6m radio project (again)

Michael Chisena ka2zev at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 24 12:14:09 CDT 2007

The Story
Life is full of frustrations.

Some of us manage to complain about the situation.
I got lucky this week and will be able to do something about solving a problem.

Our six meter FM assets here in Virginia are kind of quiet. 
Mostly because there are very few users on frequency.
I turn the radio on, and hear exactly nobody!

A while back I got a bunch of Midland Syntech II radios care of an EBAY screw up.
I thought I bid on one unit, and got a box of 6. 
The wife wanted them out of the house.

What the heck was I going to do with 6 VHF Low band 110 watt radios?
Ended up setting up five of them (one dud) and donating them to AMRAD for 6m service.

Since then there has been casual interest in acquiring more radios.
Got one project pending with K3CSA (Tex), he has yet to get it installed in his car.
Also one of the AMRAD guys wants an under dash unit that I have.

So far so good. I still don't have many people to talk with on 6m.

Then I see this on EBAY
http://cgi.ebay. com/MIDLAND- RADIO-WITH- SPEAKER-AND- MICROPHONE_ W0QQitemZ1901620 82240QQihZ009QQc ategoryZ3281QQss PageNameZWDVWQQr dZ1QQcmdZViewIte m

This unit is a beast. 70-0375C. XTR
In a nut shell. 
It's cheap. 
It's good, 
and makes gobs of power.
It's about an ideal candidate for ham conversion.
Its base range is 40 to 50 MHz. 
With a minimum of retuning it covers the entire 6m ham band.

It's a 110 watt radio. 
Very potent. 
Two amps of RF on the antenna.

In stock form it holds 22 channels. 
There are not that many working 6m repeaters around here.
A module can be ordered from midland to expand this to 99 channels.

With the cable and software, it's a snap to reprogram after it's been installed. 
I have those items and am willing to share.

It's a 'trunk mount' style radio. 
So a small control head stays up front, and the heavy stuff goes in the trunk. 
I'm going to try and make the AMRAD Taco's meeting this saturday the 27th, will bring one along for a hands on session. (again)

The down side.

It's commercial gear. It has very little of the flexibility we are used to in standard ham radios. Volume, Squelch, Channel selector, scan buttons, tone decode defeat (Monitor).

It's potent. 
It uses a lot of DC in transmit. 
It will require a battery connection of at least 25 amps. 
No cigar lighter plugs for this one.
This complicates installation in some cars.

I prefer to use the Larson base load NMO style coil it can take the power.
They can be purchased at HRO in Woodbridge.

It's programmed via a lap top and a special cable. 
Cables can be had on EBAY (50 bucks or so), and I can share the program from my computer.

It's what I call a 'stone ax simple' kind of radio.
Once it's set up and in place, baring some kind of accident, you should not need to mess with it for years. In my book the best kind of radio to have in a car.

Social Engineering
Here is where I failed in the past.
I was more than willing to convert and program Midland Syntech 1, 2, and XTR radios to the ham bands provided someone else purchased the radio.
So far, exactly nobody has taken me up on this.

On the other hand, people were more willing to take a unit I had already finished.

The choice was simple, I can offer already converted radios as packages, or beat my head on a wall trying to get people to 'do it my way'. 
Quite frankly, the wall was not improved by the abuse.

Here is what I've done.
Just sent a pile of money to the above EBAY vendor for ten units.
I'm getting a price break, but not all that much. The shipping charges will be a little lower for the bulk order.

I'm going to bench test all the parts. 
Fix or replace any that need maintenance.
Then set up the radios the same way.

I will be lucky to have 10 or 12 channels worth of programming for local use.
Other frequencies can be added later as people find out what's available in their areas.

Then put them in boxes as complete kits.
Power cable, fuses, control heads, control cables, microphones, radio, speaker, ect.

I will offer them for sale as full up packages.

Since many hams are not skilled installers, I will offer assistance with that as well.
The body (mine) is not working well, so there are some things I don't like to do because they are very painful. On the other hand, I'm not averse to teaching others.
I do have a significant collection of connectors, screws, and other items to make the install process efficient. I'm more than willing to share the little stuff.

Will share tools to tune up antennas. 
Antennas are unique to the vehicle, those the client will have to buy. 
Antenna analyzer, bolt cutter, NMO hole saw, RF connectors, ext.
At 110 watts, high VSWR is not a good idea!

If I'm going to be laying out for all this stuff, I have to cover costs and if the interest is good, have some left over for a second batch. So this can't be free. I may have to fabricate power cables for all those sets. I don't have to tell you what the price of copper wire has been lately.

I should be ready to start this project in late October or early November.
For a set up radio, I'm thinking of about 75 bucks each. 
(Cheap for any ham gear, let alone a 110 watt radio!)

  Installation help will vary depending on time and materials.
If there is enough interest (minimum of two members) having an installation clinic at a member's home/business some Saturday?

  We can fix other radio related problems at the same time if need be. 
I'm not that fussy about mission statements.

So that's where the head is at.

  Keep it safe

"You are, what you do, when it counts"  
The Masso

"Gravity, the quickest way down"  
Mayor John Almafi

"You ever drop an egg, and on the floor you see it break? 

You go and get a mop so you can clean up your mistake.  

But did you ever stop to ponder why we know it's true? 

If you drop a broken egg you will not get an egg that's new?" 

MC Hawking
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