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Yaesu FT-2900R

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PRODUCT REVIEW
Yaesu FT-2900R 2 Meter FM Transceiver

Key Measurements Summary

SINAD 0.25
Receiver Sensitivity (12dB SINAD, V)

89@10 MHz 90

Receiver 3rd-Order Dynamic Range (dB)

67@20 kHz* 70

Reviewed by Howard Robins, W1HSR ARRL Contributing Editor
The FT-2900R is very similar to the FT2800M and replaces it in the Yaesu Amateur Radio product lineup.1 At first glance the most significant difference is increased high power from 65 to 75 W. On the front panel, the positions of the POWER and WIRES buttons have been swapped, the stenciling on some of the other buttons has changed and the front panel lines are a bit smoother. When I compared the manuals for both radios, however, I discovered that the FT-2900R manual had 30 more pages. So, there is a bit more to the new rig that is not so obvious and some neat features have been added.

Physical Description

As with other Yaesu mobile transceivers, the FT-2900R is built on a massive cast aluminum heat sink and does not use a cooling fan. There is nothing dainty about this radio, and I would bet that it could be driven over and never skip a beat. Normally, I would be cautious not to drop a delicate instrument for fear of damaging it. If I dropped the FT-2900R on my ceramic tile floor, I think the floor would
Carcia, NJ1Q, Yaesu FT-2800M 2-Meter FM Transceiver, Product Review, QST, Jun 2003, pp 63-65. Past QST reviews are available to ARRL members at www.arrl.org/product-review.
be the loser. I have been using an FT-2800M to send APRS weather beacons every 10 minutes for more than two years and it keeps on going. These are very rugged radios. The front panel has a large six digit liquid crystal display (LCD) with controllable backlighting. There are three knobs VOLUME and SQUELCH on the left and the MAIN TUNING dial on the right. Six push buttons POWER, WIRES/LOCK, SET/MHz, DW/ REVERSE, A/N/LOW and MW/D/MR are below the display. Its obvious what several of these controls are used for. I will explain the less obvious ones in this review by example. I have used radios with more cryptic labeling. The rear panel SO-239 RF connector is recessed and partly shrouded by an extended part of the cast aluminum body. The external speaker jack is recessed in the lower left corner next to the power pigtail. Note that there is no data port on this radio. You would need to use the external speaker and mic jacks to interface with your TNC or other data device and adjust the squelch and volume levels accordingly. There is a bottom-firing internal speaker that sounds crisp and loud enough to me. Lab testing showed plenty of audio output nearly 4 W. The mic is the MH-48 with keypad that comes packed with most new Yaesu VHF radios. This mic permits users to safely control many of the FT-2900Rs features and functions and uses an RJ-45 connector.

ChRej 50

Adjacent Channel Rejection (dB)

IF Rejection (dB)

Img 60

Image Rejection (dB)

Audio Output (W)

T-R 250

Tx-Rx Turnaround Time (ms)
Key: * Measurement noise limited

at value shown.

Bottom Line
Sturdy and powerful, the FT-2900R has all of the features weve come to expect in a 2 meter transceiver and adds some useful new ones.

Mark J. Wilson, K1RO

Product Review Editor

k1ro@arrl.org

September 2010 39

Programming

Yaesu offers an optional USB cable and Windows software for programming channels and settings on this radio (part number ADMS-2900). I did not use this software, but if you plan to load up the radios 200 memory channels or change them frequently, you might consider it. I found that after about five minutes of self training, manual programming is fairly simple. It took about 10 minutes to program 10 channels with repeater parameters receive frequency (split is automatic), tone frequency, tone type and channel name. Step one is to repeatedly press the MW/D/ MR button until VFO is displayed on the LCD. Then turn the frequency knob or use the microphone keypad to enter the receive frequency. Next, pressing the SET/MHz button for a second brings up an alphabetically ordered and numbered menu of settings (menu mode). Use the large knob to scroll through the menu items until TN FRQ (tone frequency) is displayed. Press the SET/MHz button to select this item, turn the large knob to scroll to the appropriate subaudible tone and press the SET/MHz button again to set the selection. The tone frequency is now set. To set the tone type, while still in the menu mode turn the large knob to SQL.TYP. Press SET/MHz, select TONE from among TONE/ TSQL/DCS/RV TN/OFF and press SET/MHz again. This last action displays a T on the LCD, indicating that TONE is on. Pressing and holding SET/MHz again exits the menu mode. At this point, all the repeater parameters are set in the VFO buffer. Press and hold the MW/D/MR button to get into the memory storage mode. The next available channel number blinks on the LCD. Press and hold the MW/D/ MR button again to write the contents of the VFO buffer into the memory channel. You could select a different channel to write to by turning the large knob. Next, enter a name for the memory channel. Repeatedly press the MW/D/MR button until MR is displayed on the LCD, indicating that the radio is in memory read mode. While in this mode, press the SET/MHz button, and scroll to NM SET, press the SET/MHz button again to enter a channel name one letter at a time. Turn the large knob to scroll through the character set. Press the SET/MHz button to set each character. Press and hold SET/ MHz again to exit the menu mode. Although this procedure may sound tedious, its easier to do than describe and easier yet with the optional software. This example should give you a good sense of whats required to set up the many features in this radio. Menu mode operation is fundamentally consistent, and the method to turn on and customize features is the same. However, some buttons on the FT-2900R are used differ40 September 2010

Table 1 Yaesu FT-2900R, serial number 9I041737
Manufacturers Specifications
Frequency coverage: Receive, 136-174 MHz; transmit, 144-148 MHz. Modes: FM, NFM. Power requirements: Receive: <700 mA, <300 mA (standby); transmit, 15, 9, 5, 4 A (high, low 3, low 2, low 1) at 13.8 V dc 15%. Receiver FM sensitivity: 12 dB SINAD, <0.4 V. FM two-tone, third-order IMD dynamic range: Not specified.

Measured in ARRL Lab

Receive and transmit, as specified. As specified. Receive, 760 mA (max volume, max lights, no signal); standby, 160 mA (no lights). Transmit, 14, 8.9, 5.5, 4.3 A (high, low 3, low 2, low 1). Receiver Dynamic Testing For 12 dB SINAD, 0.2 V; 0.2 V at 138 MHz, 0.21 V at 162 MHz. 20 kHz offset: 67 dB*; 10 MHz offset: 89 dB.
FM two-tone, second-order IMD dynamic range: 146 MHz, 92 dB. Not specified. Adjacent-channel rejection: Not specified. Spurious response: Not specified. Squelch sensitivity: Not specified. S meter sensitivity: Not specified. Audio output: 3 W at 10% THD into 4 W. Transmitter Power output: 75, 30, 10, 5 W (high, low 3, low 2, low 1) at 13.8 V dc 15%. Spurious signal and harmonic suppression: >60 dB. Transmit-receive turnaround time (PTT release to 50% of full audio output): Not specified. Receive-transmit turnaround time (tx delay): Not specified. 20 kHz offset: 67 dB. IF rejection, 101 dB; image rejection, 76 dB. At threshold, 0.07 V; 0.27 V max. 4.2 V at full scale. 3.8 W at 10% THD into 4 W; THD at 1 V RMS, 1.5 %. Transmitter Dynamic Testing 71.4, 27.4, 7.7, 3.8 W (high, low 3, low 2, low 1); 69.7 W at 11.4 V dc. >70 dB, meets FCC requirements. Squelch on, S9 signal, 116 ms. 132 ms.
Size (height, width, depth): 1.6 5.5 5.7 inches; weight, 2.6 pounds. Price: FT-2900R, $160; ADMS-2900 programming software/cable, $50. *Measurement was noise limited.
ently depending upon feature, so the owners manual may become your best friend.

New Features

The FT-2900R includes several new features shared with the latest generation of Yaesu VHF/UHF FM transceivers. A few are proprietary to Yaesu, which may make them useful only if your friends have compatible radios.

Enhanced Paging and Code Squelch (EPCS)
EPCS uses a dedicated microprocessor and paging memory to provide paging and selective calling features. Two CTCSS (continuous tone coded squelch system) tone pairs are used one pair for sending and another for receiving. A tone pair is sent to the receiving station when paging. If the tone pair matches those stored in the receiving radio, its squelch will open. You could use the same tones in several radios for closed group calling or unique tone pairs to page
individual radios. This coded squelch system could be used to keep your radio quiet until calls directed only to you are received. While the radio is squelched, you cannot hear activity on frequency. So, before initiating a page, listen to make sure the frequency is not in use. This feature can be used to make a bell ringing sound when your tone pair is decoded. The number of rings is settable. EPCS settings can be saved to individual memory channels, so once programmed, it is pretty simple to use this feature when you want to. For public service activities you could have different transmit tone pairs on different channels (with all other settings the same) to page different groups or individuals participating in your activity.

Memory Bank Operation

This feature lets you group channels that are not necessarily sequential. For example, I have my programmed channels 5, 11 and 13 assigned to bank 1. There are eight banks available, and the same channels can be as-
signed to as many banks as you need. With 200 channels this feature could come in handy, especially if you are on the road and want to group your channels by areas that you travel. You can use this feature to manually select channels within the bank or to scan just the selected bank channels. Banks can be selectively linked for scanning. This is a pretty flexible radio.
displayed. After the radios are back in range, normal beeps return and IN RNG is again displayed. You can even set this radio up to send your call sign in CW every 10 minutes to assure compliance with identification requirements. While the ARTS feature is active, other functions are locked to prevent inadvertent changes and loss of contact.

Internet Repeater Enhancement System) capability. These features were described in the May 2010 review of the FT-1900R.2

The Owners Manual

I own radios from most of the manufacturers and have reviewed a few others, so I have read through many different manuals. The FT-2900R has some typical and not so typical capabilities, and I found its manual to be very well written and illustrated. It does a great job of explaining how the features could be used, and how to activate and deactivate and set options for them. The FT-2900R is a fine heavy duty 2 meter radio with lots of power and some very nice features. I particularly like the memory bank, password protection and weather alert features and would use them routinely. Some of the features, EPCS and ARTS for example, would be useful in specialized applications. Manufacturer: Vertex Standard, 10900 Walker St, Cypress, CA 90630; tel 714-8277600; www.yaesu.com.
Automatic Range Transponder System (ARTS)
The ARTS feature uses DCS (digital coded squelch) signaling to alert parties with this capability that they are within simplex communication range of each other. When activated, a DCS code is transmitted for 1 second every 25 seconds (or optionally, very 15 seconds), or when the e PTT is pushed. Other radios with this f eature activated and within range can sound an audible beep (if enabled) and display IN RNG on the LCD. If out of range, OUT RNG will be displayed and polling signals will continue until the ARTS feature is deactivated. Three beeps will sound if you go out of range for more than one minute and OUT RNG will be
Weather Band/Weather Alert
The weather alert scan monitors for NOAAs 1050 Hz tone alert this can be optioned on or off. After turning this feature on, the weather broadcast channels are checked for activity every five seconds. I can set the FT-2900R to scan a memory bank to monitor those frequencies, while also having the weather broadcast bank scanned every five seconds. All scanning can be observed on the LCD, including the excursions to the weather memory bank. I observed that even though there may be activity on a weather channel indicated by a full scale S-meter reading without the alert tone, scanning does not stop. The FT-2900R also includes password protection, busy channel lock-out, a CW training feature and WiRES (Wide-Coverage
Ford, WB8IMY, Yaesu FT-1900R 2 Meter FM Transceiver, Product Review, QST, May 2010, pp 47-49.

www.rv3apm.com/qs1r.html

SRL QS1R Software Defined Receiver
Reviewed by Martin S. Ewing, AA6E ARRL Laboratory Small software defined radio (SDR) receivers are developing into an Amateur Radio industry category. The QS1R Quicksilver radio (Revision D); from Phillip Covington, N8VB, of Software Radio Laboratory, is one of the latest and most powerful. QST has previously reviewed the Microtelecom Perseus, the RFSpace SDR-IQ, and the more specialized Telepost LP-PAN Panadapter.1-3 If you combine most of these SDR radios with a personal computer and the right software, you have a complete general coverage communications receiver with panoramic spectrum display. The QS1R supports a wide range of applications, from amateur and SWL listening, to interference diagnosis and laboratory measurements. It features wide instanta1S.
neous bandwidth and a very flexible signal processing scheme built around a large field programmable gate array (FPGA).

Hardware

When you purchase the QS1R, you receive a small black box, a USB cable, an
Ford, WB8IMY, Microtelecom Perseus Software Defined Receiver, Product Review, QST, Dec 2008, pp 40-44. QST Product Reviews are available to ARRL members at www.arrl.org/product-review. 2S. Ford, WB8IMY, RFSpace SDR-IQ Software Defined Receiver, Product Review, QST, Feb 2010, pp 49-51. 3J. Hallas, W1ZR, TelePost LP-PAN Software Defined IQ Panadapter, Product Review, QST, Feb 2009, pp 45-47.
The Quicksilver QS1R software defined receiver offers a number of interesting advanced possibilities in addition to use as a flexible general coverage receiver.
optional 5 V wall mount supply, a short list of instructions and thats it for your hefty investment. The picture improves if you look at the product Web site (qs1r.wikispaces.com) and Internet support group (groups.yahoo. com/group/qs1r/). Download the software (QS1RServer and SDRMAX-II, discussed below), load up your PC and youre in business. The instructions are a bit minimal, but if you have middling computer or SDR experience, there should be no trouble. If you are SDR challenged, you will get a lot of patient help through the Internet support group. Still, more complete new user documentation would be welcome. Inside the box, the QS1R is a single PC

September 2010 41

Table 2 Software Radio Laboratory QS1R, Rev D, serial number 100027
Frequency coverage: 10 kHz-62.5 MHz Power requirement: 5-6 V dc, 1A. Modes of operation: SSB, DSB, CW, AM, SAM, FM, WFM. Receiver Sensitivity: 0.63 V SSB at 10 dB (S+N)/N. Noise figure: Not specified. AM sensitivity: Not specified. FM sensitivity: Not specified. Spectral display sensitivity Not specified.
dard internal clock, a software adjustment allows you to precisely zero beat WWV or other frequency standard.

Measured in the ARRL Lab

As specified. At 6 V dc, 900 mA (minimum volume); 910 mA (maximum volume).* As specified. Receiver Dynamic Testing Noise floor (MDS), 500 Hz filter: 0.137 MHz 114 dBm 0.505 MHz 117 dBm 1.0 MHz 117 dBm 3.5 MHz 118 dBm 14 MHz 118 dBm 50 MHz 118 dBm 14 MHz, 29 dB 10 dB (S+N)/N, 1 kHz tone, 30% modulation, 6 kHz bandwidth: 1.0 MHz 8.13 V 3.8 MHz 7.08 V 50 MHz 8.80 V For 12 dB SINAD: 29 MHz 2.51 V 52 MHz 3.09 V 123 dBm.

Frequency Aliasing

When an SDR samples the input at 125 MHz, you would want a low pass filter at the radios input to reject any signal above about 62.5 MHz, the Nyquist frequency.4 Without the filter, any signal above 62.5 MHz will be aliased into the 062.5 MHz baseband. The ADC operates like a mixer with a local oscillator (LO) at 125 MHz and harmonics of 125 MHz. The QS1Rs input low pass filter is relatively flat up to 62 MHz and falls off by 20 dB at about 75 MHz. The good news is that you can receive signals up to 62.5 MHz with full sensitivity. The bad news is that signals (and noise) at a frequency, f, between 62.5 MHz and 125 MHz, may be visible at an apparent frequency 125 f MHz. For example, the FM broadcast band limits 88 and 108 MHz alias to 37 and 17 MHz, respectively. At the ARRL Lab, we verified that many strong local FM stations were clearly received in the 17 to 37 MHz range when we connected to a GAP Titan vertical antenna. They were attenuated but might cause you problems above 18 MHz. Frequency aliasing can be used to your advantage, but you may have to provide your own bandpass filter. You can make a small board modification that bypasses the input filter and lets you receive up to 300 MHz or higher in segments of 62.5 MHz. The SDRMAX-II software supports this undersampling mode and provides the right frequency scale readings. This receiver provides the demodulated audio on a stereo phone jack, suitable for headphone listening or passing to your PCs soundcard input. Getting your audio this way (instead of over the USB connection to your PC) gives you flexibility and minimal time delay, but it complicates the picture if you want to use the receiver remotely over a LAN. You would have to find a way to transmit the audio separately from the data channel. The QS1R always samples the entire band from 10 kHz to 62 MHz, and you can display a chunk of spectrum as small as 40 kHz or as wide as 20 MHz. After filtering in the FPGA, a digital output stream of up to 4 MSPS is output from the receiver to your PC.

Blocking gain compression: Not specified. Gain compression, 500 Hz bandwidth:** 20 kHz offset 5/2 kHz offset 3.5 MHz 122 dB 122/122 dB 14 MHz 122 dB 122/122 dB 50 MHz 122 dB 122/122 dB Reciprocal mixing (500 Hz BW): Not specified. FM two-tone, third-order IMD dynamic range: Not specified. Spurious free dynamic range: 112 dB. S-meter sensitivity: Not specified. Squelch sensitivity: Not specified. IF/audio response: Not specified. 20/5/2 kHz offset: better than 122 dBc. 20 kHz offset: 29 MHz, 56 dB; 52 MHz, 57 dB. 100 dB. S9 signal at 14.2 MHz: 50.1 V. 29 and 52 MHz, 0.6 V. Range at 6 dB points (bandwidth): CW (500 Hz filter): 302-800 Hz (498 Hz). Equivalent Rectangular BW: 481 Hz. USB (2.4 kHz filter): 73-2384, 2311 Hz. LSB (2.4 kHz filter): 73-2383, 2310 Hz. AM: (6 kHz): 72-2809 (one sideband; 5474 Hz for both sidebands).
Size (height, width, depth): 2.0 4.1 6.4 inches; weight, 14.1 ounces. Price: QS1R receiver, $999.99; power supply, $19.99. *Depends on amount of processing in use; 1.5 A when used with Skimmer Server software. **Blocking level exceeds the threshold of ADC clipping. No reciprocal mixing occurred up to ADC clipping (+4 dBm). Adjustable with DSP.
board as shown in the lead photo. The external connections include a BNC antenna jack, an SMA jack for optional external clock, a USB jack, audio output and a 5 V power jack. An 8-pin DIN jack provides I/O connections for planned additional devices, to include a front end amplifier/pre-selector and a transmitter module. The QS1R board has only three major ICs a 16-bit 130 megasample per second (MSPS) analog to digital converter (ADC), a Cyclone III FPGA and a microcontroller.

42 September 2010

The controller and FPGA are initialized at power up by the QS1RServer program running on your PC. At the board level, the QS1R has several interesting features you can use to go beyond basic ham applications. With a minor board modification, you can clock the ADC, which normally runs at 125 MHz, from an external source at any frequency between 1 and 130 MHz. This lets you sync the receiver to an external frequency standard if you need high accuracy or stability. Even with the stan-

Software

Two separate programs run on your PC to support the receiver. QS1RServer talks with the receiver hardware, and loads the receivers microcontroller and FPGA
Nyquist frequency (half the sampling rate) is the highest signal frequency that can be accepted without aliasing. See en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Nyquist_frequency.
The QS1R, Contesters and Skimmer Server
Pete Smith, N4ZR I suppose there may still be some active Amateur Radio operators who havent heard of CW Skimmer, the amazing, somewhat controversial software written by Alex Shovkoplyas,VE3NEA (www.dxatlas. com). It decodes all the CW signals across a wide slice of a band, decides which ones are CQing and which are answering CQs, and can, if asked, offer spots via Telnet and the Internet. DXers use it to find DX on a band, and to figure out where to call in big pile-ups by tracking the successful callers. Contesters use it like traditional packet clusters to find people to work and to catch band openings. The QS1R, with its open software architecture, offered Alex a tempting challenge. Instead of listening to one band at a time, could the radio be reprogrammed to listen to many bands simultaneously? Well, it could, and he did. The result was Skimmer Server, software that offers Skimmerstyle decoding on up to seven bands at once, and up to 192 kHz per band. As a result, the QS1R/Skimmer Server combination has captured the attention of contesters and DXers worldwide.

Figure A The Skimmer Server provides a wealth of information about received stations. Information about software and computer parameters is displayed on the right.
Reverse Beacon Network I use my Skimmer Server/QS1R combination both as a stand-alone Telnet server, open to anyone who wishes to log on, and also to contribute to the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN), a worldwide network of Skimmer and Skimmer Server receiving stations (reversebeacon.net). The RBN collects Telnet spots from each connected receiver and passes them to the server, where they are displayed on a constantly changing world map and also archived for future analysis. The amount of information collected is quite spectacular for example, in the 24 hours of the Russian DX Contest, the RBN collected over 545,000 spots from 34 reverse beacons on four continents. So what? To begin with, you can find out what stations or countries have been spotted by the network, when and on what frequencies like a constantly revised real-time DX bulletin. Thanks to Rick Walker, K4TD, spots from the RBN are also available at telnet.reversebeacon. net, port 7000. You can filter the spot
stream you receive, just as with a DX Cluster node only there are many more spots. In addition, a group led by elipe F Ceglia, PY1NB, is hard at work developing other new ways to use the RBNs prodigious spot database. The first of these is an online Spot Analysis Tool, written by Nick Sinanis, F5VIH/SV3SJ. Tell it a date, the call signs of several stations to compare and a reverse beacons call sign, and it will quickly display comparative graphs of the stations signal strength (relative to local noise) on every band. Although fading and interference can invalidate any single comparison, the graphs clearly portray comparative performance you can use the data for bragging rights, or to plan improvements for the next time.
Using the Software Back to Skimmer Server. In Figure A, the left hand pane is the aggregator, displaying the spots that my station heard and reported (on a simple vertical) in the few minutes before the screen shot was taken. The right-hand pane is the Skimmer Server control panel, which I usually keep on the STATUS tab, to tell me how its doing in real time. In order to reduce load on the host computer, the Skimmer Server normally operates almost invisibly, as a simple icon in the Windows System Tray, but you can pop this window up to keep track of what it is doing and to change settings if you wish. Youll note that the control panel tells me that both the Telnet server and the link to the QS1R are working
normally, and also how many decoders are currently operating on each band. It reports how much computer power is being used (this was on a relatively quiet Monday morning at 96 kHz bandwidth on seven bands), and other parameters of interest. By the way, the computer on which Im running Skimmer Server is a relatively basic dual-core Pentium, much slower than the cheapest computers currently on the market from major manufacturers. A quad-core Godzilla is not required. Why are contesters so interested? Well, Skimmer Server spots have some unique advantages over spots from traditional DX clusters. If you connect to a Skimmer Server relatively close to you, you will be able to hear everything it can. It spots everything, not just rare stations, which makes it ideal for contesting, though it can occasionally get confused about which stations are CQing (running in contest parlance). The frequency calibration is consistent, so that all stations are heard at roughly the same pitch as you jump up or down the bandmap, and copy accuracy is at least as good as the DX cluster average. And finally, connecting to a Skimmer Server off-site is an ideal solution for multioperator stations, avoiding the complex engineering required if a CW Skimmer were used in that RF-loaded environment. The Skimmer Server software is part of the CW Skimmer package, available for download from Afreet Software (www.dxatlas.com). The package can be tried free for 30 days and costs $75 to register for continued use thereafter. September 2010 43

Figure 1 The SDRMAX-II software with QS1RServer behind.
c onfiguration. It also detects the desired audio channel. The SDRMAX-II program is the one you work with directly with through its complex graphical interface. The two programs talk to each other using TCP/IP protocols. You normally run both of them in the same PC, but you can place them in separate computers on a LAN and across the Internet, if your connection is fast enough. (I measured a typical data rate of 333 kbit/s between the programs.) While currently the Windows-only SDRMAX-II is the recommended software, you do have (free) alternatives. They include a cross-platform SDRMAX-III that works with Linux, MacOS X, or Windows, and independent software such as Winrad (www. winrad.org) and WinradHD (www.hdsdr. de). Naturally, each program has its strong points. I am a Linux fan, and I appreciate that I can run SDRMAX-III on my Ubuntu system, even if I have to compile it from source. However, I found that SDRMAX-II for Windows was more mature and easier to use. I think it looks better too, but thats a matter of taste. A major update called SDRMAX-IV is in development. Because SDR is CPU intensive, I wanted to explore how it worked on a small computer. I was able to run SDRMAX-II on my Celeron M (1.5 GHz) laptop, using 40 to 60% of its CPU power. Operation was fairly smooth even on this small machine, especially after I reduced the spectrum update rate. SRL specifies the minimum configuration as a 1.6 GHz Atom 330 CPU with 512 MB RAM (2.5 GHz Dual Core recommended). All the QS1R code from SRL is open source, so if you have the desire and expertise, you can make modifications or even roll your own software. Thats important, even for non-programmers, because developers are likely to provide new capabilities over time.

44 September 2010

Skimmer Server (see the sidebar) is an elegant product developed on the QS1R platform. It takes complete control of the QS1R, bypassing the SRL software. Because this program uses much more of the FPGAs capability, up to 7 receivers with 192 kHz bandwidth running in parallel, it needs a beefy power supply. Even if you arent going to use Skimmer Server, I recommend using a supply with at least 2 A capacity it leaves your options open for future applications.

Learners Permit

Any advanced radio takes some time to learn, and the QS1R is no exception. The hardware connections are simple, but the SDRMAX-II software definitely has a learning curve to climb. The operating screen is complex, and it is not immediately clear how to do even the basic functions such as tuning. There is no built-in help system, except that tooltips are displayed if your cursor hovers over a particular control. The support Web site offers an online help manual that helps, but it is incomplete. The sites FAQ list fills in some of the gaps, but youre going to face a certain amount of trial and error and e-mail consultation! A training video would go a long way toward getting new users up to speed.

For me, the major plus of the SDR is the spectrum display and the waterfall. You can monitor a band segment, a whole band, or even multiple bands (up to 20 MHz of spectrum) to monitor propagation using HF broadcast or amateur stations. The waterfall shows a time history. You can find some very interesting modulation modes, swept frequency radios and ionosondes. You can even do radioscience watch interference patterns (selective fading) drifting across the sidebands of a distant HF broadcast signal, telling you how ionospheric clouds are moving! There are many other ways you can use the QS1R. You can find a signal with an unknown frequency, such as parasitic oscillations, very quickly. You can diagnose obscure interference issues. Many interference sources have broad spectra that can be a little hard to understand with a narrowband receiver. I discovered that a problem I had been seeing on 10 meters was actually spread out over several MHz, putting me on the track to find some arc-like source. The QS1R would serve as a fine panadapter attached to another receivers first IF, but it would be overkill for this relatively narrowband application. You can connect the audio output to your computers audio input jack and use any audio analysis program you like. For example, DRM or other digital voice decoders, PSK31, RTTY and other digital data modes should be simple to decode. With its synchronous AM detection, the QS1R makes an excellent AM broadcast receiver.

Conclusions

There are a few rough edges with this product, which Ive touched on above. The documentation is incomplete, although the e-mail and Web based help ecosystem is very useful. The receiver sensitivity is relatively low, limiting performance in the higher bands, and the input low-pass filter is not sufficient to prevent aliasing of signals above 62.5 MHz. If all you want is a good general-coverage receiver, there are less expensive products on the market with better specifications. The compelling features of the QS1R SDR have to do with its ability to quickly survey the entire spectrum from 10 kHz to 62 MHz and to provide a very flexible display with point and click signal tuning and setting of bandpass filters. As a panoramic display of one or more entire amateur bands, it can add a lot of capability to your station. It is also a useful piece of test equipment for your bench. On top of that, the QS1R has a lot of untapped horsepower for special applications, as the Skimmer Server product shows. Manufacturer: Software Radio Laboratory, 8776 Shillington Dr, Powell, OH 43065-9001; tel 614-339-4324; www.srl-llc.com.

Joy of the Open Road

I enjoyed learning to drive this radio, but the real fun begins when you take it out on the highway. Hooked to my antenna farm (dipoles for 80 and 40 meters plus a three element SteppIR Yagi), its receive performance on the amateur bands was comparable to my Ten-Tec Orion, except for reduced sensitivity on the higher bands. My home location is relatively quiet no high power transmitters in the area and the bands were not crowded.

SHORT TAKES

CC User DX Cluster Client
When someone gushes about a piece of Amateur Radio software and ends the excited tale by saying, And its free, too! I am instantly skeptical. Throughout my life to date, the ancient axiom You get what you pay for has usually proven to be accurate. If something is said to be free, I lower my expectations quite a bit. But axioms arent blessed with universal veracity, otherwise theyd become scientific truths like Maxwells equations. In the case of VE7CCs CC User software, the axiom is entirely wrong!
What is a DX Cluster Client?
A DX Cluster is a network devoted to monitoring on-the-air activity throughout the world. Hundreds of hams are connected at any given time, posting spots with information about signals theyve discovered on bands from 160 meters through microwave. DX Clusters are an outgrowth of the original DX PacketClusters that performed the same tasks using radio data networks on 2 meters and 70 cm. Some of these PacketClusters still exist, but most Cluster networking has since shifted to the Internet. DX Clusters are popular among contest enthusiasts, DX hunters or anyone else who is interested in keeping their fingers on the pulse of Amateur Radio activity. But many of us, myself included, are often too busy to sit before the computer and sample the action. Thats where the Cluster client comes into play. Cluster clients are software applications that do much of the monitoring for you. They connect to the Cluster of your choice, get the most recent spots, periodically download propagation information and so on. Best of all (at least for me), these clients can filter the torrent of information. For example, if you dont have the ability to get on 160 meters, you may not be interested in seeing spots for 160 meter activity. Not a problem. The Cluster client can be configured to ignore 160 meter spots. Or, if you are looking for a particular station (such as a DXpedition operation) or a station from a particular DXCC entity, the Cluster client can watch for these and alert you if they are spotted.

The CC User main page.

VE7CCs CC User
A number of Amateur Radio logging and

contest applications have Cluster clients built in, but CC User by Lee Sawkins, VE7CC, is a stand-alone program for Windows. It is rich with features, yet surprisingly easy to use. CC User can talk to a packet TNC if you prefer to connect via radio, or it can make Internet Telnet connections to your favorite online DX Cluster. For this review I used a Telnet connection, which was simple to set up. CC User includes a list of Telnet Clusters, or you can enter another of your choice. There is a User Info screen that allows you to enter your call sign, Cluster password (if needed), your location, etc. CC Users filtering features are impressive. Since I tend to operate CW and digital, I set my filter to ignore spots in the phone portions of the bands. I also configured it to only show spots from hams who were in my area of the country (seeing spots from stations on the other side of the continent wasnt as useful since I may not be able to hear what they are hearing). If a particular spot catches my eye, I can click my mouse cursor on the call sign and look up the station on QRZ. Holding the CONTROL key while clicking my mouse opens a window showing the sunrise and sunset times for that station. CC User keeps an eye on space weather, too. One day I glanced at the screen to find
a glowing red box announcing Minor Radio Blackouts. No wonder I wasnt hearing much on HF that afternoon! If you are interested in working stations who participate in ARRLs Logbook of The World, CC User will request this information and flag these stations in the list. It reminds you to refresh the LoTW database with the appearance of a red highlighted button. The alarm function is excellent. I turn up my computer speakers for a welcome blast of audio whenever a desired station appears. I can even tell CC User to shoot an e-mail message to my cell phone. Use this function with care, though. You dont want to find yourself interrupting a business meeting to declare that you have to rush home because 6 meters is open.
Great Software; Great Price
Lee has done an outstanding job with CC User. The layout is clean and direct. He has even built in an auto updater that phones home via the Internet and alerts you to download the latest version (Lee is constantly making improvements). The fact that all this functionality comes free of charge is just cing on the cake. You can download i the latest version of CC User at www.ve7cc. net. Scroll about 34 of the way down the page to find the download link.

Steve Ford, WB8IMY

50 September 2010

QST Editor

sford@arrl.org

doc1

MMB-83 Installation

Mobile Power Connections
To minimize voltage drop and avoid blowing the vehicles fuses, connect the supplied DC power cable directly to the battery terminals. Do not attempt to defeat or bypass the DC cables fuse - it is there to protect you, your transceiver, and your vehicles electrical system. Warning! Never apply AC power to the power cable of the FT-2900R, nor DC voltage greater than 15.8 Volts. When replacing the fuse, only use a 25-A fuse. Failure to observe these safety precautions will void the Limited Warranty on this product. Before connecting the transceiver, check the voltage at the battery terminals while revving the engine. If the voltage exceeds 15 Volts, adjust the vehicles voltage regulator before proceeding with installation. Connect the RED power cable lead to the POSITIVE (+) battery terminal, and the BLACK power cable lead to the NEGATIVE () terminal. If you need to extend the power cable, use #12 AWG or larger insulated, stranded copper wire. Solder the splice connections carefully, and wrap the connections thoroughly with insulating electrical tape. Before connecting the cable to the transceiver, verify the voltage and polarity of the voltage at the transceiver end of the DC cable using a DC voltmeter. Now connect the transceiver to the DC cable. WARNING!
FT-2900R NEVER remove the FUSE holders from the DC cable.

Fuse 25 A

Fuse Holder

Mobile Speakers

The optional MLS-100 External Speaker includes its own swivel-type mounting bracket, and is available from your Yaesu dealer. Other external speakers may be used with the FT-2900R, if they present the specified 4-Ohm impedance and are capable of handling the 3 Watts of audio output supplied by the FT-2900R.
BASE STATION INSTALLATION
The FT-2900R is ideal for base station use as well as in mobile installations. The FT2900R is specifically designed to integrate into your station easily, using the information to follow as a reference.

AC Power Supplies

Operation of the FT-2900R from an AC line requires a power source capable of providing at least 11 Amps continuously at 13.8 Volts DC. The FP-1023 and FP-1030A AC Power Supplies are available from your Yaesu dealer to satisfy these requirements. Other wellregulated power supplies may be used, as well, if they meet the above voltage and current specifications. Use the DC power cable supplied with your transceiver for making power connections to the power supply. Connect the RED power cable lead to the POSITIVE (+) power supply terminal, and connect the BLACK power cable lead to the NEGATIVE () power supply terminal.

Base Station Feet

The supplied Base Station Feet allow the transceiver to be tilted upward for better viewing. To install the Base Station Feet, remove the two screws affixing the front side of the bottom cover, then install the Base Station Feet using these screws.

TRANSMISSION

To transmit, simply close the PTT (Push To Talk) switch on the microphone when the frequency is clear. Hold the microphone approximately 1 (25 mm) from your mouth, and speak into the microphone in a normal voice level. When your transmission is complete, release the PTT switch; the transceiver will revert to the receive mode. During transmission, the play. indicator will appear at the upper left corner on the dis-
Changing the Transmitter Power Level
You can select from among a total of four transmit power levels on your FT-2900R. To change the power level, press the [LOW(A/N)] key (or the microphones [C] key to select one of four power settings. These power levels will be stored, in memory registers, at the time of memory storage (see page 34 for details on Memory operation). During transmission, the Bar Graph will deflect in the display, according to the power output selected.

Low 1 (5 watts)

Low 2 (10 watts)

Low 3 (30 watts)

HIGH (75 watts)

ADVANCED OPERATION

WEATHER BROADCAST RECEPTION (USA VERSION)
The FT-2900R includes a unique feature which allows reception of weather broadcasts in the 160-MHz frequency range. Ten standard Weather Broadcast channels are pre-loaded into a special memory bank. To listen to a Weather Broadcast Channel: 1. Press the Microphones [P4] button to recall the Weather Broadcast channels. 2. Turn the DIAL knob to select the desired Weather Broadcast channel. 3. If you wish to check the other channels for activity CH FREQUENCY CH FREQUENCY by scanning, just press the Microphones PTT 01 162.550 MHz 06 162.500 MHz 02 162.400 MHz 07 162.525 MHz switch. 03 162.475 MHz 08 161.650 MHz 4. To exit to normal operation, press the [P4] button 04 162.425 MHz 09 161.775 MHz again. Operation will return to the VFO or Memory 05 162.450 MHz 10 163.275 MHz channel you were operating on before you began Weather Broadcast operation. The [P4] key, one of the programmable keys, is assigned (default setting) as the WX Broadcast one-touch access key. Please note that if you change/assign another function to the [P4] key, one-touch access to the WX channel will be unavailable.
Severe Weather Alert Feature
In the event of extreme weather disturbances, such as storms and hurricanes, NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) sends a weather alert accompanied by a 1050 Hz tone and subsequent weather report on one of the NOAA weather channels. You may enable this feature via Menu Item 57 WX ALT, if desired. See page 49 for details. When scanning the band or the regular memories, with the Severe Weather Alert feature engaged, you will notice that the FT-2900R will break over to the Weather Channel bank every five seconds, performing a quick scan of those channels in search for the 1050 Hz alert tone. If the alert tone is received, operation will lock on the weather broadcast station issuing the alert; otherwise, the radio will revert to the VFO or memory scan session in progress without interruption. When the alert tone is received, press the PTT button momentarily to disable the alarm, and the Severe Weather message will now be audible from the speaker.

DISPLAY BRIGHTNESS

The FT-2900R display illumination has been specially engineered to provide high visibility with minimal disruption of your night vision while you are driving. The brightness of the display is manually adjustable, using the following procedure: 1. Press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second, then rotate the DIAL knob to select 16 DIMMER 16 DIMMER. 2. Press the [MHz(SET)] key, then rotate the DIAL knob to select a comfortable brightness level (LVL 0 - LVL10 LVL10). LVL 3. Press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second to save your new setting and exit to normal operation.

RF SQUELCH

A special RF Squelch feature is provided on this radio. This feature allows you to set the squelch so that only signals exceeding a certain S-meter level will open the squelch. To set up the RF squelch circuit for operation, use the following procedure: 1. Press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second, then rotate the DIAL knob to select 42 RF SQL SQL. 42 2. Press the [MHz(SET)] key, then rotate the DIAL knob to select the desired signal strength level for the squelch threshold (S1 - S9 or OFF OFF). S1 3. Press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second to save your new setting and exit to normal operation. The receivers squelch will open based on the highest level set by the two squelch systems, Noise Squelch and RF Squelch. For example: 1) If the Noise Squelch (SQL control) is set so that signals at a level of S-3 will open the squelch, but the RF Squelch (Menu #42) is set to S-9, the squelch will only open on signals which are S-9 or stronger on the S-meter. 2) If the RF Squelch is set to S-3, but the Noise Squelch is set to a high level which will only pass signals which are Full Scale on the S-meter, the squelch will only open on signals which are Full Scale on the S-meter. In this case, the Noise Squelch overrides the action of the RF Squelch.

REPEATER OPERATION

The FT-2900R includes a host of convenience features which makes operation on amateur repeaters both efficient and enjoyable. This transceiver offers three methods of setting up split-frequency operation on repeaters: Manual selection of preset repeater shifts (Standard Repeater Shift); Automatic Repeater Shift (ARS), providing automatic activation of repeater shifts while operating within designated repeater frequency subbands; and Independently stored transmit and receive frequencies (typically not corresponding to established repeater frequency shifts).

There may be situations where you want to Mask memories so they are not visible during memory selection or scanning. For example, several memories used only in a city you visit infrequently may be stored, then Masked until you visit that city, at which time you can Unmask them for normal use. (except for Memory Channel 0, the Priority Channel, and the Home Channel). 1. With the FT-2900R in the Memory Recall mode, press and hold in the [D/MR(MW)] key for one second, then rotate the DIAL knob to select the memory channel you wish to delete. 2. Press the [LOW(A/N)] key momentarily. The display will revert to memory channel 0. The previously-selected memory will be masked. 3. To Unmask a hidden memory, repeat the above procedure: press and hold in the [D/ MR(MW)] key for one second, rotate the DIAL to select the masked memorys number, then press the [LOW(A/N)] key to restore the memory channels data. Watch out! You can manually store data over a Masked memory, deleting previous data, if youre not careful. Use the next available memory technique (look for the blinking memory channel number) storage technique to avoid over-writing a masked memory.

MEMORY BANK OPERATION

The large number of memories available in the FT-2900R could be difficult to utilize without some means of organizing them. Fortunately, the FT-2900R includes provision for dividing the memories into as many as eight Memory Banks, so you can categorize the memories in a manner convenient to you. You may enter and exit the Memory Bank mode by a single press of the Microphones [ ] key, as we shall see below.
Assigning Memories to a Memory Bank
1. Recall the memory channel to be assigned to a Memory Bank. 2. Press and hold in the [D/MR(MW)] key for one second, then rotate the DIAL knob to select the Memory Bank number (b1 ~ b8) you want as the Memory Bank for this channel. The Memory Bank numbers are found by rotating the DIAL knob counter-clockwise past memory channel 0. 3. Press the [D/MR(MW)] key momentarily to copy the memory channel data into the Memory Bank. 1) You may assign one memory channel into several Memory Banks. 2) The PMS memory channels (L0/U0 through L9/U9) may not be assigned to a Memory Bank.

Memory Bank Recall

1. Press the [D/MR(MW)] key, if needed, to enter the Memory mode. 2. Press the Microphones [ ] key to activate the Memory Bank mode. The Memory Bank number will appear on the display. 3. Press the [#] key to increment the Memory Bank (b1 through b8). 4. Rotate the DIAL knob to select the memories within the selected Bank; you will observe that you can only select memory channels in the current memory bank. The small memory bank number will appear, to the right of the frequency display, two seconds after you complete memory channel selection while operating within a Memory Bank. 5. To change to another Memory Bank, press the [#] key to step up to the next-highest bank. 6. To exit from Memory Bank operation, just press the Microphones [ ] key. The Memory Channel number will appear steadily on the right side of the display, indicating that you are now in the standard Memory Recall mode, without utilization of the Memory Banks. The memories stored in the various Banks will remain in those banks, however; you do not need to store them again.

Removing Memories from a Memory Bank
1. While operating in the Memory Bank mode, recall the memory channel to be removed from a Memory Bank. 2. Press and hold in the [D/MR(MW)] key for one second, then press the [A/N(LOW)] key to remove the memory channel data from the Memory Bank. You must first enter the Memory Bank mode, by pressing the microphones [ key, before attempting to remove a channel from a Bank. If you dont, MCHERR will appear when you press the [A/N(LOW)] key in step (2) above. ]
Changing a Memory Banks Name
You may change the default Memory Bank Name, which is indicated on the display when youve selected a Memory Bank, to a different name, if desired. 1. Press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second, then rotate the DIAL knob to select 9 BNK NM NM. 9 2. Press the [MHz(SET)] key momentarily, then rotate the DIAL knob to recall the memory bank on which you wish to change a label. 3. Press the [A/N(LOW)] key to enable changing of the name tag. 4. Rotate the DIAL knob to select the first digit of the desired label. 5. Press the [A/N(LOW)] key to move to the next character. 6. If you make a mistake, press the [REV(DW)] key to back-space the cursor, then re-enter the correct letter, number, or symbol. 7. Repeat steps 4 through 6 to program the remaining letters, numbers, or symbols of the desired label. A total of six characters may be used in the creation of a label. 8. When you have programmed a name which is under 6 characters, press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second to confirm the label and exit to normal operation.

HOME CHANNEL MEMORY

A convenient one-touch Home channel memory is available to simplify return to your most-often-used frequency. This memory does not appear in the regular memory bank, to simplify operation and speed recall of this important channel. To recall the Home channel, just press the [D/MR(MW)] key, repeatedly if necessary, until the HM icon appears on the display; this indicates that the Home Channel has been recalled. USA version EXP version The factory default frequency for the Home channel is 146.520 MHz (USA version, EXP version: 144.000 MHz). You can re-program the Home channel in a manner identical to that used for the regular memories: 1. From the VFO mode, tune in the frequency you wish to store, and set all repeater shifts and other data just the way you do for normal memory channel storage. 2. Press and hold in the [D/MR(MW)] key for one second, then press the [REV(DW)] key to store the displayed data into the Home channel. The memory label will disappear (since you are still operating in the VFO mode). You may also append an alpha-numeric Tag (label) to a Home channel, as described previously. be sure to recall the Home channel first, then enter the Menu (selection 30 NM 30 SET) SET to program the labels contents. From the Home channel, you may tune off (as in the Memory Tune mode) without doing anything more than rotating the main DIAL knob. This automatically shifts control to the VFO, making it a good idea to program in your areas Calling Frequency as the Home channel. Once contact is established, you may then tune off the Calling Frequency to an open simplex frequency to carry on your QSO.

MEMORY-ONLY MODE

Once memory channel programming has been completed, you may place the radio in a Memory Only mode, whereby VFO and Home Channel operation are impossible. This may be particularly useful during public-service events where a number of operators may be using the radio for first time, and ultimate simplicity of channel selection is desired. To place the radio into the Memory Only mode, turn it off. Now press and hold in the [D/MR(MW)] key while turning the radio on. The VFO and Home Channel will now be disabled. To return to normal operation, repeat the above power-on procedure. The FT-2900Rs scanning capability provides the operator with many convenient methods of rapid frequency navigation.

SCANNING

BASIC SCANNER OPERATION
Before activating the scanner, make sure that the Squelch is set to silence the background noise when no signal is present. Scanning is not possible while the Squelch is open (if noise or signals are being heard). Scanning may be started or stopped using the microphones [UP] or [DWN] button. The following techniques are used for scanning: Pressing and holding in either the [UP] or [DWN] button for one second in the VFO mode will cause upward or downward band scanning, respectively, to begin. Pressing and holding in either the [UP] or [DWN] button for one second in the Memory mode will cause memory channel scanning toward a higher- or lower-numbered memory channel, respectively. Scanning pauses when a signal opens the squelch, and the decimal point on the display will blink. You can choose one of three scan-resume modes (described later). To halt the scan manually, the easiest way is to push the PTT switch on the microphone momentarily (no transmission will occur while you are scanning). The scan may also be halted manually by pressing the microphones [UP ] or [DWN ] button, or the [D/ MR(MW)] key. In the factory default setting, the scanner sweeps all frequencies while the VFO mode and all memory channels while the Memory mode. You may change the sweep range of the VFO mode to 1 MHz, 2 MHz, or 5 MHz, or sweep only those Memory Channels with the same first or first and second digits of the alpha/ numeric tag as the first channel on which scanning started, using Set Mode items 28 MEM.SCN and 56 VFO.SCN. See pages 77 and 82 for details.

INTERNET CONNECTION FEATURE
The FT-2900R can be used to access a node (repeater or base station) which is tied into the Vertex Standard WIRES (Wide-Coverage Internet Repeater Enhancement System) network. Details may be found at the WiRES-II Web site: http://www.vxstd.com/en/ wiresinfo-en/. This feature may also be used to access other systems, as described below.
SRG (SISTER RADIO GROUP) MODE
1. Press the [ ] key momentarily to activate the Internet Connection feature. The Int notation will appear at the right of the frequency. 2. Rotate the DIAL knob while pressing the [ ] key to select the access number (DTMF 0 ~ 9 , A , B , C , D , E ( ), F (#)) corresponding to the WIRES node to which you wish to establish an Internet link (ask the node or repeater owner/ operator if you dont know the access number in the network). Now press the PTT switch to exit from the selection mode. 3. With the Internet Connection feature activated (as in step 1 above), the FT-2900R will generate a brief (0.1 second) DTMF tone according to your selection in step 2. This DTMF tone is sent at the beginning of every transmission to establish or maintain the link to the local WiRES node operating in the SRG mode. 4. To disable the Internet Connection feature, press the [ ] key momentarily (the Int notation will disappear from the display). If other users report that you always have a DTMF beep at the beginning of each transmission, and you are not operating in conjunction with Internet access, disable this function via step (4) above.
FRG (FRIENDS RADIO GROUP) MODE
You may access other Internet Link Systems (including WiRES in the FRG mode) that use a DTMF string for access.

Programming the FRG code

Load the DTMF tones which you wish to use for Internet-link access into a Internet Memory register. For purposes of this example, we will use #(F)1101D as the access code (the # key is denoted by the letter F). 1. Press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second, then rotate the DIAL knob to select 25 INT.SET 25 INT.SET. 2. Press the [MHz(SET)] key, then rotate the DIAL knob to select the Internet Memory register (F0 ~ F9) into which you wish to store the access code. 3. Press the [LOW(A/N)] key momentarily. The first digit will blink.

ARTS (AUTOMATIC RANGE TRANSPONDER SYSTEM)
The ARTS feature uses DCS signaling to inform both parties when you and another ARTS-equipped station are within communications range. This may be particularly useful during Search-and Rescue situations, where is important to stay in contact with other members of your group. Both stations must set up their DCS codes to the same code number, then activate their ARTS feature using the command appropriate for their radio. Alert ringers may be activated, if desired. Whenever you push the PTT switch, or every 25 (or 15) seconds after ARTS is activated, your radio will transmit a signal which includes a (subaudible) DCS signal for about 1 second. If the other radio is in range, the beeper will sound (if enabled) and the display will show IN RNG as opposed to the out of range display OUTRNG in which ARTS operation begins. Whether you talk or not, the polling every 15 or 25 seconds will continue until you deactivate ARTS. Every 10 minutes, moreover, you can have your radio transmit your callsign via CW, so as to comply with identification requirements. When ARTS is de-activated, DCS will also be deactivated (if you were not using it previously in non-ARTS operation). If you move out of range for more than one minute (four pollings), your radio will sense that no signal has been received, three beeps will sound, and the display will revert to OUTRNG. If you move back into range, your radio will again beep, and the display will change back to the IN RNG indication. During ARTS operation, your operating frequency will continue to be displayed, but no changes may be made to it or other settings; you must terminate ARTS in order to resume normal operation. This is a safety feature designed to prevent accidental loss of contact due to channel change, etc.
Basic ARTS Setup and Operation
1. Assign the ARTS feature to the microphones programmable button ([P1], [P2], [P3], or [P4]), per the discussion on page 65. 2. Set your radio and the other radio(s) to the same DCS code number, per the discussion on page 25. 3. Press the assigned microphones programmable button momentarily. You will observe the OUTRNG display on the LCD. ARTS operation has now commenced. 4. Every 25 seconds, your radio will transmit a polling call to the other station. When that station responds with its own ARTS polling signal, the display will change to IN RNG to confirm that the other stations polling code was received in response to yours.
5. Press the assigned microphones programmable button momentarily to exit ARTS operation and resume normal functioning of the transceiver.
ARTS Polling Time Options
The ARTS feature may be programmed to poll every 25 seconds (default value) or 15 seconds. The default value provides maximum battery conservation, because the polling signal is sent out less frequently. To change the polling interval: 1. Press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second, then rotate the DIAL knob to select 3 AR INT. 3 2. Press the [MHz(SET)] key, then rotate the DIAL knob to select the desired polling interval (15 or 25 seconds). 3. When you have made your selection, press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second to save the new setting and exit to normal operation.

TIME-OUT TIMER (TOT)

The Time-Out Timer (TOT) feature is designed to force the transceiver into the receive mode after a preset time period of continuous transmission (the default is 3 minutes). This feature prevents your transceiver from transmitting a dead carrier for a long period of time in the event that the microphone PTT switch is accidentally locked in the TX condition. The Time-Out Timers switch-to-receive time may be adjusted to 1/3/5/10 minutes, or Off. To change the default (3 minutes) time setting: 1. Press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second, then rotate the DIAL knob to select 53 TOT 53 TOT. 2. Press the [MHz(SET)] key, then rotate the DIAL knob to select the desired interval (1/3/5/10 minutes), or OFF OFF. 3. Press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second to save the new setting and exit to normal operation. When your transmission time is within 10 seconds of the Time-Out Timer expiration, an Alert bell will provide an audible warning from the speaker.
AUTOMATIC POWER-OFF (APO)
The Automatic Power-Off (APO) feature will turn the radio completely off after a userdefined period of PTT or key/button inactivity. If you do not press any front panel keys or buttons, rotate the DIAL knob, use the microphones keys and buttons, or transmit, and so long as the transceiver is not scanning or engaged in priority monitoring, the radio will shut itself off after the specified time period. The available selections for the time before poweroff are 0.5/1/3/5/8 hours, as well as APO Off. This feature is useful in minimizing battery drain in a mobile installation if you forget to turn the transceiver off when you leave your vehicle. To activate the APO feature: 1. Press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second, then rotate the DIAL knob to select 1 APO 1 APO. 2. Press the [MHz(SET)] key, then rotate the DIAL knob to select the desired switch-off time or OFF OFF. 3. Press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second to save the new setting and exit to normal operation. If there is no action by you within the time interval programmed, an Alert bell will provide an audible warning from the speaker within 1 minute of the APO Timer expiration, then the microprocessor will shut down the radio automatically.
BUSY CHANNEL LOCK-OUT (BCLO)
The BCLO feature prevents the radios transmitter from being activated if a signal strong enough to break through the noise squelch is present. On a frequency where stations using different CTCSS or DCS codes may be active, BCLO prevents you from disrupting their communications accidentally (because your radio may be muted by its own Tone Decoder). The default setting for the BCLO is OFF, and here is how to change that setting: 1. Press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second, then rotate the DIAL knob to select 5 BCLO 5 BCLO. 2. Press the [MHz(SET)] key momentarily to enable adjustment of this Set Mode Item. 3. Rotate the DIAL knob to set this Set Mode Item to ON (thus activating the BCLO feature). 4. When you have made your selection, press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second to save the new setting and exit to normal operation. Remember that BCLO is controlled by the Noise Squelch; if you have DCS or TSQ engaged, BCLO will inhibit transmission if a station is on frequency but not transmitting the proper tone; BCLO will thus prevent you from interfering with the other stations transmission.

PROGRAMMING THE KEY ASSIGNMENTS
Default FT-2900R key functions have been assigned to the Microphones [P1]/[P2]/[P3]/ [P4] buttons at the factory. These may be changed by the user, if you wish to assign quick access to another function. To change the assignments for the programmable keys: 1. Press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second, then rotate the DIAL knob to select the Menu Item to be configured (36 PRG PPRG PPRG P3 or 39 P1, 37 P2, 38 P3, P4). PRG P4 2. Press the [MHz(SET)] key, then rotate the DIAL knob to select the function you wish to assign to the button you selected in the previous step. The available choices are vary slightly among the four keys you may program, and they include: ARTS: Engages the ARTS operation. ARTS Button Default [P1] SQLOFF SQLOFF: SQLOFF Opens the Squelch to allow un-muted reception. S SRCH CH: WX CH Switches operation to the Weather channels bank. [P2] [P3] C SRCH SRCH: S SRCH Engages the Smart Search operation. [P4] USA Version: WX CH SRCH: C SRCH Engages the Tone Search Scanning feature. EXP Version: T.CALL SCAN: Engages the Scan operation SCAN CALL: T CALL Activates 1750 Hz Tone Burst or one of the Set Menu items. 3. Press the [MHz(SET)] key momentarily to save the new setting, then rotate the DIAL knob to select another programmable button to modify, if desired, and repeat the above steps. 4. Press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second to exit to normal operation. You may assign Set Mode items to the Microphones [P1]/[P2]/[P3]/[P4] buttons, as well, to do this: 1. Press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second to enter the Set mode. 2. Rotate the DIAL knob to select the Set Mode Item which you wish to assign to the key as a Menu short-cut. 3. Press and hold in the Microphones [P1], [P2], [P3], or [P4] button for one second to assign the Set Mode Item to that button. 4. Now you can recall this preferred Set Mode Item by simply pressing the Microphones button momentarily.
FM BANDWIDTH & TX DEVIATION LEVEL
You can reduce the receiver bandwidth and microphone deviation level when operating on tightly-clustered frequencies (channel spacing of 12.5 or 15 kHz). This will reduce the transmitter deviation, thus minimizing interference to other users. To configure for the narrower bandwidth, use the following procedure: 1. Press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second, then rotate the DIAL knob to select 59 W N DV 59 W/N DV. 2. Press the [MHz(SET)] key, then rotate the DIAL knob to change the display to NARROW (2.5 kHz Deviation, 6 NARROW kHz Bandwidth). 3. Press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second to save the new setting and exit to normal operation. 4. To return to wide bandwidth and deviation, repeat the above procedure, selecting WIDE WIDE (5 kHz Deviation, 15 kHz Bandwidth) in step 2 above.

MIC GAIN SETTING

At the factory, a microphone gain has been programmed that should be satisfactory for the supplied MH-48A6J Microphone. If you use an after-market microphone or connect a TNC, you may wish to set a different Mic Gain level, using Set Mode item 27 MCGAIN 27 MCGAIN. 1. Press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second, then rotate the DIAL knob to select 27 MCGAIN 27 MCGAIN. 2. Press the [MHz(SET)] key, then rotate the DIAL knob to set the desired level (Default: LVL 5 5). 3. Press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second to save the new setting and exit to normal operation. Remember to readjust the default microphone input level to LVL 5 when using the supLVL 5 plied MH-48A6J Microphone.

DCS CODE INVERSION

The DCS system was first introduced in the commercial LMR (Land Mobile Radio) service, where it is now in widespread use. DCS is sometime referred to by its different proprietary names, such as DPL (Digital Private Line, a registered trademark of Motorola, Inc.). DCS uses a codeword consisting of a 23-bit frame, transmitted (subaudible) at a data rate of 134.4 bps (bit/sec). Occasionally, signal inversion can result in the complement of a code to be sent or received. This prevents the receivers squelch from opening with DCS enabled, as the decoded bit sequence would not match that selected for operation. Typical situations that might cause inversion to occur are: Connection of an external receiver preamplifier. Operating through a repeater. Connection of an external linear amplifier. Note that code inversion does not mean that any of the above listed equipment is defective! In certain amplifier configurations, the output signal (phase) is inverted from the input. Small signal or power amplifiers having an odd number (1, 3, 5, etc.) of amplification stages may result in inversion of a transmitted or received DCS code. While under most circumstances this should not occur (amplifier designs and industry standards take this into account), if you find that your receiver squelch does not open when both you and the other station are using a common DCS code, you or the other station (but not both) can try the following: 1. Press and hold in the [MHz(SET)] key for one second, then 15 rotate the DIAL knob to select 15 DCS RV RV. 2. Press the [MHz(SET)] key momentarily, then rotate the DIAL knob to set this Set Mode Item to ENABLE (thus inverting the DCS Code). 3. When you have made your selection, press and hold the [MHz(SET)] key for one second to save the new setting and exit to normal operation. 4. Remember to restore the default setting to DISABLE when done.

RESET PROCEDURE

In some instances of erratic or unpredictable operation, the cause may be corruption of data in the microprocessor (due to static electricity, etc.). If this happens, resetting of the microprocessor may restore normal operation. Note that all memories will be erased if you do a complete microprocessor reset, as described below.

--023 DISABL LVL 5 MANUAL 450 (ms) --50 (ms) OFF DTMF 1 SRG MANUAL --K+D LVL 5 ALL CH
23 INT MD 24 INT.A/M 25 INT.SET 26 LOCK
27 MCGAIN Adjust the microphone gain level. 28 MEM.SCN Selects the Memory Scan mode.
MENU ITEM 29 MW MD 30 NM SET 31 OPN.MSG 32 PAGER 33 PAG.ABK 34 PAG.CDR 35 PAG.CDT PRG P1 PRG P2 PRG P3 PRG P4 PSWD RESUME RF SQL RPT RVRT S SRCH SHIFT SKIP SPLIT SQL.TYP STEP TEMP TN FRQ TOT TS MUT TS SPD VFO.SCN WX ALT WX VOL W/N DV FUNCTION Selects the method of selection of channels for Memory Storage. Programming an Alpha/Numeric label for a Memory Channel. Selects the Opening Message that appears when the radio is powered on. Enables/Disables the Enhanced CTCSS Paging & Code Squelch function. Enables/Disables the Answer Back function of the Enhanced CTCSS Paging & Code Squelch function. Setting the Receiver Pager Code for the Enhanced CTCSS Paging & Code Squelch function. Setting the Transmitting Pager Code for the Enhanced CTCSS Paging & Code Squelch function. Programming the function assigned to Microphones [P1] key. Programming the function assigned to Microphones [P2] key. Programming the function assigned to Microphones [P3] key. Programming the function assigned to Microphones [P4] key. Programs and activates the Password feature. Selects the Scan Resume mode. Adjusts the RF Squelch threshold level. Sets the Repeater Shift direction. Enables/Disables the Priority Channel Revert feature. Selects the Smart Search Sweep mode. Sets the magnitude of the Repeater Shift. Selects the Memory Scan mode. Enables/Disables the split CTCSS/DCS coding. Selects the Tone Encoder and/or Decoder mode. Sets the Synthesizer steps. AVAILABLE VALUES NEXT / LOWER --DC / MSG / OFF ON / OFF ON / OFF ----ARTS / DC VLT / DIMMER / MCGAIN / SKIP / SQL OFF / WX CH / S SRCH / C SRCH / SCAN / T CALL / one of the Set Menu items BUSY / HOLD / 3SEC / 5SEC / 10SEC S1 - S9 or OFF -RPT / +RPT / SIMP ON / OFF SINGLE / CNTNUE 0.00-99.95 (MHz) DEFAULT NEXT --DC OFF OFF 05_47 05_47 SQL OFF S SRCH C SRCH OFF BUSY
OFF SIMP OFF SINGLE 0.60 (MHz) SKIP / ONLY / OFF OFF ON / OFF OFF TONE / TSQL / DCS / RV TN / OFF OFF 5k / 10k / 12.5k / 15k / 20k / USA: 5 kHz 25k / 50k / 100k (Hz) EXP: 12.5 kHz Indicats the current temperature inside the transceivers case. ----Setting of the CTCSS Tone Frequency. 50 standard CTCSS tones 100.0 (Hz) Sets the Time-Out Timer. 1MIN / 3MIN / 5MIN / 10MIN / OFF 3MIN Enables/Disables the receiver audio output during the Tone Search ON / OFF ON Scanner is activated. Selects the Tone Search Scanner speed. FAST / SLOW FAST Select the VFO Scanner Width. 1MHz / 2MHz / 5MHz / ALL ALL Enables/Disables the Weather Alert feature. ON / OFF OFF Selects the audio output level of the Weather Alert. NOR.VOL / MAX.VOL NOR.VOL Reduction of the Microphone Gain/Deviation and receiver bandwidth. WIDE / NARROW WIDE USA: WX CH EXP: T CALL

59 W/N DV Function: Reduction of the Microphone Gain/Deviation and receiver bandwidth. Available Values: WIDE (5 kHz Deviation, 15 kHz Bandwidth) / NARROW (2.5 kHz Deviation, 6 kHz Bandwidth) Default: WIDE (5 kHz Deviation, 15 kHz Bandwidth)
1. Changes or modifications to this device not expressly approved by VERTEX STANDARD could void the users authorization to operate this device. 2. This device complies with part 15 of the FCC Rules. Operation is subject to the following two conditions; (1) this device may not cause harmful interference, and (2) this device must accept any interference including interference that may cause undesired operation. 3. The scanning receiver in this equipment is incapable of tuning, or readily being altered, by the User to operate within the frequency bands allocated to the Domestic public Cellular Telecommunications Service in Part 22. Part 15.21: Changes or modifications to this device not expressly approved by Vertex Standard could void the users authorization to operate this device. DECLARATION BY MANUFACTURER The Scanner receiver is not a digital scanner and is incapable of being converted or modified to a digital scanner receiver by any user.
WARNING: MODIFICATION OF THIS DEVICE TO RECEIVE CELLULAR RADIOTELEPHONE SERVICE SIGNALS IS PROHIBITED UNDER FCC RULES AND FEDERAL LAW.
Copyright 2009 VERTEX STANDARD CO., LTD. All rights reserved No portion of this manual may be reproduced without the permission of VERTEX STANDARD CO., LTD. Printed in Japan.

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