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Spectrum Electronic Products introduces the world's first handheld repeater controller. No larger than most handheld radios, the HRC-10 converts a single or dual-band radio into a full featured simplex or duplex repeater system. Key featuresoftheHRC-

10 include voice IDer, DTMF Control and programming, hang and time-out timers, Digital Voice Operated Squelch (DVOS™), telemetry tones, and private voice mail slot. S299 . ■■

http://www.spectrum-usa.com 800-566-2788 - fax 408-336-9461

Spectrum Electronic Products introduces the world's first handheld repeater controller. No larger than most handheld radios, the HRC-10 converts a single or dual-band radio into a full featured simplex or duplex repeater system. Key featuresoftheHRC-

10 include voice IDer, DTMF Control and programming, hang and time-out timers, Digital Voice Operated Squelch (DVOS™), telemetry tones, and private voice mail slot. S299 . ■■

http://www.spectrum-usa.com 800-566-2788 - fax 408-336-9461

have been very welcome. Yaesu usually provides one with their rigs, and should consider adding one for the VX-IR.

The good stuff

You just can't beat the portability of this radio! It's small enough to take anywhere, and it has enough transmit power to reach at least a few repeaters anyplace you might be, unless, perhaps, you're way out in the country. The out-of-band coverage is truly remarkable. and having 220 MHz reception is great. The alpha naming of memories is something you won't want to live without once you've tried it. The lithium-ion battery is quite an improvement over NiCds. and the single AA-cell operation (with the optional battery holder) really extends the usefulness of the radio. Having DTMF available in such a tiny HT is a real treat. The AM detector is excel-

Radio Bookshop

Phone 800-274-7373 or 603-924-0058, FAX 603-924-8613. or see order form on page 88 for ordering information.

Crystal Set Projects

This 160-page book has 15 projects you (or your junior op) can build. It doesn't take a well-stocked junk box to build these crystal radios. You can build 'em into match boxes, cigar boxes, or anything else that's handy. Some even tunc the short wave bands! Published by The Xtal Set Socicty. Start having some fun! $15.

Crystal Set Building

This book is packed with 168 pages of easy-home crystal radio projects. Your batteries will never wear out with these radios. They might even make a great science fair project. These projects are reprinted from Volumes 6 and 7 of The Xtal Set Society Newsletter. They do have some tube sets and TRF's too. Great weekend projects. $16.

If you're a No-Code Tech, and you're having fun operating, tell us about it! Other No-Code Techs will enjoy reading about your adventures in ham radio—and we'll pay you for your articles. Yes, lots of nice clear photos, please. Call Joyce Sawtelle at 800-274-7373 to get a copy of "How to Write for 73 Magazine."

lent, providing very good fidelity for aircraft or BCB listening. It's the best one I've ever heard on a ham HT. And you can read the battery voltage at any time, even while transmitting. It's a function on the menu, and you can call it up with one button press if you leave the menu set at "Battery.

The not-so-good stuff

I've owned lots of Yaesu handhelds, from the venerable FT-208R up through the FT-530. I've always considered Yaesu to be at the forefront of HT technology, especially where the user interface was concerned. The command sequences were intuitive and the firmware worked great.

This radio, alas, is an exception. The menu system is similar to the Standard's, and is the only sensible way to control dozens of functions from so few buttons. In this one, though, there appears to be no logic behind the grouping of the functions. For instance, the repeater offset and direction are next to each other, as they should be, but are nowhere near the CTCSS frequency and status, so entering a new repeater may require your stepping through a bunch of unrelated functions, unless you always use the automatic repeater offset function to avoid having to leave the CTCSS section of the menu. Plus, some of the command sequences make sense, while others are so counter-intuitive that I can't remember them. I've had to refer to the manual more with this radio than with any other I've owned. The Standard has a much simpler interface, and I learned that rig in no time.

Also, there arc some significant bugs in the VX-1 R's operating system. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention some of the bigger ones here:

The most serious bug occurs when you try to change the contents of a "home" memory channel (every band has its own) before storing any other memories on that band. Instead of changing it, the rig steals a home channel from another band! You wind up with two home channels on one band, and the loss of one on another band. If you try to delete the new (false) home channel, it just won't go away. It's happened to me several times. The first time. I spent about an hour trying to undo the mess. I finally found the cure: First, make sure the rig isn't displaying the false channel. Then, go back to the band from which it was stolen (you have to hunt around to find out which one) and try storing a frequency in its home channel again. The home channel will be stolen back and all will be well.

In the automatic squelch mode, which sets the squelch to the optimum point for most sensitive reception, scanning doesn't work properly. After the first time the rig pauses on a signal, the squelch doesn't close completely. The audio amp stays on, and the scan keeps pausing on each frequency through which it steps, regardless of whether or not there's a signal there. To reset the squelch, you have to either turn the rig off and back on, or change bands. Changing the squelch to a manual setting cures the bug.

Similarly, the emergency function doesn't turn off properly, either. Again, you have to turn the radio off and back on to get things back to normal. Oh. well, if you actually have to use that function, resetting your radio will be the last thing on your mind anyway!

The AM band's memories refuse to delete! Once you've stored an AM memory, you're stuck with it forever. You can change its contents, of course, but it's there to stay. Also, the detector mode setting reads "FM-N" (for "narrow"), not AM. and you can't change it. The good quality of the audio, however, makes it obvious that the detection is actually AM. (On other bands, the mode detection shown is correct.)

Conclusion

Despite some real shortcomings, the VX-IR is the bee's knees! The size alone makes it worth having for hamfests and travel. The rig needs a firmware overhaul, and I hope Yaesu will consider fixing the bugs and removing the memory segregation. With such corrections, this $300-class micro HT would be truly great, both as a ham rig and a scanner. As it is, it's still cool, and I'm keeping mine! SB

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