My Station

I’m using the following equipment in my shack:

  • Yaesu FT-450 AT  for HF/50MHz
  • SDRPlay RSP1
  • Icom IC-201 for VHF All-Mode (the picture in the header)
  • Maas SPS-50-II Power Supply
  • Radioddity GD-77 & GD-77S for DMR
  • MMDVM_HS_Hat in combination with Pi-Star for a local DMR HotSpot

FT-450 AT

It’s a rather small rig, but it suits my needs. It has a basic antenna tuner (matches 3:1) which is more than adequate as I use resonant antenna’s (EFHW for 80-40-20 and a vertical for 40-20-17-15-12-10-6). It has a built-in keyer and voice parrot. Thermal design is very good (lump ‘o metal) and the fan only spins on TX. Works great for digimodes as well due to the fact that it has a 1ppm TCXO. It can provice up to 100W out – but my license covers only up to 50W. More than adequate.

I’ve recently modified it with a G4HUP High Impedance buffer board, feeding the unmodified antenna signal to an SDRPlay RSP1. It gives me a waterfall display of the entire band; and I can control the transceiver via SDR-Console V3 via CAT. Pretty nifty!

The built-in DSP is doing it’s action in the IF stage, not in the last LF stage and does a pretty good job. The fact that I have a second RX now via SDR-Console V3 does help in some situations, as the filtering is on another level when done via SDR.

Icom IC-201

I was gifted this TRX by Yves, ON4BNC, who had no use for it anymore (many many thanks!) and it needed some fixing. Mainly the device had an issue with the squelch, needed a good cleaning and alignment.

This wasn’t the easiest device to work on, but it’s truly a thing of beauty. The analog VFO runs like a clock and is incredibly precise, even in an environment where the temperature does fluctuate. It’s using helical resonators and can output up to 10W. Not much, but it does get the job done with a decent antenna. The unit had the built-in power supply as well. Great audio by the way! Wish I could find the additional extra VFO for it. It’s a looker.

Anyway, fixing this was a tedious task due to all the cabling and the horrible PCB material. The vias used at the time by Icom were of the type “rusty nail”. So I had to dig in deep, disassemble the unit entirely and replace those vias. I changed the grounding scheme as well, as in some places it was crazy, like: grounding for the FM stage had to go through the audio board first. I made sure to create a star-earth. Anyway, the problem with the squelch was purely this: bad grounding over the years.

I now have a nice looking all-mode VHF unit; and I just love the analog VFO on it… Classy!