Archive for the 'Ham Radio' Category

CE115 Hacks for Vertex VX-4500 VX-4600 VX-450

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Cross-posted from my notes pages…

Vertex CE115 Hack Notes

CE115.exe is located in C:\Vertex Standard\CE115\ and is used for the Vertex 4500/4600 mobiles and 450 portables. It has a number of “manufacturer” or “engineering” modes that allow access to fields in the programming software that are not normally accessible, which will allow changing of band limits (to allow out-of-band frequencies, such as amateur) and numerous other features and tweaks. Because of the nature of these fields, they can cause damage to your radio and serious degradation of performance. Do not use any of these engineering modes if you do not know what you’re getting into!

Command Line Switches:

/kaiha or –kaiha: This is manufacturer mode, and when successfully entered, will show a (M) after the program name in the title bar of the window. The password for this mode is “Kaihatsusha Senyou” (case-sensitive, no quotes, with the space).

/eng or –eng: This is engineering mode, password is “pasuwa-do”. Has less functionality available, but still allows changing the frequency bandsplit.

/siriaru or –siriaru: I’m not sure what the name of this mode is, but it displays an (SP) in the title bar of the program window. It seems to block out most (if not all) of the options in the Common > Hardware menu, and there doesn’t seem to be any features that are added… Password is “kanri bango”.

/ship or –ship: Again, not really sure of the name of this mode, other than “SHIP” mode (as shown in the titlebar. It must have some use in the factory… The password is “koujyou”.

Enjoy!

Max Kelley KC2SPY

max@maxkelley.com

Long Time Gone

Friday, February 10th, 2012

OK, well it hasn’t been an entire year yet, but… It’s getting there :) Let’s do a little life update.

Currently, I am a student at Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY, studying Engineering Science for two years, to later transfer directly into the Rochester Institute of Technology for Electrical Engineering. First semester went fairly well, and the second is already underway and is proving to be just as enjoyable as the first!

This summer proved to be rather interesting, as I scored a job at a local two-way radio shop, selling surplus equipment on eBay. I am learning the trade super-fast, however, and I’m getting more and more proficient with bench work, and becoming more and more in tune with the current state of the two-way radio industry, what with websites like the BatBoard (discusses Motorola commercial radio equipment) and various mailing lists, such as Icom_LMR, etc. I have also had the chance to hone my soldering skills, and with the help of a hot-air rework station, stereoscope, and a fine-point soldering station, wonders can be accomplished.

For example, a ham friend of mine, Brent KC2QLJ, brought me his Yaesu FT-897D HF/VHF/UHF? radio which had some “issues.” He had bought a new antenna match unit which used balanced line instead of coaxial unbalanced feed to the antenna. Something was awry with it from the factory, however, and it caused massive amounts of RF to return into the shack, which was induced in the coiled microphone cord of the radio, and resulted in a radio that would not PTT from the front mic jack. Nothing else was wrong, except that it wouldn’t transmit from the front mic jack. Regardless of what microphone was tried, the symptom still remained. What ended up being the culprit was a burnt-up 1K resistor located close to the molex connector on the main PCB of the radio, into which a plug from the front panel microphone jack is plugged into. More specifically, it was R1571, a 1kOhm resistor, which had burnt itself up trying to resist the high level of RF coming in through the mic jack. I replaced it with an 0603 size SMT resistor, which was slightly too big, but it worked regardless, and PTT function was restored.

Transmit audio was also found to be missing from the front mic jack, and R1573 (on the flip side of the board) was determined to be the culprit. It was yet another 1kOhm resistor, and it was quickly repaired.

Although there really was a ridiculous amount of RF in his shack to have caused this, Vertex and Yaesu as a whole seem to be very susceptible to RF getting in through microphone cords, control head cables, etc. I don’t think the Vertex engineers get it! (of course, now they were bought out by Motorola, so who knows who the actual Vertex “engineers” are now!)

So, hopefully, this post will set a precedent for posts to come… I really love technical blogs such as EngineeringRadio.us, and BrainWagon.org, and hopefully I can turn this blog into more of a technical resource, filled with the things that I gather in my “travels.”

Till next time… seeYA!

Mother-Moto arrives!

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Ahhhhh, sweet Motorola goodness arrived in the form of a USPS Priority Mail box at my front door last Friday. I purchased, off eBay, a Motorola MT2000 commercial UHF portable for a very decent price! Came with speakermic and charger, etc. This is to replace my Kenwood TK-380 which, sadly, didn’t do the 440 ham band. I found, though, that the MT2000, while being older, has slightly more features, which is good! It’ll do 160 different modes (like channels) out of the box, and in basically unlimited zones, I believe, or groups of channels. I’ve heard, however, there’s a setting that will allow you to increase that number of modes up to 255, which I have yet to do.

Regardless, I got it all programmed up as I like it, and I’m very pleased! 4w on UHF gets places, when I’m used to having only about 1.5w on the old Icom IC-24AT. I’ve got all the area repeaters on UHF that I know programmed in (29 in total), and I’m working on adding commercial stuff for scanning, as well as FRS/GMRS. Overall, I’m very pleased. In order to program this beastie, I’ve got to use the Motorola RSS, which works ONLY in MS-DOS mode on a spare Windows 98 computer I have sitting down. Originally, I thought, “Bah, I’m going to ignore all those people who say, ‘You must use DOS to program these…’ But, anything else just plain DOESN’T WORK, not even an MS-DOS prompt window on Windows 98.

Trust me, I tried it, didn’t get anywhere.

Sooooo, if anybody has any questions about the radio or programming it, I’d be happy to help :) Just leave a comment here, or send me an email.

W2WHS Club Station

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010


0317001658.jpg, originally uploaded by maxkelley.

Ah, the W2WHS club station, with the addition of eQSLs outside the door! Beautiful!

A Tale of Two Kenwoods and DX!

Sunday, February 28th, 2010
15 Meters

So, propagation’s getting pretty darn good right around now! 15 and 17 meters have been open pretty much every day from the late morning until 1 or so pm EST, which has been awesome. All the DX you could ever want, just give these bands a try. As you can see, it’s been open to all over Europe, and the US stations are pretty readable on my Carolina Windom OCF dipole at about 50 feet or so in the trees. Right now, I even hear an XE1 station calling CQ, booming in. It’s been a lot of fun, but with just 100w, persistence is key. Also, I’ve found that raising my voice in pitch and volume a little bit helps cut through the QRM, and finding the perfect time to call when a station is working the pile-ups is key. I even called CQ a few times, and had the GM4,CT1, and HA8 stations come back to me! Let the stations work for you, ya know? ;)
Q# Callsign Date Time On Band Mode Name QTH
392 EA4LH 2010-02-28 16:51 15 SSB George Spain
391 5E50SA 2010-02-28 16:32 15 SSB Morocco!
390 HA8PA 2010-02-28 16:19 15 SSB Tibi SE Hungary
389 CT1DSV 2010-02-28 16:17 15 SSB Joseph NW PORTUGAL
388 GM4XZN 2010-02-28 16:15 15 SSB Scotland
387 TM7AAW 2010-02-27 15:10 17 SSB Franc Macon France
386 EU1UN 2010-02-27 15:05 17 SSB Serge Minsk Belarus
385 S52BB 2010-02-27 14:43 17 SSB Zirk Slovenia
384 9A1CCY 2010-02-27 14:42 17 SSB Tom Croatia
383 K6SMF 2010-02-22 22:54 17 SSB Neil Southern CA

Also, an addition to my shack: The glorious Kenwood TK380. It’s a commercial-grade UHF handheld that does 4 watts on 440-490mhz, is computer programmable (and front panel, by a mod), and you can load up… 128 channels, I believe (or 600 trunking). I’ve been having lots of fun with it, does a great job of scanning. However, I need to get it adjusted to receive below 450mhz, because at the moment, it does not. :( It’ll transmit fine, and I can key up the 440 repeaters way better than I could with my other handheld, but as far as receiving them… nada. I think the PLL gets unlocked below 450, and the VCO can’t steer that low. If anyone knows a way around this, please let me know!
And hey, now we’ve got a little Kenwood Korner in my shack, with the TK380, TS450S HF rig, and the TM-733A dual-band 2M/440 radio (not pictured, didn’t occur to me until after I took the picture.)

A Tale of Two Kenwoods

2009 ARRL January VHF Contest

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

OK, here’s my results from the 2009 ARRL January VHF contest… I ran FM on 2m and 440, with 75w on a JPole for 2 but only 5w on my HT/whip for 440, which was the reason for the low Q# there. For some reason, I’m missing Q number 13, as well. Huh.

I will also, later, have the results from the W2WHS Webster High Schools Amateur Radio Club effort in the contest.

Contacts: 29 (25 2m, 4 440)
Contact-points: 33 (25pts 2m + 8pts 440)
Grids: 4 (FN12, FN13, FN02, FN03)
Total grids: 6 (FN12 2m/440, FN13 2m/440, FN03 2m, FN02 2m)
Final Score: 33 pts x 6 grids = 198 points

Q# Callsign Date Time On Band Mode Grid
1 AF2K 2009-01-19 01:39 2 FM FN13
2 WB2YJH 2009-01-19 01:42 2 FM FN13
3 W1TY 2009-01-19 01:42 2 FM FN13
4 W2RTY 2009-01-19 01:43 2 FM FN13
5 K2FX 2009-01-19 03:13 2 FM FN13
6 W3OAB 2009-01-19 01:43 2 FM FN13
7 KC2PCD 2009-01-19 03:14 2 FM FN13
8 KA2ENE 2009-01-19 01:54 2 FM FN13
9 KC2QZR 2009-01-19 03:15 2 FM FN13
10 N2HJD 2009-01-19 01:56 2 FM FN13
11 N2MLH 2009-01-19 01:57 2 FM FN12
12 KA2ENE 2009-01-19 01:54 440 FM FN13
14 N2ZN 2009-01-19 03:18 2 FM FN13
15 KC2SWZ 2009-01-19 03:19 2 FM FN13
16 N2HJD 2009-01-19 03:20 440 FM FN13
17 N2MLH 2009-01-19 01:57 440 FM FN12
18 K2SI 2009-01-19 01:57 2 FM FN13
19 WB2SXY 2009-01-19 03:01 2 FM FN13
20 K2QO/R 2009-01-19 03:04 2 FM FN02
21 N2EZS 2009-01-19 03:05 2 FM FN13
22 K2OEQ 2009-01-19 03:07 2 FM FN13
23 WO2P 2009-01-19 03:25 440 FM FN12
24 WO2P 2009-01-19 03:25 2 FM FN12
25 W2EV 2009-01-19 03:39 2 FM FN03
26 W2NWT/M 2009-01-19 03:40 2 FM FN13
27 K2AN 2009-01-19 03:41 2 FM FN02
28 KB2CHY 2009-01-19 03:48 2 FM FN13
29 KA2OMQ 2009-01-19 03:50 2 FM FN13
30 K2LKK 2009-01-19 03:57 2 FM FN13

Christmas Rearranging

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

I decided to move my rigs around, and now I have easy access to the HF rig instead of having to run halfway across the room. I love it!

Olivia!

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

What light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Olivia is the sun…
Er… ok, maybe not, but these last few days, I had been experimenting with listening to radio transmissions sent using OLIVIA, a highly error-proof digital mode. It can even be copied when the signal is 10db below the noise floor, meaning you don’t even have to hear it to copy it. So, I fired up FLDigi, and set it to OLIVIA, and started decoding QSOs.. it was so cool to have errorless text show up on your screen when there’s barely a signal! So, I heard someone calling CQ tonight using it, and the temptation to answer back became too great! I put my microphone in front of my computer speaker, and answered back.. and the rest went sort of like this…

kc2spy kc2spy de WB8ROL tnx for call om and ge
RSQ :  599 599 nice sig
QTH : Ludlow Falls, OH – near Dayton
LOC : en70xb
Name : Gary Gary
So BTU – hw cpy ? – kC2SPY de WB8ROL KN
T”bpvV`q2kwb8rol DE KC2SPY Good copy here, I don’t have a rig interface, just a microphone
up to the speaker. 599 copy here too, name is Max in Webster, NY near Rochester. FN13GF
This is my first OLIVIA contact… it’s pretty cool! So, back to you, Gary. WB8ROL de KC2SPY
@@@gn7
kC2SPY de WB8ROL – 100% cpy Max – FB on the microphone hi hi As long as you don’t sneeze no problem hihi Really sounds good – would NOT hv known if you hadn’t told me. Glad to be ur 1st Olivia QSO!  It’s my favorite mode and spend 80% time on it. So some DominoEX FEC, THOR, and ALE400 too. Run 40w hr to 115ft CF Dipole fed with ladder line. FLDig software on Linux + SignalLink USB interface. BTU Max kC2SPY de WB8ROL KN
HZO?    [N
>*$WB8ROL DE KC2SPY Very good Gary, and thanks for the compliments. I think
this mode will quickly become one of my favorites, and less troublesome after
I wire something up :) Very good on the 40w at 115feet.. I have 100w on a G5RV
at 25 feet.. sorta evens things out. I too am using FLDigi on Ubuntu Linux.. what
distro are you running over there? BTU WB8ROL de KC2SPY
@@@l*$.. kC2SPY de WB8ROL - perfect print agn Max - Using the Kubuntu 8.04 hr - Really like KDE but so far KDE 4 looks crappy to me so sticking with 3.59 KDE on Kubuntu 8.04. Been on Linux for 6 years - prefer it to Windows BUT don't hate windows hihi . Age hr is 58 - ham since 1963. On digi since 2003 and discovered Olivia 14 months ago. Last 14 months hv had 831 Olivia QSO's and 4 PSK hi hi - BTU Max kC2SPY de WB8ROL KN (e
h"1SWysCVWB8ROL DE KC2SPY Agn good copy as usual Gary.. turned down power here
a little bit, now at 40w like yourself.. I do enjoy having final transistors :) I have
regular Ubuntu 8.04, but have installed XFCE4 here.. a bit more lightweight than
Gnome and KDE. I've been on Linux for probably... 3 years, maybe? All computers
in the house (around 8) are on various distros, except for 2 windows-only machines.
I'm 15 yrs old here, been  aham since Dec 21 last year and on digital since.. 5 mins
ago, LOL. Back to you! WB8ROL de KC2SPY
@XR.. kC2SPY de WB8ROL - 100% agn Max - I started on RedHat yrs ago, then Mandrake, Mandriva, Mepis, and now Kbuntu. SO glad I changed to Debian based distros. I also play with Slax and Puppy linux too. I figure I hv dual core Athlon 5000+ and 2gb RAM so I like desktop with most fuctionality. XFCE too lite weight for my tastes hi hi. Plus I do C++ programming and KDevelop only great Visual IDE on Linux that is free.  FB on being 15 yrs old! - I am slightly older hi hi X 4 almost hi.  Really love this digi stuff! - BTU Max kC2SPY de WB8ROL KN (V>oWfy:
$:I9vR
KMAWB8ROL de KC2SPY very good Gary, I started off with Fedora a while back
when I discovered a book  on Linux around the house (my Mom's?) from the
90s, had a very old version of Slackware on it, but I couldn't get it working. So,
I downloaded Fedora Core 2, and got that working.. Then from there, I think I
went straight  to Ubuntu, when it was 5.10, and then to Debian, but was unhappy
with PKG selection avail. so back to Ubuntu again at 6.10ish.. Gotta love apt! RedHat/
Fedora has yum, which I think is similar, but not as good.. I have a P4 2.6ghz with
1g RAM... meager by today's standards.. it does sometimes tend to get bogged down,
so XFCE helps a little bit. I do a little bit of PHP and MySQL web stuff every once in a
while, but I use simply Scite, which just does syntax highli. I'll be sending a card along
your way, once I find a pen to fill it out :) BTU, sorry for the length. WB8ROL de KC2SPY
@Adl.. kC2SPY de WB8ROL - 100% Max though sig is decreasing - Apt and Synaptic is why I like Debian based distros like Kubuntu!!  RPM and YUM NOT so yummy hi hi  With RPM used to be REAL easy to HOSE up an installation. Apt-Synaptic really cooks. I do a little PHP, MySQL too - have 6-7 virtual machines (VMWare) and 2 of those are web servers for sites I maintain. Also do Flash programming (action script).  I love my computer and hi speed internet even more than ham radio. Well, better not hold it too long - band may be changing - Out of QSL's hr BUT will get some soon! - BTU - I'll sign out on next over - kC2SPY de WB8ROL KN in"^[-*lWB8ROL de Kc2spy very good again gary, yes,  I love apt, and I'm actually doing a dist-upgrade
right now to take advantage  of the new version of FLDigi in Intrepid. Very nice  onthe VM's.. that's cool stuff. I used to do a whole lot more stuff on the computer, but sorta got bored w ithit, and now I'm on to radio stuff and electronics and building things. MaxKelley.com is my site, which is run by Wordpress, but I used to have my own custom PHP cms running it. Very good on the flash, too.. I did a little bit with flash, but not much with ActionScript. Thanks again for the contact, and I hope to hear you on again some other time...73s!  WB8ROL de KC2SPY seeya!
@@@ywd.. kC2SPY de WB8ROL - FB Max - If you get a chance look at pdoodle.com - It's my XYLs web site - she's an artist. But I do the programming hi pdoodle is short for our favorite cat who's nickname is Punky Doodle. I hp cuagn on digi Max - enjoy yakking with other Linux users! Take care - hv a great holiday season - best 73 for now Max kC2SPY de WB8ROL SK 4E;m8
R:    ^cr3WB8ROL de KC2SPY will check it out! Thanks again Gary, and enjoy
the holidays as well.. nice full-duty digital modes keep the shack warm
in the winter! :D 73s WB8ROL de KC2SPY SK
@$uz]p$… energy efficient! 73 dit dit

And that was that! It was a very cool QSO… It took quite a bit longer than it seems because of transmission speed, about 1 hour.. but it was well worth it.

Paperclip CW and Laptop Rescue

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

Sending CW...

Well, long time since an entry, and I have to attribute the inspiration/motivation to write this one to N2QDK, Mike Wren for giving me the idea to write this entry (ok, he told me to write it..) Anyhow, this weekend was the CW Sweepstakes, a contest on the radio using CW (Morse-code, for those non-radio types). Now, I’m of the newer generation of hams, who didn’t require a morse code test to get their license, but nevertheless, I have been attempting to learn my code. This weekend, Paul Mackanos, K2DB, was operating from his station in the Adirondacks, K2NNY, and he encouraged the members of a local club, the Rochester DX Association (which I am a member of..) to contact him. So, feeling lucky, I decided to try and make a contact with Morse code with him. Without a Morse code key.

At this point, I’m sure you’re thoroughly confused, and it’s ok, you should be. But, ingenious as I am, I decided to make my own, using a paperclip and a 1/4inch mono cable (actually, my sister’s instrument cable.. shhh..). It actually worked alright, and I was able to send a relatively clean rendition of my callsign. Now, receiving.. that was a different ordeal. I am horrible at copying at the speeds that Paul was operating at (or copying at all) so I tried to use CW decoding software on the computer. I was able to decode a few of his exchanges, but a good deal of it was garbled, unfortunately, due to machine error. If I knew the code, I definitely would have been able to copy him, as he had a perfectly fine signal. So, I threw my call out there, hoping for the best. Unfortunately, the poor accuracy of the CW decoding software hindered my means of telling whether he actually heard me or not. Oh well, it was fun!

Toshiba Satellite Laptop BIOS Reset

Now, in other news, I was given an ooold Toshiba laptop by Irv, AF2K, to fix, last weekend. He said, “It starts up with a [BIOS] password prompt, and won’t do anything more.” I figured, ok, I’ll open it up and use the reset jumper. “Well, one of the screws is stripped..,” he says. So, to Google I go, searching for a way to get in: backdoor passwords, special keystrokes, floppy images.. nothing of that sort. Finally, I stumbled upon a website that described a special “dongle” that shorted some pins on the parallel port, bypassing the password and putting you in the BIOS setup. So, off I went, constructing what you see above to the instructions below.

Short pins: (1,5,10) (2,11) (3,17) (4,12) (6,16) (7,13) (8,14) & (9,15)

When I was done, I checked the shorted pins for continuity, plugged it in, crossed my fingers… and voila! I was in the BIOS setup! I cleared the password, and booted up to the strangely beautiful sight of Windows XP. Irv had been telling me, “I doubt you can fix it, I’ve had so many other guys look at it, try and get it to work, but to no avail.” I call him, “When would you like to come pick up your laptop?” Needless to say, he was stunned.

That’s all for now, folks.. come back next time!

QSO Logging and Loose Ends

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

Hello all, it’s been a bit since the last post, but since then, I’ve put up a real-time ham radio contact log, on the Ham Radio tab, that shows my contacts as I put them into the log. I’m using DJ1YFK’s YFKlog and some PHP of mine to do it, which is executed within the Wordpress page using the Exec-PHP plugin. Fun!

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I purchased a new antenna, a Diamond RH77CA, for the dual-band HT, which has great reviews on eHam.net, and from what people claim there, has fairly good off-ham-band performance as well, allowing me to use my HT on FRS and MURS. I haven’t yet received the antenna, I just purchased it last night, but maybe I’ll do a review when I get it :)

And, for those that don’t know, back in mid-July, I purchased a Kenwood HF transceiver, the TS-450S, used off Craigslist, along with an Astron RS-35A power supply and a Mirage UHF amplifier… a stellar buy of $375 for the lot. Here’s the transceiver, with MFJ tuner, in all its glory…

TS-450S and MFJ 949E

I also made a custom wallplate with SO239 passthroughs for the antenna connections coming into the house. My mom was grateful for this, and not having a hole in the wall with wires coming through.. she would hate that.

Antenna Wallplate

I’m pretty sure I was going to mention something else, but when I left to take the pictures of the equipment, I forgot it.. Oh well! Enjoy!