Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Something every FT-60 owner should know 

I purchased a Yaesu FT-60 dual band hand held from a local ham who had won it at a ham fest and already had several HTs in his shack. It turned out to be a wise move on my part as I have come to like the little radio a lot. It is rugged has lots of features and despite what some other owners claim has a fairly decent user interface if you take a little time to learn it.

I won't go into all of the reasons I have made this my everyday "carry rig" but suffice it to say that it more than meets my needs as a portable ham rig and as a scanner for listening to public safety frequencies without having to carry a second radio on my side.

One item that I consider to be a flaw in the aforementioned user interface has to do with a feature unique to Yaesu radios. They have a system called WIRES which stands for Wide-coverage Internet Repeater Enhancement System. When this feature is enabled a brief .1 second burst of DTMF tone is transmitted each time the push to talk switch is depressed. It also mutes the audio from the rigs microphone for that period so in addition to being annoying to those listening to you it cuts off the first syllable of what you are saying if you don't hesitate before speaking. So you ask why don't you just turn it off? Well that is where the user interface comes in. It take only a momentary press of the zero key on the keypad to toggle WIRES off and on. It is very easy to bump the button and turn it on which you don't realize until you transmit and if you are in a noisy mobile environment you might not notice until someone brings it to your attention.

I subscribe to a mailing list on Yahoo for users of the FT-60 and how to turn off the WIRES burst has to be the most often asked question I see in the message section. Now when I got the radio I figured out the basic functions with out having to open the manual but soon learned that if you wanted to make use of all that the FT-60 had to offer that I was going to have to invest a little time at RTFM as they say.

I just recently found out that even though I have become fairly familiar with almost all of the bells and whistles on this rig that there were still a few things to be learned. After my last round of answering question on the mailing list about how to turn the tone burst off one of the other members mentioned that there was a document in the files section with instructions on how to disable the function until you decided to turn it back on. Sounded like information worth having to me so I went and downloaded said document and now if I accidentally bump that 0 key all I do is turn on the little WIRES symbol on the rigs display. No tone burst. And should I want to use the WIRES feature it is a simple procedure to turn it back on.

So if you have one of these fine radios here is how you can eliminate this minor annoyance should you so desire.

The WIRES function is turned ON or OFF by momentary pressing the 0 key on a
FT-60 handheld or left VOL knob on a FT-8800 or 8900 mobile radio. The
WIRES function can be disabled so that it can not accidentally be turned on
using the following steps:
FT-60 – See manual page 49
1. Press the F/M key then immediately press the 0 key to enter the menu
2. Rotate the Dial knob to menu 23 – INT MR.
3. Press the F/M key then rotate the Dial knob to select a memory (d1
through d9) that is empty, i.e. it contains •••••• (six dots) = no tone.
4. Press the F/M key to store the setting.
5. Rotate the Dial knob to menu 21 – I NET.
6. Press the F/M key then rotate the Dial knob to select INT.MEM.
7. Press the F/M key to store the setting.
8. Press the PTT button to exit the menu mode.

To re-enable the WIRESTM mode, select INT.COD in menu 21.

As you can see this is information that is available in the manual it is just a matter of understanding how different features interact with each other. Thanks to KB6OT for taking the time to create this information in PDF format and put it in the files section of the FT-60 group on Yahoo.

If you have or are contemplating the purchase of an FT-60 you should consider joining the group. Here is a link where you can become a member.



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