Month: August 2014

Yaesu FT-991 – replacement for the FT-897

Update: pricing and user manuals can be found here. Yaesu FT-991 is the next upcoming model from Yaesu, as the replacement for the recently discontinued FT-897. Highlights include 3.5″ TFT touch display, a spectrum scope, 32-bit IF DSP, internal antenna tuner and C4FM.  Released specs so far for the Yaesu FT-991: – 160 Meters through 70 Centimeters – SSB/CW/FM/C4FM Digital/AM/RTTY/PSK– 100 Watts (2 Meter / 70 Centimeter: 50 Watts) of Solid Performance– 3.5 inch TFT Full-Color Touch Panel Operation for Superior Operability and Visibility– High Speed Spectrum Scope with ASC (Automatic Spectrum-Scope Control) built-in– Roofing Filter 3 kHz and 15 kHz– High Accuracy TCXO ±0.5 ppm and high resolution DDS and PLL local oscillator– 32-bit High Speed Floating Point IF DSP– IF WIDTH and IF SHIFT provides great QRM Rejection– CONTOUR, DNR, IF Notch and APF (Audio Peak Filter, CW only)– 160 – 6 Meters High Speed Automatic Antenna Tuner included– 224*80*253mm, 4.3 Kg To be honest, the TFT display on the FT-991 looks super, expecially when comparing to the FT-897, so this is definetely a plus. The touchscreen is only useful on devices entertainment-oriented, so it will probably be between useless and annoying when it won’t work if you have wet or dirty hands, when wearing gloves or when you’re trying to press a button while looking somewhere else. The spectrum scope is useless on every transceiver i’ve...

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SOTA Tour YO 2014 – part III

<< Go to part II of the story The morning at 2500+m altitude is not your regular morning: winds tend to be strong and the clouds were flying really low – even lower than us. We had to wait until almost 11:00 local time for the sky to clear so we could depart towards our next target: YO/MC-008 Bucsoiu, 2493m – 10 points. The nearby YO/MC-074 Bucsoiul Mic, 2120m – 10 points was also in our plan, but the previous evening we decided to cancel it due to the long hike that also required serious climbing skills. Finally on our way to YO/MC-008, the path looks great and the mountain show us their beautiful curves and angles. There are even spots of live color amid this greed and rocky giants: We find a nice spot not very far from peak and Petronel deploys the antenna: We were worried that it’s too early in the morning for the rest of the Europe and not many stations were on the air, but everything turned out to be OK. We even squeezed a few VHF contacts in there. Operation from Bucsoiu took almost an hour, and we quickly gathered our stuff, headed back to Omu and 3 hours later we were at the car. Next target YO/MC-009 Costila, 2491m – 10 points, the one with the 20KW VHF TV broadcast station on...

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SOTA Tour YO 2014 – part II

<< Go to Part I of the story On the second day we woke up early as we had a long road ahead of us, so at 7 AM we were already on the way. The Transalpina road, crossing the mountains at 2000m altitude, looks beautiful in the morning sun. At one point we even met a few wild donkeys, they seemed friendly so I stopped to take a picture. This guy even knows how to strike a pose: In about one hour on our way to Sibiu, we reach the Oasa dam; seems like a nice place but I’ve never heard of it before, probably because it’s pretty remote: In Sibiu we drop off Zoli at the bus station and me, Sorin and Petronel head straight for the world-famous Transfagarasan mountain road – about wich Jeremy Clarkson said: From above, it looks like every great corner from every great race track in the world has been knitted together to create one unbroken grey ribbon of automotive perfection.     The spectacular piece of mountain road – built by Ceausescu’s communist regime in the 70’s as a military backroad, is opened only a few months per year (in the summer) and offers some kind of an ultimate experience for driving enthusiasts. It also takes you to the Balea glacier lake, situated at over 2000m altidude. This was the starting...

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SOTA tour YO 2014 – part I

Hint: visit the YO SOTA Marathon page for current info. A team of romanian ham amateur radio operators travelling around the country on beautiful twisting roads, backpacking with their bags full of equipment and installing antennas on mountain peaks for their pure enjoyment; this is how i’d sum up this tour in just a few words. But a few words are not enough, not even alot of them wouldn’t suffice; actually, you know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words ? Well, it would take about a thousand pictures to describe what an adventure like this really is, and still the feeling wouldn’t be the same unless you experience it yourself. Since you’re on this blog, you probably know what ham radio is: one of the most complex scientific hobbies. As talking via radio to people in remote places is a thrill for any self-respecting amateur radio afficionado, not only Antarctica, Vanuatu or Navassa Island stations are interesting but also stations in places you don’t normally go: islands, wildlife reservations, lighthouses, mountain peaks etc. This gave birth to alot of programs (such as IOTA, WWFF, SOTA, LOTA etc) that stimulate operators to go to such remote places and run their radio station from there – wich in turn also promotes these places to a worldwide audience. Out of these programs, one really stands out for me:...

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SOTA marathon in Romania (YO)

I will be joining Sorin YO2MSB in a YO SOTA Marathon across the Carpathian mountains in Romania, looking to activate about 10 peaks in 5 days, most of them being 10 points. We don’t have a strict schedule because this still depends on good weather, but this is what you should be expecting: August 11th: YO/MC-078 (10pts), YO/MC-052 (10pts), YO/MC-50 (10pts)August 12th: YO/MC-007 (10pts), YO/MC-049 (10pts)August 13th: YO/MC-086 (8pts), YO/MC-009 (10pts)August 14th: YO/MC-006 (10pts), YO/MC-008 (10pts)August 15th: YO/EC-252 (6pts), YO/EC-331 (6pts), YO/EC-428 (4pts) We will be joined at some points by other operators and we plan on working multiple bands and multiple modes in order to offer these peaks to as many chasers as possible. Also, we will try a night time activation on YO/MC-006 on 100W to give the chance to DX stations to work this peak. Please keep an eye on Sotawatch for alerts and...

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SOTA activation YO/MC-014

YO/MC-014 Papusa peak (“The Doll” – 2391m) was my first official SOTA activation attempt, almost one year ago. The hike to the peak is no easy task, about 4 hours of continous uphill effort that takes you from 1200m altitude to almost 2400m. Even though it was a very nice weekend and I had the chance to meet and spend some time with very nice people, the weather wasn’t on our side and we had to get back when we were 15 minutes away from the peak. Here’s the story in romanian. The peak is in the Iezer mountains, about 20-25km north of Campulung, the home-city of the ARO all-terrain vehicles. These were famous for their excellent offroad capabilities and in the late years they got really good engines and upgrades, unfortunately the factory closed in 2006 and sold their license to a czech company, that (still?) makes only a limited series. And I could tell right away why would somebody put a factory for offroad vehicles here: beautiful sights, challenging hills and tall mountains, exactly what you’d need to put an ARO trough it’s paces. To get to the Papusa Peak you can drive right up to the “Cuca” lodge, a place with clean fresh air, surrounded by dense pine forest and with the greatest guy (Romeo – YO7ISR) for a lodge keeper. From here the hike goes...

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