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Author Topic: Equipment AAR: Grenztruppen UHF Radios  (Read 4867 times)
Coop
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« on: March 29, 2014, 09:53:13 am »

I have just about 0 experience with these things, minus some limited testing in Tascabe's warehouse.  As the Commo Officer, I am curious as to the utilization of these radios, if we should use them again, and any problems you may have encountered with them.

If anyone used any of these radios, please fill in the following blanks:

Item: (List the model you used... there are 2 different kinds, Gray and Black).

The Plan:  Issue These radios between Grenztruppen teams, for Grenztruppen to use among themselves in an effort to keep the main net clear of Grenztruppen operational chatter.  This would allow Grenztruppen to quickly call for Grenztruppen reinforcements if something were happening on the Border.  Grenztruppen.

The Performance: (Tell me everything you did with them.  Does this match The Plan?)

Issues: (Tell me what went wrong.)

Fixes:  (If something needs to be fixed, indicate the NAME of who is going to fix it.  It can't always be Tascabe.)

Issues: (If there is more than one issue, list it!)

Fixes:  (Each Issue must also have a corresponding Fix)

Overall: (Give me your thoughts)
« Last Edit: March 29, 2014, 09:55:19 am by Coop » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2014, 01:44:27 pm »

Item: I  used both the grey and black model over the course of the event.

The performance: underutilized due to the fact that we rarely had groups out operating in areas where we cold support each other. When we did use them they worked very well, I think the furthest we tried to reach each other from was observation point charlie to eastern cottbus and we had solid comms.

Issues: Only issues I had were ergonomic, the antenna was usually catching on things.

No real fix for this either

Overall: for intersquad comms over relatively short distances they worked really well. I found that they made a good supplement to the RF10 without clogging up channels used by other units and would complement established phone lines as well.
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KevinH
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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2014, 09:04:01 pm »

My squad and myself got in quite a bit of use of the UFT 721s. Actually the 721s (cream color/gray microphones) were VHF and the 771s (black microphones) were UHF.


UFT 721


UFT 771

I liked them a lot! and while they weren't well utilized this year, I think they have great potential. They are light, small, controls were simple and predictable, and when we had all channels set alike we had pretty solid comms in the field with the typical terrain limitations.

Problem: Antenna getting in the way

Fix: I discovered the antenna issue could be solved by simply using the antenna that was integrated into the shoulder strap instead of the metal wire one. While the range may be diminished with the strap antenna, I never ran into problems.

Problem: The leather straps were difficult to adjust or wouldn't hold adjustment on at least one of the radios.

Fix: This was only a problem for one radio I encountered. We wound up tapeing it in place with some medical tape. It might be that it just wasn't threaded right. Closer examination would be necessary.

Problem: I didn't actually find that this was a problem for me, but some mentioned that they were a bit loud.

Fix: The 721s do have a volume control, not sure if the 771s do. This might mean they are not practical for certain scenarios where silence is a matter of life or death.

Problem: Frequencies are fixed since these are crystal synthesized radios, so it can be a challenge when buying these to find ones that are set for the same frequency range as the ones Tascabe already has.

Fix: I have been researching whether crystals are readily available for these, or if a stand-in can be found. Will report back if I find anything out on this.

I liked these radios so much that I bought a pair of 771s on ebay.de just the other day. I liked the 721s better but the price was right on these. They are also crystalled for frequencies within the US 70cm amateur band, so I can use them where I live in Minneapolis. One advantage to the 771 is it uses a shorter rubber duck external antenna, I don't know how it's range compares to the 721 though. And from what I'm told, you can't just stick a 9 volt in it and get it to work like the 721.

I'd like to get a lot more familiar with these radios. Once I get the 771s I'll report back on my impressions of those. They may not be on the same frequencies as Tascabes, but even if they can't be re-crystalled, we can at least use them in pairs. I also will need to build some battery packs.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2014, 10:48:46 pm by KevinH » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2014, 11:09:26 am »

Outstanding!  Thank you both!
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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2014, 09:23:18 am »

Just got my 771s yesterday in the mail. Came with straps, strap antenna and rubber duck and everything else except batteries.

Problem: While I found that a standard alkaline 9 volt battery will power these, I don't think it will for long. After about an hour, hour and a half of use transmitting maybe 20% of the time, when squelshed it started emitting evenly spaced pops not unlike the RF-10 does as its batteries begin to die. Turning the volume up also began causing distortion as time went on. I figure even with a 10% duty cycle you only really have two to three hours of use max on the alkaline 9v.

Fix: Building packs is a must. Tascabe mentioned he had some built ones. I was considering building two 4.8 volt packs for each radio. Each pack consisting of four N size or 2/3 AA Nicd cells. This would meet the 9.6 volts called for by the manual exactly and would fit nicely in the existing battery wells. Unless Tascabe's packs are more simple, then I will just copy them.

Problem: The aforementioned crystal problem.

Fix: I discovered that the socket type for the radios crystals isn't any different than common ones used on this side of iron curtain. So now its just a matter of finding the right frequencies, which still may not be easy.
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aswayze
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« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2014, 10:16:43 am »

A couple of easy approaches to this problem:




A regular 9V battery is 565 MAH capacity

A lithium one is 1200 MAH

The MBITR adaptors there that use 3 CR-123 Cells to make 9 volts are 1700 MAH
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« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2014, 10:26:21 am »

My Last post continued...

Problem: the aforementioned volume problem.

Fix: After playing with the 771 I think this is a minimal problem at worst. The 771 does have a stepped volume pot instead of infinite like the 721 but even so its first step is pretty quiet. I actually like the stepped pot better because it would be harder to accidents bump it. I also liked the squelsh button on the 771 over the pot on the 721. Instead of fiddling with a knob you just hit the button to turn on squelsh and forget it.

Overall thoughts: Now having used both radios I think the 771 is geared towards military use and the 721 towards civilian. This is due to the controls and the rubber sleeve that encases the body if the 771. I also noticed both radios use TNC antenna connectors so we could adapt a non standard antenna easily if we so chose. Anyway, I think they are both good radios and hope that we can outfit each grenzer team with one next year.
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KevinH
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« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2014, 10:36:12 am »

A couple of easy approaches to this problem:




A regular 9V battery is 565 MAH capacity

A lithium one is 1200 MAH

The MBITR adaptors there that use 3 CR-123 Cells to make 9 volts are 1700 MAH

Hey! that is a lot easier!
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« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2014, 10:37:51 am »

I don't know if regular 9v's have the power to make 'em work right.  When Tascabe and I were testing them, we got much better performance out of 9.6v airsoft packs, since some of the test units were wired up for Large Tamiya connectors, whereas traditional 9v's gave us the "popping" sound we're used to with low battery alerts on our existing radios.
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OP: EW-V - Jr. Lt. - XO
OP: EW-VI - Sr. Lt. - CO
OP: EW-VII - Sr. Lt. - HQ RTO
OP: EW-VIII - Capt. - Dacha in Urals
OP: EW-VIIII - Maj. - Desk in Moscow
OP: EW-VIIIII - Lt. Col. - CO Space Forces
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KevinH
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« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2014, 11:13:16 am »

I don't know if regular 9v's have the power to make 'em work right.  When Tascabe and I were testing them, we got much better performance out of 9.6v airsoft packs, since some of the test units were wired up for Large Tamiya connectors, whereas traditional 9v's gave us the "popping" sound we're used to with low battery alerts on our existing radios.

Well I know a Nicd 9 volt has a nominal voltage of only 8.something volts so that probably wouldn't work. Dunno about a lithium 9v. Maybe. I'm liking the 3x CR-123 idea though.

The alkaline 9 volt worked for a time, both transmitted and received, but as the batteries weakened, which they did fast, I started getting the popping. Id think a high mah 9 volts would be close enough to suffice.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2014, 11:15:00 am by KevinH » Logged

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tascabe
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« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2014, 01:07:56 pm »

Maybe - not sure if the MBITR adapters will fit without major changes - the one I had did not fit when we tried.

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KevinH
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« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2014, 09:23:52 am »

Maybe - not sure if the MBITR adapters will fit without major changes - the one I had did not fit when we tried.



Hmm.. well in that case I did also find this: http://www.batteriesplus.com/product/35557-MHR9V-9-dot6Volt-9V-Style-NiMH-Battery/100083-1/102587-Rechargeable-Batteries/102592-9V,-1604,-6LR61/PowerEx.aspx

The lithium 9 volt does have a much higher mah rating but not rechargable..
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aswayze
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« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2014, 11:03:03 am »

Rechargable is a fools errand, you are just adding to work load and decreasing run time. 

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« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2014, 03:49:12 pm »

I would give the lithium ones some testing - much cheaper in the long run than having packs made.

I think you could even house a spare one in the same battery compartment (if you wanted to)
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« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2014, 12:39:31 am »

Well after some testing of the lithium 9 volt I have concluded that it works only marginally better than the Alkaline 9 volt. Sad I think, whatever we use for the UFT 771 is going to have to be 9.6 volts exactly. That leaves either the expensive batteries plus NiMH 9.6 volt 9 volt sized battery, or some sort of 1/2 AA or N type packs. I mean a 9 volt works for a time, but I think it is just a bit too limited if the 771s come into heavy use. It's not long before the squelch starts making that annoying popping sound.
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