8/26/09 - New radios announced at JAIA (Japan)

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kg7hq Thu, 08/27/2009 - 09:04

The following was submitted by Scott (N7SS)....

The two major venues for new radio announcements are Dayton and Tokyo. The Tokyo JAIA hamfest was just last weekend (August 21-23). There were undoubtedly plenty of announcements I missed but I wanted to mention the new products I saw from the big three (Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu). These radios are a long way from production (some further than others) and pricing is a long way from determined.

Icom announced the IC-9100. It appears to combine the features of the IC-746Pro and IC-910 into a single updated radio (shack in a box). It has IF DSP so there are no filters to buy and still offers high power on 2m (100w) and 70cm (75w). There will be an optional 1.2G band unit, a DSTAR DV mode option and optional narrow roofing filters. Adam Farson already has a web page up at http://www.ab4oj.com/icom/ic9100/main.html which includes a prerelease brochure (in English) and there is a Yahoo group already buzzing with questions and guesses.

Ever since I got my ham license, I’ve been hearing that Kenwood is getting out of the ham radio business. That have always had a smaller product line than Icom and Yaesu but new models have arrived intermittently. This year at Dayton Kenwood had nothing new to show but had a huge banner with pictures of radio components that hinted at a new HF rig coming. They are now showing a new box all lit up but it still has a large number of buttons with no labels. It’s hard to determine features and you have to assume availability is a ways off. The one sure thing is they aren’t out of the ham radio business yet.

Several years ago Kenwood discontinued their TH-D7A handheld with APRS. It was a good rig but big and heavy with marginal battery life. This year Yaesu tried to update it with the VX-8r. Now Kenwood is showing their own update. It appears to be a bit smaller than the TH-D7 but still larger than the VX-8r. It is a dual VFO dual-bander with APRS but other features are hard to determine. Hopefully it will offer access to the TNC - like the old TH-D7 but unlike the VX-8r. I have only found some video with Japanese audio like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BM96Wl7Alag.

Yaesu has stepped further into the APRS ring with their new FTM-530. This appears to be a direct competitor to the Kenwood TM-D710. It’s a dual VFO dual-bander with APRS and a very large display with speakers on the back of the head. It has optional Bluetooth and an internal GPS. You can find a Japanese flyer at http://www.onjapan.net/2009/hamfair/img_3638.jpg and below is a rough translation of the interesting bits.

Full dot matrix LCD
Dual receive, full duplex, GPS location display, APRS, a variety of timers?
2/440 50W, 20W model also available. Right and Left VFOs independently band-configurable with simultaneous receive & full duplex.
Way cool stuff happens when you connect the FGPS-1 GPS antenna.
Location, direction, compass display, speed display, simplified NAV feature shows distance and direction to destination. Features useful for motorsports include: Various timer features (UP/Down timer) and APRS distance/direction info on other stations. Location memories (waypoints?) with alarm feature when nearing a stored waypoint. Graph display of altitude and barometric pressure.
Graphical display of APRS WX info. Up to 67 chars APRS message RX/TX.
High speed bandscope!
Front panel has L/R speakers, one for each VFO
Optional voice module.
Eight color LCD backlight.
1200/9600 8-pin mini DIN data port.
Front panel is separate standard - not meant to be attached to the main box. 3m cable is included, with 6m cable optional.
Something about rear die-cast (heat sink) ensures stable TX output.
Wide band RX. Something about being able to pick up Japan Railways stuff.
FM stereo reception.
Some crap about ARTS that nobody cares about.
Lotsa memories, DTMF memories, atmospheric pressure sensor, easy-to-operate set menu. Handsfree with Bluetooth BU-1 unit.
PTT and mic are built into the front panel, thus operation without a hand mic is possible.

As people return from the show, more photos and blogs will start appearing. One of the best photo galleries I’ve seen so far is http://www.onjapan.net/2009/hamfair/index.html. You’ll find Yaesu products under the Standard label.

Looks like we have some cool products coming!

Scott N7SS