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C4fm 4 sota


#1

So I’ve replaced the Yaesu VX7-R (anyone fancy what might be a very easy restoration project?) with a lovely new Yaesu FT-70DR handheld. I’ve had a little dabble on it today, and I really really like it. The performance and audio quality of digital, without external antennas in an urban environment, is quite an eye-opener, even possibly a game-changer.

Obviously I will very shortly wanting to be checking out C4FM digital voice in a SOTA activation, so I wonder which chasers are equipped and ready to give it a go?

Naturally, I’m keen to use the other features and capabilities of the rig. I’ve been trying to program up the memories this evening. Connecting the radio to the PC was easy enough, albeit a rather convoluted and non-obvious process! Where I’m very stuck is in getting my CSV file of frequency / mode / CTCSS etc information imported into the Yaesu free ADMS-10 software. I wonder if anyone else has experience of this?

I’m determined to crack it and not have to shell out another wad of cash on the commercial version of the programming software and the different lead I’d have to get to use it. I’m normally pretty confident at working with CSV files; it’s just a matter of working out where I’ve used a format or piece of data that the software doesn’t like.

I’ll start working through this line-by-line to try and solve this systematically - tomorrow (Saturday), but it would be useful to compare notes with anyone else using ADMS-10 for this purpose.


#2

You’ll be amazed at how far the new digital modes go. Over here in the PNW we have a very robust DMR network. I can easily hit a repeater from HT on the ground at 5W over 50mi away.

You’ll probably have a good shot if you spot it right. Quite a few people have YSF radios even if they don’t use the digital side often. The 3 modes(dstar, ysf, dmr) all are really similar (4fsk, ambe2 vocoder) and mostly differ in how they split the 9600bps narrow FM channel (I’m biased towards DMR since it does TDMA so two users can use one repeater at the same time).


#3

You might want to take a look at the Chirp software (free) - it’s more generic and can “clone” settings from one HT to an other.

https://chirp.danplanet.com/projects/chirp/wiki/Home

Unfortunately the FT70DR is not specifically list there as yet, it might be worth posting a note to the developers.

73 Ed.


#4

I was equpped with D-STAR (same audo codec, different data encoding) for 8.5 years and I’m delighted to have sold it on in the last few months. The 2 issues I faced was back then few people wanted simplex QSOs on D-STAR, they all wanted to use the repeaters connected to the internet and the radio was useless on 2m. It wasn’t a viable SOTA radio which was a bit of a limitation. Hence my suggestion you make sure your new toy works on a summit in either mode as mine certainly didn’t!

DV as a mode is supported in the DB and on SOTAwatch so you now need to talk up its use. There are handhelds and mobiles that have DV modes so there are plenty of people with the modes. I’m not sure which one is the most popular.


#5

If it went very deaf on narrow band FM (i.e. 2m) but still works on wideband FM (try tuning to your local FM broadcast station) then it’s almost certainly a very simple fix.


#6

Hi Tom, Hi Andy,
The ongoing problem is the multitude of different Digital Voice modes. D-Star has been around a long time and is a pure amateur mode, there’s also P25 used in Emcomms (commercial and Amateur), Yaesu’s Fusion (aka C4FM) but the one that is generating the most “noise” in amateur press at the moment is the commercial DMR standard. Even within DMR though, there are different camps - the original Motorola and the new Brandmeister. It appears that Brandmeister adds most of the “back end” facilities that D-Star has (like finding someone no matter where they are in the world by finding which repeater they connected to).

All in all though, until some more effective bridges come in, between the back-end systems each DV mode will be its own Island. As the interworking will only be able to happen over repeaters it doesn’t help in the case of SOTA where only simplex contacts count - so for now the “standard” FM mode of that new HT of yours Tom is going to get most use I suspect. Yaesu are known to have both HTs and repeaters that work equally well on “Standard FM” and DV, so I think it’s a good choice the FT-70DR.

I’ll look forward to hear reports of what you were able to work from the next summit on 2m FM Tom.

73 Ed.


#7

Yes, the choice of C4FM / Fusion as the way to go with digital was due to the compatibility / cohabitability of digital and analogue in the same HT, as well as Yaesu’s ongoing promotion of the mode through affordable equipment and discounted repeaters etc.

I’ve made a bit of progress since last night in importing the CSV file into ADMS-10 software - got 100 lines of it in, but cannot work out for the life of me what bug is in line 101. Then again, that’s now looking like a red herring because now it won’t even import my previously successful 100-line sheet either…


#8

So what software are you using to edit you CSV files? Time and time I’ve seen “clever” software do things to CSV files that stop them veing plain simple CSV files.

Can you not program a few memories by hand and download that and use it as a template for the rest?


#9

That’s exactly what I did at the very start. I’m using Excel to edit the CSVs. Anyway, bit by bit I’ve managed to eliminate all the things it didn’t like, and now the ADMS programming software has a good file with all my desired memories and data in.

Now to send that data to the radio! I appear to have connected the radio to the PC correctly and installed the driver - all working on COM10 - but the command to “Send” data to the radio is greyed out, and when now trying to “Get” data from the radio (which previously worked) now gives me a time out error.

So nearly there. Grrr.


#10

I have been using a Yaesu FT1 for over and year and also the free ADMS software from the Yaesu site. I found that in order to upload to the radio, you have to first download whatever is in the memory to the computer, then open the file you want to upload, then send it to the radio. I don’t know why this is, it may be because the free version is somewhat limited. Maybe the paid version doesn’t require you to do that? But once you do a download from the radio, you should find that the “Send to radio” is no longer grayed out.

Ron, KI4TN


#11

Hi Tom

I have C4fm on my 991A but have not used it yet, still got much to learn with this rig, but willing to give it a try.

Cheers
Neil


#12

Thanks Ron.

I’ve already done that successfully, and indeed “Send” wasn’t greyed out before.

Now “Send” is greyed out, and when I try to “Get” I get a time-out error.


#13

I’ve used my FT-1D on YSF a few times for SOTA. Not a lot of activity in my area though.
One of the YSF modes has the GPS coordinates embedded in the transmission, so you get an instant indication of bearing/distance. Fun stuff.


#14

Hi tom,
I presume this is a USB link - try pulling the cable and plugging it into a different USB port on the laptop, this causes Windows to re-enumerate the device and often fixes these kinds of problems.

73 Ed.


#15

Stuart M0SGS knows his fusion stuff and has some videos on YouTube.

How to program the FT-70…

HTH

73 Chris M0RSF


#16

Thanks Chris. I’ve been watching this video for the last 12 hours (with breaks for food, sleep and Winter Olympics)! I also emailed Stuart earlier, but he just replied to suggest I bought the commercial version of the software and (rather expensive) data cable.

Anyway, I noticed something on the screen - it was a tiny lock symbol! Of course the rig locks if you momentarily press the power button - so it’s easy to do so accidentally.

Turning the lock off, meant that option to “Get” and “Send” between PC and rig all returned - and all working fine. #winning


#17

Sounds simple compared to updating the firmware on the FT2DR. Three sets of firmware to update and each one uniquely complex and different. That was before I started the lengthy battle to program the radio up without the special lead. That was incredibly painful and hugely time consuming. However, I succeeded eventually.


#18

And in the meantime, I’ve organised the memories into memory banks and added in several other bits of useful data / frequencies I noticed I’d overlooked.

Creating the database of frequencies, modes, CTCSS, offsets etc etc has been laborious. It has been even more laborious to get that information into the Yaesu programming software, and more laborious still to than get that software/my PC to talk to the rig and transfer it over.

But I did it, and avoided doing what most do and have to mine deep into the pockets for an extra fifty quid for the RTsystems software and cable! I celebrated by spending thirty or so of that on a curry take-away for the family tea!

Anyway, here we go. No time like the present. I will be QRV on 2m C4FM from The Cloud G/SP-015 sometime between 9 and 9.15pm. I will be QRV on 2m (analogue) FM during there drive over there, starting very shortly.

I will be calling on 144.6125MHz C4FM, then QSYing to maybe 144.5875MHz or 144.6375MHz. Because of the AMS feature of Fusion radios, if any chaser were to call-in on analogue FM on these frequencies, I expect my rig would automatically switch to analogue FM BTW.


#19

Well, like you, it’s taken me a pretty concentrated, frequently frustrating and dedicated effort over the past 24 hours to get here, so who knows?


#20

Saturday 17th February 2018 - The Cloud G/SP-015

That was fun! It turned out there were still a few aspects I hadn’t configured correctly, but by and large, it worked.

It was pleasing to easily qualify on Fusion (2m C4FM) with 8 contacts. Even lurking around the 144.6MHz frequencies on the digital mode, there seemed to be plenty of activity, more than I expected.

Four QSOs on analogue FM took the total to 12 - not too bad for a Saturday night.