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Sunday, 11 August 2013

New Radio, New Interface


After some serious contemplation, I have traded in my FT-DX-5000 plus my FT-DX-3000 and brought home a Kenwood TS-990. This is the much larger cousin of the TS-590 that I owned some time ago. I was very impress with the 590, and initial impressions of the 990 are astonishing!

So, above you can see the new beast installed on the LHS of the radio shelf, I've managed to move the FT-847 down into view so operations and monitoring of 4M will be much easier now.

I've decided that the TS-990 will be used for all things HF except the odd play in SSB with the FT-1000; that radio will remain with the Yaesu desk-mic connected, the two headsets I have here (one from Heil and one from eBay) have been re-wired to work with the Kenwood (same connector but different wiring - yes , I know, really).

I've modified (or read completely re-made) the digital mode interface for the radios to simplify the switching. The 990 will do all things AFSK plus FSK RTTY and will also switch the linear PTT, with the FT-847 only needing to be able to do computer based CW and AFSK modes (like WSPR). I've opted to use separate soundcards for the two radios so there will be no need to switch any of the audio lines. Effectively I have built two interfaces into one box:

This time I have used opto-isolators so there is now 100% isolation between the radios and the computers. There are 5 opto-isolators in all, on the TS-990 control there is the PTT, FSK line and the CW switch; on the FT-847 I am switching just PTT and the CW line with the PC. The rear panel is a bit of a muddle:

So, here we have a com port connection for each radio, a radio data interface connector (the radio 1 connector is 6 pins as I will take both Main and Sub VFO audio feeds for SO2V), then there is a line in and out for each of the two soundcards and a CW key jack socket for each radio.

The front panel is much neater as there is just a TX and RX audio level control for both radios plus a TX light each. As you will see - I am in need of some suitable knobs!

The radio room is now completely ditched as a result of the arrival of the new radio and the associated plumbing plus the construction project debris, but it's time to get this radio on the air!

Fun, egh?

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