February has been quite the month. To begin the month, I was sick in some form or fashion for three weeks running. During those three weeks I had plenty of time to think and gave some thought to the mobile amateur radio station and eventually decided to remove the FT-8800 and operate with just the FT-857D. I haven’t been that active on repeaters in awhile, so having having two VHF/UHF capable radios was just taking up space. The plan was to remove the FT-8800 control head while I was down in Brunswick and remove the rest of the radio when I got back to Savannah. That’s when things began to get interesting…
After getting the control heads swapped out on the dash, I went to program a few repeaters into the FT-857D. While trying to enter PLs, I made a discovery: the main tuning knob had quit working altogether. For some time, it would only tune down and I was putting off sending it off for service because I didn’t want to go without mobile HF. The problem is apparently hardware related, because resets didn’t remedy the problem and an email to Yaesu technical support didn’t receive a reply with suggestions of what to try but instructions on how to send it in. I’ll be interested in finding out what the repair estimate is. Without the main tuning knob, I couldn’t manually program PL tones and could only effectively tune on HF with up/down knobs and the wheel on the microphone, so it pretty much forced my hand. Today the 857D came out of the car and it will go to Yaesu via UPS on Monday. I’ll be off the air on HF for awhile, but once it gets back, I plan to start trying to hunt NPOTA (National Parks on the Air) stations.
Another aspect of the plan I came up with is to get a Yaesu ATAS-120 mobile antenna. If I decide to go through with that idea, it will probably be in the spring or later. I’ll probably be getting the RT systems programming software and USB programming cable for the FT-857 as well.
I contemplated taking the BC780XLT out of the car and using just the Home Patrol 1 for scanning, but eventually decided against it. I’ll leave the 780 in as using it to listen to aviation and MilCom and the HP-1 for everything else is simply more effective.