"I hate people like you!" - Piers Anthony (said to me at a book signing)
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Amateur Radio: Although not really that active (any more), I do hold
a General Amateur Radio License. I have several radios that work on the ham band
including 2 modified business band radios. I have a General Class Amateur
Radio License. I was grandfathered in to General from a Tech+. I have worked in
3 different CB radio shops (2 at the same location) over 5 or 6 years. I studied
electronics in high school, and got great grades. I picked up radio electronics
pretty fast, because I had a good (on-the-job) teacher/guru to learn from, and
I even taught him a few things about PLLs (which are digital). My work experience
allowed me to take the amateur radio test without studing and pass it the first time.
Here are some simple and not so simple modifications (or a "hacks") that I've
designed and implemented myself.
Cool radio hack #1:
A Pace SM-1645, that is a 16 channel (business band) radio, and it is
programmed by EPROM. Well, with an EPROM, I'm very limited on what I can do
with it out in the field. I found the data sheet on the PLL chip, and I
figured out how to program the PLL with a
BASIC stamp. I removed the EPROM and the 16-position channel selector, and
replaced them with a BASIC stamp, 16X2 LCD display, and a new channel slector.
The LCD display shows my call sign, the RX and TX freqs (yes it can "split"),
and even has an TX indicator. The only thing I have left to do to it is give it
memories and make it easy to operate.
Cool radio hack #2:
A President Adams CB radio, 40 channel, 858 SSB chassis. The 858 PLL is capable
of 400 channels. I replaced the 10.240Mhz crystal with a 5.120Mhz crystal, so I
could get 5kc steps out of the PLL (I later found out there is a pin on the PLL
to toggle 5kc/10kc steps, and I didn't need to change the crystal). I removed
the channel selector with a set of 3 thumb wheels, and I replaced the "down mix"
crystal to put it in the 10m ham band. At one time I even had this radio
working on the 12m ham band.
Cool radio hack #3:
Well, not really that much of a "hack", but a really nice radio is my "President
Jackson", it has a "CRC-100" attached to it, and that reads out the frequency
all the time (in TX and RX modes). Uniden (who makes the radio) won't even
acknowledge existance of this radio (in the US). My particualr radio was
supposed to go to Belgum. As an amateur radio operator, I'm allowed to own and
operate this radio (on the proper frequencies).
Cool radio hack #4:
This is a combinarion of 2 different model radios, a HR2510 chassis, and a
HR2600 PLL/CPU board. Not exactly a drop-in replacement, but not too far from.
I did have to move a few on the wires on a few connectors, but that was it.
Cool radio hack #5:
The HR2510 (one of my favorite 10m radios) has buttons on the microphone that
are, out of the box, worthless...in fact, they usually screw you up. There was
a magazine article on how to, using 2 TTL chips, make the mic buttons work
the way one would expect. Well, the perf board they made the project on was
huge, and it didn't work the way I expected it to work, because it had
glitches (due to a design flaw). I fixed the design by adding one more chip,
and I built the entire 3 chip circuit by piggy-backing all 3 chips, and
soldering the (tiny) resistors/capacitors directly to the chips. The entire
thing was slipped into a piece of heat shrink tubing and put in the face of the
radio. You couldn't even tell it was there. Sadly, I no longer have this radio.
Cool radio hack #6:
Some of the radios made my "Galaxy" are for the "export" market, and to save
money they'll reuse the same (or similar) circuit boards for both import (CB)
and export radios (They only change what they have to). One Galaxy (import)
I found has the traces on the circuit board for FM and CW (which are illegal on
the CB band). I installed the missing parts (just for something to do), and
made FM and CW work.
Cool radio hack #7:
Not much of a hack, but it is my own. The Yaesu FT-227RB is an old (mid '70s era)
2 meter radio, called the "memorizer" because it had 4 channels/memories *wow*.
I modified this radio to go out of band, the uPD857 PLL and the design of the
VCO circuit don't allow this radio to go too far out of band. I use this radio
mostly for packet work.
I've had some (in my book) note worthy conversations. Here are a few of them.
Cool QSO #1
My first QSO after I got my ticket was to Costa Rica on 10m packet using about 35 watts
of power, and an omnidirectional antenna. I lost that conversation in a hard drive crash
Cool QSO #2
In the wee hours of the morning (between 1am and 3 am) I worked CO6CD (cuba) off the
146.610 repeater in Ocala, Florida (which is between Orlando and Jacksonville). That
is not something that happens all the time on the 2m band.
Cool QSO #3
Before I got my ham license, I used to talk on 11m. Using a HR2510 (35 watts), and an
omni antenna, I talked to a guy in Australia...in his car (he had about 100 watts).
Cool QSO #4
I was answering technical questions about radios on the local 2m repeater, and a week
or 2 later a guy came into the shop I was working at. His friend (who I didn't know)
heard me that day and suggested that he see me with his radio problem, because I
"sounded like I really knew what I was talking about".
Cool QSO #5
One of my regular customers said that I was the best radio tech he had ever seen. This
guy went around to other radio shops and bought radios they couldn't fix, and I'd fix
them. One time he got a radio (with extra "toys") for $50, that cost about $200, this
radio was "beyond repair". He stopped by the radio shop he got it from on his way back
home, to show them their un-repairable radio, in perfect working condition, a few hours
later. (I also used to fix radios on the "parts pile", that other "techs"
before me couldn't repair.)
Radio Equipment I Own
My notes on the Uniden/President HR 2510
- Icom, IC-24AT - Dual band (144/440) hand held
- Yaesu, FT-227RB - 2m mobile (My scanned copy of the manuals are available upon request, which also cover the FT-227R and FT-227RA)
- Uniden/President, HR2510 W/HR2600 PLL/CPU board
- Uniden/President, HR2510 W/bad finals
- Uniden/President, Adams - CB modified to 10m
- Uniden/President, Jackson - Export CB, stock (cover part of 10m band)
- Realistic, HTX-100 - 10m mobile
- Realistic, PRO-43 - 200 channel hand held scanner (mods for cell, VHF-mid, and more audio)
- Icom, IC-U400 - UHF business band reprogrammed to ham (440)
- Data Signal, RAP-200 phone patch (for repeater...now all I need is a duplexer and controler)
- MFJ, 1274 - TNC for packet
- Pace, SM-1645 - modified as described above
- Several old 1 channel VHF Johnson radios (canadate for repeater hack)
- Old Motorola UHF (400Mhz business band) base station, 1 channel.
- Regency, M100 - VHF-lo/VHF-hi/UHF-lo 10 (or maybe 16) channel scanner
- The usual extras, watt meter, dummy load, power supplies, antennas, o-scope, etc...
My notes on the Regency M100 scanner
Pictures and schematics of my EX-494 "Frequency Programmer" (for the IC-U400)
UPDATE: nearly everything I have as far as radio gear is now for sale, Contact me if interested