Back in early 2004, we took a chance and purchased a used ICOM IC-T90A from a Ham Operator on eBay. When it arrived, I was elated to find it worked like a charm – once we figured out how to operate it. Back then, had to take a drive to Ham Radio Outlet and picked up a wallet sized “Nifty card” for it and was soon able to figure out how to program it from the tiny little touch pad. It served as my first Ham radio as a licensed operator, and worked about as well as a handheld radio could in those days.
Over the last six months, we’ve even located the old little case containing the accessories bought for it some 10-12 years ago, located a provider for new batteries on Amazon.com, and upgraded the little antenna to a Diamond SRH77CA for 2m and 70cm operation. (Don’t currently use 6m, but if I do, will revert to the old antenna with extension).
What I couldn’t seem to do, is figure out how to manually program the odd offset for the ARCEC 2m repeater – this despite reading a downloaded copy of the manual, and doing many a search on google. I now know that you simply set it up for “Dup -“, (Duplex with negative offset), and manually set the offset to 0.945000 instead of the typical 0.600000). DOH!
Have never bothered with trying to program that old radio with a computer and cable before, but having acquired the CS-T90A software plus the appropriate FTDI USB Programming Cable Icom IC-T70A IC-T70E IC-T90 IC-T90A IC-T90E OPC-478 from eBay, (that link is to another Ham operator’s eBay Store – BlueMax49ers – one whom I’ve had excellent results with in the past, solely as a customer/consumer), – sat down yesterday to give it a shot, and its now fully in service for our local area.
Between the calling frequencies, several other simplex frequencies, and over 50 local 2m and 70cm repeaters – you can see why hand-programming is a bit of a challenge in our area – far, far easier to do it via a full keyboard and mouse than poking at the keypad. This has proven true of all our radios – be they ICOM, Yeasu, Baofeng, or whatever. In all, we have purchased about 6 or 7 of those FTDI USB cables from that same seller, (who is also a Ham), and have never had a problem. (He ships right away too!)
Up to this point, have only had to use radio-specific software to program our old IC-V8000, (CS V-8000 software), and this old handheld. For everything else I’ve used the free, open-source, CHIRP software from DanPlanet.com with great success. That software covers a tremendous number of Ham radios and works sweet IF you have a proper programming cable.
Life is good!
Update: Upon further testing, discovered while listening to QSO’s on the ARCEC 2m repeater that the receiver was cutting out every 5 seconds for about 1 second. Set it aside until I found time to look into the problem. Sure enough, some time later remembered something about both the ICOM IC-V8000 and IC-T90A from that time frame, (circa 2004), about the Weather Alert setting being a problem. Pressed and held the “Set” button to access the settings that are infrequently changed – worked down through the list and discovered somehow Wx Alt had been enabled. Turned it off and problem went away. 🙂