Thursday, 16 June 2022

RED ROSE RADIO RALLY 2022

WMRC SUMMER RALLY 2022

 
After an absence of two years due to the Covid Pandemic, West Manchester Radio Club is hosting  another fabulous Summer Radio Rally!

This very popular event is being held at St Josephs Hall in Leigh - a convenient venue with plenty of parking. Please visit the WMRC WEBSITE for more information.

 

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

PREPPCOMM MMX DMX-40

MORSE OR REMORSE?

PREPPCOMM DMX-40 MMX
It’s long bothered me that I can’t work CW. I find it very appealing and recognise its ability to potentially reach much further than SSB. Even in poor band conditions, CW Operators seem to be able to have QSO’s.  But what can I do?? I’m too old and too damned busy to learn a new language.

I bought a Morse Tutor and Key and I tried my heart out for a week or so, but soon realised that it was going to take me many months to reach the point where I could call myself proficient - and that means many months of not doing something else with my leisure time.

Well the answer is to use a CW Decoder and Encoder. But traditionally, they’ve all been pretty rubbish at decoding. Many modern transceivers include a morse decoder and some even allow the transmission of short pre-written CW messages stored in memory and accessed by a bank of 4 or maybe even 8 buttons. That's fine for very basic messages like "CQ TEST M7MCQ" for use on the Reverse Beacon Network, but it's not really much use in a QSO with a human being.

A few companies manufactured Morse Code Readers/Keyers such as MFJ with their 464 model, but reviews of this and other similar devices are not very complimentary at all, so I figured all was lost 😒

And then an RSGB  RADCOM magazine dropped through my door, with the answer to all my prayers - or so it seems. On the front cover was a PreppComm DMX-40 and inside was a detailed review of it. I didn't realise it at the time, but this this product-review was not written by RADCOM staff in the UK, but instead by an American operator, KH2SR. Does it matter that it wasn't written by a UK reviewer? Well you can decide later when you have read all this review.

The DMX-40 Morse Decoder & Converter Transceiver (designed and built in Idaho, USA by Eric Anderson) is a portable single band (40M) QRP device which allows users to decode morse signals and it also allows you to transmit morse code by simply typing your message on the supplied keyboard with up to  4W output.

Now, similar claims have been made in the past and some manufacturers have got closer than others in achieving this holy grail, but according to the reviewer in RadCom, the PreppComm actually works - every time!!

That is great news and it will be of considerable interest to many people out there who want to join in the fun of CW and benefit from its long reach. The DMX-40 has a CW receiver which matches some of those on much more expensive radios. Thanks to its high-noise immunity decoder, it has superb sensitivity and selectivity and decodes text even when the band is very noisy and busy with people transmitting very close to one another.

One of the most appealing features of this transceiver is that it's compact and portable and will be a fantastic aid in SOTA & POTA operations. Unfortunately, you have to use the supplied keyboard - you can't just use any old USB keyboard, but thankfully, the supplied unit is light and will fit into your go-bag with ease.

What I like about Eric Anderson's approach to this project is his focus on making it fun and easy! The unit not only works out the speed of the incoming CW, but also detects your typing (sending) speed. If you're typing speed fluctuates wildly, then it will use the receive-speed to send your message (it has a keyboard buffer).

There's also options to program macros to save you typing out repetitive information such as Name, QTH, Rig, Antenna, etc. I've never worked CW in Contest Mode, but I'm guessing that these macros will be extremely handy for that.

The 3.5" colour-screen is a Touch Screen, making operation very simple and intuitive. There are 28 menu screens in total, including a built-in Help Section - that's always good to have when you're out in the field and you've forgotten how to use a particular feature.

In addition to being a self-contained CW Transceiver, you can also connect the device to your existing radio and (in theory) use it to decode/transmit CW on any of the bands that your radio has - including VHF/UHF. That would be amazing!

Finally, this device could become your active (and passive) morse tutor. You can attach a key and practise as much as you like and instantly see the results on screen. Currently, you can only use a straight key, but hopefully, there'll be a firmware update which allows paddles.

PreppComm seem like a really nice bunch of people. It started with just one guy and is still a tiny company, but the benefit of that is that you feel like you can relate to them and it's both interesting and amusing to read through their Development Blog and learn about the trials and tribulations of getting an idea to a working product. One part of the Blog relates to installing SMD components on PCBs and boy, I think everyone in ham radio can symapthise, LOL.

I ordered my unit direct from America on 17 March 2022 and rather than ordering the single-band DMX, I opted for a Tri-Band MMX which covers 80/40/20.  I did this because there was an offer on the website giving 3 bands for the price of two, using a supplied Discount Code. 

Shipping to the UK was pretty darned expensive at $50 but there are no UK distributors yet, so there's little choice but to pay that. I'm very excited and can't wait for the unit to arrive.

Much more information is available in this >>>PDF FILE<<< from PreppCom.


More when it arrives πŸ˜‰

Tom, M7MCQ.






Specifications :

* Advanced Direct Conversion SDR Receiver: with custom bandpass filter, balanced mixer, and low-noise preamp giving sensitivity ≈ 0.3 Β΅V, -118 dBm or better. 

* GUI: 3.5″ color touchscreen LCD, Main Screen plus 27 function screens. 

* Included keyboard for control, text input, shortcuts 

* Weight: 11 oz with protective lid. 

* Size: 3.8″ x 5.2″ x (1.3″ w/o lid, 2.25″ w/lid). 

* Power Consumption, receive:  1.4/0.96 watt, LCD backlight ON/OFF 

* 80 meter band: 3.5 MHz - 4.0 MHz. SWL receiver range: 2.45 - 5.6 MHz 

* 40 meter band: 7.0 MHz - 7.3 MHz. SWL receiver range: 4.9 MHz - 10.22 MHz 

* 20 meter band: 14 MHz - 14.35 MHz. SWL receiver range: 9.8 MHz - 20.09 MHz 

* 80M Power Output @ 13.8V: approx - 2 W, 350 ma total power drain (key down) 

* 40M Power Output @ 13.8V: approx3 W, 500 ma total power drain (key down) 

* 20M Power Output @ 13.8V: approx - 1.5W, 350 ma total power drain (key down) 


The radio arrived and I've had a couple of warranty issues, so I'm leaving this page for now. I'll hopefully be back soon with a thorough review.



Monday, 25 April 2022

CHEAP SHACK-IN-A-BOX : FT-857D

YAESU FT-857D

I recently purchased a static caravan holiday home and I had every intention of taking my ICOM IC-705 with me each weekend. And then I thought it would be very convenient if I could leave a radio stored in the caravan permanently, to save lugging one backwards and forwards. And besides, the more times you have to transfer kit in that way, the more likely you are to leave something behind
.

So with that in mind, I searched for a cheap, second-hand transceiver. My first thought was to buy an old FT-100 or FT-817, figuring that they would be real cheap, but OMG how wrong was I? There were some right old dogs on sale for crazy prices. I can't believe how much people were asking for radios that could be approaching their 20th birthday 😲

And then I spotted an advert for an FT-857D at £300 - that was more like it! It was described as "cosmetically challenged, but fully functional".

I decided to take a chance on it and after it arrived I started a search for panels to replace the heavily scratched ones. The rest of the radio was in great condition and only needed all the grubbiness cleaning off. I ended up finding a top and bottom cover (separately) for £28, so the total outlay was £328 for a fabulous radio that I could easily sell later for £500-600 πŸ’ͺ

The Yaesu FT-857D has never appealed to me previously - I always preferred the 817/818, but I must admit that now I've handled one in the flesh, it's pretty compact and not a great deal bigger or heavier than its little brother - it's only around 6"x9". And when you consider that this is a 100W radio, that's pretty impressive!


The radio covers HF, 6M, 2M and 70cm, all modes, all bands. It can provide 100W on HF, 50W on VHF and 20W on UHF. It has a detachable head unit and although it's small in size, it has a nice, large VFO knob. The unit feels very well built (just like the FT-818) and the controls don't feel sloppy or loose (even in this well-used example).

Operation of the 857 could never be described as intuitive - it's just not. You have to invest time in learning your way around things. There aren't many buttons but there are many menus! Luckily for me, I'm totally familiar with it all, since I've previously had an FT-818 and put the time in. But lets not get carried away - it’s not rocket science!! Operation of the radio can be made simpler by switching the standard microphone for a DTMF mic with multiple buttons for direct frequency input and other functions - a very worthwhile purchase (I already had one).

Sensitivity and selectivity of this little marvel is pretty good. Obviously not as good as a KX3 or an IC-705, but it's good enough. The truth is, when you're out and about at high vantage points with a good antenna, sensitivity becomes much less important.

NICKY NOOK, FOREST OF BOWLAND
Perfect spot for walking, dogs and radio!

The FT-857D is going to be based at my holiday home in Scorton and will probably never stray further than the local high-spot (Nicky Nook) which is a great place to operate from. Signals are very easy to pick up there and you don't need the best radio in the world to enjoy your day.


My antenna of choice for the 857 is SotaBeams BandSpringer Midi using one of their telescopic masts. It's a fabulous antenna with great band coverage. 

I'll probably leave my AlexLoop HamPack at the caravan too - it's very discreet and shouldn't attract any attention if I want to operate from the caravan. I'll put a Diamond X30 up on the roof for local VHF/UHF chat.

The FT-857D has 32 preset screen-colours and you can adjust these further if you can be bothered. Contrast and brightness are also fully adjustable. Personally I like the Light Blue and the usual Amber-Red. Some people think you can adjust the colours of the backlit buttons, but you can’t.

The screen is far better than the 818 I was used to, so overall I’m very happy with it. Needless to say, it looks ancient next to the 705, but once you’ve got the colour and contrast to your liking, it’s very easy to live with. There’s also a simple spectrum scope on the 857.

Audio on this radio is only ‘average’ due to the tiny built-in speaker, but it’s loud enough even in noisy outdoor environments. Things are improved vastly with an external speaker (which is fine at home but I can’t be bothered with one if I’m going outdoors - in which case I’ll throw a pair of headphones in my rucksack).

The 857D  has useful DSP filters built-in which are very handy and work quite well. There’s also space inside for a further two Collins filters to improve selectivity, but they’re quite expensive and poor value for money as far as I’m concerned.

The VHF & UHF performance is excellent and it’s good to be able to use SSB on these bands. It’s a very flexible radio and an absolute bargain at this price. If I’d bought a minter, it would have cost double or more, and I don’t think I’d have paid that much - I’d have gone for a new 818 instead.

To go with the cheap radio, I needed a cheap ATU and thankfully, my mate Carl offered me an LDG AT-200 for free!! I couldn’t accept it for free, so I gave him a few quid and was very pleased with it. It interfaces perfectly with the FT-857D using a simple 3.5mm to 3.5mm jack-plug lead. This is perfect for use at the caravan, but I I’ll use my Elecraft T1 for outdoor activities.


 

So overall I am really pleased with the FT-857D for the type of work I’ll be doing with it. If I’d only needed HF then I would definitely have opted for an FT-891 because I think that’s a better HF receiver with amazing DSP, but I wanted a complete one-box solution and the 857 gives me that (at a bargain price).

A friend of mine was selling his Yaesu ATAS-120A cheaply, so I thought I’d give it go. It turned out to be a wise move, performing really well at the caravan park. Of course it’s designed to work specifically with the 857 and 897. 

THE NOISE LEVELS AT THE CARAVAN PARK WERE INCREDIBLY LOW!

The ATAS-120A simply plugs into the FT-857D and then you adjust Menu #85 to choose ATAS HF or one of the other options and then save that setting by holding the Function button.

When you first connect the ATAS-120A, you will see the word "INIT" on your screen when you press the TUN button. Leave it for a minute to initialise, then it will change to "ATAS". You are now ready to use the antenna. 

To tune the antenna, just hold down the TUN button for a couple of seconds and you will see (and probably hear) the antenna moving up and down until it finds a match below 2:1. You will also see the changes on your radio's SWR indicator.

Occasionally, the antenna gets confused or stops working - usually when you've changed bands. All you have to do is go back into Menu #85, switch it OFF and then back on again so it re-initialises.

Don't forget that this is not an all-band antenna! It covers 7MHz, 14MHz, 21MHz, 28MHz and 50MHz.  It is also capable of operating on 144 and 430MHz but not very efficiently. And if you're not using it on the roof of a car/truck, then be sure to connect a couple of radials for each band.

Negatives of the FT-857D?? The only real negative is the lack of internal batteries like in the 817/818, but then the size would have increased considerably.

73, Tom, M7MCQ.


UPDATE : Added an external meter!

I was chatting with a mate of mine and he mentioned he had an external meter for sale - an LDG FTL Meter which was designed specifically for the Yaesu FT-8XX range. He only wanted £25 for it, so I bought it. Absolute bargain and a lot more readable than the FT-857 meter :-)




Wednesday, 23 March 2022

BUILD-A-PI by KM4ACK

RASPBERRY PI ZERO 2W

Today I put together a tiny computer for use with my portable radio gear. It's in the form of a Pi Zero 2W and I used KM4ACK's Build-A-Pi utility to put it together instead of using an image from the internet.

It took a long time to complete and no disrespect to KM4ACK, but in the end, I wished I'd just downloaded an image 😏

I already have the HAM-PI software collection which I built into my Pi400, but I was curious about seeing what could be done with the smallest Pi out there - the Zero. It's amazing how compact it is! After completing this Build-A-Pi project, I've decided that I'm going to write another HAM-PI image onto a spare card and keep it with the Zero as an optional boot up.

To keep the Zero safe from knocks and drops, to avoid static damage and to provide some RF protection, I put it into a small metal case. It also looks pretty darned cool too. I got both off eBay for paltry amounts.

Because I was opting to install all the software included in the Build-A-Pi option list, I needed to use a 16Gb card, but I only had a 32Gb SDcard from Kingston which results in around 23Gb spare (wasted) space.

The case by FLIRC measures around 70x35mm and is really nicely made. A heat-transfer pad is included for the processor and all the connector holes line up perfectly. You even get a little wrist-strap with it.

The Pi Zero 2W uses a Quad Core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 processor running at 1GHz which is around 5 times faster than the original Pi Zero. 512Mb of ram is included.

On the PCB is a power-in and a USB connector (both Micro USB), alongside a Mini-HDMI socket. At the bottom edge is your Micro SDcard holder. 

The built-in Wi-Fi module is encased in a metal enclosure to avoid stray RF effecting it - always good when using radios close by! This mini-marvel even has Bluetooth 4.2. What it doesn't have, is a built-in soundcard.

When buying a Pi Zero 2W, you must factor in a decent little 5V PSU. One of the problems that people come across with PI's is lock-ups and black screens and it's almost invariably because they're using a cheap little usb charger from the £1 shop. The official mains supply has a 2.5A output which will allow your Pi to power other devices like a HDMI monitor and a wireless keyboard and mouse, etc.


Outdoors, you'll probably want to use a 5V battery pack or Power Bank. Depending on the capacity of it, it should last a good few hours in the field. I have a couple of Power Banks but the best one is a Baseus PD 20W which can power/recharge up to three devices at once. It has variable voltages which makes it useful for powering other devices such as QRP Labs QDX.

 

Once all the "building" of the Pi is complete (which is automated but can take hours), the device is ready to run all your favourite radio software. JS8CALL and WSJT-X work a treat. There's also GPS software which runs perfectly with my cheap GPS Dongle. This is essential for accurate time-keeping.

The Zero doesn't have the GPIO pin-out block, but it has all the connections to add one. Personally, I won't ever use that, so its absence is of no consequence to me. Also of no use to me is the camera-connector at one end of the pcb.

So, what's it like?? Well it works fine. There's no apparent problems with any of the software, but yes, it seems a tad sluggish compared to say the Pi400 - but then it would! In practical terms though, it works well and is certainly a lot smaller! 



MANUFACTURER'S SPEC....

1GHz quad-core 64-bit Arm Cortex-A53 CPU

512MB SDRAM

2.4GHz 802.11 b/g/n wireless LAN

Bluetooth 4.2, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), onboard antenna

Mini HDMI port and micro USB On-The-Go (OTG) port

microSD card slot

CSI-2 camera connector

HAT-compatible 40-pin header footprint (unpopulated)

H.264, MPEG-4 decode (1080p30); H.264 encode (1080p30)

OpenGL ES 1.1, 2.0 graphics

Micro USB power

Composite video and reset pins via solder test points

65mm x 30mm


Monday, 14 March 2022

ICOM ID-52E QUICK REVIEW

ICOM's LATEST HT


The Icom ID-52E
is Icom's latest and greatest handheld transceiver with all the bells and whistles that you could ask for. It was launched a few months ago, but availability has been dreadful due to the global silicon-chip shortage, so I was very happy to receive a call from Martin Lynch & Son to say that a batch had eventually arrived and one of them was on its way to me. I'd enquired about the availability of them during one of their live-chat sessions😊.

The ID-52E (ID-52A in America I believe) replaces the ID-51 and unlike the Yaesu FT5D, it's radically different to the previous model. Despite the differences between old and new, there's still a great deal of familiarity between both models, meaning that that there isn't a steep new learning curve. As with most modern Icom radios, they are extremely intuitive and jumping from one radio to another is a breeze, be it an ID-52, IC-705 or even an IC-7300.


The ID-52 feels quite large, like the Kenwood D74 - certainly one of the bigger handhelds out there apart from my Yaesu FT-550L Airband transceiver. It's a good thing though - it feels beautifully made and sits better in the hand than my FT3D, which in my opinion, is a bit stumpy! 

The radio comes with a BP-272 battery which is the same as the one fitted to the IC-705. I also have the large capacity BP-307 which makes this radio seem very bulky, but if you want all-day power...

The quality of this (rather expensive) radio is obvious to all. The plastics are good, the buttons are good, the rotaries are good and the 2.3" screen is fabulous! The radio also looks good. Appearance is obviously secondary to performance, but it's nice when a great radio looks as well as it performs. The FT3D by comparison is not very attractive at all (and with those dreadful tacky red buttons, the FT5D is even worse IMHO)!

Some people may be surprised to find that the screen is not a Touch-Screen, but personally, I don't mind that one bit! In fact, I prefer it not to be. The trouble with touch-screens like the one on my FT3D is that they are just too damned small to be practical. I often struggle to touch the correct option on the FT3D screen especially up in the corners and the fact is, you still have to use the keyboard for some selections and navigation anyway! I'd prefer to have a nice, solid screen with options selected from the keypad. Another thing I don't like too much with the FT3D touch-screen is that it seems to flex when being pressed. Hmmm.

The ID-52 is a Dual Band VHF/UHF transceiver with DSTAR capability. It can simultaneously receive VHF/UHF, VHF/VHF, UHF/UHF and can even receive DV/DV meaning, for example, you can listen to two DV Repeaters at the same time. Bear in mind, that some other handhelds declare the ability to monitor two DV frequencies at the same time, but the difference with the ID-52E is that you can hear both frequencies at the same time. 

It can also receive Airband on both VHF and UHF, so Military aviation frequencies can be monitored! Coverage is basically 76-479MHz. The FT3D by comparison has a wider receive range of 0.5MHz – 999.99MHz which is pretty impressive but sensitivity across that very wide range has highlights and lowlights as you'd expect. Neither radio includes SSB modes like the D74.



 
The built-in BlueTooth makes it easy to use BT headsets or to communicate with your Android or IOS devices, whether you're wanting to use the free Icom software apps to control the radio, program it or to send images, etc.

One of the very best features of this new radio has to be the inclusion of a proper bandscope. It is really well implemented - much better than on my FT3D - the two are like chalk and cheese. The scope on the ID-52 reminds me of that on the IC-705. A major plus point for portable operation.



Speaking of the IC-705, it's worth noting that the ID-52 uses the same battery, so if you have a 705 you can take advantage of having a spare battery for either radio. In fact, now that I think about it, I bought the large capacity BP-307 for the 705, so I’ll be able to use that too with the ID-52.

Icom's CS-52 Programming Software is free to download and is easy to use. No need for RT Systems here! Within minutes of getting the radio, I was using CS-52 and had entered all my favourite AirBand frequencies, Broadcast frequencies and I moved my favourite repeaters to a Group of their own for quick access.

There's a fabulous function which (no matter where in the world you happen to be) identifies the repeaters close to your current location. This is possible because of the built-in GPS and Icom's eagerness to make the ham operator's life easy by including a list of the world's FM and DV Repeaters and Reflectors!

Having built-in GPS, the radio can show you which are the closest repeaters and reflectors to your current location and quickly get you connected. You can of course add any new repeaters or hotspots to the list.


Using DSTAR on Icom radios is pretty straightforward once you understand the basics and there are plenty of great video guides on YouTube about it. It seems far easier to use DSTAR on an Icom radio than on a Kenwood. Dstar audio has always been good for me and I don't see much of a difference between it and C4FM. I have no bias either way.

Picture-Sharing is another feature of the Icom but personally I have no use for it. I just don't understand why it was implemented in the first place. What's the point? Perhaps someone can point out its usefulness to me?

SD-CARD fitment is getting to be be pretty standard these days and the ID-52E makes great use of it. Apart from being a place to store or backup memories, it can also hold you Settings, GPS Log, QSO Log, Firmware Updates, etc, but can also hold your QSO Recordings! Yes, like all modern Icom radios, the ID-52 has a built-in QSO Recorder. Such a great feature which I don't think Icom make enough noise about!

Imagine being out and about in the hillsides having QSO's with people who are giving you lots of information which you may wish to recall later - well don't worry about writing it all down - you can listen through it again when you get home. Fabulous!

The SD-CARD is also used for holding your TX AUDIO recordings. Yet another fabulous feature and one which should be standard on all radios. 

Broadcast FM Radio is available between 76 and 108MHz. It's sometimes nice to be able to listen to your favourite radio station while monitoring calling frequencies or you can put it in FM Radio-Mode exclusively. The built-in speaker sounds really very nice and is loud enough to use in noisy environments such as town centers. Considering the high level of waterproofing on the Icom, you wouldn't expect it to be able to sound so good. The FT3D actually suffered in that respect because of its waterproofing.

You can also opt to use headphones or the Icom Speaker-Mic (ICOM HM-186LS). The speaker-mic is of very high quality - I just love how Icom products are put together. The volume of the mic-speaker is marginally lower than the radio, so you'll end up increasing the volume (or raising the mic to your ear). Thankfully, the radio's audio levels go extremely high, so there's no problem anyway.

I can confirm that the ID-52E works perfectly well with Apple AirPods as headphones. They sound great. I could not, however, get them to work on VOX, but then one doesn’t really need to 🀷🏻.  Just talk into the 52’s mic as normal. The great thing about the AirPod Pros of course is the fantastic noise-cancellation. 


Of particular note is that this HT has VERY high quality TX audio. It knocks spots off my other handhelds - it's just amazing! I know they used to say that Kenwood was the king of audio, but maybe their crown is about to be knocked off.

Probably due to the waterproofing, the microphone socket on the radio is deeply recessed which means that your standard headset connectors won't fit. Thankfully, Icom offer a special adapter to overcome this issue which I will be ordering. The price of it is a bit ridiculous at £24 but everything in this hobby is ridiculously priced!



So it's pretty obvious that we have a very highly specified HT here. It's superbly put together using top quality materials and construction techniques. It has high levels of waterproofing and great performance. I would strongly recommend investing in the LC-193 Soft Leather Case to protect the radio. I've never really liked using cases, but my opinion has changed somewhat since dropping my FT3D a couple of feet resulting in unsightly marks to the plastic case.

You will benefit from downloading the ADVANCED MANUAL from Icom's website to take full advantage of all the available features. You'll also need to dedicate time to studying it all. That's the fun of it too though - just when the new-radio feeling is fading, you can discover more things to bring the sparkle back.

I've not yet had the chance to take this HT on a long walk and test it thoroughly, but brief sensitivity tests alongside the FT3D show signs of superiority. The ID-52E not only sounds better, but it also pulled in a stronger, cleaner signal than it's Yaesu chum. I tested it using a Diamond V2000 and a high quality antenna switch.

So in summary, I would recommend the Icom ID-52E. It's expensive, but it's also a very good radio. If you're a 51 owner, you'll probably not want to spend all that money on an upgrade, because the 51 is still a cracking bit of kit, but if you're on the market for a new Dual Band DSTAR handheld and don't currently own one, then this is well worth considering - especially if you’ve got a big birthday coming up and your other half is begging you to have a special treat - yeh right! πŸ˜‚  

What do I not like about the Icom ID-52E? Well there's nothing I really dislike, but for this kind of money and considering this is the very latest radio on the market (so Icom could already see what the competition were offering), I thought it would include APRS and  I would have very much liked to have a wider receive range including LW, MW and SW with SSB. That would have been the icing on the cake and made the ID-52 perfect!

Just remember to leave some money for some nice accessories...



THE EAGLE HAS LANDED!


ICOM's BLURB...


ID-52E Dual-Band D-STAR Digital Transceiver £520 RRP 

The ID-52E is a VHF/UHF dual band radio with D-STAR and FM dual mode functions. The ID-52E supports conventional FM communications as well as D-STAR simplex, repeater, regional, and worldwide calls over the D-STAR Internet gateway. With the ID-52E, you can call a friend in another city, or even internationally through D-STAR repeaters, with digital clear audio. In addition, the ID-52E can send digital voice with data, text messages, GPS location information and pictures.

Worldwide Communication Through the D-STAR Network
The ID-52E provides D-STAR simplex, repeater, regional, and worldwide calls over the D-STAR Internet gateway as well conventional FM communications. Call a friend in another city, or even internationally through D-STAR repeaters, with digital clear audio.

Picture Sharing Function
Share pictures with other users and see received pictures on the colour display. Pictures taken on an Android device can be wirelessly transferred to the ID-52E via Bluetooth.

DR (D-STAR Repeater) Function
The expanded DR (D-STAR Repeater) function makes D-STAR and FM repeater communication easier to use. Combined with the GPS function, selection of an available local repeater is available with a couple of button pushes, based on your location. Additionally, DR mode supports reflector linking controls.

Terminal Mode and Access Point Mode*
Connect the ID-52E to the Internet through a Windows PC or an Android device. The Internet gateway (using Terminal mode and Access Point mode) enables you to access the D-STAR repeater network, even from areas where no D-STAR repeater is directly accessible via radio.
・ Terminal and Access Point modes are compatible with Icom RS-RP3 Gateway Software. If your D-STAR repeater is running G1 or G2 software, please contact your local Icom Distributor to upgrade software. ・ You need an Internet connection with an IPv4 Global IP address. If you use a cellular system, you need an IPv4 Global IP address assigned to your Android device. ・The RS-MS3W optional software is required to be installed in the PC (Download from Icom website). The RS-MS3A optional application software is required to be installed in the Android device (Download from Google Play). USB cable is required. Type-A: User supplied. Type-C: OPC-2418. micro-B: OPC-2417.

2.3" Large Colour Display
The ID-52E features a 2.3-inch colour display (320 × 280 pixels) which provides excellent viewability. The display background colour is selectable from black and white.

Bluetooth Enabled Features
The optional VS-3 Bluetooth headset enables hands-free wireless operation. In addition to the PTT and volume up/down buttons, the VS-3 has three programmable buttons that can be assigned functions to improve operation.

You can connect to an Android device through Bluetooth. With the Android device together with the RS-MS1A Remote Control Software installed, you can wirelessly control the ID-52E to change operating frequencies and other settings.

Handheld Radio First! Waterfall Display
The waterfall display shows not only the existence of signals but also the changes of signal level in chronological order. You will have an overview of the band conditions in more detail, including busy frequencies currently used, or open frequencies not used. The band scope mode is selectable from center mode, Fixed mode and Fixed scroll mode.

V/V,U/U,V/U Dualwatch Including DV/DV Mode
The Dualwatch function monitors the VHF/VHF, UHF/UHF and VHF/UHF bands simultaneously*. You can quickly respond to a call from the Main and Sub bands. Two DV signals can be decoded at the same time.
* AM/AM mode Dualwatch is not possible. AM signals can be received on only the Main VFO (A band).

VHF/UHF Airband and FM Broadcast Receiver
Airband reception is expanded from VHF to UHF military Airband (225 to 374.995 MHz). FM broadcast stations can be listened to while using the dualwatch function.

Integrated GPS/GLONASS Receiver
D-PRS mode is supported by the internal GPS receiver for sending your location and showing received station location, distance, and direction from your current location. In addition to your location, the ID-52E displays your current Grid Square information. The GPS position data can be used for Position Auto Reply, Near Repeater Search, and GPS log functions.

microSD Card Slot
You can store QSO Recording, TX Voice Memory, pictures, QSOs and GPS log data. Firmware upgrades, Repeater lists and other personal settings onto a microSD card (up to 32 GB). This can then be uploaded into the ID-52E radio.

Micro USB Connector
The ID-52E has a Multi-function USB port as well as USB host function, for charging the Icom battery packs, PC Programming, read/write contents to the microSD card, Terminal/Access Point mode support, as well as CI-V control as well as audio.

IPX7 Waterproof and Tough Construction
IPX7 waterproofing and pro-grade construction make the ID-52E ideal for operating in harsh outdoor environments.

Other Features
• 750 mW loud audio output power
• Improved heat dissipation efficiency for stable operation
• DV fast data mode uses data in place of voice frames
• QSO log in CSV data format
• Accessories for the ID-51E/ID-31E such as battery packs and microphones can be used
• DV/FM near repeater search function
• Voice recorder function
• External DC power jack


COMMENT RECEIVED FROM DK5CH : 

Hi Tom,

very nice blog. I also own an IC-705 and now an ID-52E. For me the microphone and VOX work for the ID-52 in combination with the Airpods Pro. However, I have to set the BT headset type in the ID-52 to Microphone instead of Normal. Audio sounds very good, but the build in microphone is hard to beat.

VOX is working, but I don't use it, pressing the PTT on the 52 keys the rig and voice is picked up by the Airpods. I really love operating outdoor with these two radios in combination with the excellent Airpods.

Best wishes and take care!

Christian - DK5CH

Thanks Christian, 73, Tom, M7MCQ

Sunday, 6 March 2022

MICHAEL NEY's DCS F-16 STREAMDECK PROFILE

A GREAT STREAMDECK PROFILE

I had been playing around with the StreamDeck trying to duplicate some of the DCS F-16's ICP when I stumbled upon an infinitely superior one created by Michael Ney. He very kindly sent me his profile and after examining it, I realised there was no point trying to do it myself when there's already talented people around who can do a much better job of it than me.

MICHAEL NEYS's PROFILE

MY COSMETIC CHANGES
 
So I installed his profile and just made some cosmetic changes to the buttons. I didn't alter any of Michael's keystroke programming because all that was pretty much perfect. I was so grateful for Michael's gift of this profile - it's something that I can certainly build on and learn from.