Amateur Radio Needs to Catch Up (pt.5)

scheduleJuly 3, 2021

This is a continuation of a series of articles recommending improvements for the Yaesu FT-2DR.

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 2021? 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 32 GB 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.

Amateur Radio Needs to Catch Up (pt.4)

scheduleJuly 2, 2021


This is a continuation of a series of articles recommending improvements for the Yaesu FT-2DR.

Add a computer to a 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.

73 - WN7ANT

Amateur Radio Needs to Catch Up (pt.3)

scheduleJuly 1, 2021


This is a continuation of a series of articles recommending improvements for the Yaesu FT-2DR.

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.

73 - WN7ANT

Ultralight Backpacking and Bushcraft (pt.2)

scheduleJuly 1, 2021

Another group of enterprising individualists call themselves Bushcrafters. If they do not have it with them, they can make it or improvise. They bring tools to the outdoors. They build a place to sleep, capture/hunt/forage for food, and pride themselves on their knowledge of technique for doing it themselves.

Tomorrow, we start comparing and contrasting…

Upgrading the Prusa i3 MK3S to a 3S+

scheduleJune 30, 2021

I got the upgrade for my Prusa i3 MK3S. Since I needed to tear down the extruder anyway I included a Copperhead heat-sink from Slice engineering. The thing I’m looking forward to today is getting this functional again. Looks like this right now…

This started life as a kit that I assembled. It’s the second tear-down/rebuild while I’ve owned it. I figure if I can build it I’m qualified to repair and upgrade it.

Ultralight Backpacking and Bushcraft (pt.1)

scheduleJune 30, 2021

There are many forums that address Ultralight backpacking. A common concept you will find is reducing your pack weight to 10 pounds (4.54 kg) to achieve the moniker “ultralight.” Another is not bringing the kitchen sink. The idea is to take only what you need and will use. Many try to turn this into, “leave important stuff at home.” Only idiots do either of those things. Nowhere in UL backpacking is anyone ever told to leave a first aid kit at home, forget those prescribed pills, or not bring a map because it weighs too much. These are myths told by people to support their need to bring the Kindle, iPad, Android phone, radio, TV, and… kitchen sink. They love their sixty pound packs for a three-day hike.

Tomorrow…. The other side of the story.


scheduleJune 30, 2021

A sure road to madness is debating that individual that believes ignorance and irrationality are to be respected as opinions.

Amateur Radio Needs to Catch Up (pt.2)

scheduleJune 30, 2021

Touch Screen

This is a continuation of a series of articles recommending improvements for the Yaesu FT-2DR.

It’s time to use a capacitive eInk touch screen that is the full size of the front face of the radio (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.

73 - WN7ANT

BeatStep Pro MIDI Controlling the Gotharman’s SpazeDrum

scheduleJune 29, 2021

Connect the BeatStep Pro to a computer using a USB cable. Open Arturia’s MIDI Control Center. Make sure the BeatStepPro is selected under Device. On the left side under the Project Browser window, select Default under Factory Project. In the upper right-hand corner, select the Device Settings tab. Scroll down. At the bottom are the settings for the User Scale. Scroll up directly above that to Drum Map.

Select a custom Drum Map (click the dropdown). Once that is selected, set Pad #1 to 48. To the left of where it says Pad #1 MIDI channel there is a box with a number in it. Click in the box and change it to 48. Go down the column below the number 48 and set each pad to an incrementally higher number. Starting at 48 you should have all 16 pads correctly numbered when you get to 63.

Once this is set, select Export in the upper right-hand corner. Create a file named SpazeDrum. Now you permanently have a file with settings configured to use your BeatStep Pro with your Gotharman’s SpazeDrum.

Arturia BeatStep Pro, powered by the Gotharman’s SpazeDrum

scheduleJune 26, 2021

I MIDI connected my Arturia BeatStep Pro to my Gotharman’s SpazeDrum. I am powering the BeatStep from the USB port of the SpazeDrum. As stated in the previous post, the analog audio out from the SpazeDrum connects to the first two channels on the BlueBox. Select the Drum channel on the BeatStep (the purple channel) by pressing the button labeled DRUM in the bottom-left corner (approximately). Then press and hold the CHAN button on the BeatStep. The purple LED in the sequencer row lights up number 10. Hit the EDIT button on the SpazeDrum and select SETUP (by tapping on it on the screen). Select COMMON in the next screen and the SpazeDrum displays Chan 1. Adjust it to Chan 10 (to match the BeatStep Pro) by rotating the knob labeled Edit2. Exit back to the main screen.

The G#, A#, OCT-, and OCT+ pads activate the first four buttons (DrumOsc, Filter, EFX, VCA) of the sequencer on the SpazeDrum. No other pads seem to activate anything yet. This is a step in the right direction. Looking at the settings for those four pads in the Arturia MIDI Control Center will provide answers for what needs to change. The expected action is that the top four left pads of the Arturia BeatStep Pro activate the first four buttons of the SpazeDrum sequencer.

BeatStep Pro powered by SpazeDrum USB port and connected using MIDI cables

Amateur Radio Needs to Catch Up (pt.1)

scheduleJune 26, 2021

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. This series will list the must have changes that need to happen in the next iteration of this radio.

73 - WN7ANT