I have quietly embraced the Fusion explosion around here by purchasing the FTM3200. Frankly, I just wanted to get a toe hold into that digital space. I was immediately impressed with the audio quality of this radio and the fact that Fusion can do both analog and digital modes. Then I learned that this particular radio has severe limitations. I cannot access the vast network of online rooms and services offered through Yaesu’s WIRES network. Thanks to Warren (KC9IL) Pugh’s efforts to link his WIRES equipment to our repeater from his home, we have been able to get a taste of what is out there. All he has done, though, is whet our appetite more. I am certain that 3200 radio will soon be moved to my car while I get a more robust base radio for the shack, one that has more features than this one offers.
At first, I was reluctant to jump into yet another digital mode because we are in an awkward moment in time with too many competing digital modes. Some would say that is the job of the marketplace, you know, survival of the fittest and all of that. Somehow, cheapest, most flexible product will survive all while driving most of us slowly into bankruptcy as we purchase all of this gear. I now have D-Star, DMR, P-25 and now Fusion. Each has its attributes and devotees. Each has splintered the VHF/UHF market into multiple submarkets. There is select traffic on all of them but has fractionalized the digital ham community. Progress is painful and without a doubt, digital is the future. I have certainly seen this in my own business over the years. Video production formats have come and gone and we have endured huge radial shifts in production methods and strategies. In the end, we are still just telling stories and, in this case, we are still using radios to communicate. That is what these things do. Oh, but the investment is killer.
Meanwhile, humbled by a car wash.
I have been somewhat radio silent from my car lately because the car wash shredded roof top network. Mind you, I did take the actual antenna elements down before entering the wash. That left the feed wire to the Diamond motor mount and the coax. Somehow, the cables got caught up in the car wash equipment and were yanked from the radio and the antenna. I generally hand a wash my car myself so this is less of an issue, but when the wife said, “The car must be washed”, and it is 10 degrees outside…I generally don’t do the car. Plus, I have been to this place many times and rarely with a problem. Why now? I don’t know. All I can say is that it is a royal pain in the rear wire. I will spare you the details but it requires getting back into the motor and re-wiring everything. But, hey, I love soldering…I do, but I really hate de-soldering. The mounting connector for this antenna is a very difficult fit. There is barely room for the mini coax to feed to the special connector/mount. It must be done perfectly, under heavy sedation (coffee) and magnifying glasses. So, I hope later today, I can complete the soldering and get back on the air.
Meanwhile the old trusty Kenwood Tri-band TM741A I had purchased a few years back from KK9H finally stopped working. This is a classic radio and can still be repaired, but I am debating what to do. It is tough to live in this throw away culture. I hate to throw things into the dump when it can still be brought back to life. The ugly truth is, many replacement radios can be purchased readily (perhaps not as good) and have it can be delivered overnight. I will probably get this one fixed because it is a rare bird: 2 meters, 220 and 440 all in one compact unit. Might leave some room in the budget for that next Fusion radio! But then, how many radios does a person need to have! (Don’t answer that question!!)
73, Rob K9RST