Showing posts with label Radio Programming. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Radio Programming. Show all posts

March 25, 2022

ClearNode Tip #3: DTMF Commands

The ClearNode FM Hotspot for AllStarLink and EchoLink can be handily linked to other nodes via the ClearNode mobile phone app (iPhone or Android).  The mobile phone app is easy and convenient to use to look up nodes and connect.
Kenwood TH-F6A Triband Amateur Radio Transceiver

AllStarLink supports DTMF commands that allow you to control your node using only your radio.  It is good to know how to use these commands.  A few possible use cases:
  • Your mobile phone is charging, upgrading, or is otherwise unavailable.
  • You want to share your node with a friend, family member, or neighbor and don't want to share your mobile app credentials.
  • You are communicating via radio through another node and want to control it via DTMF tones.

AllStarLink Node DTMF Nodes
To use these commands, first press and hold your radio's PTT while entering the command through the radio's keypad and then releasing the PTT.

*1node - Link Disconnect
*2node - Link Connect (Monitor Only)
*3node - Link Connect

*70 - Link Status (Locally connected nodes)
*71 - Disconnect Permanently Connected Links
*73 - Permanently Connect Links
*75 - Full Status (Avoid using if you are connected to a AllStarLink hub)
*76 - Disconnect ALL Links
*77 - Reconnect Links (Disconnected by command above)
*81 - Say Time of Day (local)
*980 - Say App_rpt Version


Dual tone multi-frequency (DTMF) was developed by Bell System. DTMF was introduced for public use on Nov. 18, 1963. It is known by the trademark Touch-Tone.


Good DX and 73, NJ2X




January 3, 2017

Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #11 - Battery Saver

This is an article in a series regarding the vintage Azden AZ-61 6m FM Transceiver.

During normal standby or priority operations the battery saving function can be enabled thereby reducing power consumption.  The battery saving function cannot be enabled during pager, code squelch, or scanning operations.  The initialized value is 500ms.

The battery saver mode reduces receiving current consumption from ~48mA squelched to ~28mA.

The various functions on the vintage AZ-61 are a challenge to operate without instructions.  Hope the information below helps AZ-61 owners master the battery saver on their AZ-61.

Battery Saver

  • To activate the battery saver press the "FUN" + "SAVE" key.

Photo of the Azden AZ-61 hand held transceiver
Azden AZ-61 HT


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
Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #11 - Battery Saver
Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #12 - Optional Accessories


© Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM, 2017. 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.

December 27, 2016

Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #10 - Dual Watch

This is an article in a series regarding the vintage Azden AZ-61 6m FM Transceiver.

The AZ-61 has dual watch capability which is also called priority operation.  Priority operation can be used with either the VFO model or memory mode.  Dual watch is of the frequency being received and the MA0 channel.  The MA0 channel is scanned approximately every four seconds.  Receiving a signal on the MA0 channel produces a beep sounds and "S" is displayed.

While using the dual watch mode, pressing PTT allows immediate transmission of the channel set in the VFO mode or memory mode.

The various functions on the vintage AZ-61 are a challenge to operate without instructions.  Hope the information below helps AZ-61 owners master priority operation (dual watch) on their AZ-61.

Priority Operation (Dual Watch)

  • To enable or disable priority operation press the "PRI" key.
  • Note: "PRI" lights up on the display when the priority operation is enabled.

Photo of the Azden AZ-61 hand held transceiver
Azden AZ-61 HT


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
Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #12 - Optional Accessories


© Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM, 2016. 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.

December 13, 2016

Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #9 - Scanning

This is an article in a series regarding the vintage Azden AZ-61 6m FM Transceiver.

The AZ-61 has two scanning modes: VFO mode scanning and memory mode scanning.  The various functions on the vintage AZ-61 are a challenge to operate without instructions.  Hope the information below helps AZ-61 owners master scanning on their AZ-61.

Scanning Overview

  • VFO mode scanning is between two frequencies and is programmable
    • A-bank scanning - scanning is conducted between the receiving frequencies stored in memory channels A19 and A20 using the configured frequency step.
    • B-bank scanning - scanning is conducted between the receiving frequencies stored in memory channels B19 and B20 using the configured frequency step.
  • Note: VFO mode scanning is from low frequency to high frequency.  Be sure to program the lower frequency in A19 when setting up A-bank scanning.  Be sure to program the lower frequency in B19 when setting up B-bank scanning.
  • Memory mode scanning allows scanning of memory channels and is programmable
    • A-bank scanning - scans the memory channels A01 to A20.
    • B-bank scanning - scans the memory channels B01 to B20.
    • A-B bank scanning - alternates scanning of the memory channels, A01 - A20 and B01 - B20.
    • Memory channel skill (lock-out) is possible on all memory channels.

VFO Mode Scanning

  • Make sure the radio is in VFO mode.  If the radio is not in memory mode, press the VFO key.
  • To start scanning, press the SCAN key.
  • When a signal is received, scanning stops.

Memory Mode Scanning

  • Make sure the radio is in memory mode.  M.MODE will blink on the display when in memory mode.  If the radio is not in memory mode, press the MEM key.
  • To start scanning, press the SCAN key.
  • When a signal is received, scanning stops.
Photo of the Azden AZ-61 hand held transceiver
Azden AZ-61 HT


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
Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #11 - Battery Saver
Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #12 - Optional Accessories

© Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM, 2016. 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.

November 29, 2016

Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #8 - Frequency Step

This is an article in a series regarding the vintage Azden AZ-61 6m FM Transceiver.

The AZ-61's initialized frequency step is 5kHz.  The frequency step can be set to either 5kHZ, 10kHz, or 12.5kHZ.  The various functions on the vintage AZ-61 are a challenge to operate without instructions.  Hope the information below helps AZ-61 owners get the most from their their AZ-61.

Frequency Step

  • To change the frequency step value press: FUN + STEP
  • Note: A double beep will be heard.  The display will not change.
  • Use the UP or DOWN keys to confirm that the frequency step has changed.
Photo of the Azden AZ-61 hand held transceiver
Azden AZ-61 HT


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, 2016. 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.

October 4, 2016

Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #7 - VFO Mode

This is an article in a series regarding the Azden AZ-61 6m FM Transceiver.

Scott, K6PYP, sent me an email asking for help with VFO on his AZ-61.  The AZ-61 has two receiving modes: VFO and memory.  The various functions on the vintage AZ-61 are a challenge to operate without instructions.  Thank you Scott for your question.  Hope the information below helps AZ-61 owners master the VFO mode on their AZ-61.

VFO Mode

  • To change from memory mode to VFO mode simply present the VFO key.
  • To change the frequency to 52.520 MHz press the follow sequence of keys:
    • 52*52
  • NOTE: If you don't press the next key within 1.5 seconds after pressing the * key the displayed figure becomes 52.000

UP key and DOWN key

  • You can use the UP key and DOWN key to change frequency.  The frequency will increase or decrease each time you press the UP key or DOWN key.
  • If the frequency difference is large present the FUN + UP or DOWN to change the frequency by 1 Mhz.
  • High speed frequency changes can be made by pressing and holding the UP key or DOWN key.  When the frequency nears the desired value, release the key.  The feature is called TRIUP and TRIDOWN.

Photo of the Azden AZ-61 hand held transceiver
Azden AZ-61 HT


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
Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #12 - Optional Accessories


© Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM, 2016. 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.

February 6, 2016

Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #6 - Automatic Power-Off

This is an article in a series regarding the Azden AZ-61 6m FM Transceiver.

Joey, W5TFW, sent me an email asking is there is a timer on the AZ-61 and how to disable it.  The functions on the AZ-61 are a challenge to operate without instructions.  Thank you Joey for your questions.  Hope the information below helps you master the automatic power-off function on your AZ-61.

Automatic Power-Off Overview

  • The automatic power-off function, when enabled, will automatically switch off a preset amount of time after the last transmission.
  • One minute before the switch-off, an alarm is given.
  • The automatic power-off delay is adjustable: 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 50 minutes, 60 minutes, or 120 minutes.
  • The initialized power-off delay is set to 60 minutes.
  • After the automatic power-off function has switched off the radio, the radio can be turned back on by turning the power off, waiting 5 seconds, and then turning the radio back on.
Activate Automatic Power-Off Function

  • Press FUN + APOF to activate the automatic power-off function.
  • APO will be displayed if automatic power-off is activated.

Disabling Automatic Power-Off Function

  • Press FUN + APOF to disable the automatic power-off function.
  • APO will not be displayed if automatic power-off is disabled.

Azden AZ-61 hand held transceiver
Azden AZ-61 HT


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, 2016. 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.

February 4, 2016

Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #5 - how to reset the radio

This is an article in a series regarding the Azden AZ-61 6m FM Transceiver.  John VK2XGJ, recently sent me an email asking how to reset the AZ-61.  Like many of the functions on the AZ-61 resetting the radio is easy to do but near impossible without instructions.  Thank you John for your question.  We hope this information helps you get your AZ-61 back on the air soon.

To reset the AZ-61, turn on the power source while pressing the CLR key.  This  erases all the stored information and returns the radio to the initialized state.



Azden AZ-61 HT


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, 2016. 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.

August 16, 2015

Program that HT and get on the air!

An amateur radio HT or handy talkie isn't of much use if you don't use it.  Perhaps it could be an unusual paperweight or interesting desk ornament.  They do look nice sitting on the desk in the shack in a sad inert, powered off, dust-collecting way.  Our two Kenwood TH-F6A HTs were mostly idle due to having relocated across the country to California.

The radio memories had been programmed chock-full-o-stations located on the East Coast (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and the Eastern Seaboard).  None of the repeaters in the radio memory were accessible from California.  Lack of useful programming was main reason our HTs weren't getting used.  Turn on the radio and there was simply no way to contact anyone other than via simplex communication.

The Kenwood TH-F6A is a compact and very capable radio.  It transmits 5W on 144/220/440 MHz and includes a wide-band receiver.  You can really pack the radio's memory with stations given its 435 PC programmable memories.  The radio has all kinds of really great features, and it has been reliable since purchased back in 2007.
Kenwood TH-F6A HT (Handy-Talkie)

We decided it was time to get our Kenwood TH-F6A radios back on the air and that meant reprogramming them with California stations.  The first thing we needed to do was to locate the radio's programming cable.  If you have ever moved, then you know how much fun it can be to locate a particular item in the new home.  The memory of where it was located at the old residence is usually vivid and the location in the new home tends to be a mystery.  Is it still in a box or in some drawer or perhaps in the attic?  After much searching in all the wrong places we found the cable logically stored on a desk near the computer.

TH-F6A Programming Cable

Lesson learned: always start the search with the most logical place to store the item.

The next step was to load the latest version of the free Kenwood programming software (MCP-F6F7) onto the PC.  This was very easy since the software is available for download on the Kenwood website.

Whenever reprogramming a radio, we always make a backup of the radio's memory first.  You never know when you may need to reference or revert to an earlier memory configuration.  This is very easy with the Kenwood MCP-F6F7 software.  We simply connected the radio to the cable and the cable to the computer and then read the radio's memory (from the menu: Radio --> Read --> All).  Once you have read the memory contents save it as a file on the PC (from the menu: File --> Save-As).

Our next step was to delete all of the undesired East-Coast stations from the memory we just read into the Kenwood MCP-F6F7 software.  It is much easier to delete the stations using the PC software than directly on the radio.  Just click on the memory item then right click and select, "delete" from the from the pop-up menu.  Memory items can only be deleted one memory at a time which worked fine.  It would be nice if you could select and delete a range of memories.  C'est la vie.

Once we had cleaned up our memory, we then resorted the remaining memories by name to organize them and make them contiguous from memory 1 (menu option: Edit --> Memory channel Sort --> Memory Name).  This provides a nice clean set of memories to program in the software.

The next step was to locate California area repeaters on the three bands that the TH-F6A can operate on (144/220/440 MHz).  There are a variety of repeater reference guides available.  We use the RepeaterBook.com website and iPhone app.  The iPhone app is quite handy since it works with or without an Internet connection.  RepeaterBook allows you to search on wide area coverage repeaters.  These are particular useful repeaters, so we targeted these specifically.

Using RepeaterBook.com we searched for repeaters in various areas that we frequent or intend to visit and programmed them each into the Kenwood MCP-F6F7 PC software.  This is really easy to do by double clicking on an empty memory and then filling out a simple form.

MCP-F6F7 PC Software - adding a repeater to memory

The TH-F6A has an LCD screen and allows for station memories to be named.  This is helpful though the real estate for a memory name is limited to eight characters.  Making eight characters understandable requires creativity.  A number of years ago, we came up with a coding standard for our station memories that is surprisingly simple and effective.  After programming, we handed the HT over to another local ham who was able to scroll through the memories and translate (name and city) all but one.
  • 2-digit state code (e.g., CA - California)
  • Use a capital letter to indicate the start of a new word
  • Eliminate vowels since it is proven that people can read most words effectively without them
  • Numerous California cities begin with the word, "San" so abbreviate this to a single letter "S"
  • In this example, "CASFrncs" denotes California, San Francisco
We were rewarded for several hours of station searching and programming with a nice long list of California repeater programmed into the MCP-F6F7 Software.  After programming, we sorted the list again by name so that all memories would be organized logically (menu path: Edit --> Memory channel Sort --> Memory Name).  We then saved the programming on the local PC under a different file name than our backup.  We use a simple and effective file naming convention to organize our files.  Each file name includes:

  • YYYYMMDD
  • Name of the radio
  • State or location
  • Version (we only use this if there are several versions on a given day)

Applying this naming convention we named our file, "20150815 TH-F6A CA".  A little forethought saves time down the road.

The next step was to load the programming from the Kenwood MCP-F6F7 PC software to the radio.  Turn off the radio before plugging in (or removing) the cable to avoid damaging the radio (power is present on some of the jack connections).  Once the cable is connected to both the radio and computer, turn on the radio.

On the radio, use the menu to find the parameter, "SP/MIC Jack9" and set it to, "PC".  Exit the menu on the radio.

Next, from the Kenwood MCP-F6F7 PC Software select the menu option, Radio --> Write --> Memory.  This will initiate uploading the memories to the radio.  If you get a "Communication Timeout Error" then check your COM port settings on your PC.  The following settings generally work:
  • 9600 Baud Rate
  • 8 Data bit Rate  
  • None Parity
  • 1 Stop Bits
  • Xon/Xoff Flow Control
If you receive an error message, "The radio is invalid please check and try again" then check your cable connection into the radio.  We found that our cheap cable was a little finicky on one of our TH-F6A radios but not the other.  If we angled the connector out at the top a tiny bit it would work better than when fully inserted.  Results may vary.  Remember to power down the radio before inserting or removing the connector.

We gave both newly programmed TH-F6A radios a good testing on our local repeater by cruising around the area on a motorcycle with our HT to see if we could maintain contact through the repeater at various locations.  For safety purposes, we would stop and park the motorcycle before attempting the contact.  Test results:
  • Home - full quieting
  • Local grocery store - full quieting
  • State Park Entrance nearby - full quieting
  • End of the road in the State Park - DEAD SPOT - no area repeaters could be reached and no mobile phone service
  • Fruit stand in neighboring village 17 miles away - full quieting - a happy surprise
2003 Suzuki VL800

We had a lot of fun with our motorcycling HT/repeater coverage test.  We were very pleased to find excellent local repeater coverage at each destination with only one dead spot on the trip.  Most of all, we were thrilled to have our two HT's returned to full operating status instead of sad (though cool looking) inert dust collectors.

Do you have an inert dust collector HT on your desk?  If yes, we hope we have inspired you to take action - charged it up, program it, and get back on the air.  We look forward to our next contact with you either on an HT (or the HF bands).

Good DX and 73, NJ2X




May 31, 2014

Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT - Tip #2 - disabling "the beep"

This post is in a series regarding the 1990's vintage Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT.

Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT

So you have dusted off  your Azden AZ-61 6m FM HT and powered it back to life.  Congratulations for giving this neat old radio a go!  One of the things you may have noticed when pressing buttons is an annoying, "beep" after each key press.  The good news is that the beep noise can be toggled off and on easily (if you know the trick).

How to toggle off and on the key press beep

Step 1) Press and hold the "FUN" key while powering the radio on.


Yes, it is that simple.

Good DX and 73, NJ2X




© 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.

May 24, 2014

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.

September 28, 2012

FT-8800R Back On The Air

We finished reprogramming our FT-8800R dual band mobile radio tonight.  After installing it we turned it on, hit scan, and immediately found a local net to join in.  Programming software makes the job so much easier than manual entry via the radio controls and menus.  What a bother it would be to upload several hundred frequencies manually.


In this day and age of cheap and plentiful memory and internet enabled devices, it is fairly easy to image radios in the near future coming pre-programmed with software that automatically keeps them synched with all repeater information - anywhere in the world.  Why not?  Since we are dreaming a little.  How about unlimited text labelling for each memory.  6 characters simply doesn't cut it.  Why only 6?  Why not 66, or 266, or even unlimited?  The memory certainly wouldn't add much cost.



September 18, 2012

G4HFQ Software - Excellent Experience

We had a really great experience recently with G4HFQ Software.  We needed a little assistance with a program that we had purchased from Bob back in 2008 for programming our trusty FT-8800.  We sent an email and Bob responded almost immediately with just the right help.  Bob's software works very well and the service is tops.  Highly recommended.

August 2, 2012

Kenwood TH-22AT

We picked up a pair of Kenwood TH-22AT 2m handi-talkies at a yard sale for a good price.  The pair came with drop-in charger and spare battery pack.  Very durable feeling to the radio.

Kenwood TH-22AT 2m HT

Kenwood put a lot of great features into this radio for its vintage.  Having been a TH-F6A owner for several years, the TH-22AT seems surprisingly rather familiar.  The TH-22AT includes 40 memories which is a must on a VHF HT.  The programming is bit clunky though manageable.  It only took a minute to figure out the 10 steps to enter a repeater into memory.  Here are the actual steps we took to program a repeater (145.25 MHz) with a tone frequency of 131.8 into memory number 33.

1) Press VFO
2) Enter the frequency by turning the dial until the screen displayed 145.25
3) Press T/CT
4) Press and hold F for more than 1 second
5) Press T/CT
6) Select the tone frequency by turning the dial until the screen displays 131.8
7) Press T/CT
8) Press and hold F for more than 1 second
9) Select the memory number (0 to 39) using the dial until the screen displays 33
10) Press MR

Violà!

The TH-22AT has the same standard Kenwood headphone / speaker jack configuration as our TH-F6A.  This means we will be able to use the TH-22AT with our APRS TNC plug-and-play.

Looking forward to using this radio as a spare, as a APRS tracker, and radio fox-hunting transmitter.


© Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM, 2012

January 21, 2012

HRD DM780 Calling Macro

One of the things we enjoy about digital modes is automating repetitive tasks like calling.  One trick we like to use in certain situations is to call for stations in specific locations.  This is particularly useful when looking for those final one or two states to complete the ARRL WAS or Triple Play awards.

By calling for specific locations you may just entice a reply from state you need who would have otherwise not responded.  In this example, we are calling for NJ stations.

        CQ NJ CQ NJ CQ NJ de NJ2X pse kn

It doesn't always work and you will definitely get responses from hams outside of your target location.  However, this approach does pay off from time-to-time.

What does not work particularly well, some would say it is even annoying, is to call with a very long list.  For example:

        CQ AK AL AR CA CT DE FL GA ID IA ....

This is simply too verbose to work well.  Better to simply call the band since there is a good probability you will make contact with a station on the list no matter who answers.

Here is our Ham Radio Deluxe (HRD) DM780 macro that we created for calling specific locations.  Just copy paste into your own macro and edit with the locations you are targetting.

#++
#
#   Short CQ DX call for CA and HI station, stops TX when all text sent.
#
#--
#
CQ CA, HI CQ CA, HI de <my:callsign> <my:callsign>
CQ CA, HI CQ CA, HI de <my:callsign> <my:callsign>
PSE K <stop>



Related articles on NJ2X.COM:
HRD DM780 - variations of the 73 macro
HRD DM780 Macros: Curse or Blessing?
HRD DM780 Calling Macro