Thursday, June 22, 2017

What do you imagine for new AIWA?


Recently AIWA brand has been obtained by Towada Audio, a communication equipments manufacturer placed in Akita Japan.

Towada Audio is one of the well known manufacture as most of the products are made for SONY. Many well-known radios such as ICF-SW7600GR, ICF-EX5mk2, ICF-801, ICF-SW22(discontinued), ICF-SW77(discontinued), ICF-SW55(discontinued), ICF-SW1(discontinued), ICF-SW100(discontinued), ICF-SW07(discontinued), ICF-J1 and ICF-J40 also seem to be engineered or/and manufactured by Towada Audio.

The new AIWA corporation has already been established in Tokyo this year (2017). The announcement said that though planning and conducting products are done in the Tokyo office, products are manufactured in China. Release date of the products will be this Autumn (2017).

So what do you have image for AIWA? I imagine that AIWA produces higher quality and innovative value than the price tag.

New AIWA has planned to release 4K UHD TV, bluetooth audios, record players and boomboxes. Now let's check the boomboxes which include a CD/SD/USB/Bluetooth radio recorder/player, a CD boombox and a CD/SD/USB/Bluetooth radio player like below;


I used to see some similar pictures for the upper left one.
...oh there!
Almost same shape! This CD/SD/USB radio has already been sold around the world excepting Japan, not new.



From the pictures, it merely seems only to be rebranded Chinese products and I doubt what new AIWA is. Better sound or better features? I think neither. There is no originality.

If the new AIWA sells only relabeled Chinese TV and audio products without sufficient effort, she will be beaten by other products and ceased soon. What on earth is the purpose of resuming AIWA?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Function differences & Impression : BCD436HP vs UBCD3600XLT


As I have said before, we check differences between Uniden BCD436HP and the UBCD3600XLT. Additionally, I will show the first operating impression for the UBCD3600XLT. The firmware version of my BCD436HP is 1.11.17 and of my UBCD3600XLT is 1.00.01.
Uniden UBCD3600XLT



MENU
“Manage Full Database” and “WX Operation” BCD436HP has were removed.
BCD436HP MENU1/2
UBCD3600XLT MENU1/2

BCD436HP MENU2/2
UBCD3600XLT MENU2/2

Set Your Location
“Enter Zip Code” and “Auto Locate” were removed.
Setting of “Set Range” can be selected from some preset items, whereas the BCD436HP can be set manually not having preset items.
BCD436HP Set Your Location
UBCD3600XLT Set Your Location



Settings
“Upgrade” option was removed.
BCD436HP Settings
UBCD3600XLT Settings



Settings > Band Defaults
Band Configuration of the UBCD3600XLT was divided into 28 while that of the BCD436HP was 27.
BCD436HP Band Default1/4
UBCD3600XLT Band Default1/4

BCD436HP Band Default2/4
UBCD3600XLT Band Default2/4

BCD436HP Band Default3/4
UBCD3600XLT Band Default3/4

BCD436HP Band Default4/4
UBCD3600XLT Band Default4/4



Srch/CloCall Opt
“Repeater Find” was removed.
BCD436HP Srch/CloCall Opt
UBCD3600XLT Srch/CloCall Opt



Srch/CloCall Opt > Broadcast Screen
Preset bands were removed. Only 10 bands can be preset by users.
BCD436HP Set Each Band
UBCD3600XLT Set Each Band




The label on the UBCD3600XLT says “POWER REQUIREMENT : 5V DC 1000mA”. The BCD436HP tells 5V DC 500mA. As far as I see the instructions of the BCD436HP and the UBCD3600XLT, receiver sensitivities of the UBCD3600XLT is lower than that of the BCD436HP and Close call sensitivity of the UBCD3600XLT is totally higher than that of BCD436HP. Perhaps, there are some modifications in the UBCD3600XLT. If it is true, battery would last only half of the BCD436HP.

As the instruction manual mentioned, receiver coverage of the UBCD3600XLT is 25-512MHz, 806-960MHz and 1240-1300MHz, which is narrower than BCD436HP (758-805.995MHz not covered with). I have succeeded to import a HPE file that I am using on the BCD436HP into UBCD3600XLT Sentinel software. Although DMR Tier III and EDACS PROVOICE seem to be equipped with the UBCD3600XLT by default without any expense, SYSTEMs that include out of the reception frequencies that has been preset are fully ignored by the UBCD3600XLT even if there are some frequency that can be heard in the SYSTEM . For instance, if a SYSTEM includes more than one 770MHz frequencies that cannot be heard on the UBCD3600XLT and more than one 144MHz that can be heard both BCD436HP and UBCD3600XLT, the SYSTEM is not recognized by the UBCD3600XLT itself (the SYSTEM name not displayed at all). But frequencies not received by the UBCD3600XLT can be input on the UBCD3600XLT Sentinel software (Version 1.00 revision 00).
UBCD3600XLT Sentinel software at outband SYSTEM imported


What I want the UBCD3600XLT to equip with is dPMR/NXDN/D-CR capabilities. I doubt why the UBCD3600XLT for the Euro market does not have dPMR digital mode.

The UBCD3600XLT is mostly identical to the upgraded BCD436HP. If you are in the US and have improved BCD436HPs, the UBCD3600XLT may not be attractive. If Uniden makes more effort to develop digital scanners to add much more digital mode with codecs, the ICOM IC-R30 might be disappeared.
Uniden UBCD3600XLT digital scanner

Will check sensitivity of the UBCD3600XLT and other differences from the BCD436HP.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

First Look : Uniden UBCD3600XLT with BCD436HP

Uniden UBCD3600XLT
I have got my UBCD3600XLT Digital and Analog scanner. Let’s check appearances of the Uniden UBCD3600XLT first of all.



Appearances of the UBCD3600XLT for European market is almost same as BCD436HP for the US market. There are some minor differences as below;
  • Bigger or smaller font on the keypads (bit a little)
  • Characters "ZIP" -> "LIST", "WX"-> (removed) changed on the keypads
  • Back label : simpler texts than BCD436HP

Front : BCD436HP (left) and UBCD3600XLT (right)

Keypad : BCD436HP (left) and UBCD3600XLT (right)

Back : BCD436HP (left) and UBCD3600XLT (right)

Battery &SD slot : BCD436HP (left) and UBCD3600XLT (right)

my BCD436HPs (left, right) and UBCD3600XLT (center)


Will compare functions between the BCD436HP and the UBCD3600XLT soon.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Uniden UBCD3600XLT on sale around the EU countries

A Uniden scanner UBCD-3600XLT is now available in the EU region.

+ Uniden UBCD3600XLT in 2017 - Transmission1

Uniden UBCD3600XLT Digital Scanner


UNIDEN UBCD3600XLT which is similar to BCD436HP seems successor of UBCD3500XLT, EU version of BCD396XT. The appearance quite resembles BCD436HP.

The UBCD3600XLT includes DMR and EDACS Provoice by default without any upgrades. The frequency coverage is 25-512/806-960/1240-1300MHz, not same as the BCD436HP. Supplied accessories are not same. The UBCD3600XLT supplies USB Connection Cable and an AC Adapter.

As dedicated ZIP-Code Database from RadioReference.com to setup UBCD3600XLT at ease is not currently available, users need to input and customize databases manually. I managed to obtain the UBCD3600XLT Sentinel software and tried to find "Update Master HPDB" option but not found like below;
Console of UBCD3600XLT Sentinel

I also tried to update firmware for my BCD436HP with UBCD3600XLT Sentinel software. My BCD436HP was recognized by the Sentinel but a Time-out Error was occurred. Firmware of the UBCD3600XLT may differ from BCD436HPs;
Time-out Error at updating firmware to BCD436HP


Next, I tried to import HPE files for BCDx36HP Sentinel software into UBCD3600XLT Sentinel. The result was OK;

If the imported HPE files that BCDx36HP Sentinel had already created indicate outband of the receiver coverage of the UBCD3600XLT, the UBCD3600XLT Sentinel may display some errors.



Price of the new UBCD3600XLT is 499EURO, about $530-540 excluding TAX and so on. There is no official information about UBCD3600XLT because Uniden seems to have no EU sales/support chains directly and also seems no official website for the EU customers.

Some scanner enthusiasts have already got the UBCD3600XLT. Would look into differences between UBCD3600XLT and BCD436HP some day.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Summary of ICOM IC-R8600 before purchase

IC-R8600 communications receiver is now available in my place.
IC-R8600 in ICOM Ham Festival on Dec., 2016
 
The instruction manual can also be read but written in Japanese. The Japanese price is 228000 Yen, about $2000 excluding tax. Quantity of the first lot is about 250 sets. Now I have picked up some brilliant features and compare with some features of AOR AR-DV1.
AOR AR-DV1 receiver (with SONY ICZ-R250TV behind)


In short, the IC-R8600 is a wide band receiver with digital mode decoder. Comparing to AOR AR-DV1, there are some functions such as IP+(IP3 distortion reduction) to improve unwanted interferences, variable NOTCH filter, Digital twin PBT(Pass Band Tuning with double sharp filters provided with DSP), variable Digital IF filters for SSB/CW/AM, variable Noise Blanker and CW-Reverse(which exchanges receiver sideband LSB/USB) that AR-DV1 with 1702D firmware does not have. Those are built on the IC-R8600. These features are especially for VLF, LF, MF and HF.

Anything else on IC-R8600? Yes of course! dPMR and NXDN descrambler(may not equipped with US version), digital reception history log (up to 50 logs), history csv saving, screen capture, voice recording, data saving onto a SD card like IC-7300 and ID-51 series, network clock synchronization, tone control, FM de-emphasis, speech, FSK decoder, IF output, remote Ethernet control via internet, analog S-meter output jack to connect your 9VDC of maximum voltage meter and so on.

But, no DMR, TETRA, Alinco and YAESU SYSTEM FUSION(C4FM) decoder currently on the IC-R8600. In my country, DMR, TETRA, dPMR, APCO P25 are not commonly used, while domestic digital SCPC format with A-CELP and M-CELP vocoders is mainly used by our government, which cannot be decoded because he restricts to hear his communication easily. There is no thought of "Public Safety" in my country like the US.

Still, the IC-R8600 attracts us because it has 4.3” large color LCD with touch screen and real time smooth & fast spectrum scope, high spec features for VLF – HF and digital voice decoders…. Compared to AR-DV1, the IC-R8600 seems cost effective. Will expect to upgrade much functions with newer firmwares.

I have ordered one and expect to get soon.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Alinco releases DMR Radios DJ-AXD1 and DJ-AXD4

Alinco has released new single band handheld two-way radios.
Alinco DJ-AXD1(left), DJ-AXD4(right) DMRs

+ DJ-AXD1, DJ-AXD4 Digital/Analog Transceiver – Alinco.com


DJ-AXD1


The DJ-AXD1 is a Digital/Analog radio that operates on VHF single band. Size of the radio is 2.52”W X 4.72”H X 1.5”D. The weight is approximately 11.29lbs with a 2000mAh Li-ion battery pack EBP-100. The Digital mode is DMR TierI and TierII.

Appearance of the DJ-AXD1 is;
- Full Dot-matrix and full keyboard with white backlit
- RF power output : 5/1W selectable
- Text messages
- DTMF
- Scan functions
- IP67
etc.

No 0.2Watt, 2.5Watt power output select, no 64ch/zone on DMR operation, no Digital Recorder etc. The function of the DJ-MD40, a UHF DMR/Analog radio is better than that of the DJ-AXD1.

Top of the DJ-AXD1 has antenna connector, red emergency call button, dial, volume and TX/RX LED indicator. The AF output is up to 1W of maximum. Optional battery pack is not same as that for DJ-MD40.


DJ-AXD4


A UHF Digital/Analog radio, same appearance as DJ-AXD4 excepting front LCD panel and so on.




Available date of these radio DJ-AXD1 and DJ-AXD4 will be by the end of this year (2017) as DJ-MD40 released end of the last year. The price is about $200 MSRP. We will get more information in Xenia Hamvention 2017.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Maldoll Releases LASER GP Antenna SVT-2

New concept GP antenna is released from Hoxchin.

Hoxchin non physical antenna element SVT-2, prototype


The Hoxchin, which is well-known to release Maldoll antennas, SVT-2 is a ultra-wide band non-radials GP antenna that covers from MF to 1GHz without any physical antenna elements.

Element of the SVT-2 uses Wavemotion Dielectric LASER (green beam on the photo as above), which is developed by Hoxchin and a LASER Lab. in Pachistantan of an Eastern country. Beam of the Wavemotion Dielectric LASER works as an antenna for radios unlike conventional antennas with metal materials.

The Wavemotion Dielectric LASER alters part of density and length of the LASER beam and synchronizes with radio wave from/to your transceivers very fast. When transmitting, the Wavemotion Dielectric LASER resonates a frequency as an oscillator that is oscillated from positive feedback loop and then radiates from the internal LASER Diode directly. When receiving, radio wave from the air synchronizes with current length of the LASER. The Wavemotion Dielectric LASER fully covers from 1.5MHz to 1GHz not only transmitting but receiving.

Maximum length of the LASER is up to 330 Ft, which means half length of the radio wave on 1.5MHz lowest frequency.

Body of the SVT-2 is equipped with latest FPGA and DSP which enable it to make available at air pollutions conditions, strong windy and so on. Even on the strong windy day, there is the least impact affected to the SVT-2 because of no physical element. SWR always ensures less than 1.1.

Moreover, the SVT-2 can change 1000 times of the TRX frequency per second. When your receiver runs on scanning mode, length of the LASER (antenna) of the SVT-2 quickly follows up the receiver frequencies 1000 channels of max per second, which provides us the best transmission or reception performance every time.
As the SVT-2 has no mechanical switches such as relays and so on, it gives us silent amateur operations even overnight contest.

If you have two SVT-2, fading effect can be reduced sufficiently. We can choose two colors of the LASER that works as an antenna element. The following picture is an example of outdoor operations by hands with two SVT-2 but it cannot demonstrate the best performance for the SVT-2s.
Example of operating HF bands with two SVT-2s by hands (not recommended)

Please do not play STAR WARS, Ninja and so on with the SVT-2s. Hoxchin does not expect the usages.




The Hoxchin (Maldoll) SVT-2 will be available by this year. The price is $14400 MSRP. Although the SVT-2 is not cheaper than any radios, would try the two SVT-2s to reduce fading effects on HF. The SVT-2 will be most compact, lightest weight antenna in the HF category, thus, we will be able to operate HF bands much easier than usual.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Uniden America releases CB Radio BearTracker885

A new concept radio is being released from Uniden.

+ BearTracker 885 - Uniden America

Uniden BearTracker 885

The Bear Tracker 885 is successor of the BearTracker 880. The new Bear Tracker has additional new features such as digital scanner and SD card slot unlike previous CB radios.

Appearance of the BearTracker 885 is very similar to BearTracker 880. Many features that the BearTracker880 has are built in the BearTracker 885. The noise-cancelling microphone supplied is too. But there is a SD card slot that other CBs not equipped on the upper side of the front panel.

Uniden BearTrackr 885

BearTracker885 can be operated not only a 40 Channels CB radio but also Digital and Conventional (Police, Fire, EMS, DOT) Scanner with BearTracker Warning System -- Legal alternative to Radar Detectors. Plus, the BearTracker885 is built on GPS to automatically select nearby scanner channels to monitor like BCD536HP.

Uniden BearTracker 885 back

Recording function? Close call? CTCSS/DCS rapid decoder? We will get details soon though the instruction manual has not been released yet.

I'm pleased with hearing the new two-in-one radio.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Check my Rusty FM antenna

I have checked my FM outdoor antenna on the roof because of not good reception of my SONY FM/AM tuner ST-SA5ES with a 30dB FM booster. My Yagi FM antenna has 3 elements made by MASPRO, one of the famous broadcasting reception antenna brands in Japan, and was installed 20 years ago

The heavy pole made of steel and the FM antenna that have been exposed by wind and water got rusty deeply.



Each part of the antenna is rusted.


Hey, this deep red rust seems like an ancient some part.


A bottle for fixing the cable has been folded suddenly when I tried to unscrew the butterfly nut.


The cable in the radiator has screwed off from the driven element as the fixed part made of plastic in the radiator was folded. That is a reason why I came across a bad FM feeling.


Next I looked into the booster unit that was installed on the roof.


When I opened the box, then, the outer case has been torn at the connection point and broken in the end.


Furthermore, brown liquid was leaked from the electrolytic capacitors on the circuit board.


After all I decided to remove the antenna and the booster as I found the plastic part in the radiator of the antenna folded, crushing the case of the booster.


I will replace and reinstall new FM antenna.