Bluetooth, Network Radios and Amplifiers
Simon Parker reports on new RM amplifiers, Bluetooth-enabled and network transceivers
Simon Parker reports on new RM amplifiers, Bluetooth-enabled and network transceivers, covers SSB live-streaming, the PMR446 DX UK 2018 event and the Víceboj 2018 multi-frequency rally in the Czech Republic.
I remember having a chat about Bluetooth technology with the owner of a company in 2005. At the time, my friend viewed this as a ‘no-brainer’ and thought that this facility would not be implemented in CB transceivers.
By contrast, some years later, it now appears to be accepted that the technology has more positives than negatives.
Qixiang has offered it as a future feature in the Anytone Apollo II model. Moreover, Midland (Fig. 1) has released Bluetooth dongles for its CB, PMR and other modes.
Therefore, it seems that the Bluetooth feature will be a ‘must-have’ over the next six to 12 months. What is more, Wouxun is currently releasing PMR models with Bluetooth and tti are doing the same, in the case of the updated TCB900 High Power model.
The future, at least in this respect, is now and the question is, of course, what next?
My guess is we will need to look into detachable-head CB transceivers, VOIP with SIM card technology and new forms of antenna connections.
The tti TCB-900HP
Do you live in a market area where 20W are legal on CB? If you do, Korean maker tti offers the TCB900 model. The transceiver has been overhauled and now offers a 20W option.
Add to this the usual 12/24V facility and Bluetooth as an optional item and this might well amount to a significant step forward. I see high-power CB transceivers as both a ‘blessing’ and a ‘curse’ – at least in the wrong hands.
When a manufacturer talks about a 20W option, some end users may enable this option and break the conditions of the CE approval. Thus, they are, of course, invalidating the warranty. When a transceiver is for 16W and gets ‘screw-drivered’, to make it into 20W, this can make it into a ‘splatter box.’
It might be better to restrict power to 15W and just leave it there. You would not buy a 100W Icom transceiver and then attempt to make it work with 140W, would you?
SSB Live Stream
Cześć Piotr is live-streaming SSB on his YouTube channel from London. I have watched it a few times and heard myself via his stream. Check it out on Channel 26ZAM071.
I know that many CB and PMR enthusiasts in the UK and Europe are doing similar things. This one, however, seems to be quite consistent; it is almost always online at this time of year. In my opinion, this makes it into something interesting to listen to during the months of June and July.
For those of us who live in Central Europe, the stream is a very useful guide: If we are away from the transceiver, we are able to see how the hobby is developing in the UK and other parts of Europe.
Many people, including myself, mourned the loss of the KL500 model by Italian makers RM Amplifiers, when the original 12V version was discontinued. It was replaced with a 24V and this did not seem to be the same, in terms of functionality.
I am sure we’ve all sat down, with the RM KL500 warming up nicely, getting ready to blast out to some out of the way location. Well, the word is that RM is in the early process of producing another powerful amplifier.
Its code name is ‘703’ and it is in the very early stages, along with some other projects from Italy.
I feel fortunate in that I have a good relationship with RM and have received advance notice of this new idea. I will, naturally, update you in RadioUser on what will happen and when.
High Drive Amplifier
Another piece of news from RM Amplifiers in Italy is that the first units of the new HD (High Drive) model of the KL-503 have been shipped to the dealer. I say ‘dealer’, singular, since the only one at the moment appears to be the California-based company DNJ Radio.
I have ordered one and it is in the post; let’s see for how long this gets delayed at customs.
The idea is that many transceivers come with an output from 1 to 20W, as mentioned earlier.
However, many an amplifier will have to give up and cry defeat in the USA with such an input.
For this reason, enquiries were made at RM, with the aim of establishing just how many contemporary transceivers actually possess a High Drive. Models from Anytone, Ranger, Stryker, CRT, President and others were mentioned in this context. Thus, a limited quantity of the new amplifier was manufactured. My understanding is that an input of 15 to 20W will allow an output of around 250 to 300W from the amplifier. I will bring you more details as soon as possible, here and on my website.
Oh boy, I have received some remarkable e-mails about the last column when I wrote, briefly, about network radios. People stated that these are ‘not transceivers’, that the ‘sound is bad’, that ‘this is all a scam’ and much more besides.
Many correspondents were dismissive about this form of communication. However, I stand by my words!
I, like many others, use Viber as a platform of VOIP (Voice-Over-Internet Protocol) and I use this regularly to speak to a friend of mine in Éire. General propagation conditions are not great now, so this additional option to communicate is an excellent alternative.
Network radios are not transceivers, in the traditional sense of the word, they are phones. A typical network transceiver is a 3G or 4G data-enabled service. For certain, it is not a transceiver; however, it is a further opportunity to meet people and talk to them, alongside established transceivers.
It is not a replacement, as some thought I had said.
Do I own a network transceiver? No! Will I buy one? I guess not! Nevertheless, the term ‘transceiver’ needs to be more all-embracing; network radios are, in effect, internet walkie-talkies.
Move on, grow up and use it or not.
[See also the article by Chris Rolinson on network radios in this issue, as well as the coverage of network radios in our sister magazine, Practical Wireless – Ed.]
PMR446 DX Weekend UK 2018
You will already know that, in some countries, PMR DX gatherings have been held for more than 16 years.
In August of this year, do get out on the hills in the UK and have some PMR fun by participating in the PMR446 DX Weekend 2018 (Fig. 2).
Try and use a street-legal transceiver and you will be stunned by exactly how far these can reach.
The dates for the event are the 4th and 5th of August, with calling on Channel 8 (446.09375MHz) and a subsequent QSY from there. Do give this a try as it is an excellent idea.
If you do participate – and if you achieve any great distance – please drop me a line and let me know.
E-mail: [email protected]
Revisiting Carant Antennas
Carant Antenna Kft. was a 1990 joint venture between a Swedish businesswoman and her Hungarian business partner, with the objective of manufacturing antennas. The firm is still going strong.
The reason I mention them is that, in 2003, I featured them in my then CB From Prague column. This was when I had lost my mind for a weekend and was sat 1200m high, on the side of a mountain, with a 12 element Yagi aerial, using 30W and 446MHz as my band of choice.
Thinking of this now, I have decided to order a new antenna for the PMR DX in September from the Czech Republic. It is an ‘age-thing’, I suspect. However, I thought I’d give it another go and see by how many locals and in which places my signal can be heard.
This time, I’ll restrict my power because the CTU (Czech Telekom Office) is still annoyed with me, I think, from the last time! It seems better, this time around, to just sit with 500mW, an external antenna, my Motorola T-82 Extreme or TLKR50 models and using just standard accessories.
From 30th June to 1st July in the Czech Republic, the Víceboj event (Fig. 3) delivered some exciting, license-free, DXing activities across a varied list of frequencies.
As well as the usual 446MHz in both digital and analogue modes, participants were allowed to use 27, 34 77, 172, 448 and 459MHz. So far as I know, this was the first time all of these frequencies were used.
Each of the bands had power restrictions such as 500mW, 1W, 5W and 4/4/12 across the CB channels on AM/FM/SSB. Some operators used modified dual-band transceivers and others brought some dedicated transceivers. It’s great to see that, at events like this one, so many frequencies can be used license-free.
More information on the 2018 event, including any follow-up details, can be found at this URL:
Qixiang hopes to bring a DMR car transceiver to the market before the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019.
This model might be based on the Apollo II chassis, which has morphed into many different transceivers.
Until the next time, enjoy the summertime. I wish you all great weather and I am looking forward to speaking to you on the airwaves or via mail. Best Wishes Simon.
This article was featured in the August 2018 issue of Radio User