My Return to Amateur Radio

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Scott
Posts: 7474
Joined: 18 Aug 2005 12:00
Location: Cape Cod, Massachusetts
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My Return to Amateur Radio

#1 Post by Scott » 07 Nov 2017 20:44

Hello,

This post somewhat goes hand in hand with the post I made in the other forum a short time ago (The State of The Webmaster Address). As mentioned there I've returned to the amateur radio portion of the hobby and I'm really enjoying being back on the air again. I sold off some monitoring equipment in order to fund part of it, and dug into a rainy day fund to cover the rest. My callsign is KC1UA, and here's what I've put together for a station.

HF: Yaesu FT-450D transceiver, Buxcomm off-center fed dipole model #40270 for 40 through 6 meters, and a homebrewed fan dipole for 40, 20, and 10 meters (although I'm having a hell of a time getting it resonant on 10, this is a work in progress; 20 and 40 work great). I also have a Signalink USB interface on the way for HF digital modes; definitely looking forward to that. Most of my activity has been on 40 meters due to the time of day I can operate, but I've done well on 20 as well when time has allowed. No amplifiers, just running up to 100 watts with the 450D. Using its stock microphone and my trusty old Astron RM-35A power supply. I also am using my "almost sold once" RFSpace NetSDR as a receiver for HF operation. It has a Wellbrook magnetic loop attached to it, which I bought a few years ago for SWL'ing. What a great antenna, and very important in this land of quarter-acre lots and plasma TV's. I use this combination with the SDR-Console software, which controls the FT-450D. I can see signals on the entire band, and when I transmit the software immediately mutes the receiver by 60dB. I can still see my signal, and could monitor it if I wished to do so. A great combination. The dipoles pick up a great deal of noise, the Wellbrook nulls out most of it.

VHF/UHF: 2 Connect Systems CS800D dual band DMR/Analog transceivers, 1 in the shack, the other to be installed in my truck this weekend. I also obtained an Anytone AT-D868UV dual band DMR/Analog handheld. I also have one of the Radioddity GD-77 dual band portables although it may go on the for sale block due to the Anytone. A Baofeng UV-5R "I can drop it in the toilet by accident and who cares" portable rounds out the HT's. I also have a 900 MHz Motorola GTX which has been an "almost-permanent long term loaner" from my friend Bob/N1YRQ. It recently got brought up to speed for the current Cape 900 MHz repeaters and then re-loaned to me. Antennas on the tower for VHF/UHF are a Comet GP-15, Comet GP-3, and some 900 MHz yagi who's brand I can't remember; bought it several years ago when Bob initially loaned me the GTX and Marshfield was the closest repeater. It still works like a champ. I also have a lower profile Comet GP-1 on a 3' tripod on the roof. To round out the VHF/UHF equipment I also have a SharkRF OpenSpot for access to the Brandmeister and DMR+ networks. I have DV4Mini as well but that will go up for sale soon as well as the OpenSpot is far superior.

I hang out on either NE Wide or MA Statewide on the DMR-MARC network, via the Bourne repeater, and if I'm on Brandmeister I'd likely be found on 3100, the US talkgroup. I'm also listening on the NEAR-900 network via the Barnstable repeater. I'd love to have some QSO's with anyone on here that's a ham.

Last but not least, I'm a licensed GMRS user and usually can be found on the Barnstable 625 repeater. My GMRS callsign is WQZG668.

I've really enjoyed returning to the amateur radio portion of the hobby. Looking forward to the HF digital modes, and really having fun being back on DMR.

73!
Scott

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garys
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Joined: 29 Aug 2005 13:07

#2 Post by garys » 07 Nov 2017 21:05

A couple of questions about the Connect Systems CS800D.

Does it have programmable Alpha display?
What is the frequency range? Currently I'm using a Yaesu 8800 and I have a mix of amateur and public safety (monitor only) frequencies. Can I put in VHF/UHF public safety frequencies.
How is the scan function?

I'll stop now. Maybe you would be interested in doing a review here later on.

Thanks,

Gary
We're peace loving people, we're not hunting trouble, but if trouble should find us, we'll stand up and fight.

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Scott
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Joined: 18 Aug 2005 12:00
Location: Cape Cod, Massachusetts
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#3 Post by Scott » 07 Nov 2017 21:59

I'm still adjusting to the radio but I like it. It's built like a tank and performs like a champ.

Yes on the alpha display and up to 16 characters available.

Frequency range is 136-174 and 400-470, although it wouldn't surprise me that someone savvy with a hex editor might be able to stretch the upper end of the UHF coverage a bit. I know it's been done with other models. I'm not recommending it, but for receive only purposes, and obviously getting above 470 MHz is critical in your neck of the woods, it "may" be possible. I haven't actually searched that out, just a guess.

I haven't scanned any analog stuff with it yet, just DMR. I'd say the scan function is probably a weak point. There are alternatives to hearing multiple talkgroups on DMR though, called RX Group Lists, although they are also limited in their capability. There isn't a true "promiscuous" mode for this radio that I'm aware of, which would mean receiving any talkgroup heard on the repeater you're monitoring regardless of what slot it's on. All of that has pluses and minuses though, depending on who or what you're trying to listen to. I'll try scanning some analog stuff once I get more programmed in.

As far as reviews? Could happen, but I need to spend a lot more time with it first. The prelim review is two thumbs up, and Connect Systems has outstanding customer service. They're in California. http://www.connectsystems.com
Scott

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PeterGV
Posts: 155
Joined: 27 Jun 2006 11:38

#4 Post by PeterGV » 12 Nov 2017 22:19

Hi! I haven’t been around for a while.

Much like a lot of you, I burned out a bit on Police/Fire scanning. I’ve been enjoying ham radio (Flex-6500 for HF) and...just this week... started to get into DMR.

Got a UHF TYT md-390... this showed me there’s a lot of fun to be had with DMR, but I need both VHF here in NH and more power to reliably hit my local repeaters.

So, I started my search for a dual band DMR mobile radio. I spent the day today reading everting available on the MD-9600 and the CS-800D. I was about to pull the trigger on the MD-9600 and came across Scott’s posts here and on RR.

I just ordered the CS-800D.

So, thank you Scott!!

It’s nice to be back.

Peter
K1PGV

(P.S. I’m using the same OCF dipole... it got me DXCC in no time. I love it.)

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