[amsat-bb] Re: TH-F6A tip request

Gordon JC Pearce gordonjcp at gjcp.net
Wed Feb 2 23:53:56 PST 2011

On Wed, 2011-02-02 at 16:29 -0500, Scott Richardson wrote:
> I got a surprise gift of a Kenwood TH-F6A and look forward to giving it a
> try on the satellites. I know there are a few owners on the list -- Drew,
> Patrick, others -- and wonder if folks have any tips to share (I've read
> through the eham reviews). I'm especially interested in experiences with
> speaker/mics and headsets, headphones with 2.5mm plugs, quality of
> after-market programming cables, etc. I'll typically be using the F6A as one
> of two radios -- the receiver for the easy sats -- and want to record passes
> while listening or operating. Thanks in advance for any ideas that will make
> its use more effective and enjoyable.
> 73, Scott N1AIA

When the Wouxuns came out and had no accessories I used to tell people
to just pick up Kenwood ones.  Now that Wouxun ones are cheap on eBay,
I'd say get those - the programming leads are identical and the only
difference between headsets/RSMs etc is that the "real" Kenwood amateur
ones have an extra ring for the remote control pin - which I never use
anyway.  Kenwood PMR stuff uses the same kind of plugs with the same
spacing, so if you can program a TK-3160 with your cable you can program
your TH-F7E/F6A.

It's a great rig for the FM sats.  Some would say its lack of true
duplex operation is a problem, but I don't.  Just set the transmit side
to the frequency and tone you want, then set the receive side 10kHz high
until you find the bird - maybe even 15kHz, check your prediction
software for the Doppler shift.  Remember to flip between the A and B
VFO when you tune, and back when you transmit.

You don't have small enough steps to tune the VHF side to match.  Make
sure you can hear the downlink before you transmit - you can't hear
yourself, so you've no idea if you'll hear *anything*.  If you can hear
the downlink, then if you transmit they'll hear you.

Buy, borrow or make an "Arrow"-type antenna.  I used a crossed pair of
WA5VJB "Cheap Yagi" designs on a wooden boom with a homebrew diplexer,
and it worked just great.  Bit hard to fold up and put in the car,
though.  The one I built was 5 elements on 70cm and 3 on 2m, and
provided more than enough gain to hear AO-51 from horizon to horizon.

This is a great setup for portable operation, or if you don't want all
the hassle of a computer-controlled rotator and CAT cable and all that
push-button-go-chat stuff that people get into.  I wonder if they're the
same crowd that only ever use macros on PSK31 - "YOUR RST 599 599 HOW
COPY? MNY THX FER QSO" - you may as well use Skype...

Gordon MM0YEQ

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