State of the art
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The first advances came in reduction of size. Everything started to get smaller. We have President Kennedy and the moon missions to thank for that.
Just a few years ago the most advanced HT transceivers had thumb wheels to control frequency and dip switches to set PL tones. The power provided by microprocessor chips advanced the "state of the art" at an amazing rate.
Just last year we were dazzled by the new features and functions available on the new radios. We had 50 memory channels, programmable PL tones, odd offsets, dual band receive and many others. The only problem with these new super radios was there were never enough keys to control the many functions. In fact we had so many options and features, we needed a 75 page manual to remember all the commands.
On my monthly visit to the local HAM store, I was shown a new dual band mobile radio by Kenwood, the TM-V7A. I was impressed by the large, bright blue display, it used a backlit computer type display. The manager offered to let me take the display unit home for the weekend to check it out.
Well, I took it home and expected to spend a few minutes giving it the once over. Boy was I wrong. This radio has more options and features than I believed possible. The best feature of the radio is the built-in screen display menus used to control them. There were 17 main menu items and some of the menus had sub menus. Every menu option was in plain english and easy to control. There was even an menu item that indexs all the other menu commands.
I have control over everything from the display brightness and contrast to the s-meter level to open the squelch. I'm not sure what to program into the over 200 memory channels, but I will make use of the option that lets me store the name of the frequency in the memory. Now I can see the name of the frequency along with the frequency readout at the same time! It even has a built in connector for my packet TNC and the front panel can be remotely mounted.
The one feature that I have always wanted was a visual scan of the band. The display will show vertical bars that represent the signal strength of transmissions. Up to 149 channels will be displayed on the graph. 74 above the center frequency and 74 below. When you are looking for a signal to tune. This is the feature that makes it easy.
I have used many radios while I've been a ham, more often than not I would wonder why the designers did what they did. With the TM-V7A, I can only believe that the engineers got together with some ham operators and designed and built a quality product.
Kenwood even improved the microphone. I have never been happy with most microphones supplied with amateur radios. They were often to small to fit in my hand and the DTMF buttons were so small they were almost impossible to press. This new microphone, can even control many functions of the radio using the DTMF keys. If you are interested in more information about the TM-V7 visit your local ham store or visit : http://www.kenwood.net/amateur.html
I took the demo back to the store and bought one. I wonder if the manager knew I would do that? Well I guess the old saying "beware of greeks baring gifts" is true once again I now need to sell my old dual band radio. You'll probably see it in the Ham Radio Trader!!
Good luck and have fun with the hobby we call Amateur Radio.
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