New Addition to the Shack

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I’m retiring the Kenwood TX-2000 from VHF/UHF duty, and got a new Yaesu FTM-400R/DE to take it’s place.

While the Kenwood is a great piece of equipment and extremely versatile, it does have it’s limitations. It works well on VHF/UHF but scanning is painfully slow, when it’s on an active frequency, it doesn’t stay there, it just briefly stops and then continues to scan, and if I haven’t been watching the display, I have no idea what the active frequency was.

The 400 is just far more convenient to use than the 2000 for VHF/UHF. More functions specific to those bands, better scanning capabilities, APRS support and all kinds of other goodies, and it’s a transceiver I’m familiar with since I’ve had one in the Jeep since last summer.

It’s been interesting, though. According to the manual, I should be able to just drop a micro SD card into the radio, back it up to the card, then take the card, plug it into a different radio, and download the setup and memory into the new rig. Basically creating a clone of the original radio. The idea was I could do a backup of the radio in the Jeep, pull the card, drop it into the new 400, and transfer all of the programming into the new one and save myself the effort of having to program it.

Doesn’t work. Oh, it’ll back itself up to an SD card, but you can’t transfer that card to a different radio and load the data into it. It will only read the backup data that it wrote itself.

The radios can ‘clone’ each other, but that would involve pulling the 400 out of the Jeep, bringing it in the house, getting a cloning cable, hooking it up to a power supply, connecting them together, doing the clone, then disconnecting everything and reinstalling it back in the Jeep…

No way… That would have taken probably half a day of messing around outside, with a wind chill down around -25.

So I did it the old fashioned way. I got out my list of repeaters and just programmed the thing. It took a while, but it also gave me the opportunity to weed out the weird stuff that got programmed into the systems originally, like the duplicate entries, the repeaters that I’ll probably never get close enough to fiddle with, things like that.

The 2000 will go back to being an HF rig, I suspect, and held in backup for VHF/UHF work if the 400 goes down for some reason.

4 thoughts on “New Addition to the Shack

  1. Now this is a puzzle. I took away from your previous post about the FTM-400DR that you were not pleased with the radio.

    Now I see you purchased a second one.

    Have any of the issues you brought up with the First Look post been resolved via firmware/hardware updates?

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    • Yep, I bought a 2nd one, and I admit that must sound confusing… But despite it’s faults, the 400 is a solid VHF/UHF transceiver, and when my wife needed a new rig for her car, we put one of the 400s into it to replace her old Alinco. The second unit was pulled out of my vehicle and is now used as her base here in the house. This makes it easier for her because both rigs are the same, programmed the same, etc. But I’ll be blunt – even with the manual in front of her she finds it difficult, almost impossible to program the thing.

      As long as you don’t need to get into the special functions or change the programming, it’s a solid performer, which is one of the reasons we have two of them. If she’d ever need to re-program it out in the field… Well, that would be interesting, shall we say?

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  2. Actually the SD card can clone one FTM-400 to another, I’ve done it. The only thing that I needed to change was the call sign for the other operator’s radio and he was off and running.

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