eHam

eHam Forums => Misc => Topic started by: WA2ASB on April 27, 2013, 10:07:29 PM



Title: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: WA2ASB on April 27, 2013, 10:07:29 PM
About a year ago I bought a Yaesu VX-7R while at Texas Towers to pick up some coax.  I took a look at the manual, the radio, the manual, the radio...  Both went into the desk drawer.  Today they both came out.  After a long time on the charger, I got the blue light meaning it was ready to go.  I started reading the manual and realized both belonged in the drawer they came out of.

I don't have anything against Yaesu, and I think they are the best from what I've read of reviews.  I recently convinced my wife that I needed a new HF rig to replace my old Drake TR4 setup.  Now I'm worried about how I will ever learn to operate it when the VX-7R HT warps my mind.

Suddenly my mind goes back to the ARC-5 and how simple it was.  Am I alone?  Am I a dinosaur about to go extinct?  Does anyone else have trouble understanding todays Operating Manuals?  Is there a simple solution that I am missing?


Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: W1JKA on April 28, 2013, 03:55:47 AM
Been there,after 45 years QRT I too jumped from an ARC-5 and 6L6 homebrew xtmr. into the modern age.After much research and hands on try outs I bought an IC-7200 which is almost intuitive to operate out of box and very easy with the manual.Easy to set up for your operating preferences then forget,no bells and whistles.


Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: AC2EU on April 28, 2013, 06:01:05 AM
In the interest of "equal time" , the Yaesu FT450 delivers a lot of bang for the buck.
Yes, there are those pesky muti function buttons and menus, but that's the way the new equipment works.

May I suggest that you try using the radio in an "intuitive" way without reading the manual, then use the manual to supplement what you know from using it. 
Reading the manual first is a the "old school" way of doing things. My 92 year old mother refused to to use a computer until she read and understood the manual. Consequently, she still does not use the computer. If I tried to start there, without having the computer on in front of me to "experiment", I would never use a computer either! Modern rigs, like computers are designed with menus and an intent to be intuitive. Sometimes the implementation falls short of the mark, but there is a logical thread to it.

Open up that drawer and just mess with the HT using the manual as a reference to do what you are trying to do with with it rather than attempting to make sense of the radio by reading about it. What you will discover is that there is a logical procedure to these things.
Yes, they have come a long, long way from the ARC5!



Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: N0JI on April 28, 2013, 08:08:39 AM
My problem has not been using the menu driven radio with the manual sitting in front of me, it's remembering what all of the abbreviations mean after the radio has been sitting in a drawer for a year or two.  Even worse, a button gets butt pushed for 3 seconds in my pocket, putting the radio in some weird mode that can only be escaped from by repushing the same unknown button for 3 seconds.  It all makes tuning up final tubes seem pretty simple after all.....


Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: K8AXW on April 28, 2013, 08:33:01 PM
ASB:  Welcome to the "club."  I've had a Kenwood TH-79A HT for several years and I STILL can't program it.  As a matter of fact I can do very little with it other than turn it on, change channels (that was put in by a friend) and talk on it.

I have a Kenwood TM-V7A V-UHF mobile rig.  I can do a little more with it because I can program it with the computer.  As for the other 80% of its capabilities..... forget it!

Whenever I take either out of the house the instruction manual goes with it.  I'm not quite sure why I carry the manuals because I don't understand the damn things.  I've read and reread both manuals so much they're tattered.  I have made cheat-sheets to help with programming to no avail.

With that being said, any advice I would dare offer would be to stay away from menu driven radios and stay with the full size radios with knobs and buttons that does what the labels  say and nothing else!



Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: AC2EU on April 28, 2013, 09:30:36 PM
My problem has not been using the menu driven radio with the manual sitting in front of me, it's remembering what all of the abbreviations mean after the radio has been sitting in a drawer for a year or two.  Even worse, a button gets butt pushed for 3 seconds in my pocket, putting the radio in some weird mode that can only be escaped from by repushing the same unknown button for 3 seconds.  It all makes tuning up final tubes seem pretty simple after all.....

I hear ya...
That's what the lock function is for. If all else fails, turn the radio off and back on, putting it in "default" mode.
The best way to remember the functions is to use them! Practice makes perfect!
You're not going to let an inanimate object beat you, are you?   ;D


Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: N2UGB on April 28, 2013, 11:57:24 PM
I feel your pain. 

It depends on what your operating mode has been, historically. At present, I operate one band, cw only with a straight key, no split-frequency DX chasing, etc. In effect, as though it were 1950's amateur radio. Except for pushing a button engaging-disengaging a cw filter, I do not go into the menu of my FT-817 (very buried).

Using my OHR100A or HW-8 I don't even have a menu possibility.

If your operating falls into something like mine, almost all rigs will do, though I would suggest one with the least bells and whistles.

Too bad there is no longer a TS-130 on the market. Was simplicity itself.


Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: K8AXW on April 29, 2013, 05:30:12 AM
Quote
You're not going to let an inanimate object beat you, are you?   
 

Speaking for myself, Yep!  Another thing I've learned down through the years that banging ones head against the wall hurts, makes the head soft and produces no tangible results.  You've heard, "Life is too short for QRP?"  I also feel that life is too short to spend it figuring out menus, sub-menus and the need to refer to a manual written by a Japanese-Engineer. 

Notice, "Japanese-Engineer is together?  They're the worst manual writers in the world.  However, I think the Chinese are gaining fast.

Quote
Too bad there is no longer a TS-130 on the market. Was simplicity itself.

I've been preaching that for years and don't even get any backing from the ham community! 


Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: AA4PB on April 29, 2013, 06:03:39 AM
I grabbed my Icom Dstar HT off the shelf to take on a trip. When I got there I needed to change the PL tone. There is not a button nor a menu that would even give a hint that it had anything to do with PL tones. I finally had to borrow a computer to get on-line to download the manual. After a half-hour of reading I finally figured it out.


Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: W1JKA on April 29, 2013, 06:20:18 AM
Re:K8AXW

      Just saw on the news this morning the new Dick Tracey wrist watch rig called the "Pebble"probably with future cw,Morse decoder and ssb options.As with the TS-130 the now current FT-3000,Omni V11 and KX3 rigs in 3 or 4 years may also just be a fading memory. As far as I could tell this Pebble is all VOX control and the demonstrator did'nt have a manual anywhere in sight.


Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: SWMAN on April 29, 2013, 06:47:56 AM
 I recently purchased a new Yaesu FT-60 HT at Texas Towers and that is rather difficult for me to program. Also bought a new Uniden BC92XLT scanner and that was a pain in the butt to program also. I just keep things that I do on them to the basics. If I try and do some of the advanced functions I run into problems.


Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: AC2EU on April 29, 2013, 07:02:45 AM
Quote
You're not going to let an inanimate object beat you, are you?   
 

Speaking for myself, Yep!  Another thing I've learned down through the years that banging ones head against the wall hurts, makes the head soft and produces no tangible results.  You've heard, "Life is too short for QRP?"  I also feel that life is too short to spend it figuring out menus, sub-menus and the need to refer to a manual written by a Japanese-Engineer. 

Notice, "Japanese-Engineer is together?  They're the worst manual writers in the world.  However, I think the Chinese are gaining fast.

Quote
Too bad there is no longer a TS-130 on the market. Was simplicity itself.

I've been preaching that for years and don't even get any backing from the ham community! 

I used a K3 last week at an event last week. All the buttons you need on are clearly labeled and on the front panel. Maybe that will work for you?
Since you're obviously not doing QRP, I just hope you're not exciting a Henry amp with an Arc5!  ;D :o


Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: AC2EU on April 29, 2013, 07:10:28 AM
I recently purchased a new Yaesu FT-60 HT at Texas Towers and that is rather difficult for me to program. Also bought a new Uniden BC92XLT scanner and that was a pain in the butt to program also. I just keep things that I do on them to the basics. If I try and do some of the advanced functions I run into problems.

I have an FT60R. If you need help or have a specific question, send me a PM or email.
It is a bit intimidating at first, but once you break the rig programming ice, the next one is easy.


Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: SWMAN on April 29, 2013, 09:45:51 AM
 Jim, Thanks for the offer, I will contact you one of these days.   73 Jim W5JJG


Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: AL7MM on April 29, 2013, 09:59:33 AM
WA2ASB -
I feel your pain. I also have a VX-7R, and it is far from intuitive. For example, to set the squelch level you go to menu "Basic Setup" #1, but if you want to use the attenuator (which I think is somewhat related to squelch) you have to go to #18 on the "Misc Setup" menu. I know the new Chinese models get a lot of bad press about lousy manuals, but I find my UV-3R to be much easier to use on the road. I find I can use my UV-3R without the operating manual 99.9% of the time. It doesn't have a fraction of the features of the VX-7R, but it does have the features I use most.

73,
Mike, KL7MJ


Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: N0JI on April 29, 2013, 08:01:13 PM
I hear ya...
That's what the lock function is for. If all else fails, turn the radio off and back on, putting it in "default" mode.
The best way to remember the functions is to use them! Practice makes perfect!
You're not going to let an inanimate object beat you, are you?   ;D

I own several hammers, and I know how to use them.  I think I have the edge....... ;D





Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: G3RZP on April 30, 2013, 01:13:11 AM
I have a FT250 HT. Yes, you need the flaming manual for most everything you want to do!

The IC2 was easy........

Yet another good reason to stick to my much modified FT102 for HF.


Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: AC2EU on April 30, 2013, 06:18:10 AM
I can imagine that similar complaints and conversations took place when the spark gap transmitter operators had to learn how to use those newfangled TRF radios and tube driven finals.  ;D


Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: AF5CC on April 30, 2013, 07:32:46 AM
Too bad there is no longer a TS-130 on the market. Was simplicity itself.

No, but MFJ does make the single band QRP rigs, pretty close to that in terms of ease.  Just no digital display.

John AF5CC


Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: K8AXW on April 30, 2013, 08:21:44 AM
2EU:  You're no doubt absolutely correct!  But staying with the spirit of this discussion, you'll have to admit that something has gone horribly wrong when it's necessary to pull up menus or in many cases, sub-menus, to do a simple thing like change power or to view an S-meter.  I do understand that's it's necessary when cramming many functions into a small box.  But, this seems to be the tendency these days.  As far as I'm concerned, it's unfortunate.

If a ham doesn't have the mental dexterity for video games, or seldom changes operating parameters or functions, then ham radio becomes an exercise in frustration when he has to make these changes.

My first encounter with a menu driven transceiver reminded me of a damn monkey pushing buttons to get a banana along with the squealing, dumping up and down and frantic button pushing out of frustration because he keeps getting it wrong!  Not pretty.


Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: N0JI on April 30, 2013, 08:24:03 AM
Too bad there is no longer a TS-130 on the market. Was simplicity itself.

I had a TS-120s for a while, and I can't think of any other rig that I have owned that was more enticing to get on the air with.  Many of my rigs have had more features, most have had better receivers.  None have been quicker from the time of hitting the on switch to transmitting.  It was just very friendly to use.

That said, I wonder if we will ever see such a radio again.  The marketing decicion to delete features that can be cheaply included in menus just isn't very likely.  There are definitely a number of hams that would run out to buy a recreated TS-130s with no frills, no menus.  But, I am afraid it is too few to justify the cost.  However, I think that it's likely that manufacturers will greatly improve the usability of their menu driven offerings in coming years.  Some menu driven radios are quite easy to navigate even without a manual, some are difficult even with the manual sitting in front of you.


Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: AC2EU on April 30, 2013, 10:02:43 AM
2EU:  You're no doubt absolutely correct!  But staying with the spirit of this discussion, you'll have to admit that something has gone horribly wrong when it's necessary to pull up menus or in many cases, sub-menus, to do a simple thing like change power or to view an S-meter.  I do understand that's it's necessary when cramming many functions into a small box.  But, this seems to be the tendency these days.  As far as I'm concerned, it's unfortunate.

If a ham doesn't have the mental dexterity for video games, or seldom changes operating parameters or functions, then ham radio becomes an exercise in frustration when he has to make these changes.

My first encounter with a menu driven transceiver reminded me of a damn monkey pushing buttons to get a banana along with the squealing, dumping up and down and frantic button pushing out of frustration because he keeps getting it wrong!  Not pretty.

With a little bit of perseverance, you did get your "banana", though!  ;D

I use the CAT (computer aided transceiver) interface with my FT450. HRD does a good job of putting some of those commonly used "buried functions" on the screen so they can be changed quickly with a click or drag.
Sometimes the answer to technology problems is more technology...
If you set up the dx cluster, click the dx station you want and it will even tune the radio to the frequency, etc. All ya gotta do is work the guy. Now that's a bit TOO EASY!
The log automatically pulls data from the radio, knows the time, and dumps in the QRZ station data. Life as a modern Ham is good!

I can operate the radio with or without the interface, but CAT makes it a lot easier. It's a matter of getting used to the "new concepts". There are just so many buttons they can fit on those tiny new rigs!




Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: N0IU on April 30, 2013, 10:56:37 AM
After a long time on the charger, I got the blue light meaning it was ready to go.  I started reading the manual and realized both belonged in the drawer they came out of.
Oh don't do that! I'll give you $10 for the HT!


Title: RE: Old Ham - New Technology
Post by: N2EY on April 30, 2013, 02:36:21 PM
The reason they make those menu-driven rigs is simple: Hams buy them.

73 de Jim, N2EY