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Tuesday 28 November 2017

hands-free mic installation and hearing the ISS

This evening, in light of it being delivered to my work QTH this morning, I fitted the hands free microphone into the car, I have not received any on air reports from it however so I don't know how well it is working and if I need to adjust the mic gain (a trimpot marked "vol" on the side of the switch box), the switch is fitted round the gear stick, and the microphone itself is fitted to the sun visor.

On the downside the channel up/down controls don't work on the Yaesu FTM-400, they simply send a 4 and 7 respectively, so this means I have to use the control panel to change frequency, though this should not be a difficult task as I've reconfigured the radio to allow me access to an on-screen keypad, I don't know if this sends DTMF or not, I'd need to test this out or refer to the manual.

With the switch on the gear stick it means I need to use care in not flicking the switch unintentionally and informing any passengers I have that they are not to touch it, though with it being on the gear stick they probably won't anyway.

A convenience feature of this microphone is that it has a 2.5 minute alarm, so I know if I have been talking too long, as can happen, though I tend to keep my overs short if possible.

While I was finishing tests, I took a test drive amongst other things to ensure the fittings were sound, I tried to call on the digital voice calling frequency, no one was there, and given the order it is stored in my FTM-400 I managed to catch on to what I initially thought was noise on the ISS 2-metre downlink frequency only to find a QSO ongoing between one of the astronauts (IZ0JPA as I later discovered) and a ground station, a school in Ontario, Canada (I did some digging around to see if there were scheduled contacts), I recorded a small part of the QSO on my phone (of the ISS side from IZ0JPA as that was audible, the Canadian side would not be for obvious reasons) but I do not intend to upload this to YouTube as it was spur of the moment and not on par for a YouTube video

The reception of the ISS was unexpected, and it must have been within range for a time, not bad for a vertical antenna on the roof of the car, in fact I would have happily kept listening had I had time and it wasn't nearly freezing out.

As for the hands-free microphone, I hope to get some audio reports on that in the next few days.

73 de 2E0EIJ

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