The first of the OPTIMA Testers has arrived in NZ and Mike has been putting it through it’s paces. (UPS got it there in 2 days!! Go UPS.) Not much to see from the front panel to distinguish the 2012 Mk2 model from the previous versions. Need to look closely at the writing on the buttons. The M-Scan has finally come out of the closet and is marked in orange on Button 4 under the LCR. Hit ‘Func’ and button 4 and you will scroll the memories. Mhz has been added in white on Button 2. Can’t seem to do anything with the CALL function. I guess we have a spare function button now. Button 5 has had M-Load replaced with M-RECAL in white. There is a picture of the 8 pin plug showing where the key should be beside the mic plug. Our tester radio did not have the white strips on the knobs. I think that is an oversight. I like the white strips. There is a new box for this 2012 MK2 production (blue and white) but ours came in the old inverted Jopix boxes. So that’s about it for the visual differences. The picture of the 8 pin mic socket will probably identify this batch. I wonder when we will change to the modular square plastic mic connectors.
Below is the pic taken by Mike of YeticomNZ in NZ (who is the only person I know who approaches my ability to take a bad photo!)
Several changes here worth noting.
1. The Function control has been moved off the clarifier and is now on the VFO control. Push the VFO in to access function and hold it for while to access the Filter function.
2. The step control. In previous models the step control could be used to step in 1, 10 or 100khz steps but the minute one hit another button or keyed the mic the step reverted to the default 5khz. While this was kind of handy it was a pain if you wanted to keep the radio in 1khz steps or if you were on CB and wanted to stay on 10khz steps. This has now been fixed. The radio will remain in the step chosen until the radio is turned off or the step function is used to scroll through and back to the default 5khz. Unfortunately if you are scrolling in 1khz steps and have say 28512 on the display and you choose the 5khz step then the radio will step to 28517 and on to 28522 etc. One must remember to return to the zeros or fives before stepping out of the 1khz step.! The digit stepped will flash continuously as previously…bit of a bugger. But at least you never forget where you are!
Those are the function changes and all seem to be working as they should within the limitations of the radio’s overall design. No changes to memories, shift can still be used anywhere but we are still not able to shift in amounts less than 5khz steps, so a 7khz shift is out. You have 5khz or a multiple of 5 up to 995 khz or almost 1mhz. Should be enough for most operators.
Operation of the squealch is improved and smoother now, but the linearity of the power control is still not equal over the entire range of the control. You only seem to have the final 3/8ths of the control to work with.
The receive is as sharp as ever.
The FM. we have been unable to test this fully on air due to the lack of a working antenna in NZ!! Mike says he will have his Antron up tomorrow! The FM is still quite narrow, but we do have a lot more grunt added to the mic audio circuit to help it on its way. Another 10db! In SSB with the standard electret mic the audio begins to overmodulate a bit past 12 oclock on the mic gain control so on FM with the mic gain on full we are hoping the Europeans and UK owners who use FM a lot will be satisfied. For our trucker friends on AM the AM is loud now. Turn up the mic gain for a serious 100% plus modulated AM machine. The added gain in the mic circuit will also allow owners to use microphones that don’t have the gain of the electret inserts we use and still have enough gain in reserve to drive them to full power. The Heil 781 is going to sound awesome on this radio for ragchewing.
Deliveries: Due to Chinese new year getting in the middle of the production schedule things have been delayed till everybody gets back to work after their week off, then a few days recovering and setting back up and we will be in full swing for deliveries in mid Feb 2012.