Category Archives: Yaesu

Is that a Comet I see up there?

I’ve wanted to get a decent VHF and UHF antenna up so I can check out area repeaters around Starkville. My base rig is a Yaesu 8900R, a quad-band rig that is described by Yaesu as:

YAESU FT-8900R29/50/144/430 MHz FM Transceiver
The FT-8900R is a ruggedly-built, high quality Quad Band FM transceiver providing 50 Watts of power output on the 29/50/144 MHz Amateur bands, and 35 Watts on the 430 MHz band. It includes leading-edge features like cross-band repeat, dual receive, VHF-UHF Full Duplex capability, and over 800 memory channels. And its 10-meter FM coverage brings the possibility of world-wide FM DX-ing to you on your drive in to work!”

Ok, I’ll have to be made a believer about the world-wide 10M FM stuff…but it’s a really good and compact rig that works great on 2M and 70cm.

I have an Ed Fong WB6IQN J-pole that I use for portable ops (see but, as my friend Martin Jue says, it’s a challenge to keep RF off of the coax with a J-pole. Besides, I like it for portable use!

I am shopping around for a good 2M/70cm base antenna but don’t want it to show since management would not be in tune with that! So, in the mean time, I’ve put up the antenna built for this quad-band Yaesu rig: the Comet UHV-4! Here’s Universal Radio’s description of this mobile antenna:

Comet UHV-4 Quad-Band Antenna

The Comet UHV-4 is a redesign of the popular UHV-6 for quad band operation. It was created with the Yaesu FT-8900 in mind. It is pretuned for 2 meters and 440 (70 cm). Plus 10 meters and 6 meters may be tuned independently. It is a quarter wave on 10 and 6 meters. It is a 1/2 wave on 2 meters (2.15 dBi) and a two 5/8 waves in phase on 70 cm (5.5 dBi). Maximum power is 120 watts SSB on 10 meters and 200 watts SSB 50/146/446 MHz. The length is 54 inches (1.3 m 610 g). It has a PL259 [M] connector. An Allan wrench is included.” (I love it when the Allan wrench is included!) See the photo from Comet on the right.

I mounted it in a PVC schedule 40 pipe, 1 inch in diameter, drilling a hole in a PVC cap for the SO-239 connector to the base of the antenna. Two screw-eyes in the top end and some clear silicone caulk sealed the deal. I didn’t have to use the PVC but I needed some means of getting it secured to the line and I liked this approach.

Using my Wind-Demon tennis ball launcher (see earlier posts), I put a nylon cord up about 110 feet in a pine tree. A length of TM LMR-400 I recently purchased brought it to my entry box. I then realized that I had purchased a PL-259 to an N-connector LMR set. Bummer! (Well, that’s a nice way of putting my oversight.) So, off to Dave’s Hobby Shop on eBay to buy an N-to-PL259 connector. Dave’s got most anything like this that I’ve needed and he’s one of the good eBayer sellers. I’ll have to wait until I get that connector before I will connect it to the Polyphaser in the antenna entry box. I’ll report on how it works then. But, for now, it looks hidden among the trees surrounding my house. I’ll see how it gets out while figuring out an easy way to using these “nature-made” towers to mount a regular ground plane antenna for 2M and 70cm.

Can you see the Comet in the sky?


Here it is.....


SDR, Here I Come!

A couple of days ago, I ordered the Flex 3000, software-defined radio from Flex Radio ( I’ve had a Perseus SDR receiver for a a couple of years now. I’ve also been a chip-head regarding computing for some 30 years now….developing wide-area networks during the early 1980s to scientific data visualization applications during the 1990s, and large-scale database manipulation and business intelligence in the 2000s…so combining analog radio with the digital domain is a natural. The Perseus Rx provides such an improved experience for chasing DX, especially the swatch of frequencies visualized through the pan-adapter, that I’m excited about working HF with this new SDR.

Flex 3000 Front


The Firewire connection between the Flex 3000 (and 5000; the newer QRP rig, the 1500, uses USB) is a critical issue. I have a Dell Studio Quad-Core PC with 8GB of RAM that I will pair with it. The 1394a Firewire adapter (I hope) should work fine with the Flex. The pictures of the Flex 2000 show that it is a fairly simple box but comes “alive” with the PowerSDR software that operates it (see

Flex 3000 Rear Panel

I have a household LAN which combines wired and wireless connections, all fed from a Metrocast 10 mbs cable-modem. My shack is in a small den at one end of the house whereas my office is on the opposite end. I have an ethernet-over-coax (MOCA) from my shack to the office implemented by Netgear. This will hopefully allow me to “remotely” operate my Flex 3000 from my office when I wish—checking on band conditions, checking into a net—-while I’m busy working in my office. Using secure software tools (VNC, Synergy, etc.), this same operation mode can be accomplished from anywhere that I have a high-speed Internet connection. On the other hand, my Ameritron 811 amp won’t be “tunable” remotely and neither will my LDG 600W auto-tuner. OK, I guess there’s always room for progress!

I need to acquire a mic for this new rig. Flex Radio sells the Heil Proset or Traveler headset/mic with the modular plug fitting. I am leaning toward the Yaesu MD-100A8X which has the modular plug with correct pin-outs as well as some on-board controls. However, the “controls” on this mic will likely not be that useful but the reviews on suggest that the audio characteristics of this desk mic make it an unrecognized gem. The “control” of the PowerSDR software comes from regular mouse control…a pain sometimes.

Tmate from WoodBoxRadio

However, I’ve got my eyes on the WoodBoxRadio Tmate (! The Tmate is a USB powered device with a VFO knob and several programmable pushbuttons for often-used “mouse clicks”. It’s a tad expensive from across the Pond: $260-ish USD. See it in action on the WoodBoxRadio website. This company is making some additional tools for the Flex line of SDRs that I am sure that will be on my Ham Wish List! check out their website for details. Now, I’ve got to make preparations for my new arrival!