Just a personal opinion, Yaesu should’ve continued making a flagship digital radio with a keypad for easy APRS text input

Back in 2016, the Yaesu FT-2DR had been my first-ever digital portable radio. It was during the time when local hams were only starting to get bitten by the digital bug. It was the second-generation Fusion radio from Yaesu, having superseded the FT1 series before it.

While I liked the dual receiver and extensive feature set, my main complaints with the FT2 were the size and difficult text entry. The big touchscreen was also an accident waiting to happen. One wrong bump against a corner or a key scratch could end up cracking the (relatively) big LCD.

I thus got…

A sturdy and reliable subcompact analog dualband radio. The lack of digital makes it limited as a primary radio, but it’s great for outdoor activities.

There’s a reason why a product would be in the market and in production for so long. In the ham radio community, such longevity usually means a product is class-defining or has stood the test of time.

Such is the case for one of my favorites, the Yaesu FT-60R, which I have written about several times here. I have also recently acquired a Yaesu VX-6R, a submersible sub-compact portable that provides increased flexibility and ruggedness.

Launched in 2005, the Yaesu VX-6R is a dual-band single-receiver radio with JIS7 water ingress protection. …

Photo by Brett Zeck on Unsplash

Automatic Packet Reporting System is a hybrid local RF and internet-connected system for exchanging messages, data, status updates, and positions

This was converted from a presentation deck I made for DX1ARM, with introductions adopted from Tim Watson KB1HNZ & Ryan Michaelson KB1YTR.

What is APRS

  • APRS = Automatic Packet Reporting System
  • An amateur radio communications system for relaying real-time digital information that is primarily transmitted and received locally.
  • Can also be injected into the APRS Internet System (APRS-IS), which is distributed globally for online access or gating to RF in other locales.
  • The system is based on the AX.25 Packet protocol.
  • APRS was developed and trademarked by Bob Bruninga WB4APR, a senior research engineer at the United States Naval Academy.
  • Previously it was…

Is this the Baofeng UV-5R killer?

The Baofeng UV-5R is said to be the “gateway drug” for many new radio amateurs today. Selling as cheap as $20, it has reportedly jumpstarted the interest of many newer and younger hams. It is very popular in the prepping community, with its low price point and the availability of accessories like battery cases.

Cheap radios have also resurrected interest in the hobby, particularly for old-timers who may have left ham radio for other pursuits — such is the case when cellular phones became popular, for example, and the idea of wirelessly getting in touch lost its novelty.

Five years…

The license-free portable radio from Cignus provides higher power and better clarity than other SRRS competitors in the market, all at a lower price and better value

Credit: N2RAC/4I1RAC

I get a lot of inquiries about whether a certain radio or frequency can be used here in the Philippines without a license. For example, the Baofeng UV-5R, WLN KD-C1 and Baofeng BF-888 are very popular here — they are being sold very cheap on e-commerce sites like Shopee and Lazada.

Being cheap and small, most people think these radios can be used without licenses. Some also mistake the 0.5 Watt FRS radios or GMRS radios imported from the US as being legal for use without licenses here.

For others, the mere “NTC Type Approved” sticker from brands like Cignus…

Data, calls, and SMS do not expire. Great for students, backup SIM, or longer-term set-and-forget SIM while on-the-go

Image: N2RAC

Mobile data has become an essential part of our lives, that we now allocate a certain amount of our budget and expenses to mobile data. I’m a practical person, and I have not signed up for any postpaid plans for more than a decade now. I mostly use prepaid, and with a combination of “combos” and “promos” I maximize my data, calls, and SMS with monthly roll-overs.

However, sometimes I forget to renew my promos, and all of my rolled-over minutes, SMS and data expire just like that.

I remember around 10 years ago, Globe had the “immortal text” and…

It’s better to be ready when SHTF

Photo by ActionVance on Unsplash

Note: I originally wrote this as a post in a Filipino prepper group. More events have transpired after, including the onslaught of typhoon Ulysses (international name: Vamco), which flooded many parts of Metro Manila and Cagayan Valley and again struck the Bicol region only a couple of weeks after Rolly. This has been edited for clarity.

This is in response to a call for the establishment of an off-grid or emergency communications capability, in light of typhoon Rolly (international name: Goni) and its devastating effect, particularly on the Bicol region.

True enough, power and communication lines were down, and among…

A practical response to questions about radio communications

Photo by Everyday basics on Unsplash

I am writing this guide as an FAQ and response to some of the questions on the Pinoy Preppers Facebook Group.

In the recent weeks, we have encountered several disasters, particularly typhoons and severe floods, not to mention the ongoing pandemic.

I will do my best to respond in practical terms. Kindly provide your own inputs if there are corrections.

Here is the question posted. I will try to translate as necessary, for an international audience.

Hello po sa inyo mga ka preppers! Kung sino man po may knowledge about radio and communication pls answer this. So first of all…

A pair of lightweight portable radios with good selectivity receivers

When anyone asks me for my recommendations on portable radio use, I would usually suggest radios with good receivers as one of the primary considerations.

Many inexpensive radios today use direct conversion receivers and poor front-end filtering — such as the Baofeng UV5R and most other similar designs. These are prone to desense and intermod. Sure, if you’re using it in rural areas or in the mountain trails, you would not have any problem with hearing distant or weak stations. However, in the city, your receive performance will suffer significantly, especially in locations with high RF congestion. …

The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation, and radio amateurs have quickly adjusted to the situation

Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash

The global pandemic has accelerated digital transformation for many industries and activities. With amateur radio enthusiasts being innovators in many fields, we are also taking advantage of digital technologies to improve safety by reducing physical encounters.

When I took the amateur radio exam in 2015, I was in the presence of three Volunteer Examiners (VEs), who administered the test. It was the same when I upgraded in 2016. The test was fairly quick. The VE team checked my exam results right there and then, and they submitted the documents to the VEC shortly thereafter.

I got my license and callsign…


Editor @ TechNode.Global. I write about startups, venture capital, and amateur radio. Like my work? Buy me a coffee: buymeacoffee.com/n2rac .

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