11m is BACK! (and some more musings on the Anytone AT-6666)

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.

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RG0 One Transceiver

front Panel

rear view all

RG0 top view

QRP HF Transceiver

Where did this radio come from? Why? In a world of cheap SDR and BITX radios is there still a place for a new analog radio. Kenwood thought there was so they released the TS890. Yaesu sat on the fence with the FTDX101. These are not cheap radios.

The RG0 One is not cheap either when compared to the FT891 and the IC7300. It costs more than the 891 and as much as the discounted 7300’s currently on sale. Boris’s aim is to release it as a kit in which case costs will come way down.

I will have to wait till I get my 891 and 7300 into NZ to compare them all. It will easily keep up with them in the receive department but the 7300 and 891 are loaded with features that the RG0 One doesn’t have. It can easily be argued that it doesn’t need them either! After a while you don’t miss the Auto notch and DNR and the hundred menu items.

This analog superhet radio is designed and made in Bulgaria. Boards are made in China and populated and assembled in Bulgaria. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles but what it does do it does very well. It is simple to use with extremely effective clean receive audio.
It is a Ham bands only SSB/CW radio featuring a very quiet and robust analog receiver. In today’s world of SDR and digital everything, it is refreshing to come across a radio that is just that: A radio. With real filters and real crystals.
Transmit audio is solid. No complaints. Mic gain from 1 thru 10. 4 was right for my voice.

Prior to putting the RG0 one on the table I had been using a Xiegu G90 SDR for about 6 months and had got very attached to that little radio. But it suffered badly from AM Broadcast band overload when using an end fed half wave antenna. It needed a hi pass filter in line to be able to receive anything, anywhere, with that antenna.
I did not realize how dependent I had become to the band scope when tuning around the bands, using my eyes and my ears to tune signals. It took a while to get used to the RG0 One and using just my ears without the benefit of seeing where the signals were before tuning them. It felt like hard work having to tune through the entire band to see if anything was about! But when the RG0  One locked on to a signal the difference in audio was obvious. The signals were clearer and quieter. More readable. Less work to listen to.
The tuning knob is silky smooth and rotates easily.

My model was the basic 3.5mhz to 30mhz transceiver. I did not want the tuner or the 160-6m option. I just wanted a basic SSB/CW Ham Bands only radio. There is no AM or FM mode. It has 99 memories…not that intuitive to use but they work. What you can’t do at the moment is tune out of the memories. You have to get out of the memory mode and back into either of the VFO modes. It does everything most radios do these days. It has a  Menu system to adjust stuff and load the firmware. Two VFO’s. But you cant see the contents of the “other” VFO on screen.

At the moment the modules for Noise blanker, Speech processor, Notch and Noise reduction are still under development and will be incorporated into future production. Mine did have the variable narrow filter option but I think I need to adjust the menu offset settings to suit my ears for sideband use. It will certainly narrow the bandwidth down to less than 500hz for CW operation.

I noticed I still suffered BCB interference with my endfed antenna on 80m. I emailed Boris and he responded saying that they no longer used MW AM stations in Bulgaria so he did not fit a BCI filter in the rx line. He will do so in future and promised to send me the unit with instructions where to fit it. It is plug and play like the other option boards.  Thanks mate!

On the transmit side it puts out 50w PEP. It has a large heatsink and a couple of fans. I have not noticed the heat sink heating up or the fans coming on with long overs. It stays cool. Its a cool radio. The white face is different. The knob to scroll the memories and adjust the variable filter is not marked. I am sure it will be on future production.

What we have here is a really nice well built Amateur Transceiver that will more than keep up with any sub 3000 dollar radio in production today. Keep it up Boris. It can only get better!

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Back to Antenna’s

I think I have found the antenna for me going forwards. After playing with the half wave coaxial vertical antennas for some time, the only one that really worked consistently was the 10/11m version.  I could not get rid of the CMC’s on the 20m version no matter what I tried so have given up for now.  I went back to the inverted V but it was a hassle having to erect it and tear it down all the time. it was also a visual eyesore. The SWR would change based on height and angle and any nearby objects. I was always getting it tangled up so deployment took quite some time, not to mention needing 2 points to tie it off in addition to securing the base. But when in the air, it worked nicely and received quietly and transmitted well. Tried to add a 20m wire to the feed point of the 40m inverted V but neither antenna seemed to work as well, so gave that up. Consequently band changes meant antenna changes and more time wasted.

I was convinced a half wave vertical was the way to go for ease of deployment. The 12m telescopic poles stay up very well with just a light wire taped to them, I just needed to feed it correctly. Enter the 49:1 un-un.  This is what I bought. https://myantennas.com/wp/product/efhw-8010/
10-80m 1kw no tune on the various bands it is resonant on.
There are many other designs using a 9:1 un un but they require a tuner to get usable SWR to the radio. I didn’t want to rely on a tuner so did not look any further at them.
A European company making similar antennas using a 49:1 un-un can be found here: https://www.hyendcompany.nl/tech_info
Half wave verticals have always worked well on 10 and 11 meters and most did not incorporated much in the way or radials, so it stands to reason they would also work well on 20m (if we could get them up high enough.)

For 20m we can easily attain this with a 12m push up telescopic fibreglass mast. Half wave verticals do not require a complicated ground plane system like 1/4 verticals. It is not to say they won’t benefit from an extensive ground plane but they do seem to work well without much in the way of counterpoise or radials. They also work in all directions. No need to rotate.

The 80m wire (40m long) that came with the 49:1 Un Un feed box was way too long to use so I cut a 5.5m length of light weight 2mm insulated wire and started playing around with that on 20m. To get a low SWR I ended up trimming it back 9.15m. The SWR at 14.2mhz was 1.3 and did not rise above 1.5 at the band edges. According to the antenna analyzer the resonant frequency was 14.6mhz despite the lowest SWR at 14.2mhz. I also used 2 ea 2m radials and I think if I play with  these I can change the characteristics to bring the resonant frequency and the minimum SWR a bit closer together.

I noticed several things while using and testing this length of wire on 20m with the “My Antenna” 1kw 49:1 Un-Un. It is not a balun. Everything to do with this antenna is unbalanced! The performance improved remarkably once we got the feed point up in the air a few meters and out in the open. It does not like to be around other metallic structures or antennas or feedlines. It is also susceptible to noise and nearby radiation sources. I noticed a lot of bleed over from nearby AM transmitters when in AM mode. Fortunately there is a lot of information on the internet about these type of antennas: from those maintaining it doesn’t and can’t work, to those that swear by it. The truth is they do have their problems and one needs to be aware of them. Common mode currents is the big issue. I got rid of most of the noise by installing a 2″ round toroid choke at the feed point. Wound 15 or so turns of RG58 around it. That quietened things way down. Allowed me to stop using the attenuator to reduce the noise and got rid of the AM broadcast bleed over in AM mode. One website recommended a counterpoise of 0.05 wavelength. That comes to 1m for the 20m band so I need to play more with that to see what changes it actually makes.
I might also ground it at the Un-Un seeing it has a ground/radial lug and see what that does.

Another advantage is that it is resonant at any frequency that is a multiple of a half wave. So the 20m version should show resonance somewhere in 10m which it does. Unfortunately; just over 29mhz which ties in with the measured resonance at 14.6mhz.
So with a bit more work I should have a dual band no tune vertical.

Which has go me thinking…Spider beam do have an 18m push up telescopic pole advertised on their website. That is pretty well a half wave on 40m! Soo..40, 20 and 10m on one pole. I think I can do that. Just need to make a suitable mounting point against the house that I could strap the bottom section of a 60′ of tapered fibreglass pole to. A length of 6″ x 3″ treated pine should be enough.  20200117_091649[1]20200117_091723[1]20200117_113612[1]20200117_113716[1]20200118_164312[1]

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KL505V in Use

Took it for a spin in the car yesterday and gave it a good trashing on 20m on the ANZA Net. The Xiegu G90 was set for 10w SSB and the selector on the KL505V was on 6. The Average power meter reading was 150w to about 175 out. Depending on how loud I spoke. The Fans come on slowly the moment the amp is turned on and ramp up when the amp is keyed. Nice feature. The amplifier ran smoothly and got warm to the touch but no more. The voltage from the car battery stationary was about 12.4 volts and starting the car did not change the output level in any noticeable way.

AM test 5w carrier in  50w out, 10w AM in 100w carrier out. No worries there!
My 10w PEP input obviously was causing no issues and all audio reports were good.

So far so good. It works as it should and the fans do their job. A solid little amp for the job as usual. But remember: it has no shutdown circuitry or filters so try not to run it flat out cos if something goes wrong after the amp and you have no headroom, the amp will not shutdown till it breaks. I ran an in line swr meter after the amp and kept an eye on it.

I am talking average power with 10w SSB in. A whistle pegged the 200w meter.

I don’t think there is anything else out there for the price.

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RM’s KL505V with PTT Revisited

KL505V face

Having another look at the KL505V with Ptt which arrived from Italy recently. What is so special about the KL505V you may ask? Quite a lot.
I thought I would check it out on RM Italy’s website but it is no longer listed for sale.

Well ..
It is one of our more popular HF Amplifiers as it covers from 3.5 to 30 mhz and pretty much everything in between with quite decent input SWR’s.
Simple…No safety features except fuses (which may or may not work in time to prevent the finals blowing up if you connect the power the wrong way round.)

We asked for PTT to be incorporated into the amplifiers as well as the built in RF switching cos if you want to run data or even CW you want better control of the Amp than RF sensing. Has an RCA jack for the PTT on rear so easy to connect to. kl505v Bottomkl505v back

Don’t forget that are not allowed to use the KL505V on CB. OK? I hope you understand and won’t do it. Triple nickle is OK cos not CB. The Amp does not have any fancy stuff built in to prevent you using it on CB so you have to be disciplined and not do it because it will work very well there I am sure.
You do need to be a little bit careful when you use the KL505V.
Don’t over drive it. !!!!!!
Keep the output under 250w PEP. The manual says 1-10w input on AM/FM/SSB and CW for 300w output. I think 10w input is fine for SSB but I wouldn’t go over 5 or 6 watts carrier on AM/FM and CW.
The manual also says the current draw is 34A max at 12-14 volts DC. There are 3 fuses inside the amplifier. Blow the fuses and your warranty is void because you will rip the warranty sticker to open the case to replace them! I should have checked the fuse value when I had the case open. 12A a piece would make sense. kl505v boardKL505v Finals

The KL505 is a hardy little beast but we just don’t know how good the transistors are inside it. (Cos we don’t really know what they are!)
10 to 12w PEP on SSB will usually see around 250w PEP  out (on the higher bands) and trust me..that’s fine..that’s good..that’s enough. The fans work well and keep it cool. I am sure it will go harder but without any filtering you don’t want to be pushing this too hard or you might just get an award for the Worked all neighbors awards, with credits in toasters, electric organs and stereos! You may not notice it but the audio is starting to compress. I hear stories of people saying they are feeding it with 30w and seeing 375 to 400 out. I am not saying they are full of shit but you will soon need to repair your amp. It is not designed to be used like this.

The KL505V has a 6 position power switch. Low to High. It is not a power switch. It is an attenuator. A portion of your input power is being feed through some resistors to reduce the input power. If possible, reduce the power of your radio to less than 12 watts and run the amp at level 6 with minimal attenuation. Otherwise you are wasting power.
Its got a preamp which I never use cos all it does for me is raise the noise and reduce the intelligibility of the received signal, but there may be cases in a really quiet location and a really bad antenna it may do some good, but I have yet to experience it. The amplifier is just too broad banded for anything like this to be of any use. Leave it off. If I could order them without the preamp; I would.

Because it is simple and without protection it will work in situations where other similar amplifiers (like my Tokyo Hi Power with all the bells and whistles) will shut down due to CMC on the feedline, or RF floating about, or god knows what. And that is why I like it! You just have to be careful, Watch the input, if your antenna is a bit dodgy and the SWR is a bit out of whack; knock the power back and it will keep working. Use it wisely and it will serve you well. Run it flat out for too long and you will probably be looking for 4 new output transistors.

I know of quite a few Hams who are running this amp after their radios with 10w PEP so they don’t have to run their Icom’s flat out. Cheaper to replace the finals in the KL505 than their Icoms they reckoned! They also got 200 + watts out! And… they have been known to forget and run 100w into it and “poof” no more amp! Replacement with a matched set of SD1446/MRF455  and away it went again. Happy camper!

The Finals. They say “SD1446” but they really don’t look like Toshiba’s to me cos they also have RM Italy stamped on them. RM is getting them from somewhere and re-stamping them. Unless They have a special agreement with Toshiba to stamp them? Nope..Mike just told me that Toshiba stopped making them 15 years ago. RM say they are getting these finals made for them. I guess they are using them in all their larger 12 volt HF amps. All the more reason to take things easy with the KL505V. In the accompanying KL505 circuit diagram the final transistors have the numbers blacked out so no information there.  Like all RM Italy stuff the board is well made and neatly laid out. Rev 6.0. I don’t have an original KL500 to compare it to but the KL505V seems a bit beefier with longer fins on the heat sink. And it is black. Stealth.KL505V on box

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Portable “Antenna’s”

Since I got the Xiegu G90 I have been playing around with building suitable antennae for other bands such as 20 and 40m. I was pleased with the results of the coax end fed antenna I build for 10 and 11 so knocked up something similar for 20m. Initially I tried just putting a choke round a ferrite core at the 1/2 wave mark but the analyzer was showing things were way out of whack so removed it and wound an electrical quarter wave of coax around an 8″ plastic core.  Instantly showed an SWR low around 13.5mhz and 3 or 4 goes of removing a couple of inches of coax from the top of the coil had an SWR of 1.17 at 14.2mhz. But I had a problem. My 10m pole was not really long enough to keep the coil off the ground! It was difficult to set this antenna up vertically due to the length. At this point I decided it would not work for me and went to work on the 40m dipole. This was also long but a few times of fold the wire back on itself, test, if OK snip off the tail, test again, fold back, test, snip, test…etc etc soon had an SWR of 1.3 : 1  at 7150. Feed point up about 9.5m and ends at 3m off the ground. Easily covered the entire 40m band under 2:1. I am sure if I was to raise the antenna further; and efficiencies improved the SWR curve would be much sharper. For the amount of wire and work to get a resonant 40m antenna in the air this has to be the easiest yet. The wire was plastic coated and quite light but for portable use it should be OK. Not something you want to put up as a “set and forget” antenna by any means. No balun. Just direct feed to coax. Portable. 20w max. Just needs to work. I think I will make something similar for 20m. Simple is always good when out in the woods. And Inverted V’s do work well and they don’t have to be heavy.  For a single pole set up I think an inverted V is the simplest, cheapest and possibly most efficient antenna one can make for portable use. It is resonant on one band and that should be the band you are working on.

Join the 40m wires together and could be forced into use on 20m as a quad!

When it stops raining I will be going portable on 40m.

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XIEGU G90 SDR

xiegu front panel

This little radio is causing a few waves around the world and it is not hard to see why. It is the complete portable set we have all been waiting for and it does work rather well. It has all you need to head off into the hills with a piece of wire and a battery and get on the air. It receives well and the 20w PEP output on SSB will get you heard.

There is a lot going on with this radio but it doesn’t take long to sort out the things that are useful. Changing the frequency, mode and band are all off buttons either on the front of the radio or on top. The buttons are small and don’t convey a lot of feeling. I have read a lot of complaints about the buttons not working well. In my experience you must not press the buttons too long Just a press and back off. Hold them too long and they do nothing. They are not back lit or easy to read so best try to remember where they are!

What don’t I like about it? Not a lot and they are mainly minor. Its a tad heavier than it could be. The DC line seems a little flimsy and the buttons take some getting used to. But once you do get this thing on air it plain works.

I was hunting about for the DNR but it doesn’t seem to have any. Didn’t stop the signals coming in. Filters could be narrowed but the passband doesn’t shift. The mic compressor did not seem to work. Big deal. No RF gain control, just an attenuator and a preamp. It didn’t stop the radio from doing the job it was intended to do which was to transmit and receive signals.

The Tuner works on just about everything. Power is adjustable from 1 to 20 w in 1 watt increments. The fact it puts out 20w carrier in AM and 20w on SSB would indicate it is not being stressed on Sideband. It receives very well. Signals just pop out of the noise. The display shows a lot of whats going on and Ver 1.7 of the firmware also decodes CW. This radio came with Ver 1.6 of the firmware and I have not got around to updating it. too busy having fun!

The head is removable. The connecting cable is in the box along with the cable to update the firmware. I really can’t see me remoting the head because the cable sticks out the back and would make it difficult to stick on to a dash board or whatever. Someone is going to have to come up with a bracket to hold the head securely somewhere using the screw holes on the head that secure it to the body. It also needs a bail to hold the radio at a better viewing angle when in use. The speaker is on top but I think most people would want to use headphones in the field. A lot of the functions are also available on the microphone if your fingers don’t suit the buttons on the radio. Mic cable is a straight ethernet RJ45 cable. I am hunting around for a flat cable to replace the stock to reduce the flexing of the RJ45 socket on the set. There are also RJ45 right angle adapters that would work well to keep the mic cord from sticking out at 90 degrees.xiegu mic

I am not going to go into how to do this or that, but I do feel the majority of users will find this radio to be very friendly to use and it works surprisingly well. I don’t know what improvements the makers will make via software updates but it will certainly be interesting to see what the future will bring.

The mod to get it to TX from 0.5 to 30mhz is out on the net. Didn’t take too long. Hopefully Xiegu will not counteract it in software in later updates.

Bottom line is that this is a great little radio which will continue to get better with every update. It can only get better!

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Programming 10m ‘CB’ Radios

What an oxymoron this title is! You can’t have a 10m CB radio! Either it is a Ham radio or CB radio. Supposedly. What I mean by this is a radio that covers the 10m band but retains it’s origins as a CB radio by doing it it bands of 40 channels. ie most export CB’s. Except the Optima and maybe a few of the earlier sets which are no longer produced. The fact that almost all of the ‘export’ radios we can buy these days are programmed in bands of 40 channels really pisses me off. Why not 100 channels? Why 10khz steps. None of them step in 5khzs, (except the Optima). But the Anytone SSB 10m radios, and the maxlogs  allow us to define what is actually in the bands themselves. That opens up a few opportunities.

Like what?
Well..lets take the AT-6666 as an example. Out of the box it covers 10m only. Plug in the programming cable and run the program on your connected PC and we can opt for the full coverage mode of 25.6-30mhz, spread over a bunch of 40 channel bands. The program also gives us the ability to decide what frequencies we want to have in those bands. For example; many New Zealanders still want to have access to the old 26mhz CB band. No problem, just go ahead and input 26.330 into Channel 1 of band A and keep on going till you have all the 40 channels written up then upload it to the radio. Turn it on and you have the NZ 40 in band one ready to go. Awesome..and 60 watts of PEP to drive it with. The AT-6666 should be available ex stock NZ in a couple of weeks for around US$250.

Lets face it..the 2 bands in 25mhz are useless (anybody use 25mhz?)  so I would put NZ 40 in band A and the US 40 channels in Band B. That brings us to the wonderful freeband, that area between 27.410 and about 27.855. Bands C and D get entered with every frequency from 27410 on up with 5khz steps. Forget about the channels up here as they are pretty meaningless anyway. look at the frequency on the radio. Alpha channels in order!
Band E. Input the CB Marine frequencies and any other specialized frequencies you may have.
Band F,G,H,I and J. Start at the beginning of the 10 meter band and input the entire band in 5khz steps and whatever of the 10m FM segment suits you. But the AT 6666 radios can’t do split. There was one radio I remember having to input TX and RX frequencies into. Forget which one. All these radios will step in 1khz steps if set to do so but default to 10khz or what has been programmed in the band.

The Lincoln 2+ does do Split TX and RX but we can’t input frequencies for the individual bands. (Yet.) The lincoln 2 is an Anytone design and I suspect build. Its made in China. The Mckinley’s and Grant 2 are made in Vietnam and to my knowledge we have no means to mess with the Grant 2 and Mckinley with a PC and programming.  I doubt if that will change.

So if you want to get your NZ frequencies and increased power with a new SSB CB radio you better get an Anytone.

NZDAT

The Anytone AT-6666 and the lincoln 2 and the Stryker 955 seem to share a common architecture despite looking totally different outside.

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President Grant Expanded Mode

president Grant 2 Premium

Once the Grant 2 Premium is Expanded several functions are added to the radio which are not covered in the Manual. Despite an upgraded mother board there has not been much change in the way the radio works, but here is what I have found so far.

  1. The frequency coverage is increased from 25.615 to just over 30mhz in 10 bands of 40 channels. To scroll thru the bands repeated press’s of the F button. Bands are identified on the screen from A thru J.
    A is the normal 40 channels and B is the freeband. A bit clunky. As you change the band the last frequency you were on in that band will be displayed.
    If you are going to be doing a lot of navigating with this radio I recommend using the memories, the programming of which is in the manual so I won’t cover it here.
  2. The Power is increased to around 20w SSB/FM and 8 AM depending on tune.
  3. Up 10kc.  To access the Alpha channels a long press of the Mic Gain button jumps the frequency up 10khz and the ‘mhz’ wording on bottom right of display will blink repeatedly. Another long press reverts back to standard. The frequency will change accordingly but no change to the channel numbers.
  4. Minus 5 Khz A long press of the MEM button will drop 5khz and the frequency will track the change. No other notification so keep your eyes on the frequency display! Both the changes in 2 and 3 remain in effect until disabled by pressing the appropriate button again. Turning off the radio does not cancel the function.
  5. UK CB Channels. The UK CB channels can be accessed from the mode button. keep pressing the mode button from AM to FM to USB to LSB and the next press gets you into the UK FM CB Channels. Cool if you live in the UK I guess. President Grant 2 PPresident 2 prem UK

The Grant 2 Premium is still a CB, but a glorified CB. Great little CB actually. I think you might find it a little restrictive to work in the 10m band as you can only work frequencies ending in 5 and 0. It has 5 memories which can ease the navigating niggles of 10 presses of the F button. I prefer the green to the orange display colour but everyone is different. Not much not to like. The extra power and heatsink are worthwhile additions.

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Portable and More

I have been working with the 300 ohm TV ribbon to make several antennas and have come to realize that while it is nice and light, the lack of any semblance of strength once the plastic jacket is removed does not make it very suitable for repeated deployments. it is also difficult to remove the plastic coating without losing some wires in the process. I resorted to using a soldering iron to remove the plastic while keeping the thin copper strands intact. I would be really pissed off after walking several hours to a chosen location and find the antenna of my dreams had fallen apart on me after a few minutes of use. Another problem of using ribbon for the feed was to obtain consistent results re SWR and the need of a balun at the end. Ribbon is probably great in a fixed location but problematical when you are operating from a variety places and you may not be aware of where and how you are going to have to run the feed to the radio. Despite the weight of coax my thoughts are drifting back to coax.

Luckily we had a couple of fine days recently one of which was windless so I was able to play around a bit more with the Bi Square. By trimming the twin feed I was able to bring the SWR down to about 1.5 with the 450 ohm ribbon which was much easier to trim than the 300 ohm TV stuff. I kept trimming till I noticed the SWR on channel 1 started to creep up. Need to measure what length I ended up with. I was unable to test the results on air unfortunately, as no one about. But I now have an antenna I can transmit with. I probably have gone about this the wrong way and need to make sure the loop is resonant before playing with the feeder. I also note in the books that the tuned feeder is a stub and shorted at the bottom and the matching points found by trial and error, which is a bit hard with the plastic coated feeders I have on hand. Where does the balun go? Also the books state the Bi Square should be 1/4 wave above ground at the feed point which I am unable to achieve with my 31′ pole. While I am a firm believer in getting as much wire in the air as possible, I think I have to rethink the bisquare. The added wire also adds to the windage and deployment hassles. I like it and it certainly warrants further work, but I will put it on the back burner for now till I get an antenna analyser to bring the loop into resonance before working on the feed system.
Another thing is the wire. I need to be using hard drawn non stretchy proper antenna wire and not the weak stretchy flexible thin stranded normal wire with heavy insulation that is readily available in the shops here. Buying a ready made wire antenna is probably quite worth it, as to build something that will last will cost you! However the purpose here is to work out what works for me first, and then make it properly!

BI Square pictures
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So where to from here.?

What works well so far? The conventional inverted V. And the recently completed 1/2 wave coaxial vertical. I like the vertical. Easy to deploy. Doesn’t need guys and coax all the way to the radio means consistent results in the field.

Which brings me to the conventional single quad loop. Can be fed with  a quarter wave of 75 ohm coax back to 50 ohm coax to the radio. A bit of gain, bi directional, closed loop, and can get the feed up to approx 1/2 wavelength so a little bit more out of the way.
Lots of  information on making and feeding quad loops on the internet.
Diamond shaped.
That’s the next project. I think it could be used vertically without too much hassle running the coax feed down one of the guy lines that pulls the loop away from the pole.

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