Get Set…

I have the Kenwood TH-D74A and TH-D72A handheld transceivers. The 72 is a dual-band, full-duplex radio that I purchased specifically for use with FM satellites. I haven’t done much of that lately, but I intend to resume that activity and I’d also like to put the 74 to better use as well.

Last week I ordered RT Systems programming software for each radio. These units are fairly complex little beasts to program from the front touch pad and I wanted to reduce that bit of friction by using software that’s smarter than me.

Before getting that far along I checked and discovered that newer firmware updates for both units were available for download so the first order of business was getting them on the most recent release.

With that done, I installed the RT Systems programming software for both handhelds. Adding multiple memory channels that permit me to quickly compensate for Doppler was as easy as typing the information for each satellite into a spreadsheet.

But even that wasn’t completely without a little head scratching. While the TH-D72A is full-duplex, it doesn’t have an actual “satellite” mode and the software wasn’t happy with cross-band splits. The TX and RX frequencies had to be in the same band for each memory channel. A little digging online revealed that the channels for the downlink could be programmed on one band while the uplink frequencies went on the other. Then putting both bands (A&B) into memory mode and into full-duplex cleared up my confusion and it all works as expected.

Tomorrow I’ll be in the backyard waving the Arrow antenna toward the heavens to see if I can’t conjure up another satellite contact or three. This kind of radio work requires more ambidextrous agility than rocket science but like with most things, regular practice makes everything easier so it’s time for me to get cracking.

See you on the birds!