Time for amateur radio to catch up



Yaesu FT2DR

This is one of my favorite handhelds. I am partial to Yaesu, because it was also my first handheld. When I was originally licensed 17 years ago, I got an FT50. Since then I have owned a VX-6, and this.

The FT2D is Yaesu’s handheld foray into the world of digital modes. This handheld uses C4FM. It can connect directly to other handhelds, nodes, and repeaters using digital modes. It can transmit voice and data simultaneously. The people you are communicating with can know who they are talking to, where the person is, and even see what is going on (camera mic attachment).

As neat as all this is, I hope this radio is just a proof of concept. Here are the must have changes that need to happen in the next iteration of this radio.


Use a capacitive eInk touch screen that is the full size of the front face (minus the speaker). Get rid of all buttons on the front of the radio. Raise the resolution of the screen (800 x 450 minimum). That is a 16 x 9 ratio, yielding a 2 x 3.2 inch screen size. With capacitive touch, you can be wearing gloves and it will still respond. There are color eInk screens that refresh fast enough to show video. Use one.


Time to add 1.2 GHz. Why? Data speeds. This radio must be able to handle 256kbps data speeds to other radios, repeaters, and nodes. This can be done using C4FM and 128K baud transmission. Using this speed a 12 MP jpeg (average 5 MB) could move from one device to another in 20 to 30 seconds.


Add the computer to the handheld and make a SmartHT™. Use Android so that people can use the mountain of already available Android software. They can edit/resize photos, create/edit documents, log, track satellites… This would become the most common radio in the field during emergency exercises.

Get rid of everything on the right side of the radio and make it flat.


Starting at the bottom, the EXT DC IN must go. The USB 3.1 standard allows for 9 watts of power and data to use the same connector. Stop requiring connectors to do a single job. If it MUST be on the radio, make it do as much work as possible. Combine the data and DC power connector into a single connector, and put it on the bottom in the right corner.

Next one up, the MIC/SP connector. GET RID OF THIS. Have you NOT heard of bluetooth? Why are you requiring the use of cables in 2017? Make a MIC/Camera handheld device that is bluetooth based. Make the Mic rechargeable by having a micro USB connector on the bottom. This way it can use any phone charger, connect to a computer, connect to the port on the bottom right, etc. And while we’re talking about a camera, 12 MP. Period.

We’ve already talked about the Data connector.

Now we are down (up) to the microSD card slot. This is unnecessary. If the radio can connect through USB (which we’ve already addressed), make it so that the storage inside the radio is read like a drive on the computer that is connected. Then backup files, logs, and configurations can all be accessed directly. The software for configuring the device can read and write directly to the onboard memory. Since there is going to be a camera and applications, a minimum of 32GB of onboard storage is a must.

With all that gone we can now make the side flat so that someone can set the radio on its side and use it as a monitor (connecting a bluetooth keyboard). The power cable will not knock the radio over when connected. This makes the configuration field expedient and functional.

Drop in

The drop in charger should make contact with both power AND data. Keep the removable battery. We MUST be able to swap in the field. All in all this radio is a good first step. We need to catch up with tech to make the next handheld everything it can be. This recipe will not put amateur radio back out in front like it used to be, but it will make it so that we are in striking distance of cutting edge again.

AnyTone D868UV


img_0019I picked up an AnyTone D868UV dual-band transceiver to replace my single-band Tytera MD-390. I am happy with the purchase. I have decided to update the codeplug for this radio weekly. When I do that I will post the new codeplug, along with an explanation of what changed. I will update the user database every Friday morning. Feel free to come by, download, and update.

Keep in mind that my codeplug will be based in Colorado. If you find errors or omissions please leave a comment. I was planning to make videos about programming this device. It looks like WoodburyMan beat me to it:

  1. How to do a firmware update to your radio.
  2. How to do a user database import for your radio.
  3. How to do an initial setup on your radio.
  4. How to do your own codeplug setup on your radio.

Just an empty space for rent…


Advertising causes illness. It is the sign of a sick mind. Some, a small amount, is okay. Consider advertising like alcohol. Surely have a beer with lunch. Have a glass of wine with dinner. Enjoy it. A little here, a little there, not a problem. Imagine if you spent all day, every day drunk. Completely hammered wandering around the planet doing what you do every day. That is the point that the average person has reached with advertising.

5 years. 5 years have passed since the T.V. was removed from the living room. Initially the absence was noticed. Then, gradually that was gone too. The interest is gone. The idea of sitting in front of a box spewing ads invokes feelings of trepidation. Listening to ads on the radio ruins the experience of the music. Having ads in line with articles in newspapers and magazines, devalues the article. It says, “Your time reading is so unimportant that we will be happy to distract you with this ad.”

What is to be done?

First, get rid of the damn idiot box. You are not meant to be a passive victim of life as it happens to you. There is a difference between taking some time to be entertained by watching a show and taking some time to watch ads with a little entertainment thrown in. This is why iTunes exists.

Buy a season of Walking Dead (or whatever you like to watch), watch it, and be entertained. Notice that you do not sit through a single advertisement. The season may cost $40, $50, or $60 dollars. This is good for two reasons. First, you watch what truly has value to you (watch how quickly crap like Jersey Shore disappears from production). Second, you do not pay for watching advertising. You can always earn more money; you CAN NOT earn more time. You get the same 24 hours to spend that everyone else does, and spending it on advertising is costly.

Why spend money on a season of T.V. shows that you can get for free? I KNOW you are asking this. And, you are lying to yourself. If you get rid of your T.V. you get rid of cable too. You save $60 dollars a month on cable. Buy a season of a T.V. show every month, and watch it ad free. You are only paying for what you watch with BOTH time AND money. You are no longer PAYING TO WATCH ADS! Think about that for a moment. YOU PAY TO WATCH ADS! The added benefit of buying the season, you get to watch it whenever you want.

Next, stop listening to radio stations that have ads. You can pay for ad free music using XM, listen to public radio, or become an amateur radio operator. All three of these options allow you to avoid ads. The first one allows you to listen to music, the second will allow you to know what is happening, and can even educate you. If you like to participate in radio, become an amateur radio operator. Then, you can talk to people world wide and offer a public service.

Buy books and subscribe to trade journals.

The idea is simply this. Take back your life. Stop being a passive meat bag. If someone offers you a good or service, and the product is exceptional in some way, let people know. Word of mouth advertising is the equivalent of a beer with lunch. It is responsible use of advertising. Decide that you will not be an empty space for rent.

Best little hand held EVAR!



This is a favorite piece of equipment. It has repeatedly proven its reliability. The Yaesu VX-6r transmits and receives at 144, 220, and 440 MHz. Range is at least 10 miles (at least that is how far away several of the repeaters are). Cold mornings, hot days, drops in puddles, rain. It does not matter what is thrown at it (or for that matter what it is thrown at), it keeps transmitting, and receiving.

Communication, vital to the human condition. Sending and receiving information about location, time, or just chatting. Amateur radio is built around people who have a need to communicate. A need, to get the message through, regardless of conditions. In times of crisis Amateur Radio Operators transmit weather reports, safety conditions, and lists of the deceased. They are professional, courteous, and in time-honored tradition, helpful problem solvers.

Many people confuse transmission and broadcast. Broadcast is a one way communication. It expects no response. T.V. is the most common example of this. You receive a T.V. broadcast, but are not expected to respond.

Do you treat your prayer life like this? Do you broadcast to God, and then make yourself busy? Do you forget that there is supposed to be time for response? That if you truly believe there is a God, you should hear from Him? It should sound just like James Earl Jones shaking your house. Excuse the attempt at humor. However, What should it sound like when God is responding to you? How long should you wait.

As always responses are appreciated. Feel free to argue, gripe, and complain. Just keep it respectful out there, after all, you do not own the delete function 😉