so I tried the other option and lifted the PTT from it’s socket and put the audio jumper back in. Voila! When keying the radio, the audio would slowly fade in. Bugger, this sounds like a radio issue 🙁

After some tedious searching around the net, I stumbled upon this bulletin from Kenwood: http://www.zr5sdb.co.za/things/Radios/TS-2000/TECHNICAL%20UPDATE-032.pdf

Hmm, ok – I need to get those parts then, but why would I need to change the SRAM* flash? It’s not a problem soldering it (these components are gigantic compared to what I work with on a daily basis), but sourcing them is another league.
* Apparantly this is a flash IC, not SRAM as Kenwood states in the service manual.

While looking around I also found a probable workaround; setting the control to the sub-band while operating the ACC2-jack. I have to try this when I get home..

New domain

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Everything is working now – hopefully!

If you find any links, pictures or articles that points to the old domain, please inform me. I’ve tried to correct the database, but there might be issues I haven’t seen yet.

Whispers in the wind – WSPR

Are you familiar with WSPR made by Joe Taylor (K1JT)? Well, I am and have been using it for some time now.

A WSPR overview from 07.11.2012

A WSPR overview from 07.11.2012

It’s very occasionally due to other uses for my antenna and radio. If I am home and have the time to do something else than occupying any gear, I will set up my FT-817 to transmit and receive WSPR. There’s no set pattern for which days I use on the bands, but I concentrate on 40, 30, 15 and 10 meters. It could be nice to let other hams know that 10 meters is open from northern Europe to Australia for example – and that’s what this tool is foor, seeing the current propagation.

WSPR is a mode designed to take up as little bandwidth as possible and is usually QRP. I have mine set up to transmit 0.5W, but will occasionally turn it down even further. You can’t have a normal QSO over this mode, as the transmitted data is only a short string consisting of callsign, locator and power. One transmission takes just about two minutes! With that being said, I have actually received QSL-cards using this mode, but I’m not keeping a log for this mode – it is somewhat complicated parsing the logs this program generates. If anyone know of a great tool to convert the logs into an ADIF-file, please drop me a line 🙂

How do I start with this? Well, you need a radio set up for soundcard digital modes. Download and install WSPR from http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/. You will also need to keep a perfectly synced system clock on your computer. Even one second drift can make your WSPR experience a waste of time (!). The built-in NTP service of Windows is poor (in my opinion), so please use something that can sync at least once an hour.

Where do my signals go? You can’t see that in the log from the program, but have a look at www.wsprnet.org and select map (a map with my signals is shown in the picture above).

For a better and more thorough introduction to WSPR, please see G4ILO’s article about it – it’s really good!

Testing a gallery..

This plugin might be what I need for a gallery. Not sure, but let’s try it out 🙂

These pictures are from Field day 2010.

We cannot display this gallery

 

 

What am I using?

I don’t think I’m any different to most other radio amateurs, so the equipment flow is varying all the time. Radios in, radios out, antennas up and antennas down – intentionally or not.. Just look at the 2012 field day picture..

A pwerful gust of wind trashed our little camp

A powerful gust of wind trashed our little camp

I’ve had numerous HF rigs, both large and small, good and bad. I still haven’t settled on a specific brand or type of radio (I probably shouldn’t either), but somehow it tends to be Yaesu rigs I end up with. As with women, cars and computers, they have to be swapped for something newer at some point..

Current list of devices is as follows:

HF and combined rigs:

VHF/UHF:

Antennas:

  • LDG S9v31 vertical
  • Longwire connected to an Icom AH-3 tuner
  • Homemade OCF dipole in an inverted vee
  • Random lenghts of wire and dipoles for field use

Other peripherals worth mentioning:

Radial field

Radial field

 

I will make a new article regarding the setup, descriptions, history and pictures. Meanwhile, have a glimpse at the radial field I put down last summer 😉

Mobile test

This is just a test to see if the mobile editing tool is working properly.

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New blog is active

Well, it sure took some time to take this step. I’ve had this site for a number of years, but haven’t really put much into keeping it alive. The site was registered back in 2003, but haven’t been any useful stuff on it since 2004. Earlier this week, I started a big cleanup to remove old content and fix security holes. Yep, the site was hacked and full of dubious links and files – it’s all gone now 🙂

This site should be about one of my hobbies, ham-radio! It’s a fantastic hobby where you can get in touch with people all over the world (and even entities flying around the earth). You do not need any internet connection to achieve this and you’re not relying on any current infrastructure if sh*t hits the fan. Of course, internet, power and other infrastructure is nice to have, but most of us hams are set up to be independant of this if the situation requires it. More on this later, but have a look at http://www.arrl.org/what-is-amateur-radio if you want to read what ARRL says about the subject.

Anyway, I’m off to complete this install and write some articles about the hobby. Will post lots of pictures when I get around to do it.

73 de LA1HSA