Tuesday, September 17, 2019

FCC Approved: Anytone D578UVIII

Anytone AT-D578UVIII

As of August 29th 2019, the long awaited Anytone Anytone D578UVIII has finally received its FCC approval.  What does this mean?   Expect this US tri-band DMR radio to be for sale, very, very soon.

T4K:  Its what you need

Every legitimate vendor who sells electronics capable of sending or receiving wireless signals requires an FCC ID per device.  Each vendor has a grantee code in order to identify themselves. In the case of Anytone, which is better known to the United States government as Qixiang Electron Science& Technology Co., Ltd, they are issued the code of T4K.

If you are interested in searching the FCC OET ID database, you can use either Qixiang Electron Science& Technology Co., Ltd, or T4K.  If you try "Anytone", you will not find anything.

Anytone AT-D578UVIII

Anytone D578UVIII  FCC ID Details

Now that you can go and find details on your own, you can visit https://www.fcc.gov/oet/ea/fccid to look at things such as an advance copy of the user manual and various photos and documents required for certification needs. As already reported, the US version would be capable of 2m, 1.25m and 70cm operation along with Bluetooth.

Anytone AT-D578UVIII

Anything else new learned?

Near all vendors of amateur radio equipment are taking pre-orders for the Anytone D578UVIII, so anyone who has already paid $35 to $50 USD should expect an update on actual shipping soon. Part of the real delay has been some FCC compliance issues for "out of band" operation which has just gone into affect and caused certain vendors to rethink how to sell radios in the United States market.

This ruling change actually creates a better radio experience for us amateurs who want to ensure no outside interference from commercial frequencies just above or below our licensed spectrum.

Anytone AT-D578UVIII

38 Pages: That is all?

Most every recent radio of Chinese origin continues to include no good printed instruction manual since the software changes often and would require massive rewrites. Most people will program the radio via computer software and the end user community generally decides to write copious amounts of user guides to help people use new equipment.  Our own collective efforts would likely be much better than the manufacturer could produce.

Beyond confirming cross band repeat and a speaker microphone with built in speaker is standard, much everything else was already known details. Cross-band digital repeat seems an interesting trick too.

For users of the BTECH 6x2,  Alindo DJ-MD5TGP or Anytone AT-D878,  this new mobile radio should be easy to use. Further updates to follow once HVDN members start to receive shipment of this new radio.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Pro Tip: Finding DMR Activity

As more and more users of digital voice amateur radio shift towards hot spot devices instead of local repeaters, it gets hard to find where people in your area are using DMR.

Since hotspots have such limited range, you would not likely be able to hear them "over the air" and there is not really any way to simply "scan the band" looking for activity like one may do on 2m or 80m.  So, how do you find DMR activity?

DMR: Get Predictive

Is this suggestion cheating? Not really.  There is a way you can use one of the many somewhat hidden analytic tools to find out what talk groups are most active and when.  This will help you learn when and where to spend time "lurking" since there are 1,439 officially set aside talk groups according to this nice Pi-Star DMR BrandMeister Talk Group page.

Using talk group 31630 (STEM) as an example, the chart below is predictive in the sense that every Tuesday evening at 21:00 hours Eastern US time, is a big spike of activity for a little over an hour. This is when the Northstar Digital Net takes place.

Another example on when you may find activity if you are traveling in the state of Louisiana is shown below by looking at talk group 3122.

How about if you want to feel really special and have "Nationwide US" all to your self with fewer people constantly asking for a radio check or signal report?   06:00 AM Eastern US may just be the time for you to sit on talk group 3100.

Where do you get these charts?

Here is where to go and find some possibly interesting talk groups and times to see what sort of activity is taking place.  https://brandmeister.network/?page=callstats

And now you know how to find the best of the best on DMR. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Alinco DJ-MD5TGP: Upgrade Vocoder Process

It has been widely confirmed that the Alinco DJ-MD5TGP,  BTECH 6X2 and Anytone AT-D878 are essentially the same reference design and only have a few differences in hardware or software.

As discovered by Jason Reilly and his excellent page regarding the Anytone 868 and 878, it is possible for the user to change the vocoder.  This is done via software and is detailed here.

Alinco DJ-MD5TGP Baseband

HVDN was the first to point out that it was possible to expand the frequency range of the Alinco MD-MD5TGP.  The procedure for that was not far different than that of the Anytone, so upgrading the vocoder followed the same procedure with just a few differences.  Proceed at your own risk in doing this upgrade.

In our "Teardown: Expanded Alinco DJ-MD5TGP Review" article in November 2018, we pointed out the SICOMM SCT3258 chip and this is where the magic vocoder resides.

Go ahead and download this file from Jason's Tiny Upload link for the Anytone 878.  You can follow his instructions closely, but for the Alinco DJ-MD5TGP you will need to:

  • Hold down # and PTT while turning the radio on to enter boot mode for SCT
  • In the SICOMM software, you need to set the speed to 115200, not 9600 baud.

The Alinco DJ-MD5TGP used for this test already had version V2.01.05NJ. It was simple to upgrade to V2.01.07BA.  The receive audio seems to be even more pleasant now on DMR and preliminary audio reports seem positive, but more testing needs to be done.

Thank you Jason for all your great documentation!

More about the Alinco MD-5TGP via HVDN:

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

More SDRangel goodness: FreeDV demod added & much more

Sorry, I need to stop being such a fan of SDRangel, but new features continue to roll out worth talking about.

Latest being the better ability to decode FreeDV, which is an open source digital voice mode suitable for use on the HF amateur spectrum allocations.

This voice mode permits FM quality audio in a 1.25 KHz wide channel with no tell tale "hiss" sounds as found while using SSB.   FreeDV outperforms SSB at low SNR.  If this all makes sense to you so far, this should be exciting.   If this does not make sense, the reason why this is important is that lower SNR means better quality audio can be received at lower signal levels, which means overall better performance, range and experience.

If you are involved in transmit capable software defined radio stuff, this latest feature on SDRangel is going to be interesting, along with the already native DMR, Fusion, NXDN, D-Star decoding capability plus DATV reception and transmission for those not just looking for voice modes. No other SDR software has this range of features.

FreeDV was built by an international team of radio amateurs working together on coding, design, user interface and testing. FreeDV is open source software, released under the GNU Lesser Public License version 2.1. The modems and Codec 2 speech codec used in FreeDV are also open source.

Now back to SDRangel v4.11.8

As mentioned back in July 2019, its is now very easy to use SDRangel. A Microsoft Windows executable is now not only compiled, but installable as any other application which makes installation very easy. Linux is still the better operating environment, but there is literally no major difference now with performance on either operating system family now.

You will still need a modern computer to run SDRangel though, which means 64 bit and not 32 bit Windows XP, Vista and earlier, so time to upgrade your computer. You could even run SDRangel on a Raspberry Pi if you really wanted, but that is not the goal of this article.

Here is the latest version you need to download: https://github.com/f4exb/sdrangel/releases/tag/v4.11.8


GD77: The first HT based Pi-Star hot spot

As mentioned here in the past, Roger Clarke is the wizard down under. He is known for his Git repository making the firmware upgrade procedure on MMDVM boards pretty painless and also his work surrounding an open source CPS for the GD-77 DMR radio.

For much of the summer, he has been working with Kai on turning the Radioddity GD-77 into a hot spot which is probably the most exciting thing I have come across recently.  This is such an amazing case of open source software at work and making closed hardware, much more open.

Head on over for a read on Roger's blog for much greater detail and get ready for some fun. My biggest questions are:

  • Will this work with the Baofeng DM-1801 and other ODM variant radios?
  • How will this impact the "hotspot" market and prices?
  • Will other radios see similar innovation (Alinco MD-5TGP, Anytone 878, etc)

Continued Reading:

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Special Event: K1A Live From The 53rd Annual Mid-Hudson R/C Jamboree & History of Flight Air Show

amateur radio remotecontrol plane

The Mid-Hudson Radio-Control Society will host the 53rd Annual R/C Jamboree September 6, 7 and 8. See well over 100 giant-scale radio control models of vintage aircraft flying all weekend from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM. 

The event is taking place at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome which is home to many vintage aircraft, including a flying reproduction of the Spirit of St. Louis.

The Aerodrome’s full-scale airshows will take place as usual on Saturday and Sunday from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM, but the morning will host a special event amateur radio station operating under call sign K1A thanks to our friends over at the Overlook Mountain Amateur Radio Club.

cq  cq

The K1A station will be making contact via the HF bands as well as via internet assisted digital voice. Details are as follows:

HF Voice (USB mode)

  • 21.300
  • 14.230 
  • 7.220 


  • Brandmeister Talk Group 31630,


  • N2HVD-R


  • Node 48878
Local Repeater
  • 146.805 (-0.6 shift, 103.5 Hz PL)

There will also be demonstrations involving digital text modes such as PSK31 on the 20m band.

Aviation enthusiasts from around the world may be on hand via DMR to talk with too thanks to the STEM talk group and the excellent convergence opportunity between the various hobbies involved it creates.

A generous $5 dollar discount is available to anyone holding an amateur radio license who would like to attend the event.  The address for the event is at 9 Norton Rd Rhinebeck, New York

Thursday, August 29, 2019

FiPy > Raspberry Pi: Wireless Rumble

Imagine 5 networks in one perfectly-formed, same-small-foot-print development board that is MicroPython enabled. The Pycom FiPy board includes WiFi, Bluetooth, LoRa, Sigfox and dual LTE-M (CAT M1 and NBIoT)  In one product, the FiPy gives access to all the world’s LPWAN networks on one tiny board.

Processing Details

  • Espressif ESP32 SoC
  • Dual processor and WiFi radio system on chip
  • Networking processor handles the WiFi connectivity and the IPv6 stack
  • Main processor is entirely free to run the user application
  • An extra ULP-coprocessor that can monitor GPIOs, the ADC channels and control most of the internal peripherals during deep-sleep mode while only consuming 25uA
  • 2 x UART, 2 x SPI, I2C, micro SD card
  • ANalog channels: 8_12 bit ADCs, 2_8 bit DAC
  • Timers: 2_64 bit with PWM with up to 16 channels
  • DMA on all peripherals and up to 22 GPIO
    Physical Interface Details

    Additional Details

    There is far too many great specifications to list, so have a look a look below for details.

    Ground Hog Day: Why does HVDN care?

    If we think about the last 100 years of wireless technology and development, amateur radio has often been closely aligned with the latest innovations and finding ways to leverage them across our globally aligned licensed spectrum. 

    Today,  far too many within the amateur radio ranks are complacent in only spending time with applications long since established and keep doing the same thing, over, and over, and over.

    While there is still much innovation taking place within amateur radio that the general public is not aware of, our goal within Hudson Valley Digital Network (HVDN) is to focus on what is next and find ways to bridge that back into our hobby interests.

    If we can share that with other communities such as those interested in programming, making and every possible convergence of hobbies ranging from agriculture to astronomy, that would be amazing

    So now what?

    Many of us involved in the formation of HVDN also work for a variety of well known technology organizations and somehow still find some time to unwind in our off hours in experimenting with new things. 

    The upcoming Pycom New York event on September 9th 2019 seemed a perfect way to dive in even further, so expect good detailed review of this fascinating workshop. 

    Spoiler alert

    Timing wise, this was also perfect as we have been busy experimenting with ways to leverage LoRa technology within amateur radio and how to integrate it in to many well known amateur radio related practices.  

    Be sure to watch this space closely as we transition much of our focus towards Micropython, IoT, LoRa and a few other related themes to keep up with the digital and innovation themes we have worked hard to build.  

    Upcoming Event Notice

    On October 24th 2019 at a soon to be determined location will be the first HVDN official involvement in "Open Source Hardware" month along with our good friends from "Squidwrench" where we collaborated on the oscilloscope build project earlier this year and HV Open, which offers great monthly presentations mostly around open source software.  

    P.S:  Would be nice if we could somehow get Bill Murray to attend since he still appears to live nearby within the Hudson Valley, even though his house is for sale. Kegger at Bill's? :) 

    Saturday, August 24, 2019

    New York Air Show 2019 Details

    The 2019 New York International Air Show is ready to begin Saturday August 24th. Here are the important visual and audible details to know for the 2019 event taking place at Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, New York.

    2019 scheduled performances include, in performance order:
    • United States Military Academy West Point Parachute Team
    • Mike Wiskus Opener
    • Chuck Dramamine
    • L-39 Jet Demo (ADE743 N995X)
    • B-25 Bomber "Panchito" (AC8CD8 N9079Z)
    • Matt Chapman (A39643 N330ER)
    • The GEICO Skytypers (A89B45 N65370  &  A09468 N1364J plus 4 more)
    • British Royal Air Force Red Arrows
    • Mike Wiskus in the Lucas Oil Pitts
    • Kent Pietsch - How to land on an RV
    • United States Air Force F-35A Lightning II
    • P-51A (A577DC N451WW)
    • Michael Goulian 
    • Kent Pietsch - How to land with no engine
    • United States Navy Blue Angels
    Last minute scheduled performers
    • New York State Police Helicopter
    • UH-72 Mighty Lakota Helicopter

    Select aircraft on the ground on display will include:
    • A-10 Warthog (AE1904 79-0139 or AE18F5 79-0111)
    • C-130 Hercules
    • C-17 Globemaster III
    • F-16 Viper
    • AH-64 Apache
    • Airbus A400M  (43C5ED RRR4027)
    • F-15 Eagle
    • UH-72 Lakota
    • More....
    *Will update this article with ICAO & Tail Number after attendance

    Event Parking

    Notices to Airmen (NOTAM)

    Restricted airspace is in effect with details here:  https://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_9_2689.html

    Radio:  Listen to the performers

    Below is a listing of operations and main performer related frequencies in use at the event. Unless otherwise noted, all are in AM mode.

    Stewart International Airport
    • UNICOM: 122.95
    • ATIS: 124.575
    • STEWART GROUND: 121.9
    • STEWART TOWER: 121.0 & 254.4
    • NY APPROACH: 132.75
    • NY DEPARTURE: 132.75
    • ANG COMMAND POST: 139.7 & 361.4
    • AR OPS: 126.2 & 38.2 (FM)
    Past NY Airshow Operations 
    • INFORMAL CHAT & AIRBOSS: 123.425
    • AIRBOSS: 135.650
    • SHOW OPS: 237.8
    • SHOW OPS: 284.250
    • SHOWS OPS: 275.350
    • SHOW OPS: 379.400
    • SITE REPEATER 453.475 (FM)
    • SITE REPEATER 453.975 (FM)
    United States Navy Blue Angels
    •   ALPHA 139.8125 (FM)
    •   BRAVO 142.6125 (FM)
    •   ATC OBSERVER 143.0000
    •   AIR TO AIR & GROUND SUPPORT143.6000
    •   TOWER COMM CART 173.8250 (FM)
    •   OLD FREQ 236.4500
    •   AIR TO AIR / XCOUNTRY / SOLOS / DELTA 237.8000
    •   AIR TO AIR / XCOUNTRY / DIAMOND 238.1500
    •   SOLOS 249.6500
    •   SOLOS 251.6000
    •   SOLOS 254.5000
    •   DELTA 255.2000
    •   DIAMOND / FAT ALBERT 263.3500
    •   DIAMOND 264.3500
    •   DIAMOND 264.5500
    •   DIAMOND 265.0000
    •   STARTUP / FAT ALBERT 273.3000
    •   STARTUP / DIAMOND / DELTA 275.3500
    •   AERIAL REFUEL 289.8000
    •   DIAMOND 299.6500
    •   FAT ALBERT SECONDARY 302.1000
    •   SOLOS / FAT ALBERT PRIMARY 305.5000
    •   DIAMOND 307.7000
    •   SOLOS 345.9000
    •   SOLOS 346.5000
    British Royal Air Force Red Arrows
    • A2A 243.450
    • A2A 242.200
    Radar:  Tracking Aircraft

    As long as aircraft are transmitting location data via ADS-B, they will appear on the below map along with user selectable weather and airspace. No access password is required for the airshow duration.  Access will return to normal password protected operation Monday August 26th 2019.
    • locator.hvdn.org
    • Please note that there is no airboss frequency streaming this year available on HVDN

    Tuesday, August 20, 2019

    Presentation: Radio Astronomy

    It was fantastic to get invited to the Mid Hudson Astronomical Association meeting and be given an opportunity to present about radio astronomy on August 20th 2019.

    What is radio astronomy?

    People staring up at the night sky or through a telescope has been around for practically forever.  As early as 1860 was it speculated that wireless signals may be received from the universe. 

    While the earliest forms of wireless communication were only just starting here on planet Earth,  this form of now ubiquitous communication did not start to see major exploration until the 1900's and get more interesting just before the outbreak of WWII.

    It was not until 1932 by accident that radio interferometry was actually coined by Karl Jansky of Bell Laboratories.   At this time in history, so called "shortwaves" were the pinnacle of radio communication technology.

    Mr. Jansky was tasked in finding a source of interference between 2 and 30 MHz.  While pointing a high gain antenna upwards did he then notice a signal source coming from somewhere else.

    Fast forward to 1945 and the theory of Dutch scientist H C van de Hulst regarding the frequency of the most common element of  Hydrogen at 1420 MHz which may be used to determine the size of the universe and accurate location or formation of various interstellar bodies such as black holes or stars.

    It only took six years for theory to become fact, thanks to a scientist at Harvard University named E M Purcell.  His use of the most sensitive radio receiver a the time along with a nine foot long "horn antenna" is all it took to become in some circles, one of the parents of "radio astronomy".

    Modern Radio Astronomy

    There has been way too much progress since 1951 regarding radio astronomy, so will leave that to you to further discover.

    The rest of this article is only going to focus on how you can assemble a basic radio telescope using much lower cost equipment and obtain even better results.

    Here are the slides that Steve Bossert K2GOG presented at the Mid Hudson Astronomical Association meeting for those interested in having a look.

    Friday, July 19, 2019

    Part 1: 10 GHz on a Budget

    The HB100 microwave module has been around for a number of years. This inexpensive 10 GHz device is more often used as a motion detector, but is easily re-purposed as a transmitter, receiver, or both at the same time for all different types of signals, wide or narrow.

    Amateur radio operators have a luxury that other hobbies that involve some form of wireless communications do not have.  With over 23,000 MHz of spectrum available via the easiest to obtain "Technician Class" license in the United States, there is a much wider world to explore.

    Moving forward with amateur 3 cm band communication

    Between 10,000 MHz and 10,500 is the 3 cm US technician amateur radio license band that falls into the SHF spectrum segment.

    There are some interesting neighbors adjacent to the amateur spectrum according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) spectrum chart excerpt below just to see how in demand and valuable this spectrum is.
    Here is a list of things you will need to get started to receive signals on 10 GHz:

    • Appropriate cabling to hook this all together

    Above links are just suggestions. The most critical things when shopping for above include:

    Power Supply: The power supply must be capable of an output of 13 and/or 18 volts. The LNB changes antenna polarization based on the voltage powering it, so a supply capable of this range is required. A fixed voltage power supply would be best however in order to not damage your LNB.  Many laptop computer power supplies can easily re-purposed for this with appropriate additional circuitry.  Just be careful when making adjustments with a variable supply as going over 18 volts may damage your LNB.

    Bias T:  The RF DC Bias T allows DC power to be sent one way to power the LNB while blocking the DC power from being back fed into your USB SDR receiver.  Being sure to follow proper connection direction is critical to not damage any of your 10 GHz equipment and also, your computer which will NOT like 18 volts being sent into the SDR and possibly into your laptop USB port. It is worth noting that the RTL-SDR v3 does have a built in DC bias T, but is not capable of outputs anywhere close to what the LNB needs.

    LNB:  The LNB is what converts the 10 GHz signal down to a lower intermediate frequency that can be received by your SDR between the 600 to 900 MHz range. It is far easier to send this signal over common 75 ohm coaxial cable over 100 feet into your Bias T and then into your SDR than trying to transport a 10 GHz signal cheaply. 

    Beyond above three items, the appropriate cabling for power and feed lines are needed.  Do not use multiple RF adapters to change from connections like SMA to BNC to BNC to F as you will lose precious signal as a cautionary note.

    Optional, but mandatory once you get things working for short range is to use this  receiver with a dish antenna, such as the easily found "Direct TV" or "Dish Network" artifacts via Craigslist, Facebook Market Place and many other local sources. The dish will help concentrate signals for longer range reception or communication.

    Your finished 10 GHz receiver should look like this:

    10 GHz ham radio

    Software for receiving 10 GHz signals

    Here are where things become a matter of preference as there are many different software packages that will work for 10 GHz.  One of the easiest programs to get working is called SDR# where a more advanced and capable application is SDRangel, which also includes native video reception.

    A list of software to be mindful of includes:

    sdr#, SDRangel, GNUradio, sdr

    What about that HB100?

    Sometimes it is easier to start with the harder part and that was the receiver component for those interested in 10 GHz signals. The good news on the transmitter part is that it is easy and cheap to make a basic transmitter capable of voice or video transmission.

    Inside the HB100, is a rather simple circuit but very complex design.

    All of the traces on the PCB and placement of the few components all play a part in how the HB100 actually functions. Here is a schematic description courtesy of All About Circuits.

    By simply adding a signal that can ride on top of the power supply source, you can easily modulate the HB100 with either voice or video signals.

    A simple circuit that provides regulated power, audio pre-amplifier and modulation for the HB100 is referenced below from the presentation "Build a simple 3cm transmitter" created by Cor Rademeyer, ZS6CR in 2018.

    In the second part to this article, we will explore sending video signals with the HB100, increasing antenna efficiency and other reasons to experiment with the 10 GHz spectrum with or without your amateur radio license.


    Some recent popular SDR related HVDN Notebook pages

    Saturday, July 13, 2019

    Tropical Storm Barry: Weather & Aircraft

    Hudson Valley Digital Network (HVDN) integrates various real time weather imagery into our ADS-B based air traffic server detailed here.  Currently, the Hudson Valley is experiencing beautifully clear weather this weekend which is great for flying.

    However, the Gulf Coast area soon to be affected by Tropical Storm Barry will not share this with us here in New York.

    Current imagery generated at 16:30 Eastern Time, July 13th 2019.

    For access to the HVDN ADS-B system with integrated weather feed, please consider making a small donation. Proceeds collected over the next week will be aggregated and donated to a deserving organization in the storm affected area. All who donate will receive 6 months of HVDN ADS-B access.

    The HVDN membership hopes those in the storm affected area will be safe once the storm makes landfall.

    Friday, July 12, 2019

    Easy SDRangel: Windows Executable

    Been a fan of Evariste's SDRangel project for a long while now and it has been hard to convince many how amazing his opensource wizard work has been.

    Unless your a Linux master, which I am not, you had to figure out how to find an already compiled Microsoft Windows version in the Git repository or get all the right dependencies working under Ubuntu or whatever Linux distribution you roll with.

    sdrangel windows monkey hvdn

    Well guess what?

    Rather than than go here: https://github.com/f4exb/sdrangel/releases and look for the correct links and follow instructions like this old HVDN December 17th 2017 article entitled "SDRangel & Decoding Digital Voice (DMR, D-Star, Fusion, etc)", how about we just cut the bull and give you what you have wanted for so long dear SDR fans.

    With SDRangel v4.11.0 you can now just grab sdrangel-4.11.0-win64.exe

    This will install just like any other Windows application on a 64 bit modern machine and I need to say,  the final result is a very, very responsive piece of software.

    Installed, now what?

    If you have an el-cheapo RTL-SDR dongle from China for under $9 USD or the much better quality and legitimate version RTL-SDR v3, Kerberos SDR , any of the Lime SDR products, Hack RF, etc you will be able to use them all easily with SDRangel v4.11.0, even all at the same time if you want!

    Lets start by making sure SDRangel will find the SDR you have plugged into your computer. Yes, do that now and then click where the arrow points to. The example below is with a generic USB SDR dongle.

    Monkey see, monkey do

    Now that you have things installed and selected a demodulator, time for some fun. You can do the following:

    • Listen to stuff 
    • View stuff
    • Visualize stuff
    • Decode stuff
    • Record stuff
    • Stream stuff

    Lots of stuff. Have fun with SDRangel on Windows. Do we need more of helper monkey at HVDN? 

    Thursday, July 11, 2019

    Yaesu FT-3 Instruction Manual Review

    Perhaps HVDN will start a new trend where we do a review of instruction manuals and everyone else follows along. Lets start this amazing idea off with the FCC approved Yaesu FT-3 radio manual now available.

    FCC ID:  K6620725X20 Manual Review

    So many products today in amateur radio land almost seem to ship with little documented information on how to use them.  As digital voice radios continue to get more complex, there are "certain vendors" that do not put any effort into a decent instruction manual.

    Yaesu is one vendor that actually does put forth good effort in trying to document almost every function, quirk and specification possible, so we thank you very much for that.

    This article will hit on a few interesting nuggets found in the new Yaesu FT-3 C4FM capable dual band hand held radio.  We will not discuss the "how to install the battery or hand-strap" unfortunately.

    As predicted with absolute precision all the way back on May 28th 2019 in our "FCC Update:  FT-3 cleared for launch" article, the instruction manual would be made public for our eyes to gawk at on July 10th.  A much better version will soon appear on the Yaesu website though, so please be aware of that.

    This basic manual is not even available on Yaesu's website yet.  For anyone ever complaining about government dysfunction, the person responsible for pressing buttons at the FCC is doing a great job.

     Lets Review Page....

    The really fantastic thing about page 11 is that Yaesu is pretty much telling us specifically that battery life will be near horrible with this radio just like the brochure pointed out so we all knew what we were in for after the $500 investment involved in acquiring a Yaesu FT-3.

    For those interested in UHF operation, perhaps changing over to VHF would be a better experience for anything requiring slightly better battery life.  The Yaesu FT-3 out of the gate sounds like a great radio to mostly listen versus talk for any length of time, which is OK because most repeaters have very little traffic on them these days or do they?

    This is the Yaesu FT-3 radio that this
    article is focused on, of course.

    Who ever is selling VHF capable hot spot devices should increase prices now to reap the benefits of Yaesu publishing this specification.  Quite a bit of activity can be discovered globally by using a Fusion radio with a device like one of many Pi-Star based MMDVM devices or the Open Spot 2.

    The older Yaesu FT-2 battery will also fit the FT-3 which is nice, so stock up on those now before those get scarce in case third party vendors stop selling them or stocking aftermarket versions.

    This is the Yaesu FT-2 which lacked C4FM
    and a color screen found on the new FT-3

    Vendors who sell the Anytone, TYT and Radioddity gear have for a few years now been running great deals on packages that include a spare battery, but we will likely never see Yaesu, Kenwood or Icom ever do something like that even if you purchase a $500 USD radio.

    The last note on battery life is,  do not go anywhere with your new radio. The manufacturer is clear that any disturbance such as a warm fart or brief trip to the outhouse while playing ham radio may reduce the life of your battery.

    The ability to receive in AM mode is actually a major benefit so that you can listen to aircraft communications in the VHF 118-136.995 MHz portion.  There is no voice communication in the 108  to 118 MHz segment as that is reserved for navigational aids.

    The "hidden feature" is the ability to swap to AM in the 138 to 144,  148 to 150 MHz for military "air to air" or "air to ground" communications.   The same holds true within the 225 to 400 MHz band which is considered the domain of military operations around the world, including these big guys flying out of Stewart Air Force Base right here in the Hudson Valley of New York and tracked using the HVDN ADS-B monitor.  The FT-3 can only monitor voice transmissions in the above mentioned frequency range and not the 1090 MHz or 978 MHz transponder signals which is what ADS-B is for.

    Not everything in this band segment is AM though, so having a look at the UHF Satcom website for other ideas might not be a bad idea when there is no activity on the 2m and 70cm ham bands.

    Compared to the Kenwood TH-F6 and TH-D74, there is no SSB mode on the Yaesu FT-3, so HF monitoring will be limited to only AM broadcasters or the rare AM enthusiast on the 80m or 10m bands.

    Lets skip ahead a bunch of pages to talk about a feature involving the use of Yaesu Fusion which is the digital voice mode they have adopted.  The above graphic shows some interesting use cases for the advanced calling function which may help use one frequency for many users at the same time.

    In the 1990's there were many radios by different vendors that offered selective calling features not too different than this. Yaesu is touting this as a major feature of the FT-3, but your use will be limited to only people with a Yaesu radio with the same feature.

    Back in the day for example, the Yaesu FT-530 was top of the line and funny enough, commands a price used on par with that of the FT-3 smaller sibling known as the FT-70. Neither new radio supports the cool external display speaker microphone though, but the FT-3 does have an option for a microphone that can take and send pictures, with images view-able on the color screen on this latest Yaesu radio.

    The FT-530 was a great radio.
    Does it not look like fun to use?

    Right now the only other handheld Fusion radio is the FT-70, which retails for less than $160 USD and offers all the same C4FM functionality as the $500 FT-3 radio.  It is not clear if these extra selective calling features or picture sending option will help sell these radios except if there are groups buying in bulk and require these functions for some reason along with the appropriate accessories.

    Here is more detail on calling functions in the menu system along with a really nice abbreviation for "Weather Alert"  which is a US market only feature that will certainly see more use compared to the different squelch, DTMF and Bell features. For analog FM ham radio use,  tone and to a lesser extent, DCS will also see a lot of use for FM analog repeater use.

    There is plenty of detail on one of the stand out features of the FT-3 which sets it apart from the FT-70 which is APRS. Using 1200 baud data packets, the user can exchange location details with other users along with sending text messages. The APRS feature set can be used to communicate to any APRS radio including those produced by Kenwood, Alinco, Icom and the new Lanch HG-98 radio at a very affordable price.

    Its worth noting that the FT-3 can store multiple paths for APRS which is helpful for those interested in satellite communications and may use "ARISS" to bounce off the International Space Station digipeater when it is powered up or any of the APRS capable LEO satellites such as NO-84, NO-44 and PSAT2. 

    The FT-3 is also capable of high speed 9600 baud APRS  which is what Falconsat3 uses and requires a path setting of PFS3-1 rather than the normal WIDE1-1, WIDE2-1 settings for ground based use.

    Have you ever wondered what the "Mode of Emission" is and why a vendor can not simply decode it for us to understand what they are for?  Here is what modes the Yaesu FT-3 can decode for your listening pleasure:

    • F2D means (F) Frequency modulation + (2) One channel containing digital information, using a subcarrier + (D) Data transmission, telemetry or telecommand (remote control).  This all works out to the so called C4FM Fusion mode but could also apply to APRS signals too.
    • F3E would work out to (F) Frequency modulation + (3) One channel containing analog information + (E)  Telephony (voice or music intended to be listened to by a human).  This is also known as "analog FM"
    • F7W to close out means (F) Frequency modulation + (7) More than one channel containing digital information + (W) Combination of any of the above. This means the FT-3 could while using C4FM based Fusion could handle some sort of data and voice at the same time but split across multiple channels. 
    While that helps understand what can be received, on transmit the FT-3 has even more to offer as we will soon see.

    Beyond the already explained F2D, F3E, F7W modes the Yaesu FT-3 can also transmit F1D which is frequency modulation with (1) One channel containing digital information, no sub-carrier and (D) Data transmission, telemetry or telecommand (remote control).  This is what APRS is technically defined as.  The F7W mode is also defined as 4 FSK (C4FM) which is the fancy way to name Fusion.

    What did we miss?

    What I was really hoping to learn was possible to do some level of programming remotely via bluetooth of this new radio.  Right now, that looks like a big fat no and a reason that the Kenwood TH-D74 is a good purchase even though it supports D-Star, also known as F7W but totally different.  The Kenwood can however receive J3E, A3E and A1E modes.  You can look those up right over here thanks to Wikipedia.

    The advanced FT-3 user manual

    Lets just stop right there. The advanced manual is not yet out, but why not go out grab a copy of the existing basic manual from the FCC, Yaesu website or better yet, right here for convenience since we know you will not really read it anyway.

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