Monday 10 September 2012

Difficult programming

My  holiday in Cornwall a few weeks back went well, however there wasn’t much time for radio.
I did set up my FT857 and Buddistick antenna on a couple of evenings but operating time was very limited and apart from the odd QSO on 20 metres not much was worked.
I also took my Chinese made dualband “Luiton”  VHF/UHF handheld along hoping I might hear some local activity on 2 or 70 cms. Before setting off I programmed a few local repeater frequencies into the rig using my laptop PC and the software as programming vis the rigs keypad is difficult to say the least.
Now the Luiton is identical to the more commonly seen TYT UVF-1 the software, cable etc for the TYT all work on my Luiton.
Unfortunately due to a “slip of the mouse” I programmed a wrong CTCSS code for the very repeater that was the loudest and closest to where I was staying. “No problem” I thought I will just manually alter the CTCSS using the rigs keypad and menu system. However there was no way I could do this whilst I was away, I could access the menu setting for the CTCSS code but it would not let me change the code. Putting the rig into VFO (as opposed to memory) mode made no difference, I still could not alter the CTCSS. I still haven’t found out why, the only option is now to reconnect the rig to the PC and see what I can do. To add insult to injury only my ancient Windows XP laptop will recognise the rig and adapter lead. The Win 7 PC in the shack won’t do it.
I have mentioned the “quirky” user interface of this handheld before. The scanning facility on this rig is almost useless and some time had to be spent using the software to adjust various settings before the TX audio was at an acceptable level. The user friendliness of these rigs is really light years behind that of the mainstream rigs from Yaesu, Icom and Kenwood etc. Yes they are much cheaper and RF wise they seem to work OK but the are nowhere near as easy to use.
I now see one of the Chinese manufactures is offering a dualband mobile rig at a cost not that much less than the mainstream Japanese manufacturers. I hope the user interface on these rigs is better, if it isn’t I don’t think the established manufacturers will have much to worry about!

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