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Author Topic: Old Ham - New Technology  (Read 3998 times)
WA2ASB
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« 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?
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W1JKA
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« Reply #1 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.
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AC2EU
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« Reply #2 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!

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N0JI
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Posts: 9




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« Reply #3 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.....
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K8AXW
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« Reply #4 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!

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AC2EU
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« Reply #5 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?   Grin
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N2UGB
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« Reply #6 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.
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K8AXW
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« Reply #7 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! 
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AA4PB
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Posts: 13033




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« Reply #8 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.
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W1JKA
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« Reply #9 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.
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SWMAN
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Posts: 601




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« Reply #10 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.
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AC2EU
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« Reply #11 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!  Grin Shocked
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AC2EU
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« Reply #12 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.
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SWMAN
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Posts: 601




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« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2013, 09:45:51 AM »

 Jim, Thanks for the offer, I will contact you one of these days.   73 Jim W5JJG
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AL7MM
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Posts: 42




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« Reply #14 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
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