Ex-Commercial Radios On 6m ?

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Ex-Commercial Radios On 6m ?

Postby VK1JA » Fri Nov 05, 2010 10:05 pm

G'day All,

I've been thinking about getting on 6m and try out this 'magic band' for a while now. Being the fiddling type (and a bit of a cheapy!) I was wondering if there are any ex-commercial radios that can be re-programmed for the 6m band?

I understand that it'll only be FM, and probably restricted to a handful of 'channels' but it'll be fun having a tinker.

I've had a hunt around and finding a low band vhf radio is quite hard, and when you do find one there is no info on the net whether they can be re-programmed.

Has anyone had any experiences?

73's
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Re: Ex-Commercial Radios On 6m ?

Postby ZL2WHO » Sat Nov 06, 2010 5:15 am

Hi Jason.
About the only thing 6m fm radios are good for are beacons.
With fm you will not be able to experence the band to it's full potential.
Before I geared up on 6 I ran a tait AM radio up on 6, but again the signal to noise without ssb or cw is useless.
For me the tv vidio indicators are the most interesting, and you won't hear then without ssb or cw.

My first rig was an old ICOM 551, it would not rx out the band and only did 10watts ! So for about 120 $$ it did the job when the band was open, altho I did have an amp.

My advise is to save your pennys and get a multi mode multy band radio.
73 mark.
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Re: Ex-Commercial Radios On 6m ?

Postby VK7JG » Sat Nov 06, 2010 6:01 am

Hi Jason.
The AWAT85 is a very easy rig to convert to 6M . About an hours work . This is a 63 ch radio with a basic scan function so when programed you can have all the allocated 18 Repeater frequencies a couple of simplex plus 18 Reverse.
Excellent RX sensitivity and 25Watts out.
If you want more info let me know. I can supply you with a programed EPROM and all the conversion data is available by doing a simple Google search .
73
Joe
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Re: Ex-Commercial Radios On 6m ?

Postby VK4GHZ » Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:37 am

Hi Jason

6M FM can be bags of fun during summer! :D
I am really going to give it a bash this year, for the first time in many years.

52.525MHz is the center of FM activity here.

I suspect there must be many 6M FM rigs, even old crystal locked boxes, lying around forgotten and unloved.
You could try a wanted ad on VK Classifieds?

Frank, VK3OP (on this forum) purchased an ex-commercial synthesized low-band rig off eBay (USA seller) for 6M FM use.
It has kick-ass 110W RF O/P!

During summer sporadic-E, 10W and a 1/4 GP will work wonders.
Requirements are very modest, so that should fall into your "cheap" category.
I use a home-brew 5/8GP, which is basically a cut-down commercially made 27MHz 5/8 GP.

See you on 52.525MHz! :D
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Re: Ex-Commercial Radios On 6m ?

Postby VK6ZFG » Sat Nov 06, 2010 12:29 pm

Hi Jason

The AWA/EXICOM RT85 can be made to go on 6m metre (as can the MIdland equivalents). The RT85 can be readily programmed to support 80 Channels as does the standard Midland. The 64 channel limitiation is implemented in the custom programmer not the radio. The easiest way to defeat the programmer limiation is to use it in the Midland mode. Note the RT85A/C support 100 channels and are differ for the normal RT85.

The number of channels on the RT85/Midland can be expanded to 160 channels if the TAR line is used to switch the 2716 EPROM banks. (TAR = Talk Around ie: commercial radio speak for simplex on repeater outputs - never actually implemented on the RT85s). The radios can be further expanded to 320 channels by using a 2732 in place of the 2716 EPROM and switching the 2732 as two 2716s. The only thing is that you are stuck with a 2 digit display. To get the extra channels I program the EPROM directly. I find that using EEPROMs instead of EPROMS makes reprogramming easier but both work.

The trick is to remove the EPROM and replace it with a socket so that the EPROM can be programmed on a normal EPROM programmer. It is a long time since I converted a RT85 on 6M but from memory you need to swap the direction the PLL hunts in when doing the conversion. The Mid Band radio is used in the image mode to achieve RX on 6M. The PCB has on it two links on it that permit you to choose the direction you want. By the way I made a Mid Band RT85 to RX fine on 2M but I found that the PA transistors could not cope with the 2M frequencies.

The EPROMs can be programmed directly once you work out how they work. The trick here is that you need to add an extra bit on on the channel infor string on some of the channels to keep the program happy. It does a bit parity check on each of the channels and will not work on channel if this is not satisfied. Each channel string contains info relating to the RX freq, RX CTCSS, TX freq, TX CTCSS and parity bit when needed.

I have also made Mid Band Tait 2000s to work on 6 metres. The T2020 is the better version to go for as can be made to work below 50 MHz. The 4 channel T2010 version unfortunately only support the repeater channels (and maybe not the lower ones). It will not go down to 52.525. The limitation is the controller board not the RF board. Control board and control head swap fixes that.

If you need any more info let me know.

73s

Igor
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Re: Ex-Commercial Radios On 6m ?

Postby VK3OP » Sat Nov 06, 2010 10:10 pm

Hi Jason,

I have had success with a Kenwood TK-630H, this is a low band VHF commercial box with the special tune banding which allows it to oerate on 50MHz. The RF deck is a solid brick, with a rating of 110W.
These can be configured with a local head or a basic 99ch numeric only remote head, or a 160ch Alphnumeric remote head. Mine initially came with the 99ch remote head but I have since changed it and the programming to the 160ch Alpha head. The 30 series also come in 730 form (high band VHF) and 830 form (UHF). Kenwood have also since made 80 series and 90 series with basically the same configs and remote head capabilities.

The Software is easily available, and aftermarket programming cables are easy enough to get on Ebay. The programming software is DOS based and needs to access a com port to talk to the radio for reprogramming.

Motorola also produced a series of 110W remote radios deignated "Spectra" . I have a UHF version of these but they are available fo VHF high band and low band. The software and programming RIBs are available for these as well.

Philips FM 900 E band radios can be converted to 6mx, but this is a time consuming job,(approx 8-10 hours of careful work) to get going. There is a well documented mod for this on the Web if you do a search.

One other possibility is the Philips/Simoco PRM 80 series. I believe there is someone on the Yahoo groups page for these who has worked out a mod to convert a 66-88MHz PRM to 6mx. I know very litle about this one as yet. The mod is relatively new and up to recently was not possible according to all the PRM experts.

A search on Ebay should find you some of these radios and give you an idea of the current prices, they appear from time to time, generally as ex US police or emergency services radios.

I hope this helps.

Frank VK3OP
Last edited by VK3OP on Sun Nov 07, 2010 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ex-Commercial Radios On 6m ?

Postby ZL2WHO » Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:57 pm

Hi jason. I saw this and thought of you !! Your exchange rate may make it a bargain ? Mark.

http://www.trademe.co.nz/Electronics-ph ... 830059.htm
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Re: Ex-Commercial Radios On 6m ?

Postby VK1JA » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:34 pm

Thanks Mark - great find !! I'll be keeping an eye on that one.
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Re: Ex-Commercial Radios On 6m ?

Postby VK1JA » Sun Nov 07, 2010 3:35 pm

G'day all,

Thanks for all the replies, heaps of good info there from everyone !!

Eventually I can see myself getting an all mode HF/VHF/UHF rig and then try to sell the rigs I have at the moment. But I like taking little steps and fiddling along the way :)

I'll definately keep an eye out for one of the above commercial radios, plus keeping an eye on that 6m rig that's on Trademe (great find, thanks :) ) and let you know how I go - if I can score a all mode 6m rig at a decent price I'll be very happy.

Thanks again.

Jayson
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Re: Ex-Commercial Radios On 6m ?

Postby VK3AUU » Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:45 pm

If you are going to use FM on say 52.525, you had better start building different antennas because the ones cut for that far up the band don't work too well, from both gain and SWR points

David
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Re: Ex-Commercial Radios On 6m ?

Postby VK1JA » Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:05 pm

G'day David,

That's half the fun of it, building your own antenna's ans seeing how well/bad they work ;)
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Re: Ex-Commercial Radios On 6m ?

Postby VK4GHZ » Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:18 pm

You cannot go wrong with a 5/8 GP vertical cut for 53.0MHz.
Broad enough for 52.0-54.0 MHz as a TX antenna, and you will find it very useful for general VHF low-band monitoring.
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Re: Ex-Commercial Radios On 6m ?

Postby VK1JA » Fri Nov 26, 2010 7:02 pm

Well I ended up buying the IC-560. Nice solid rig and working well for it's age. I haven't made any contacts on it yet (call cq heaps though) and I'm very keen to get some feed back on how it sounds on air.

If anyone is in the VK1 area that's 6m capable (fm or ssb) please let me know - keeping in mind I only have 10w :)

I might create a new thread and see if I can arrange a sched 6m qso.

73's
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Re: Ex-Commercial Radios On 6m ?

Postby VK4GHZ » Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:37 pm

VK1JA wrote:Well I ended up buying the IC-560. Nice solid rig and working well for it's age...

You got me curious there Jayson!
I remember the IC-260, but I never knew Icom made a 6m version.

Image

Nice find.
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Re: Ex-Commercial Radios On 6m ?

Postby VK1JA » Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:44 pm

VK4CP wrote:I remember the IC-260, but I never knew Icom made a 6m version.

Image

Nice find.


Thanks Adam :) I actually bought a IC-260A from the same seller at the sametime, although it has a fault and it's not operational at the moment. I'd love to get it going as well and have the matching pair running.

You wouldn't happen to have the service manual for the IC-260A would you?
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Re: Ex-Commercial Radios On 6m ?

Postby VK4KGW » Sat Jul 02, 2011 5:34 pm

Might help

http://www.obairlann.net/reaper/ham/ic-260/manual/


I listen around 7.122 for scheds on 50.110 most arvo's
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Re: Ex-Commercial Radios On 6m ?

Postby VK7DB » Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:21 am

VK3OP wrote:One other possibility is the Philips/Simoco PRM 80 series. I believe there is someone on the Yahoo groups page for these who has worked out a mod to convert a 66-88MHz PRM to 6mx. I know very litle about this one as yet. The mod is relatively new and up to recently was not possible according to all the PRM experts.

Frank VK3OP


I have converted 3 low band 8030s to 6m, I have one as an APRS tracker in the Hilux, one has a MFJ1270B attached working as an APRS digi and the other has a TNC-X connected and gates 6-2m APRS, that one is also used for voice. Not only does it perform well, it also looks good on the bench along side the 2m,70cm and CB 8030s.. I plan to do some more for repeater monitoring and mobile FM use.
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Re: Ex-Commercial Radios On 6m ?

Postby VK6XLR » Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:28 pm

VK7DB wrote:[
I have converted 3 low band 8030s to 6m, I have one as an APRS tracker in the Hilux

This spurs my interest!
What is the 6m APRS frequency please?

73,
Rick Kowalewski
-- Perth, WA, 6530 -- OF77xw --
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Re: Ex-Commercial Radios On 6m ?

Postby VK7DB » Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:58 am

53.05MHz APRS
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Re: Ex-Commercial Radios On 6m ?

Postby VK3RX » Sat Jul 09, 2011 7:12 pm

6M FM can be bags of fun during summer!
I am really going to give it a bash this year, for the first time in many years.

52.525MHz is the center of FM activity here.
52.525 always running when I'm in the shack.

The trick is to put out the occasional call :D

Nothing happens with everyone listening, and that goes for the bottom end of the band also.
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