FT1D

After using the Yaesu FT1D for a few months now, I have discovered some likes and dislikes:

Likes

  • APRS and GPS built in
  • Scans very quickly
  • Loud audio
  • Small size

Dislikes

  • Takes forever to charge
  • Battery indicator is useless
  • Need two hands to operate volume control
  • Cumbersome menu system (very hard to program in the field)
  • Receive is not what I’d call stellar
  • Well under the rated power output (3.5 watts on high)
  • Got caught in my seatbelt and cracked the screen
  • APRS is not easy to use (should be one button/setting that turns on/off modem and GPS)
  • GPS sometimes takes 5+ minutes to get a lock
  • Cannot completely mute your own APRS “squawk”. HIGHLY annoying.
  • Does not keep the correct time
  • Doesn’t always automatically switch from FM to digital and vice versa.
  • “Flashlight” function buried in menu
  • “Bell” does not work (for me anyway – tried everything)
  • Shortwave receive is useless
  • Belt clip attached to battery (Doh!)
  • Supplied antenna is more like a dummy load (even a cheap $7 one from Ebay works FAR better)
  • Locking out channels while scanning is nearly impossible (I can’t figure it out anyway)

In a nutshell, it’s a pretty good radio but has MANY “quirks”. I really think Yaesu designed this radio and pushed it out the door in a rush. I also think it was designed by someone who has never operated a radio (at least a ham radio) before. Would I recommend it? Well, if you’re gung-ho about Fusion digital, you really have limited options. If you don’t care about that, buy something else. In fact, my Baofeng UV5R is far superior in quite a few aspects and it was only $40 CDN.

APRS Messenger

I have written (am writing) an application for Windows that allows a ham to interact on the APRS® network from the comfort of their home computer. Yes, that’s why I haven’t been on the air for seemingly forever. 🙂 Since many stations are (or should be) 2-way capable, I decided their must be a better way to send APRS® messages. And there is.

If anyone has used IRC (Internet Relay Chat) you’ll know that is a very flexible and powerful medium for chatting. Since I have done extensive programming for IRC (I wrote my own client), I decided to more-or-less emulate an IRC client. I looked at the problem from the same perspective as writing an IRC client as, from a programmers view, both IRC and APRS® have very similar requirements. Both are an exercise in parsing streams of text.

APRS® has a way to send messages to multiple stations by way of “GROUPS”. This is very similar to an IRC “channel”. APRS® also allows one to send messages directly to another station one-on-one. This is very similar to an IRC private message (PM). My software emulates this almost exactly the same allowing messages to a group (channel) or to another ham directly (PM). So far I’m using the APRS-IS (APRS Internet System) ONLY for this task but anyone using an RF station (eg. a mobile with 2-way capabilities) that is in range of an iGate (even indirectly through a Digipeater) can communicate with any IS station – and vice versa! Not only that, there is an Android app called “APRSdroid®” that allows one to use their Android phone to connect to the system as well. It features APRS® texting, position reporting and a host of connection protocols.

So now we have computer-to-computer, computer-to-Android, computer-to-RF, Android-to computer, Android-to-RF, RF-to-computer … you get the idea. You need never be far from messaging via ham radio! This technology very cool indeed.

I will post the ZIP file in a day or three for your enjoyment.

The ZIP file is ready! Please remember, there ARE still some bugs (mostly how GROUPS are handled – creating, changing, etc) so be very careful to check all your inputs, particularly the Login screen.

Download APRSmessenger

Copy to any folder that you have read/write permissions and run it!

 

 


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