A Mixed Bag of Outdoor Events
Simon the Wizard assesses some recent CB and PMR outdoor events looks at new transceiver models
Simon the Wizard assesses some recent CB and PMR outdoor events looks at new transceiver models from President and tti and reports on a new dual-microphone feature from Midland.
The month of August, while normally a holiday time, was a busy period for me. First, there was the Field Day of the Slovakian CB community. The latter was celebrating its 22nd Anniversary. Second, an All-Night PMR event took place in the Czech Republic. Both these events were held on the 11th of August. Finally, on Sunday 12th August, the popular Delta-Romeo DX Net took place.
The weather was good for the Czech gathering, with the temperature around 25-29 degrees.
The transceiver of choice, it seemed, was the Team Mico.
This is a small transceiver, looking like an Albrecht AE-6110 but it comes with a fitted aerial (glued to the transceiver) and some 4m of coaxial cable. The aerial is a quarter-wave, cut for the PMR446 band.
As tends to be the case with these transceivers, you can buy programming software and extend some features. However, straight out of the box, mine was the ‘standard’ version.
The location was a hill some 425m above sea level with a clear horizon to the north and northwest and partially to the south but blocked from the east (Fig. 1, my location shaded).
I had also taken two Motorola T-82 eXtreme transceivers and a Yaesu FT65E for the other side of things.
All the channels were silent, except channel 1, where a crying baby was keeping the channel busy! Add to this some call tones and someone repeating “Happy Birthday” in the Czech language.
Stations for this event located themselves across all corners of the Czech Republic as far as Slovakia, and they were calling from the mountains.
The 70cm band brought in a repeater some 300km (186m) away but was not accessible from the handheld.
A voice appeared on channel 8 PMR from an area some 40km (25m) away and was loud and clear.
Otherwise, it was – and remained – silent. The promise died, as literally nothing was heard.
The baby had given up crying, the children had fallen asleep. Many gave up when batteries went flat.
However, there was nothing more on the air.
Some reports started to arrive of 200km (125m) contacts from hills in the north and the south. However, for me, in the Moravian Beskydy mountains, it was quiet, very quiet, and it very much stayed that way.
The next such event will be in September and a strong ‘note to self’ will be written, to the effect of sitting in a much better location this time – either higher up or closer to a more populated location.
This DR DX Network meeting was scheduled for Sunday 12th August; therefore, I went back to the same hill and was hoping for better luck this time.
On the day, the bands were a mixture of German voices on FM. SSB was all but silent, except for the famous El Comandante in Spain playing his donkey and chicken noises.
I switched to 27.365MHz USB and managed to hear Mark, from near York. However, the chairmen of the network remained unheard.
Another quick frequency change and I spoke to a friend of mine near Limerick in Western Ireland. This was through a base-loaded Stryker SR-A10 from the USA, sitting on a small President UP magnetic base, with a Wilson 5000 whip. I could not purchase an antenna whip from the USA at a decent price, due to height restrictions. Therefore, I had to buy the whip in the EU.
Change to EU Band
I went back onto the EU band and what a change! A whole host of stations from across the central part of UK came through, loud and clear. The voices came from Doncaster, Birmingham, Derby and from many other locations. Many of them were in contact with operators in the Czech Republic for the first time.
Appropriate QSL cards and postcards will travel across the miles to everyone who messaged me on Facebook.
At 1.30pm local time, and with a friend being ‘roasted alive’ in the car, it was time to pack up and head into the air conditioning, for a cold beer and to reply to my many messages about the contacts.
Almost all the contacts were made on the Stryker aerial, except the one-to-one to Derby. This connection was, in fact, achieved with a Wilson 5000, using the whip aerial I borrowed back from the Stryker.
News from tti
The new tti TCB-881n transceiver (Fig. 2) is shorter than its predecessors, ostensibly for easier installation. However, under the skin, it appears to possess pretty much the same specifications as previous models.
It has UK + CE, which means there are two sets of FM frequencies and no AM. Add to this the EU band. The manual claims 40 channels FM with 12W AM. That must be wrong.
The information also states the transceiver has 1W on AM, and I think this is also incorrect. Alas, my information was sourced from an importers page, so the mistake may lie there.
What’s also new and interesting is that this transceiver is now manufactured outside of Korea. It is made in China under the umbrella of another factory producing several different such models.
President Bill FCC
This stripped-back-to-basics version of the President Bill transceiver has received its FCC approval and will be on the shelves in the autumn.
This transceiver will also be one of the first to suffer the ‘Trump-Tax’ of 25% on all transceivers imported from China.
Moreover, it will feature a ‘modification-resistant’ board. Any adjustments can only be made through a special connection to the microphone socket. No technician can adjust it, there are no variables to turn and you will not find any extra channels hidden away.
My guess is that you can get a few extra watts as the 13N10 is fitted inside, but you’ll not have any adjusters to get the power out. Expect to see YouTube videos on the transceiver from mid-September I’d guess.
Stryker SR-A10 Base-Loaded Aerial
Following my recent trip on the hills with this antenna, I received a lot of messages via Twitter and Facebook, and by e-mail. This aerial cannot be bought here in Europe, so this is how I got hold of mine.
I had the base of the aerial, as well as the magnetic base, sent from the USA, without the whip. They couldn’t ship it with the whip.
This came via DHL although USPS (US Post) can be used too. It was held at customs, and import duty was paid: In my case, this was 27% of the declared amount.
On eBay, I found the whip of a Wilson 5000. I ordered it from Germany and installed it on the Stryker. The SWR is great, contacts are fabulous and there are no issues at all, other than the expense.
The same goes for the centre-loaded SR-A10 aerial.
I bought this from the same place. It arrived without the whip aerial, so I ordered a Wilson 2000 trucker replacement whip. This works perfectly well, the same as with the base-loaded one.
The aerials are USA-designed but manufactured in China. I guess that they are made in the same place as the aerials by Wilson. Perhaps, this is why the whip fits.
Maybe with the Donald Trump 25% tax, Stryker will feel the need to look for new markets, and Europe might now be considered as a new market for both transceivers and aerials.
I have enquired with Stryker, but we will need to wait and see if they can find a dealer in the EU.
Dual Mike Tour 2018
Midland has been busy promoting its new dual-microphone feature. Its arrival is scheduled for September 9th. We now know the microphone will be Bluetooth-enabled (Fig. 3).
Moreover, users will be able to get an app on their smartphones to use with it.
Apart from this, the hearsay is that the app will allow messages to be sent via the microphone. Midland is going to promote this across the EU.
There is another unconfirmed piece of news from Malaga, to the effect that a new SSB transceiver could be in the pipeline. However, the factories which can produce these transceivers are few and far between.
Sharing More Than DNA
I have recently bought a CRT00FP, a CRT1FP and a Midland CT-690AL. All of these are handheld transceivers, and all are locked to 144-146 and 430-440MHz.
Here is the fun part of the story: I tried the unlock-protocol on the Midland, and it worked perfectly across all three transceivers.
After that, I tried the CRT00 programming software on the CRT1FP and the Midland CT-690; this too, worked a charm.
Therefore, I have since tried the CRT1FP software on the Midland and the CRT00 transceivers.
Once again, it worked perfectly.
It seems, therefore, that this amounts to more than DNA and we are lucky that the Chinese maker Quansheng was either too busy (or too lazy) to change anything in the software.
This is a good result and makes life much easier.
I have not tried the CHIRP software on these models but that’s the next idea to try when time.
See you soon, on the air, online and via your message and letters.
This article was featured in the October 2018 issue of Radio User