Original Webpage: http://www.whuckaba.com/shack/ft1500m.shtml
Date Aquired: 11/25/2003 Previous Owner(s): New Radio Current Status: APRS Work-horse, Mostly Satisfaction of Use: Mix of Good and Bad (see below).
I aquired this in a Trade of mutual gain. I traded the IC-02AT and Linear Power-supply for a fully-digital ready brick. Basically the IC-02AT was not able to keep a consistant lock up time, among other things. One of the beauties of this radio is the fully 9600 BPS TNC ready. Bascially to have radio accept 9600 packets, the TNC must really be able to enter the mixing stream further up than AF in. That put aside, the radio also features amazing lock up times, less than 100 ms. But what amazes me is both the lack of a cooling fan, and the trade of 96 Watts DC for 50 Watts Out. It is amazing how more efficent radios have become over the last few years. My ICOM Mobile trades 138 Watts DC for 50 Watts 2M, and 132 Watts DC for 35 Watts 440Mhz.
At the moment I have a few minor problems with this radio. First off, the speaker leaves a LOT to be desired. Perhapse I've been spoiled with ICOM speakers, but this speaker seems really tinny compared to the IC-2350H and my other HT/Mobile experience. Second, I really dislike that the Squelch control is buried in the menu. I personally really dislike digital schelching, but seems all the radio's I've been seeing lately have some version of it. I really like having my schelch on a knob that I can easily control. Especally on a mobile application. But they attempt to make up for it with a RF-schelch as well (where you can specify an S-level, as opposed to just usual noise level).
I've heard this radio is extremely powerful in picking up weak signals. It does seem to be a little more active than the HT that I ahd on the same antenna set in here while playing, but that is not saying much. Over all this radio will be used for digital mode communications mostly. For the moment APRS is its first stop, however I will defently attempt to work the SAREX / Space Shuttle when they launch next time with it.
I installed the unit in my truck around 12/2003 and began APRS tracking with it. Since that time I've acquired almost a megabyte of raw posit information in relation to this radio. It was turned on for nearly a year and a half non-stop, transmitting posits at least once an hour, more often when in motion (up to 30-40 per hour), without complaining. However, I did have one complaint right away, that is that that volume knob is not resistive enough. My truck shakes a fair bit, and I really had no desire to hear the other APRS stations, so I'd turn the volume all the way down, but vibrations would cause the knob to turn up enough to be annoying. Had to tape it down to keep it from turning.
Second complaint is from about 8-9 months ago... the frequency dial is starting to have the same problem, or the unit is periodically deciding to go to memory 1 for no reason, not sure which. Either way, it tunes off of the APRS station, and onto a voice repeater. It took me a while to figure out why my posits stopped. Lately, I've been using 2 wheeled transportation more than 4 wheeled transportation, so I've turned it off to prevent battery drain issues. While I've left it unattended for 2 days, 3 or 4 day streaches are a bit more than I desire to have. Either way, I am not sure what I am going to do with the setup I have. Currently my IC-2350H is not connected to an antenna, and the aprs is only active when I remember to turn it on. Not to mention the APRS system is rather ugly looking. All in all, though, this radio is excellent for APRS work. Slap it, a tnc, and a gps into a ammo can, and it would make a great transferrable APRS tracking system. I completely forgot about my SAREX asperations, however, I don't think that SAREX flew in the STS-121 mission. However ISS has some amateur gear, although I'm not sure on the current usage.
GENERAL TX Frequency Range:
RX Frequency Range: 144 MHz-146 MHz (B1), 137-174MHz (B2)
430 (420) MHz-450 (440) MHz
Channel Step: 5/10/12.5/15/20/50/100 kHz Freq. Stability: Better than ±10 ppm (-20 °C to +60 °C) Modes of Emission:
F2, F3 (G3E)
Antenna Impedance: 50 Ohms unbalanced Supply Voltage: 13.8 VDC (±10%) Current Consumption: RX less than 0.7 A (signal)
Less than 0.3 A (squelched) TX 8A (50W)/6A (25W) 3A (10W) 2A (5W)
Operating Temperature Range: -20 °C to +60 °C (-4°F to +140°F) Case Size: (127(W) x 35(H) x 126(D)mm) (5"x 1.4" x4.9")(w/o knobs)
1kg (2.2lbs) TRANSMITTER
RF Power Output:
Modulation Types:: FM: Variable Reactance Maximum FM: Deviation: ±5 kHz rFM: ±2.5 kHz)
Spurious Radiation: -60dB (50/144/430 MHz) Microphone impedance: 2 K ohms RECEIVER Circuit Type:
Intermediate Frequencies: 21.7MHz & 450 kHz Sensitivity for 12dB SINAD) Better than 0.2 uV Selectivity (-6/-60 dB): 12kHz / 28kHz IF Rejection: Better than 70dB Image Rejection: Better than 70dB AF Output: 3.5 W (4 Ohms, 10% THD) AF Output Impedance: 4 to 8 Ohm
Specifications subject to change without prior notice