Vero Telecom VR-6600PRO

R.I.P. VR-6600P: the radio has been replaced before it even saw the light of day. Instead Vero Telecom introduced the VR-6600PRO, an updated version of the radio we all so desperately wanted to get our hands on. Vero writes:

Hello Hans,

Good day to you.
Thank you for focusing on our new product — VR-6600PRO. Now, it is time to show VR-6600PRO to you. VR-6600PRO adopts many suggestions from HAMs. As well VR-6600PRO uses much optimal design of ergonomics. Please check the detailed videos for VR-6600PRO.

We will arrange a free sample to you test as soon as possible.

Super features:
1. The VR-6600P with the DOUBLE RF MOSFET MODULE, and can provide very smooth power from the V band to U band.
2. 8 colors LCD backlight to choose, you will be safer because you can freely adjust the brightness of the backlight and button light, as well as automatic backlight setting
3.The handsfree function is realized with the mini-microphone built in the panel.
4、Clear Voice.
The stereo speakers built in the panel helps the automatically identify the signal.The speaker sounds simultaneously when receive single signal,and it sounds respectively when receive dual signal.
5. With high performance and convenience, the turn 360°new suction cup mounting bracket can firmly suck on different rough plane, and makes it easy to remove without screws.
6.With the dual speaker installed, you can freely choose the microphone connectors whether on the mainframe or panel.
7.The mainframe is solid and break-resistant. Passive cooling adopted, the longevity of mainframe will not be affected by the dust absorbed on it.
8. A data jack is uniquely installed in the mainframe.
9.Three speaker system(two in panel and one in main frame ) allows you to have more options.
10. Multi-functional DTMF microphone is ergonomically designed, which makes you feel well and operate more conveniently. etc.

You will be surprised to find more distinctive features when VR-6600pro at hand.
Best regards,

Cathy Zhang
Sales Dept –Sales Manager

Picking up the pieces – and from where we left

Sorry to all my readers for this long period of silence. Sometimes life’s a bitch — when family matters pop up, a hobby becomes completely and totally unimportant. Priorities, you know. I’ve got more time/ energy now and will start with handling an enormous backlog of mail and working through unattended comments.

In the mean time: how about this chocolate? I bought the white variety, but any taste can be delivered.

Edible Components

Edible Components

Edible components, made by Ina’s Bonbons, a Dutch company. You can reach her at inasbonbons @ ziggo.nl.

The Zastone ZT-2R is back

It caused a stir. After a few raving reviews (one of which was published here) the radio sold out in the blink of an eye, never to be seen again, let alone at the initial price point of $80. But the Zastone ZT-2R, a 100% copy of the Yaesu VX-2R, is back.
Zastone ZT-2R BoxAt $85.80 (shipping included) the radio is only a few bucks more expensive than when it came out. You have 11 days before the price goes back up to around $110. Link: AliExpress.com.


Ham video debut on the ISS

While amateur radio enthusiasts have been able to communicate with astronauts on the International Space Station since its inauguration in 2000, a new digital amateur television (DATV) transmitter installed in the Columbus laboratory will add a visual element to those conversations, the European Space Agency announced on Monday.

For the past 14 years, people on Earth have been able to communicate with the ISS crew using standard radio equipment, the ESA said. The DATV system was developed by Kayser Italia and arrived at the station last August on board Japan’s space freighter. It was then connected to an existing S-band antenna in the Columbus laboratory.

The video signal works like standard TV broadcasts in that the crew members will not be able to see their audience, but they will be able to hear their questions and comments over the regular amateur radio system. The sessions have to be brief, as the connection requires a direct line of sight. Since the ISS travels at speeds of more than 17,000 mph, it quickly passes through the field of view of Earth-based amateur stations, the agency said.

The crew finished commissioning the set-up for the device on April 12, and NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins was the first member to broadcast over what has been dubbed Ham TV. He took part in a video chat with ground stations in Livorno, Casale Monferrato and Matera, Italy.

The ESA explained that they have contributed five ground antennas and equipment to the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) organization, which can be easily transported and repositioned as needed in order to receive video from the ISS when it flies overhead. When linked together, the agency said that the station is capable of providing up to 20 minutes of contact at any given time.

According to ARISS, the Ham Video transmitted operates with a Canon XF-305 camera. It has download frequencies of 2.422 GHz and 2.437 GHz, contingency frequencies of 2.369 GHz and 2.395 GHz, and a DVB-S like signal. Other characteristics include a DVB-S like signal (without PMT tables), symbol rates of 1.3 Ms/s, 2.0 Ms/s, FEC of 1/2, video PID of 256, audio PID 257 and RF radiated power (approximately 10 W EIRP).

“Ham TV will add to ham radio for space educational purposes, offering schoolchildren the chance to talk and see astronauts in space with simple equipment,” the ESA said. “Anybody can still hail the Station via radio and, if an astronaut floats by the always-on receiver, they might just pick up and answer the call.”

Google+ community

While I’m finishing up the Puxing/Wouxun review I started a Google+ communityGoogle+ to discuss Chinese ham-related products. These could be (but not limited to) radios, test equipment, accessories, kits, spare parts or components.

I also plan to invite manufacturers and sellers to join, which will give members the opportunity to give feedback and ask questions.

There’s a fine line between information and SPAM; this will defined in more detail later in time.