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Cheap Synthesized 2 Channel UHF Radio by WB6PHE Looking for an inexpensive, make that CHEAP, UHF synthesized mobile

or base? Will 2 channels suit your needs? Will 16 channels suit your needs? I have "discovered" a commercial radio that will fill that bill nicely. It's not pretty, and probably not very rugged. It isn't state of the art, and isn't fancy. But it will do the job, has single channel PL encode and decode built in, and is a bit of a "drug" on the used commercial radio market. It's the Aerotron CONCEPT, a synthesized UHF dash mount radio that came in several versions. There is a two channel model that comes with or without a scanning option, and a sixteen channel model that appears to come standard with scan. Both come in 20 or 40 watt versions. The radios of interest are: APC9RB80SD22 APC9RB80SD20 APC9RB80SD42B APC9RB80SD40B 1 or 2 ch. 16 ch. 1 or 2 ch. 16 ch. 20 watt 20 watt 40 watt 40 watt 450-470 Mhz 450-470 Mhz 450-470 Mhz 450-470 Mhz

The "B" suffix at the end of the model number indicates 450-470 Mhz radios, the 20 watt versions are not indicated in the manual to have the suffix, but the parts section shows DEFINITE differences, so be sure to get one that is in the 450-470 range. One other possible identification note is to check the VCO housing inside the radio, it's a metal can about 2" square, it should have a red dot on it if it is for a 450-470 "range B" radio. The synthesizer in this radio is a "primary" frequency synthesizer, that is to say that its output is "on channel" in the UHF range. In transmit, the VCO output merely has audio added to it, and is sent off directly to the Power Amplifier. In receive, the VCO generates the "injection" frequency to the IF mixer, to provide a resultant 10.7 Mhz signal for the receiver. The normal IF configuration for this radio is for LO side injection, the manual states that the VCO for the synthesizer will lock from 439 to 470 Mhz. I have successfully programmed this radio to receive a 442.725 signal (f - 10.7 IF=432.025 Mhz VCO frequency) and maintain good VCO lock. Although I haven't tried going lower, there appears to be range in the synthesizer to do it. Normal lock range (measured at TP-03 Orange) is 2-8 volts, with 4 volts being nominal. I have found that the VCO adjustment will need to be turned fully clockwise to get the VCO to lock, the voltage at a

received frequency of 442.725 Mhz is around 2.5 volts. The VCO (at least in the radio I have used) seems to lock quickly with voltages as low as 1.7 volts. It is also possible to change the injection to HI side, with a simple change of jumpers. Mathematically, this appears to be a better route, but since there didn't seem to be a driving need to do it, I left the radio as it was. VCO programming is done with diodes. In the 2 channel radio, they are soldered to the circuit board, in the 16 channel version, there is a "channel element" board (sort of a daughter board) that the diode matrix's go on. I did think that using DIP switches might be an interesting way to go, but decided not to. The diodes I used are 1N914/1N4148 general purpose diodes from Radio (choke) Shack, P/N 276-1620. The formula for the matrix is a little tricky, follow the instructions in the Appendix closely, and double check your work. I highly recommend trying to get the receiver running first, the transmitter is really the easy part. After installing a diode matrix, check the VCO voltage. You will probably need to adjust the VCO control fully clockwise to get a reasonable voltage at TP-03. Input an on-channel signal to the receiver and tune the helical resonators first, followed by the two cans between the helicals and the VCO. There should be no need to touch the IF section if the radio was working before you started on it. Touch up the helicals and the two cans a second time and you're through with the receiver. The transmitter has NO adjustments except for the PA, remove the two screws that attach it to the rear of the radio, and adjust the three variable caps for max power output. Performance of the radio is as per the manual, .3uv sensitivity on receive, 20+ watts on transmit (mine was a 20 watt version). There is NO appreciable change in performance since I dropped it from a 456 commercial frequency to the ham bands. Total investment: less than 12 bucks.