RM’s new 500w CB amp

Are they listening at last?

4 kl203’s in one box. Yup: 16 of those little mosfet transistors in parallel. Should be good for an easy 500w pep and 40w to 60w pep in.

Is there anybody left on CB any more?

What would make more sense on todays band would be 4 of the kl505 boards in the 305 box for 1kw out on the ham bands. We currently dont have a 13.8v 1kw mobile ham amp. Still a big market here. CB I am not so sure. RM might be a few years too late with the mosfet 500w amp. The big CB internet shops are going out of business. Hand phones are just so good these days! I wonder what the price will be?

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Albrecht’s AE 7500

7500 box1

I think this deserves it’s own write up now that I have played with it a bit. When I got the radio it was set up in Code 4 from turn on. I thought it was a little bit hamstrung but after changing it to code 3 the 7500 comes alive. All Ham features work, so we have the full range of steps, split operation and repeater functions and a much cleaner screen. Getting close to the functionality of the OPTIMA and quite ahead of the Anytone radios by getting rid of the 40 channel shit completely. The default 10khz steps work up and down from 24mhz thru 29mhz. The other steps just spin and will not advance the next digit.

7500 face

7500 LCD

Code 3 Rules!

no DC filteringNo DC Filtering????

band pass filterBand Pass Filter !!!!

front panel wiring with plugsJust don’t forget where each one goes if you ever have to unplug them. It sure is nicely laid out board. I guess they felt it didn’t need any shielding for the finals. No issues so far.

final stageThe Final stage. Simple is sweet. What’s with the coil? Is that what it took to tune it? I aint touching it! Note the bridge for adjusting final bias in foreground. It is a cool running radio in SSB with 30w PEP.

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Dragon Delta Force (NIB)

delta force face

Lucked out the other day and got my hands on a couple of NIB Dragon Delta Force radios. They closely resemble the S-45’s we used to get from Magnum and are a welcome change from the stuff we been seeing come across the bench. These were a popular radio in their day and I don’t know why we still don’t see them today because they have a good sound on transmit and a solid receiver. None of the AGC issues that a lot of the newer radios are plagued with. Discreet components so the motherboard looks like a bomb went off in it. Wires everywhere.

Delta Force

See what I mean.

Compared to the new SMD boards this is a jungle, but at least you can see where everything goes! Driver was a bipolar 2166 and surprised to see a pair of ERF 2030 mosfets as the final. Heat sink is substantial but it got too hot to put my hand on after 15 minutes on SSB with 30 watts. That’s too hot in my book. Probably need to to adjust the bias a bit. No idea when these were made but I am guessing they were part of the last batch produced probably 2014 or there abouts. For 3 years of sitting in an open warehouse in Singapore it fired up fine and smack on frequency. Solid grunty Delta Force audio..the kenwoods of CB radio. Magnum had them, Albrecht had them and so did Dragon..odd they did not get picked up by many companies like the Dragon 485/magnum 257/ smaller brother…Maybe it came on the scene at the end of the CB cycle…it sure was a popular radio down in Australia in its day…

df rear

Df box 1

DF box

I also found an Albrecht 7500 which is the new SMD version of the Delta Force made for the European market. Have not seen a lot of them about so snapped it up as well. A lot of changes inside, following a similar format to the Dragon 485H we looked at a while back.

Check out the board!    ALBRECHT 7500. (new Version of Delta Force)

AlB 7500

I can see why everybody is going SMD. The jungle is now a mowed and manicured lawn! Where did all the bits go? Now that is neat. But the way it works is kind of sucky..the extra digit everybody insisted they had to have to work on SSB doesn’t really do anything…just gets in the way..it is certainly not a 100hz step… more a 500khz step thing. Clarifier is still a clarifier and doesn’t change the display…One would think that they went to a lot of effort to design the new SMD board so why not go DDS and be done with it. Shit, even hobbyists and BITX is using DDS. I guess with the main market for this radio being the CB market in Europe it might have posed problems getting approvals. I don’t know why they just don’t sell it as a 10m ham radio and if people want to use it on CB so be it…Have not done much testing but the recieve seems clean and sharp but the transmit audio is the same as the Dragon 485H and I guess albrecht’s  AE 5890EU. It is a tad thin. Robotic is the term I frequently hear reported back. For DX it is fine, I think perhaps a little narrow compared to the full bodied audio or the previous 485’s and 257’s before they changed the design and added a bunch of display colours and the silly sixth digit. Maybe we can add some extra depth with the echo controls. The font they are using doesn’t look as good either. I am sure a capacitor change in the audio chain somewhere would bring the audio depth back up but where does one start digging on these new SMD boards? Don’t get me wrong. Nothing wrong with the clarity. Just lacking a bit of depth. Falls behind the lincoln 2 and at6666 and Magnum one for tx audio quality in its present state. Hope they can change that when the next production run gets going, but somehow I doubt it. It is not the mic. It’s somewhere else. I used the same mic on all of the 4 radios we tested. This 7500 has a serious pedigree to live up to…it doesn’t quite reach the bar due to the TX audio. Other than that it is quite OK. Lost a memory, for some reason this 7500 only has 4 memories and probably some other shit I have yet to sort out. And at least it looks like a CB radio and the clarifier offset doesn’t remain when you change channels (talking At 5555 here) Delta force is better, but maybe I need to play with the 7500 some more….Runs cool..always a big plus in my book.

Side By Side.                             Delta Force and 7500

side by sideDFscreenDF buttons7500 yellow7500 screen7500 meter7500 buttons

Some more user points on the 7500.

It does not have the swr meter function. No biggie for me..could have had a hi swr warning indicator or something instead. Receive is quite good. Crisp and clear. Quite sensitive. At least as good if not better than the Delta Force. Yellow backlit LCD screen is nice. Memories are a little weird. You can program in for the normal 40 channels but once you get out of the USA 40 channels to say 27415 then you have to input 4 new memories because the memories you input in the range of Ch 1 to ch 40 only work there. If you are on ch 41 then you can input and access memories from 24715 thru 29970. Memories one to four are totally different. What a strange way to make it work! admittedly there are a host of options as to which mode and then which country. I need to see what happens in Ham mode to see if the step works better. This radio is currently in code 4 from power on. There are several other power on modes selectable from shorting pins on the Main board. No soldering needed here thank goodness. Could possibly hook up a switch to toggle between the Ham mode and expanded CB mode pretty easily. But I hate radios with wires and stuff hanging off them so I won’t.

The step function. 2 modes, 500hz and default to 10khz. That’s it. Defaults after a few seconds.  Scroll thru the 40ch bands by pushing the Ch9/ch19 button. there are a lot of them. A to J then U for 24mhz. 11 bands.  Band E is the normal 40ch band. after ch 40 the ch read out goes to ch 41 but the frequency is 26565. What is going on there? None of the other bands do it. and in keeping with its CB roots the 500hz step can only move up or down in a 10khz circle. Round and round. Need to check how it works on the Ham bands. Hope it doesn’t do the same and hope the rest of the steps come into play. The Dragon 485H plays the same way.

Delta force has the standard 1khz, 10khz and 100khz steps from the step button.

Thin SSB audio on the 7500.   Unlike the 485 the 7500 has an echo function. After a bit of on air testing we have the e-del at 8 oclock and e-vol at 9 and it seems to have fattened up the audio somewhat. Hmm…Worth a go for rag chewing. Mic gain about 2.30 because it does over-modulate if turned up full…I like that. means you can still fit a dynamic mic and it will have enough grunt to make it work. If we could make this 7500 work like an optima it would be a bit of all right. Time to test the ham functions.

More on the 7500  All the points above were made with the radio in code 4 from switch on. I changed the mode to the Ham mode and ho hum..it all worked as it should so why not try mode 3. Mode 3 is export free band mode baby, and that’s where it needs to be. Now we have us a radio. Clear screen, frequency only, no 40ch shit cluttering things up. It is good enough to have its own blog now and not an add on to the Delta Force! Scroll up and down from 24mhz to 29mhz with the 10khz default step. Takes a while but the step function gives you 50hz ,10khz ,100khz of 1mhz steps to speed things up as required. Put in any memory you want! Split and repeater functions appear to work. I am starting to like it!!

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A new Radio on the Bench : FT-891

I guess I was one of the many that were hanging out for a new HF mobile rig. The Icom 7000’s days appeared to be numbered so had sold that a while back and kept the trusty 706mk2G but she was getting on and showing her age. still worked alright and had the narrow SSB filter and the DSP installed. Still it was not what you would call a quiet receiver..891-front

The new FT-891 seemed to be the cats meow..latest technology, IF DSP, small and looked pretty simple to use. No VHF was not a problem for me. Didn’t want it. With a US$ price of 699 it had to be a bargain so I jumped in and got my feet wet. I figured with the fiasco over the 450 and the recent 991 both needing upgrades shortly after release Yaesu would get it right this time. It arrived the other day and after a couple of frustrating days I decided to hang it up and put the 590 back on the desk. mic-fitting-etc

It has a few good points and I will mention them first! It is Small. It doesn’t get too hot with long winded SSB use at full power. It put out 86w PEP on 20m out of the box. The TX audio was well received using stock parameters and the processor. The received audio was also OK and I don’t think much different to the 590 or the 7300. Not a bad little set. it is said it pulls 2A on receive…It stays pretty cool so I would question that. I saw no increase in amps on the PSU when I switched it on but that is hardly scientific. 891-back

891-bottomBut I don’t like it. It is not easy to use on the desk so will be very frustrating in the car. My biggest bitch is that there are not enough buttons on the radio to perform frequently required actions. There are a lot of customizeable functions in the menus but you need the manual at your side and a lot of clicking thru the menus to get around. It does not have an LSB and USB function in the mode menu. You get SSB and which SSB you get is determined by another setting buried under SSB BFO. When you set this the whole radio works on only that SSB! Most will run it in the auto mode in which the radio decides which SSB determined by the ham band. They put AM FM CW SSB in the mode menu so why not add LSB and USB instead of SSB. Sounds simple enough to fix in firmware? Yes it is a Ham radio so why should one want to go to the other? Who cares? I some times do. It should be my choice not the radios. There are 3 buttons at the bottom of the display between the clarifier and the function. These can be set to perform any task in the first bank of menus. It came with IF Shift, Scope and NB. I kept the IF shift as it does help with SSB signals but the scope is a joke. What a waste of space. I swapped that for the bandwidth function so can alter the rx bandwidth between 1800 and 3000hz. The NB I swapped for the DNR or Digital Noise Reduction. Set that at any more than one and you loose the signal. Default seems to be one and that’s where I left it. Been playing with the DNR a little more and it certainly cleans the noise off a strong signal but doesn’t work as well with signals in the noise. Have it set on 5 now. Max is 15.   Found I seldom use the clarifier on SSB these days so perhaps they could have used that for another function. 891-display

Processor, IF bandwidth, NB are included in the first range of 12 functions under Function 1.press function again for Function 2 and you get 10 more including AGC, DNR and meter functions. Press it again and you have CW settings and press again to get back to function 1. Any of the functions can be accessed by pushing in the multi knob under the volume/SQ/RF knob. To get out of the function modes hit another button or spin the dial and go off frequency as well. How does one change the power or the mic gain?  Press the F button for a second and you access the real menu which has 160 different menu items and you will find them in that! That a lot of turning the multi knob. You can’t jump, you have to scroll up or down till you find what you are after. Keep the manual close by.  It all adds up to a bit of a PITA.891-function

Has anybody got this thing to key an an external amp other than the Yaesu VL1000? I got a cable, set the menu setting to “lamp” as instructed but the amp refused to key. Maybe the cable is wrong. Never had this problem with a Kenwood or Icom. maybe there are some more settings requiring changing. Not a lot in the manual about driving an external amplifier so maybe like having a separate LSB and USB mode option the engineers decided it wasn’t neccessary. 891-fans

It is a nice enough little radio. ( See the two fans? Must be some more heatsink in the radio that we can’t see for the finals) Pleasant on the bank book, eyes and ears, but; it is missing something. It is missing something that makes you want to go out and buy it and use it. It is kind of unfinished. It needs a killer ap. It needs an ap to tie into your smart phone so you can operate the thing properly and easily. Touch screen buttons with all the frequently used functions at your finger tips. If that is too easy and no added value for Yaesu then a dongle full of buttons to control the radio. I don’t think it is worth sticking in the car the way it is. Unless they really change the way this works I don’t believe it is going to sell very well and the stigma will carry over to the FT-891A which I am sure they are working on already!

I am going to sell it. If I want to go mobile I will put the IC7300 in the car …somewhere..

Sorry Yaesu. I really wanted to like this radio. I had my heart set on it. I find it frustrating. It has to go.

More on the SSB issue. There is a workaround..kind of..But in keeping with this radios design philosophy it is fiddly! For example you want to use LSB on 28305mhz in the 10m band. Firstly you need to go into the SSB BFO menu and change the setting from Auto to LSB. Menu 11-07 under Mode SSB. This turns the whole radio to LSB only. Bring up the frequency you want and save it to a memory and it will be saved in the mode the radio is set for which in this case is LSB. Go back to the 11-07 menu and put it back to Auto. So know we have a LSB frequency in memory in a position the radio wants to read as USB. If we hit M to F button the it will bring up the frequency but automatically convert it to USB. Clever little radio. But if you hit the V/M button the frequency will remain in LSB and if you tune off it with the VFO then MT shows upper left and the LSB is retained. The minute you revert to either VFO the radio will revert to the SSB it wants which is LSB for 40m and below and USB for 30m and above. a useful get around none the less.workaround

Another major piss off is changing the bands. press the band switch and get ready to spin the VFO cos you don’t get much time before the display reverts back to the norm. Hold the cursor over the band for one second and it will change and there is nothing you can do to stop it. It is hard enough on the desk..Be murder mobile. Using this radio other than stationary mobile would be akin to drinking and driving..you will probably have or cause an accident.891-bands

To change bands you use the VFO knob. Everything else uses the multi knob. Leave the band darkened for one second and the radio goes there. I feel it is a little quick …891-top-buttons

The buttons on top require downward force. QMB is useful. Fast controls the tuning speed and there are only two options. The vents feed the two little fans sited behind the display and they blow thru the radio and out the back. There are inlet vents on the bottom and side as well. I must say the radio runs cool which I like. I wonder how much dust is going to get sucked into the guts of the radio. There are two circuit boards and the fans blow over under and between them. Going to be a big job to clean the lint out of the middle between the two boards in a years time. Certainly not a radio to use in the rain or spill your coffee on.

Updating the firmware went fine with a standard USB cable. The radio needs to be turned off and a factory reset performed when complete. There are 3 firmwares: the main radio functions, the DSP and the display. So far the main has had an update to V0-04. The DSP is at V02-01 and needs more work, and the LCD is at V0-00. I will be waiting on one for the DSP.

Complaints..I read many complaints about the various settings not remaining when one switched bands. With the latest  firmware the settings like shift and bandwidth do remain when the radio is turned off , but if you change band then they revert to default. I don’t find that a problem as I tend to tweak each rx signal to some degree anyway, and I keep the functions in ABC so they are easy to get to. This radio has more user problems than that in my mind!

An analogy comes to mind..remember that beautiful pet you had that was so cute, but could not be house trained? This radio reminds me of that! Doesn’t take long for the cuteness to wear off.

A few days later and it is still on the desk. Have not sold it yet and I might not for a while. It does have its shortcomings re the interface but as a radio it is quite good. A few more things are coming to light..the RF /SQ control..quite handy for removing some excess noise but you have no indication where it is set! Contrary to the rest of the settings this one seems to retain its setting when the radio is switched off or the band changed. That low setting on 40m means 20m seems a bit deaf when you QSY…and you have no visual notification of the setting either via the knob which can spin around forever or on the display. Probably no more room on the dispaly for Power/Mic Gain/RFG . I like the size. Fits well on the bench. The more I think about it, a remote keypad or an Ap for the smart phone would really set this radio off. would really unleash what it is capable of and I am sure many people would buy it just for the uniqueness. At least it would be different.

And it is still cute.!!!

And now it is June 2017 and it is still on the bench! It keeps up with the big boys surprisingly well.

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The New Magnum One

Well it finally arrived and has been bouncing around the desk for some time on 10m only mode cos I don’t have the skills to do the solder work necessary to convert to it’s proper mode of 24.5 to 30mhz!! It is easier to convert an Icom 718 or a Kenwood 590 than it is to convert these. If I order any more they better be open from the factory !! While I am on the topic there are two expanded modes and they are quite different. Band 3 has 5 bands (A to E) of 40 ch following the normal CB band plan and band F which in Strykerish manner covers from 24.5 through 30mhz using either the Channel Selector or the clarifier with the channel selector following the step chosen by the clarifier.
What a great idea!
Why doesn’t it do that in every band?
Band 2 gives 6 bands of 80 channels per band covering from 24.5 to 30mhz.
I think I prefer band 2 but for those who live mostly on the normal 40 channels seeing 27.385 come up as ch 78 may be a bit confusing. Fortunately the ch number is pretty tiny and out of the way so it doesn’t get in the way too much ala Anytone.
Out of the box it is way better than the AT-5555 ver 6 anytone I was comparing it to. More power, better audio and a quieter receiver. But the transmit audio of the Lincoln 2, AT-6666 and Stryker 955 is a tad richer. Pity the receive on those radios can not compare with the Mag 1 though the new Lincoln ver 3 comes close. The Mag 1 certainly does not exhibit the AGC problems inherent in the other radios.

Does it have problems? Yes it does but they are not deal breakers and I believe can be sorted in software. My biggest bitch is the way the clarifier works; it changes the channel it was used on!! If you use the clarifier for any reason and change the channel, when you return to that channel the clarifier offset is waiting there for you still…if you went for a long walk up the band using the clarifier you can be several megahertz away. That feature needs to be tamed…needs to be selectable. It is of great use if you want to manually program the radio…(use the clarifier instead of a computer), or set up a split…great stuff..but for everyday use it sucks big time. Hope they can get that function into software with the default being that changes to the clarifier will not remain when the channel selector is moved.
The spectacle look and the colours will not appeal to everybody. I don’t mind them but then I am pretty easy to get along with anyway…As long as the radio works great I can live with the facials; and it does work well as a radio.
The S meter also needs some dampening as it jumps about way too much. Backing the RF gain off somewhat helps out some.
It has way too many features nobody in their right mind uses but what the heck. Don’t want them? : then don’t use them.
It is not too much different to the old Max log M8800 we have tested and liked in the past but it does have some changes to the board and is rock solid on frequency.
Best thing about this radio is the receiver and lets face it that’s what counts. It is way sensitive but still quiet enough especially with the Hi Cut engaged. It puts out a nice 40w PEP on SSB and does not get overly hot doing it and the nothing wrong with the TX audio at all even when cranked right up.
It is a fine radio but I don’t know if magnum is going to sell a lot of them in today’s market. They could have sold a bunch of them though…
had they stuck this radio in an S9 case with the round S meter.
Would have looked a little like the stryker 955 perhaps but magnum S9 was there first!

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The Freeband Bashing Continues

Even with the poor sunspot cycle and reduced use of the freeband frequencies between 27.410 mhz and 27.800 mhz there are still those who have the time and inclination to monitor and report such illegal activity.

I think this guy is one of the best though, despite being active on the freeband himself he still sees the need to report others..probably those with stronger signals.

Stand up and take a bow!        *******Ken N8KC*******

ken 1

OO Card

Funny thing is people have singled Ken out before on this website. He is famous! read the comments attached to this section of the blog from 2014  https://dd182003.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/official-observer-program-usa/

Now check this out : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QyLPoDVLnc

I don’t know me!

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Gunung Padang: Time for some History

Most of us don’t get a chance to think too long and hard about history…It all happened a long time ago. How far back to we need to go?
How long have we been here? Really; thinking, organised, civilized, functioning society.
There are many theories but it seems that mankind began to progress sometime shortly after the end of the last ice age. About 9,700 years ago. Since this time we have identified the stages of civilization from stone age to iron age to todays age, the various inventions such as the wheel and the ability to write things down. Numerology and counting.
During the last ice age the ice caps were much bigger and held a lot of the available water as ice. Sea levels were supposed to be about 120m lower than they are today. This enabled migrations of land based species into regions they could not inhabit naturally today. A lot of areas then inhabited are now covered by sea so difficult to explore. The tales of a great flood in the past are probably quite credible given the rising of the sea levels as the icecaps melted. As it was a lot colder people would tend to live at lower warmer altitudes which are well under the sea today.
Where are we going with this? Well we don’t know much about man’s existence on this planet prior to the melting of the last ice age. There are those who believe there was a thriving civilization around 12000 years ago. Some Greek writer wrote about Atlantis in about 400 BC and the story has grown from myth to actuality over the years. Hard to think a story could be passed down for 10,000 years if indeed it pertained to a civilization from pre ice age! But Flood stories do appear all over the place. If stories are not written down immediately to preserve the facts the story will morph into fantasy as the various storytellers subvert the tale to suit their own belief, needs and understanding at the time. Hard to morph stories into legends today because we have written media, photographs and the means to preserve them. But even today myths appear to explain the explainable or just a plain hoax. For example, what if…the world got wiped out and the only record remaining was a book of fiction..any novel…and that was used as the basis to explain the current civilization? Is that what we are doing with our current explanations of history. Was Atlantis real? Shit..I have no idea.
This week I went to visit a site in West Java called Gunung Padang. Too much to explain here but plenty on google about this place. Watch the You Tube clips as well. All the Atlantis lovers, pre pyramid watchers and a bunch of archeologists are beating this site up to be possibly the oldest man made thing found to date. Dates like 20,000 BC are popping up. That’s old in anybody’s language!Hard to imagine what it looked like in the past

Gunung Padang

Gunung Padang

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