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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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Field Day for the Scouts 2010 

I picked this up from the Skyview Radio Society mailing list. Please pass the word along.



Calling all Hams and Clubs in Southwestern Pennsylvania

From W3S special event station for Field Day honoring the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.

This event is mainly for the scouts to learn about Ham Radio and to participate on the air. It is being held at Camp Anawana near Amity, PA.

We need Operators, Elmers, Old Equipment and items for museum display, and operators with equipment.

News media and elected officials will be invited to attend.

Free meals will be provided by the Scouts and a commerative patch will be issued to all hams that participate. Please be sure we have the number of operators in your party. Remember since this is Field Day unlicensed operators are permitted to operate under supervision. This is a great opportunity to bring that family member that wants to get on the air with you for a week end of fun and learning.

Snacks should be purchased and brought with you. There are a few mom and pop stores in the area but they have limited hours and are expensive.

If you bring your own snacks be advised there are raccoons and skunks that will want to share them with you so keep them in a safe place!

Showers are available.

We are working on providing power from the military. If you feel safer using your own generator feel free to bring it along. You buy the gas.

Plans are to run a "D" class station. There will be a cabin with a refrigerator for those that want to stay over night. The cabin sleeps 6.

The 2010 rules will be posted as a link when available.

We encourage anyone that has solar or wind powered equipment or other innovative equipment to bring it out.

We plan to operate 160, 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 2, 220, and 440 bands in various modes.

The following are encouraged:

Phone, CW, ATV, FSK and RTTY

Each band will have a band coordinator.

We are also planning to have a GOTA station and one or two stations for the scouts to operate on.

Those that are interested or can attend should reply to this email and provide the following information:

Number of operators interested, Band and mode you are interested in, do you wish to be an Elmer, do you wish to participate in the museum, hours you are available to operate.

Every effort will be made to see that everyone gets to operate and gets as much time as possible. Operating teams are welcomed.

The Call sign for this event is W3S and is reserved with the FCC for June 24th through the 28th.

Please help make this a fun and learning event for all.

No alcoholic beverages are permitted on the camp grounds.

Smoking is not permitted in front of the scouts. If you must smoke, please do it in an out of site area.

The site is atop a high hill with a good clear view. There are many trees around to hang wires from.

Maximum safety will be practiced at all times including station grounds and caution tape. The caution tape will be provided. See KA3PMW or N3TRF for caution tape.

Planned special side events include a Sky Warn training class and an Antenna Building class.

All are welcome whether you are club, individual, or family operators.

For further information and answers to questions contact please reply to this email or contact KA3PMW or N3TRF through the website.

For online sign up please go to the WEB SITE and look in the ham section. This site should be up and running February 1st, 2010.

Sounds like a worth while effort to me!


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