The History of Ham Radio

A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.

Topics include:

  • What is Ham Radio
  • Introduction Video
  • The Circuits
  • The Components
  • The Early Pioneers
  • Who Invented the first radio
  • The Amplifier
  • Modulation
  • Introduction to SSB
  • Pre-WWI
  • Between the Wars
  • During WWII
  • Post War
  • Licensing
  • Call Signs
  • Types of Radios

Open the PDF document here:

Ham Radio History

What did you think of this document. Please leave a comment below.

Mike also wrote a document Antenna’s which is also a fantastic read. You can read that here.

Other Reads

If you enjoyed that read, here is some more posts we have on this site.

  • Amateur Radio Nets
    A list of Radio nets we have gathered from web pages around the world, as well as friends etc.…
  • Australian DMR Repeaters
    There are several DMR networks around the world, and more and more start all the time. The Australian DMR network currently covers the entire country…
  • Basic Antenna Fundamentals
    A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.…
  • BlueDV Windows 10 GD-77
    I found it hard to find useful information on how to run the OpenGD-77 hotpot mode with Windows 10. At the time of writing this, there is a lot about this topic using a pistar and even android or ISO, but not much with Windows 10. This is my experence with BlueDV and Open GD-77 using a Windows 10 PC.…
  • Chirp
    CHIRP is a free, open-source tool for programming your amateur radio. It supports a large number of manufacturers and models, as well as provides a…
  • DROID-Star
    After talking to a friend just to the north of me, he told me about the app DROID-Star for Android. As I only have apple…
  • DudeStar
    Here is a free windows program that will connect your PC to: DMR Yaesu Fusion DStar M17 P25 NXDN You can do all this without…
  • Easy Radio Rack
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  • Hotspot Fixing Packet Loss with AutoCal
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  • Iphone won’t download photos
    I get the “Device is unreachable” Error message when trying to import media from iPhone to Windows 10 PC. …
  • Mini Keyboard Options
    I bought this wireless keyboard/mouse which was very cheap. It does not come with batteries, but come with a USB dongle. It has a fantastic range since it is 2.4GHz RF. The back also has good grip which apparently isn’t common on all models. You can select what colour you want the plastic to be also.…
  • My Radio Diddity GD-77
    Starting in digital can be a little overwhelming to start with, no matter how many years you have had your licence.…
  • OpenSpot from the Start
    I have spoken to a few people who have felt a bit overwhelmed setting up their OpenSpot from the start. In saying that, I have…
  • Orion Push to Talk
    Orion is an app that isn’t really known in my world, perhaps because it isn’t available on all platforms, or because it does transmit your…
  • Portable Hot Stop with Battery Pack
    The new OpenSpot3 has come out with an internal battery. You might ask why? Well there is two common issues that is mostly raised with…
  • Power without Power
    In 2019 my family and I went on a five week trip through outback Australia to some of the remotest parts. We had no access…
  • ProScan and ProScan Client
    I recently started using ProScan after years of using FreeScan. I have always enjoyed using FreeScan as it is easy to setup, I can download outputs from the software, and the main reason “it works”. However ProScan seems to be more graphical and has different features also.…
  • ProScan and ProScan Client Update
    I recently started using ProScan after years of using FreeScan. I have always enjoyed using FreeScan as it is easy to setup, I can download outputs from the software, and the main reason “it works”. However ProScan seems to be more graphical and has different features also.…
  • SMS via Radio or Hotspot
    One of the most underutilised by very cool feature that comes with some digital networks is the ability to send and receive SMS messages. You…
  • Software Defined Radio (SDR)
    If you don’t have one of the latest and greatest expensive scanners, you will struggle to listen to a lot of transmissions. While there is…
  • The History of Ham Radio
    A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.…
  • The Radio Box
    How do you stop a hand held radio from falling and being damaged? Do you sometimes put the radio down on a bench or desk…
  • Treehouse
    An unusual name, but a catchy name no less, just like Peanut that was written by the same person, David PA7LIM. If you like Peanut, then you will like this project also. This project, like Peanut, includes some amazing coding and thinking.…
  • Updating Firmware
    Updating the firmware on the GD-77 can be daunting, as you can easily “brick” your radio. So be extremely careful. Make sure you understand why…
  • Upgrade to OpenGD77
    This page is just a help to friends I have spoke to who are interested in upgrading the Radioditty GD-77 to the OpenGD77 software. This is not my work, however I really do appreciate Roger and his team have done to put this together. I claim no responsibility if it breaks your radio, however I have not hear this happen now in some time. I am not an expert at all with OpenGD77, I have just put this together to help people who have asked me how to do it.…
  • USB Device Error PL2303HXA
    I went into the device manager and found the error, my cable no longer worked. This same issue happened to a USB Card reader also.…
  • Using an Android TV Box for Ham Radio
    If you want to get onto Digital Radio for less (way less) than $100, then you may be interested in this. I have Apple equipment,…
  • Welcome to the site
    Hi there from Down Under, Melbourne Australia. Thank you for visiting my radio web site. Below is what items by category is available on this…
  • Welle.io
    Welle.io is a DAB and DAB+ software defined radio (SDR). It runs on Windows, Linux and embedded devices like the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3.…
  • WizNet DMR
    The WizNet DMR app is still in beta testing, and at the time of writing this, you have to not only have a currently have…
Ham Radio History

USB Device Error PL2303HXA

I like to program my radio or scanner via the computer. You can see more, import more and adjust things quickly. One thing you can do on the PC is adjust which channels are in the scan or not, something unfortunatley you can not do on the radio (bit funny).

This all worked fine, however after a windows update, I could no longer connect. Something happened.

I went into the device manager and found the error, my cable no longer worked. This same issue happened to a USB Card reader also.

PL2303HXA PHASED OUT SINCE 2012. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SUPPLIER.
PL2303HXA PHASED OUT SINCE 2012. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SUPPLIER. Error

While this is all very informative, it really didn’t help me. However I found a solution.

What windows have done, is for the older chips, Window’s has dropped driver support for them. However you go to http://wp.brodzinski.net/hardware/fake-pl2303-how-to-install/ you can download an old driver version, then install the old driver version.

Once downloaded, open the zip file and run the exe file and install. Unplug the USB cable, and plug it in again.

Then, go back to the Device Manager, right click on the above line, select properties, go to Driver tab, select Update Driver, select Browse my computer for driver software, then navigate to the downloaded file, then select Let Me Pick, then you get a selection as per the picture below.  Select the older 2008 version as shown below.

Driver Update

Press Next and let it install. Once complete, click on Close, and Close again, and the Device Manager should now be changed to:

Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port (COM?)

You should be able to communicate with the radio fine now.  You many have to re-do the above steps if you re-boot the PC or do a windows update.

Option 2

I came acrross this other way to do it also, using a different driver. Both options work for me, however it depends on which cord I am using. So if the first option doesn’t work, you may want to try option two below.

I hope this helps you. This took a while to put together, so please let me know what you thought by adding a comment below. Don’t forget to follow our page also for more updates. There are more hints on this web site also.

  • BlueDV Windows 10 GD-77
    I found it hard to find useful information on how to run the OpenGD-77 hotpot mode with Windows 10. At the time of writing this, there is a lot about this topic using a pistar and even android or ISO, but not much with Windows 10. This is my experence with BlueDV and Open GD-77 using a Windows 10 PC.…
  • DudeStar
    Here is a free windows program that will connect your PC to: DMR Yaesu Fusion DStar M17 P25 NXDN You can do all this without…
  • Iphone won’t download photos
    I get the “Device is unreachable” Error message when trying to import media from iPhone to Windows 10 PC. …
  • ProScan and ProScan Client
    I recently started using ProScan after years of using FreeScan. I have always enjoyed using FreeScan as it is easy to setup, I can download outputs from the software, and the main reason “it works”. However ProScan seems to be more graphical and has different features also.…
  • ProScan and ProScan Client Update
    I recently started using ProScan after years of using FreeScan. I have always enjoyed using FreeScan as it is easy to setup, I can download outputs from the software, and the main reason “it works”. However ProScan seems to be more graphical and has different features also.…
  • Software Defined Radio (SDR)
    If you don’t have one of the latest and greatest expensive scanners, you will struggle to listen to a lot of transmissions. While there is…
  • Treehouse
    An unusual name, but a catchy name no less, just like Peanut that was written by the same person, David PA7LIM. If you like Peanut, then you will like this project also. This project, like Peanut, includes some amazing coding and thinking.…
  • USB Device Error PL2303HXA
    I went into the device manager and found the error, my cable no longer worked. This same issue happened to a USB Card reader also.…
  • Welle.io
    Welle.io is a DAB and DAB+ software defined radio (SDR). It runs on Windows, Linux and embedded devices like the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3.…

Amateur Radio Nets

Below is a list of Radio nets we have gathered from web pages around the world, as well as friends etc.

Clearly nets change all the time, so please let me know if there is anything you notice as potentially being wrong, needing to be updated, not clear of if you would like to add one you know.

You can then sync this calendar to your device so you have all the nets available just by clicking on the Add to Google Calendar button down the bottom. It will update as we are notified of changes.

I suggest you click on the weekly or daily view of the calendar below to see it correctly.

If you found something missing, or incorrect, or just have some suggestions, please send us a message via the form below. It will be great to hear from you.

While you are here, there is lots of other useful information on this site:

  • DudeStar
    Here is a free windows program that will connect your PC to: DMR Yaesu Fusion DStar M17 P25 NXDN You can do all this without needing to purchase a radio. I prefer to use a radio, however I thought I would put this review together to help others who may not or want to try…
  • Easy Radio Rack
    Sometimes we try and build things and a lot of time abs money on our radio racks but have you thought outside the square? A simple shoe shelf makes a fantastic radio rack! Want some other good ideas, have a look below:
  • Welle.io
    Welle.io is a DAB and DAB+ software defined radio (SDR). It runs on Windows, Linux and embedded devices like the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3. You can find the program and where to download it from their website. Using the Software With all these things, the software is updated regularly. You can see on the…
  • Hotspot Fixing Packet Loss with AutoCal
    The thing with digital communications, it can be extremely complicated. It only takes one tick box to be ticked incorrectly to take your station off the air.  Just as easily one tick box will get you on the air and sounding great. With Analogue, it was all about antenna gain, SWA, power and height.  Digital…
  • OpenSpot from the Start
    I have spoken to a few people who have felt a bit overwhelmed setting up their OpenSpot from the start. In saying that, I have always been surprised how many people are on digital, some of them have no computer experience at all.  It only takes one tickbox to be selected wrongly and you are…
  • Treehouse
    An unusual name, but a catchy name no less, just like Peanut that was written by the same person, David PA7LIM. If you like Peanut, then you will like this project also. This project, like Peanut, includes some amazing coding and thinking.…
  • DROID-Star
    After talking to a friend just to the north of me, he told me about the app DROID-Star for Android. As I only have apple devices, this wasn’t initially an option for me, however I do have an Android TV box which I use for Amateur Radio, so will review it from that device. At…
  • Software Defined Radio (SDR)
    If you don’t have one of the latest and greatest expensive scanners, you will struggle to listen to a lot of transmissions. While there is still a lot of Analogue transmissions today, even a lot still on AM especially when it comes to Aviation, however most have gone to digital. There are several reasons for…
  • SMS via Radio or Hotspot
    One of the most underutilised by very cool feature that comes with some digital networks is the ability to send and receive SMS messages. You can send it fairly easily to another radio, but did you know you can also receive a weather report, see where your last GPS transmitted location is, and send messages…
  • Portable Hot Stop with Battery Pack
    The new OpenSpot3 has come out with an internal battery. You might ask why? Well there is two common issues that is mostly raised with almost all hot spots. One is the range – I have addressed this in my BlueDV post if you want to make your own long range hotspot. However the other…
  • BlueDV Windows 10 GD-77
    I found it hard to find useful information on how to run the OpenGD-77 hotpot mode with Windows 10. At the time of writing this, there is a lot about this topic using a pistar and even android or ISO, but not much with Windows 10. This is my experence with BlueDV and Open GD-77 using a Windows 10 PC.…
  • Iphone won’t download photos
    I get the “Device is unreachable” Error message when trying to import media from iPhone to Windows 10 PC. …
  • Australian DMR Repeaters
    There are several DMR networks around the world, and more and more start all the time. The Australian DMR network currently covers the entire country and is for Australian residents only. It can often be hard to find which DMR repeaters are online, offline and where they are, especially if you travel a bit like…
  • Upgrade to OpenGD77
    This page is just a help to friends I have spoke to who are interested in upgrading the Radioditty GD-77 to the OpenGD77 software. This is not my work, however I really do appreciate Roger and his team have done to put this together. I claim no responsibility if it breaks your radio, however I have not hear this happen now in some time. I am not an expert at all with OpenGD77, I have just put this together to help people who have asked me how to do it.…
  • Basic Antenna Fundamentals
    A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.…
  • The History of Ham Radio
    A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.…
  • ProScan and ProScan Client Update
    I recently started using ProScan after years of using FreeScan. I have always enjoyed using FreeScan as it is easy to setup, I can download outputs from the software, and the main reason “it works”. However ProScan seems to be more graphical and has different features also.…
  • ProScan and ProScan Client
    I recently started using ProScan after years of using FreeScan. I have always enjoyed using FreeScan as it is easy to setup, I can download outputs from the software, and the main reason “it works”. However ProScan seems to be more graphical and has different features also.…
  • USB Device Error PL2303HXA
    I went into the device manager and found the error, my cable no longer worked. This same issue happened to a USB Card reader also.…
  • Amateur Radio Nets
    A list of Radio nets we have gathered from web pages around the world, as well as friends etc.…
  • The Radio Box
    How do you stop a hand held radio from falling and being damaged? Do you sometimes put the radio down on a bench or desk between overs or while you are waiting for someone to call you? Some radio’s don’t stand very well on their own, or can fall over easily if the bench is…
  • WizNet DMR
    The WizNet DMR app is still in beta testing, and at the time of writing this, you have to not only have a currently have a licence as an Amateur Radio Operator, but approved to be part of the beta testing group. You can do this by googling the web site, submitt a few details,…
  • Mini Keyboard Options
    I bought this wireless keyboard/mouse which was very cheap. It does not come with batteries, but come with a USB dongle. It has a fantastic range since it is 2.4GHz RF. The back also has good grip which apparently isn’t common on all models. You can select what colour you want the plastic to be also.…
  • Orion Push to Talk
    Orion is an app that isn’t really known in my world, perhaps because it isn’t available on all platforms, or because it does transmit your exact location to everyone on the channel. However there are some benefits to this mode and does add another communication mode to your list. You can also create your own…
  • Using an Android TV Box for Ham Radio
    If you want to get onto Digital Radio for less (way less) than $100, then you may be interested in this. I have Apple equipment, and therefore miss out on a lot of the testing apps that are only available on Android. There seem to be more and more there all the time! I don’t…
  • Welcome to the site
    Hi there from Down Under, Melbourne Australia. Thank you for visiting my radio web site. Below is what items by category is available on this web site. Thanks again for visiting. This web site is still being built, so don’t forget to Follow us to get updates as they come. You can do this by…
  • Power without Power
    In 2019 my family and I went on a five week trip through outback Australia to some of the remotest parts. We had no access to power, reception, food or water for days. We took what we had. Here is a cheap way to have power without having power, a rather inexpensive way to do…
  • Chirp
    CHIRP is a free, open-source tool for programming your amateur radio. It supports a large number of manufacturers and models, as well as provides a way to interface with multiple data sources and formats. Supported Radios Supported radios can be found on their web site at https://chirp.danplanet.com/projects/chirp/wiki/Home. This list is updated as the software is…
  • Updating Firmware
    Updating the firmware on the GD-77 can be daunting, as you can easily “brick” your radio. So be extremely careful. Make sure you understand why you are updating your firmware first. Since there is the option of “Bricking” your radio, and I only have the one digital radio, I decided not to update the firmware…
  • My Radio Diddity GD-77
    Starting in digital can be a little overwhelming to start with, no matter how many years you have had your licence.…

The Radio Box

How do you stop a hand held radio from falling and being damaged? Do you sometimes put the radio down on a bench or desk between overs or while you are waiting for someone to call you? Some radio’s don’t stand very well on their own, or can fall over easily if the bench is bumped.

Have you ever tried my box method?

I use a stand-up desk most of the time and I found my hand held radio would sometimes topple over and hit the floor hard. The radio hit the floor hard and broke a clip on the battery. It could have been a lot worse, but also could have been avoided also. My box idea has stopped anymore falls.

Wooden box stops hand held radio's from being damaged
Wooden box stops hand held radio’s from being damaged

For my box, I simply just cut 4 small scrap pieces of wood at 45 degrees angles, screwed and glued them together, and there we have it. It doesn’t need a bottom it is so simple. It will look a heap better when I pain or stain it.

A simple wooden box stops my radio from falling over or off the desk
A simple wooden box stops my radio from falling over or off the desk

You could easily make a box like I did, or make several boxes joined together so you get a row. Make sure you build them so you can swap radio’s between boxes should you wish to change the order of them, or should you change or upgrade your radio in the future.

You could also use a speaker mic and keep the radio in the box, this way you can still see the screen, and will not knock you radio over or off the desk.

Here is a short video that shows a bit more detail.

Feel free to follow this web site by putting in your email address so you get notified of future posts. If you have any comments regarding this concept, please let me know – I always appreciate feedback.

Here are some other latest posts:

  • DudeStar
    Here is a free windows program that will connect your PC to: DMR Yaesu Fusion DStar M17 P25 NXDN You can do…
  • Easy Radio Rack
    Sometimes we try and build things and a lot of time abs money on our radio racks but have you thought outside…
  • Welle.io
    Welle.io is a DAB and DAB+ software defined radio (SDR). It runs on Windows, Linux and embedded devices like the Raspberry Pi…
  • Hotspot Fixing Packet Loss with AutoCal
    The thing with digital communications, it can be extremely complicated. It only takes one tick box to be ticked incorrectly to take…
  • OpenSpot from the Start
    I have spoken to a few people who have felt a bit overwhelmed setting up their OpenSpot from the start. In saying…
  • Treehouse
    An unusual name, but a catchy name no less, just like Peanut that was written by the same person, David PA7LIM. If you like Peanut, then you will like this project also. This project, like Peanut, includes some amazing coding and thinking.…
  • DROID-Star
    After talking to a friend just to the north of me, he told me about the app DROID-Star for Android. As I…
  • Software Defined Radio (SDR)
    If you don’t have one of the latest and greatest expensive scanners, you will struggle to listen to a lot of transmissions.…
  • SMS via Radio or Hotspot
    One of the most underutilised by very cool feature that comes with some digital networks is the ability to send and receive…
  • Portable Hot Stop with Battery Pack
    The new OpenSpot3 has come out with an internal battery. You might ask why? Well there is two common issues that is…
  • BlueDV Windows 10 GD-77
    I found it hard to find useful information on how to run the OpenGD-77 hotpot mode with Windows 10. At the time of writing this, there is a lot about this topic using a pistar and even android or ISO, but not much with Windows 10. This is my experence with BlueDV and Open GD-77 using a Windows 10 PC.…
  • Iphone won’t download photos
    I get the “Device is unreachable” Error message when trying to import media from iPhone to Windows 10 PC. …
  • Australian DMR Repeaters
    There are several DMR networks around the world, and more and more start all the time. The Australian DMR network currently covers…
  • Upgrade to OpenGD77
    This page is just a help to friends I have spoke to who are interested in upgrading the Radioditty GD-77 to the OpenGD77 software. This is not my work, however I really do appreciate Roger and his team have done to put this together. I claim no responsibility if it breaks your radio, however I have not hear this happen now in some time. I am not an expert at all with OpenGD77, I have just put this together to help people who have asked me how to do it.…
  • Basic Antenna Fundamentals
    A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.…
  • The History of Ham Radio
    A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.…

WizNet DMR

The WizNet DMR app is still in beta testing, and at the time of writing this, you have to not only have a currently have a licence as an Amateur Radio Operator, but approved to be part of the beta testing group. You can do this by googling the web site, submitt a few details, and a password. Once approved, you will get an email with a link and log in details that will tell you how to install.

I understand this app is currently only available on android devices at this time, however there are plans to extend this to Apple.

Installing on Android, you will need to make sure you turn on the feature where you download sources from anyone. Once installed, put in your callsign, and your password as per the email and your in.

The first thing you will need to do is click on the settings menu right down the bottom left of the screen. In there you will have your call sign already populated, but you will need to put in your DMR ID number. If you have two Wiznet apps on different devices, you can use two different DMR ID numbers. You can on this same settings screen you can adjust your mic gain also.

Over the left side is five menu options.

The first item at the top on the left side expands out the menu’s so you can see the text for each item and not just the icon.

Talk Groups

By default you should land Talk Groups page which has the icon of a person and paper next to the person.

On this list you can see available talk groups. The scan ones will scan talk groups on that network, and will continue to scan until someone is talking.

Talk Group

When you click on a talk group, you will go to a new screen, the Talk Group screen, where you can see yourself in that talk group, and whoever else is in that talk group that is also using the same app.

If you go into a dynamic one, you can put in the Talk Group number at the top of the screen and select set to join that group. If the dynamic talk group is on the TGIF network, then you can select talk groups on that network to join, however it is on the BrandMeister network, you can select talk groups on that network.

When you switch the dynamic talk group to another talk group, you take everyone already logged into that group with you, so it is usually best to ask to see if anyone else is using it first.

Down the bottom of the screen is the button you press to transmit – you have to hold it unfortunately but I guess this stops accidents.

At the top of the screen is a chat window also. Just select the background and type.

2020 Update

Since writing this review, this software no longer seems to be available. Thank you for the many people who have contacted me to let me know they couldn’t download it. I am not sure what happened, but while it was working it worked very well. Hopefully it will return or turn into something similar soon.


Other Apps and Software

Hope that was helpful. Below are some other apps I have looked at also:

  • Orion Push to Talk
    Orion is an app that isn’t really known in my world, perhaps because it isn’t available on all platforms, or because it does transmit your exact location to everyone on the channel. However there are some benefits to this mode and does add another communication mode to your list. You can also create your own…
  • WizNet DMR
    The WizNet DMR app is still in beta testing, and at the time of writing this, you have to not only have a currently have a licence as an Amateur Radio Operator, but approved to be part of the beta testing group. You can do this by googling the web site, submitt a few details,…

Android Apps

  • DROID-Star
    After talking to a friend just to the north of me, he told me about the app DROID-Star for Android. As I only have apple devices, this wasn’t initially an option for me, however I do have an Android TV box which I use for Amateur Radio, so will review it from that device. At…
  • Mini Keyboard Options
    I bought this wireless keyboard/mouse which was very cheap. It does not come with batteries, but come with a USB dongle. It has a fantastic range since it is 2.4GHz RF. The back also has good grip which apparently isn’t common on all models. You can select what colour you want the plastic to be also.…
  • Orion Push to Talk
    Orion is an app that isn’t really known in my world, perhaps because it isn’t available on all platforms, or because it does transmit your exact location to everyone on the channel. However there are some benefits to this mode and does add another communication mode to your list. You can also create your own…
  • Using an Android TV Box for Ham Radio
    If you want to get onto Digital Radio for less (way less) than $100, then you may be interested in this. I have Apple equipment, and therefore miss out on a lot of the testing apps that are only available on Android. There seem to be more and more there all the time! I don’t…
  • WizNet DMR
    The WizNet DMR app is still in beta testing, and at the time of writing this, you have to not only have a currently have a licence as an Amateur Radio Operator, but approved to be part of the beta testing group. You can do this by googling the web site, submitt a few details,…

Apple Apps

  • Orion Push to Talk
    Orion is an app that isn’t really known in my world, perhaps because it isn’t available on all platforms, or because it does transmit your exact location to everyone on the channel. However there are some benefits to this mode and does add another communication mode to your list. You can also create your own…

Mini Keyboard Options

I bought this wireless keyboard/mouse which was very cheap. It does come with a USB dongle. It has a fantastic range since it is 2.4GHz RF. The back also has good grip which apparently isn’t common on all models. You can select what colour you want the plastic to be also.

Setup

Setup couldn’t be easier. Make sure it has batteries installed, some come with a rechargeable, mine required triple A batteries. Make sure the switch on the top side of the keyboard it to the left position for it to turn on – it should light up when you do this. Then in the battery compartment will be the USB dongle. Just plug in the USB dongle before powering up (if it is into an Android box), then it will connect and work fine straight away. If your model came with the battery, there may be a cord to charge the unit also.

Touch Pad

The top part of the keyboard in the touch pad area controls your mouse position. Using two fingers will scroll up and down the scroll bars. Unfortunately two finger zooming does not work. Right click can be done by a simultaneous two finger tap. You can turn the touch pad on or off by pressing Fn + F8.

Changing the Touch Pad Tracking Speed

All you have to do is press the blue Fn (function) button down the bottom left corner, then press the space bar.

Shortcuts

The keyboard comes with the following shortcuts at the top of the keyboard.

Far left Shortcuts

Over the far left side are media buttons, including volume up and down, pause and play, next track

Middle shortcuts

Either side of the touch pad are shortcuts, then are the following from top to bottom in order

Left Side of Touch PadRight Side of Touch Pad
1. Open Music Player App1. Open Google Search
2. Open Email App2. Go home button
3. Mute button3. Internet Browser
4. Mouse left button ( this is also on the far left of the letters below on the top)4. Mouse right button (this is also on the far left of the letters below on the bottom)

Far right Shortcuts

Over the right side at the top are directional buttons with an OK button in the middle.

Sleep Mode

The Keyboard will auto sleep and wake-up to save the battery. When the keyboard is idle for 3 minutes, it will go into auto sleep mode, and all LED indicators will turn off.

Keyboard Glowing Colours

Some keyboards glow at night. Unfortunately mine foes not, but if yours does, you just press blue the Fn key down the bottom left and the F2 key to change the colours. Press Fn-F2 again to change to the next colour and so on. This will give you the three standard colours. However, if your feeling nerdy, you can press and hold down the Fn key, then using your thumb on the touch pad, move it left and right to get all the other colours. There are 7 different colours in total.

If you want to be a geek of all the nerds, you can do the RGB spectrum, but pressing and holding F2 and then scrolling your thumb across left to right on the touch pad, then let go. It will scroll through all the colours automatically. You can still use the touch pad as normal while it automatically changes colours. I guess not having this saves some power also, however it does turn off every 30 or so seconds. There is a switch up the top right on the side of the keyboard that will turn it off also.

Fuction Keys

Apart from what I have already mentioned, you can do the following functions using the blue function key (Fn) found down the bottom left corner.

  • Fn + Fn = Enter into pair mode
  • Fn + F7 = take a screen shot
  • Fn + F8 = turn on or off the touch pad
  • Fn + F9 = F11 key
  • Fn + F10 = F12 key
  • Fn + Back = Delete
  • Fn + Page Up = Home

Other Keyboards

Here is a review on several other keyboards of similar size. This is not my video, but thought it gave a good quick overview of several models available.

Conclusion

The size of the keyboard is just right, not to small so you can’t find it or use it easily, but not to big so it takes over the desk or armchair. It works well with my Android TV device, but understand it does work on other devices such as windows, Raspberry Pi etc.

If I was going to buy it again, I may get the one with the inbuilt battery installed that can be re-charged, however once the batter goes, you almost have to replace it. My model could be loaded up with rechargeable batteries you can buy from anywhere.

Before I was using this Keyboard, I used a USB mouse, and while in some ways that is easier than a touch pad, to have a full keyboard and the touch pad all cordless with a good range is fantastic.

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Using an Android TV Box for Ham Radio

If you want to get onto Digital Radio for less (way less) than $100, then you may be interested in this.

I have Apple equipment, and therefore miss out on a lot of the testing apps that are only available on Android. There seem to be more and more there all the time! I don’t want to purchase another phone, just to get a few apps, but I did hear of an alternative.

A friend of mine in Canada, Martin VE3KLR, gave me the idea of using an Android TV box and actually using it as a radio! He had already done it and believes it could end up doing a lot more than what I have posted below. With the amount of apps now available, you can talk on almost all networks now via Android. You sure get some funny replies when you say your on a TV box.

I had to do it as more and more people were talking about Android apps.

Not knowing much about Android at all, this project started to quickly become overwhelming, so I ended up putting it on hold for some time.

However I later decided to get back on this project. It just seemed to easy. So this is what I did.

The Box

I purchased a cheap Android TV Box, mine was worth $40.99 including postage. You could almost purchase any Android box, but I decided to get one with at least two USB ports, and blue tooth. Blue tooth will allow me to connect other things like keyboards, microphones and mouses as I want to. It also has wifi, which means less cords.

At first, I was using this TV Box with out old CRT TV, and it worked well, the writing was a little hard to read, but it still worked. I then plugged it into a HDMI monitor, and it worked very well, very clear and easy to use.

As this little box plugs into a nice TV screen, you could easily use this as a small computer by installing a word processor. Social media, YouTube and web browsing are easy also.

Once connected, I connected it to my Wifi. On my box, you can plug in a Ethernet cable which is handy if your shack is far from your router, but I chose not to at this stage.

When you get one, make sure yours comes with the correct AC plug for your country. You may want to think about if you want HDMI, Blue tooth and how many USB ports does it have. Remember, these boxes are meant to store and play video, so they usually come with a lot of hard drive space and grunt for what we are going to us it for.

Below are some pictures of the one I got, however I am not necessarily recommending it. There are heaps of options available, so do a bit or research first, but remember most reviews will be about how well they play movies, which is not why I got mine.

As I mentioned earlier, there are heaps of Amateur Radio apps now available, and new ones all the time, so you could install these on the same device.

I started with some of the basic apps, like Echolink, Peanut, Teamspeak and Zello. These also have the echo function where you can test sound also.

The Monitor

You probably don’t need to get a monitor, but you may want to when you see what I got. I purchased a small 9 inch monitor that runs off 12 volts. I was going to get a 5 inch one, but it ran of 8 volts, and the one I got is just that little bit bigger for my eyes. This monitor has several different input options so I could future proof this handy little monitor. It also had speakers inbuilt, so when using HDMI, everything sound and video is taken care of.

You can get larger monitors ones, or smaller ones, but I thought this one would sit well on my desk. It also came with a nice stand. You can see in the video how well it sits on my desk in front of my PC monitors.

What other things do you need?

For me, I found a mouse most useful. You can use the remote, but if you plug in a mouse, you almost don’t need a remote anymore.

A microphone is something else you should invest in. You can purchase these for almost $1 delivered, but I often think you get what you pay for, and the microphone is very important. Having said that, as you are going to use the microphone on digital talk groups only, some would argue it isn’t as important as analog.

A keyboard would be great. You could plug it in via USB, or connect in via Bluetooth. I haven’t done this as yet, but plan to.

You can plug in a USB Bluetooth dongle also should you not need to.

Other Uses

Another use for this is to put your electronic QSL cards on it. It makes a great slideshow for the radio shack! They usually come with large hard drives so lots of space for these.

As I mentioned earlier, it could be used for gaming, watching videos,

Mobile

The screen is 12 volts, so this could easily go in the car also, and the Android TV Box could be secured on the back of it. The box runs off 5 volts, so this could easily be also run in the car if your cleaver enough to drop 12 volts to 5 volts.

The TV box can uses wifi, so you should be able to connect it to your mobile phone.

I hope that helps get a few more onto the digital bands. It is a lot of fun on digital. I have made good friends all over the world over digital. Having this Android TV Box not only allows me access to Android Apps, but pretty much gives me a new radio so I can now receive and transmit on a different talk groups while using my current setup to work other talk groups at the same time.

Update: since writing this post, I have updated and changed my android TV box as I suddenly had sound issues. The one I ended up getting had a later version on android and more memory etc.

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Welcome to the site

Hi there from Down Under, Melbourne Australia. Thank you for visiting my radio web site. Below is what items by category is available on this web site.

Thanks again for visiting. This web site is still being built, so don’t forget to Follow us to get updates as they come. You can do this by the Follow Us box.

I also have a travel web site, so if you are interested in Australia at all, I highly recommend you visit it. One of our biggest trips was a 5 week holiday through outback Australia. We traveled through outback Australia to see why these remote locations are there, how they started, and what are they doing today. These locations are some of the most remote places in the world. This trip has an amazing amount of Australia’s information, pictures, maps and video’s and I guarantee you will learn something even if you are an Australian or been there before. See the Northern Australia trip via the link below. https://sangsteradventures.wordpress.com/

Hope to hear you on the air sometime soon!

73’s from VK3TBS, Ben, Melbourne Australia

Chirp

CHIRP is a free, open-source tool for programming your amateur radio. It supports a large number of manufacturers and models, as well as provides a way to interface with multiple data sources and formats.

Supported Radios

Supported radios can be found on their web site at https://chirp.danplanet.com/projects/chirp/wiki/Home. This list is updated as the software is updated.

Download Chirp

Chirp can be downloaded from the following web site. Should things stop to work or connect to outside web sites, it probably is because you don’t have the latest version. You do NOT need to uninstall an existing version of CHIRP before installing a newer one. Just install the new one and it will replace the existing copy. If you already have an old copy on your PC, make sure you close it first, otherwise you will get an error while installing.

https://trac.chirp.danplanet.com/chirp_daily/LATEST/

Update Chirp

On opening Chirp, it will tell you if an update is available. Simply click on the link, download the latest version that is appropriate to your platform, and then once the file has downloaded, run the file. It will update your software. No need to un-install the old one, and it seems all the settings, such as file locations, stay in the new version.

Known Issues

Chirp list all their known issues online which is great. You can see the current list here:

Download from Radio

I think the first step is to first download what is currently on the radio. This will give you a starting point which can be saved should your upload not work. At the very least doing this will allow you to check communication between your PC and radio works, and you will have a file that you can look at to see how it was programmed.

To do this, go to the Radio menu and click on Download from Radio or Ctrl-D. This will give you a small dialog box where you can select the Com Port, radio and model. Your model of radio may not exactly be on the list, so you may need to do some work to see which one to select as an alternative. For example, I have a Baofeng GT-3TP, but it is not on the list, so I have to select the BF-F8HP model.

You can then either edit what you have and then upload it back to the radio, or start from scratch. If you want to start from scratch, you may want to see what Query Data sources are available first.

If you have trouble connecting your computer to your radio, then first make sure it is connected correctly and all the way into the radio. If this doesn’t fix it, go to Windows Device Manager then right click and select properties. If error code 43 comes up, then right click on it and uninstall. Then from the Action menu, scan for updated devices.

Query Data Source

Chirp can can sync your radio with the repeaters listed on several different sites. This will save you a lot of time getting the latest frequencies, offsets, and tone squelches etc. These sites can be found on the Radio menu, Query Data Source, then you can see a list of them.

I usually use the RepeaterBook option and then from this you can select political or proximity depending on what you want to do. If you select proximity it will put the repeaters in distance and band order, not frequency, however you can change this prior to uploading to your radio.

For me, once I have selected proximity, I sort the list in order of frequency, however this doesn’t change their location channel.

Then select the Frequencies you don’t want in your radio, for example, the ones on bands your radio does not use. Right click and select delete, and move all memories up. You may need to sort again in order of frequency; however, this doesn’t change their location channel.

I then export the tab to a csv file.

I then open the CSV file in Excel and sort in the order I want, frequency. Be sure to re-number the location numbers once in the correct order. MAKE SURE COLUMN K = FM. Make sure you remove any comments in column O & R. You can also add any additional frequencies you want to.

Open the CSV exported file, now you will see the locations are in order of Frequency as set above. You can still make any changes required and save or save as which will update the CSV file.

I will add notes here on how to program your radio soon.

Other Reads

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Updating Firmware

Updating the firmware on the GD-77 can be daunting, as you can easily “brick” your radio. So be extremely careful.

Make sure you understand why you are updating your firmware first. Since there is the option of “Bricking” your radio, and I only have the one digital radio, I decided not to update the firmware unless I had the need and then was sure it was a stable version. Remember, don’t fix something that isn’t broken. Once it is broken, you can’t fix it if it becomes a brick.

At the time of writing this, I was told version 3.1.8 was the latest most stable version. Clearly this will change, so do your own current research. So the first step is to download that version, and the software to download it onto the radio.

Download latest firmware updater software from https://www.radioddity.com/pages/radioddity-download and save it on your PC.

Then after extracting the downloaded file, go into the Update Software folder and into the English folder and run the Update.exe file.

Browse to find the firmware you have chosen to download to the radio. It will be a .sgl file.

Firmware downloader

Then, plug in the radio via the USB cable and before turning on the radio, press both buttons at the same time bellow the PTT button, then turn radio on. Only the green light should turn on with a blank display.

Make sure you have selected the correct port on the update software. Then press download to update the firmware on the radio.

Once download has completed, turn radio off, disconnect and turn it back on to check it works.

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