Yeah Baby. 11m is cooking once more. Its been such a long time between drinks on CB. I had to remember what callsign I had to use and try not to spit out the wrong one from time to time. No 6 son had decided to return home and reclaim the radio shack, so I had dismantled the radios and antennas I had been using. It is Summer here in NZ so was spending more time out and about than on the radio anyway. I did not even have an 11m radio on the bench or an antenna. I pulled an AT 6666 out of the cupboard and stuck about 4.5m of wire on the end of a 49:1 transformer and up she went. WOW. East coast of Aussi booming in to the west coast of the North Island. Doesn’t take much to talk across the Tasman on 11m when conditions are in. Channel 35 LSB was chokker blok and folks were talking about staying on other channels to escape the mayhem on 35. Just when I thought CB was dead. It was all there; just like the old days…
The AT-6666 was a bit of a surprise. Despite the fiddly knobs it has a very capable receiver and I was surprised just how good it is. Like all modern radios it is way too sensitive and it is just a matter of backing off the RF gain a little and compensating with more volume to drop the white noise. The mic gain out of the box was set on 30 out of 36 max and it seemed a good match for my voice. Nobody has said it isn’t loud enough yet. It is putting out around 40 watts PEP. I know people have had them do more but its running cool so I will leave it there.
It is one of the few radios out there that can cover the old NZ 40 ch CB frequencies from 26.330 thru 26.770 and match the channels to the right frequencies. Anytone use a computer program to write the frequencies into the corresponding channels then load it into the radio. In the expanded state the AT-6666 has 10 bands of 40 channels and each of those can be individually programmed with frequency, mode, beep, hicut etc etc. I usually just input frequency and mode but Hi Cut helps drop the hiss on SSB for sure.
So I got the NZ 40ch in Band A and the US normal 40 in Band B. What to do with the rest? Free band is hardly a thing these days, the upper channels are empty. People are staying off them which is fine with me. There is more than enough vacant channels on the 40 permitted: for the time being. Still…I programmed C and D bands with the free band in 5kkz steps. Forget about channels up here. And then a bunch of 10m also in 5khz steps.
But it was a bit of a dog to navigate around. I needed to be able to jump around a bit easier. Memories! The AT-6666 has 6 memories. So I got the NZ truck channel of 26.450 AM in Mem 1, The hawaian AM’ers on 27.045 in MEM 2, channel 35 in Mem 3, 28.490 in the 10m band in MEM 4. That made life easier.
The FRQ button. Then I discovered something strange about the AT 6666. In order to check what was in the memory I would toggle between frequency reading and channel by pressing button FRQ on the top right near the channel selector. When the radio is in the frequency readout mode it does things differently than if left in the channel or memory readout mode. If you leave the radio in the frequency read out mode you can move away from the memory/Channel frequency in whatever steps you select from pressing the selector knob. Downside is that where ever you leave it becomes the new memory for that memory position. If left in the channel or memory mode rotating the selector scrolls through the memories or channels as it should. Everything remains intact. The downside of staying in the frequency readout mode is that you will change whatever was previously programed into that spot which is not so good. So before you switch off or change back into channel mode you should return to the original frequency for that channel.
For the 10m band this doesn’t matter, but for the 40ch CB bands this will mess you up when channel 35 turns into 27.395. So if you are on CB stay in the channel mode.