Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #1 - How to program the radio

The Azden AZ-61 6m handi-talkie (HT) can be found from time-to-time at hamfests for a relatively low price.  Buying one without the manual; however, can be a rather frustrating experience since the radio's design is far from intuitive.  This isn't the kind of radio that you can put in your hand and program without looking at a manual.  Almost anyone who has owned one would agree that it is downright difficult to program the AZ-61 (even with the original manual).

Azden AZ-61 6m FM Transceiver
After searching the Internet, we discovered that there are rather few resources to guide the manual-less Azden AZ-61 owner in programming the radio.  As a consequence, there are probably more than a few fully functional units out there just sitting on a shelf collecting dust for lack of ability to program.  If you are one of those owners, we prepared this short tutorial on programming the Azden AZ-61 for you.  We hope it inspires you to dust-off your Azden AZ-61 (or snap one up at a hamfest), program a repeater or two, and get it back on the air.

How to program a repeater into the Azden AZ-61

In the following step-by-step example, we will program a local 6m repeater located in Ben Lomond, California (WR6AOK, output = 52.800 MHz, offset = -0.500 = 52.500 MHz, PL = 114.8) to the Azden AZ-61's memory address "MA0".

"MA0" is the main memory channel and can be recalled quickly via the dedicated MA0 button on the front left of the radio.  This is a pretty handy feature.

Step 1: Turn on the program mode

  • In order to program the radio you need to first enable the programming mode. 
  • Press "FUN" + "0" (at the same time) and hold for 1 second
  • The LCD display will show a blinking "PR"
  • Note: The programming mode is automatically turned off when the radio is left idle for 10 seconds or more.  This is an irritating "feature" since it forces you to repeatedly re-enable the programming mode (unless you are fast at going through the programming steps).  Be prepared to get a lot of practice on turning on the program mode.

Step 2: Select the memory address to program

  • For our example, we are going to program the memory address "MA0".
  • Using the up or down arrow buttons (located to the right of the LCD), select the memory address, "MA0".
  • "MA0" will appear in the upper left hand corner of the LCD when selected.
  • Press the "#" key

Step 3: Enter the receive frequency

  • For our example, we are going to program a receive frequency of 52.800 MHz.
  • Note: The AZ-61 does not have a decimal key.  Instead, use the "*" to denote the decimal when entering the frequency.  
  • Enter the frequency by pressing the keys, 52*800
  • Press the "#" key

Step 4: Enter a receive CTCSS frequency

  • For our example, we do not want to use a CTCSS frequency (not sure if the repeater transmits the CTCSS) so we are going to program this memory address to disable that feature.
  • Using the up and down arrow buttons (located to the right of the LCD), select "C00:"
  • Press the "#" key

Step 5: Enter transmit frequency

  • For our example, we are going to program a transmit frequency of 52.500 MHz.
  • Note: The AZ-61 does not have a decimal key.  Instead, use the "*" to denote the decimal when entering the frequency.  
  • Enter the frequency by pressing the keys, 52*500
  • Press the "#" key

Step 6: Enter transmit CTCSS frequency

  • For our example, we are going to program a transmit CTCSS frequency of 114.8 Hz.
  • Note: The CTCSS frequencies are stored in the AZ-61 in a table.
  • Using the up and down arrow buttons (located to the right of the LCD), select the "C16: 114.8"
  • Press the "#" key
Voila!  We have programmed a repeater into the Azden AZ-61 in just six easy steps.  Armed with these steps you can repeat the same procedure to program any of the other 40 memory addresses.  Hope this article has inspired you to put  your AZ-61 back on the air.

Considering its age, there are a surprising number of other features that can be programmed into the Azden AZ-61.  Perhaps this is a good example of how more can be less.  In the case of the AZ-61, more features seems to have led to less usability / programmability.  We may cover additional programming topics in a future article if there is interest.  Drop us a line and let us know.


Good DX and 73, NJ2X


Other related articles on NJ2X.COM:
Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #1 - How to program the radio
Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #2 - disabling "the beep"
Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #3 - 1993 review article
Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #4 - rebuilding the battery pack
Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #5 - how to reset the radio
Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #6 - Automatic Power-Off
Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #7 - VFO Mode
Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #8 - Frequency Step
Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #9 - Scanning
Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #10 - Dual Watch



© Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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