TYT TH-8600 Channel Programming

The TYT TH-8600 is a compact, inexpensive¬† 25-watt VHF/UHF FM radio made in China. While it gets the job done, it has a number of shortcomings that users of the “name brand” equipment take for granted, such as automatic repeater offsets, alphanumeric channel labels, and the like. But you can’t have everything in a small package that costs around $100. I bought it more because of its form factor than its price – it fits neatly in the accessory tray in the dashboard of my car. I plan to upgrade to a better transceiver soon, but this one has served me well since I bought it at the Dayton Hamvention last year.

Dan KB7JZI, who uses the TH-8600 and has much advice for its users, quips on his club’s website that TYT stands for “take your time” – programming the rig is not a simple task. And the manual isn’t much help either. It’ll give you the information you need, sure, but it requires going through many steps to accomplish anything. I wanted to program a few channels during a road trip last fall, so I patiently took my time, read the manual, and dictated each step into my voice recorder so I could transcribe them and follow them later.

So here, for your benefit and mine, are the steps to program a repeater or simplex channel into the TH-8600. Continue reading “TYT TH-8600 Channel Programming”

Cable coiling the right way

As Field Day approaches, we’ll be taking many long pieces of cable – coax, extension cords, network cables, even guy ropes – out into the field and setting them up for our annual not-a-contest emergency exercise. Each year, many hams undoubtedly find that the cables they coiled up after last year’s Field Day are a twisted, tangled mess. Some end up broken, frayed or not working. It’s a frustration, for sure, and much can be avoided if the cables are coiled up the right way.

Unless your cable is on reels (either motorized or hand-crank), you’re probably coiling cables by hand. The most expedient method is often to use your forearm as a makeshift reel, coiling the cable between your palm and your elbow. The problem with this approach Continue reading “Cable coiling the right way”

World Radio Labs WVG-MK2 Vertical Antenna

My first antenna as a Novice in the late sixties was a 40-meter dipole strung up in our back yard between my bedroom window and a surplus Signal Corps wooden pole that my dad bought at Silverstine’s. It was fed with RG-58 cable, soldered to the two wires across a white ceramic insulator. I probably still have the insulator somewhere, though the wire and coax has long since been discarded. It was an adequate performer and it even worked on 15 meters, but I wanted something a little more versatile. I had an 80-meter crystal, after all.

Despite the warnings from the older hams in the club about a vertical being “equally bad in all directions,” I saw an ad for the World Radio Laboratories WVG Mark 2 vertical. Continue reading “World Radio Labs WVG-MK2 Vertical Antenna”

The Phaser

The latest project in the NF8M station is The Phaser. No, not the Star Wars kind. This one is a single-board phasing SSB transceiver that puts out about 4 watts and is designed for digital modes. It’s the brainchild of Dave, K1SWL and George, N2APB. (You may recall George and Milt W8NUE are the designers of the NUE-PSK standalone RTTY and PSK31 terminal. I have one of the early units and it’s a lot of fun!) Continue reading “The Phaser”