I decided to build a small 50W VHF/UHF station to use for portable operations, such as supporting events or setting up in a temporary location, with a choice of using AC power or a battery. I don’t need anything fancy like DMR or D-Star, but I might want to to use it for APRS or WinLink.
After a bit of research and pricing options, I went with something that turned out to be a very easy build. I chose a Yaesu FTM-6000R as the transceiver. It has basic features, but has gotten some good reviews. It is also known to be a good transceiver for data, and is 9600 bps capable.
I also chose a 30 amp switching power supply and a mobile base station enclosure from PowerWerx, to make it a single unit that’s easy to carry around. The enclosure includes a short DC cable to connect the radio to the power supply. If I want to use a battery instead of the power supply, I just disconnect the T-connector from the power supply, and connect it to the battery. It was very easy to assemble the whole system.
I tested with the power supply and with a battery, and it works great. The whole unit is very compact and stable.
My next step will be to configure it for WinLink and APRS. I have a Mobilinkd TNC-4, and I ordered a DigiRig. The FTM-6000R has a 10 pin MiniDin connector, and DigiRig sells 1200 bps and 9600 bps cables for the radio. DigiRig also sells an adapter cable to use DigiRig cables with a Mobilinkd, and vice versa.
I’ll make another post after testing the setup with WinLink and APRS.
After a long wait, I finally added an Icom IC-9700 to improve the VHF and UHF capability in my shack. I decided to place an order in late December, but all of the ham radio dealers were out of stock at the time. I placed the order, and the dealer estimated delivery in February. That later slipped to March, and then to April. This morning, April 3rd, it finally arrived!
Initial setup was fairly easy, since I already had the power cable, USB cable, ground wire, and coax routed to the spot on my desk for the IC-9700. Since my current VHF/UHF antenna is a Diamond X500HA for 2M and 70cm, I will not get to use the 23cm right away. I used a Diamond MX-72N duplexer, because the IC-9700 has separate 2M and 70cm connectors.
To make programming the radio a little bit easier, I purchased RTSystems WC-9700 software. I use RTSystems programmers for all of my other radios, and it saves a lot of time and effort. The D-Star Calc feature makes adding D-Star repeaters and reflectors a breeze.
The IC-9700 has lots more features and settings than any of the other VHF/UHF transceivers I used. Even though I am very familiar with the Icom interface and controls, it’s clear that I will have a learning curve to get the best out of this radio. To help with setting up and learning the many features of the radio, I also got a copy of the Radio Today Guide to the IC-9700, by Andrew Barron, ZL3DW. I also have his guides for the IC-7300, IC-7610, and IC-705.
I’m looking forward to seeing what this radio can do. I am going to try out using digital modes on VHF and UHF. My long-term plans include getting a new triband (2M, 70cm, 23cm) antenna to take full advantage of all three bands. I am also considering adding additional antennas to work amateur radio satellites.