Monday, 14 September 2015

Call me, Zero

I am now, thanks to David G3RYP, the proud owner of a PRC-320 HF manpack radio. This is the same one we borrowed from David, who has allowed me to acquire it from him. So, I now claim the impromptu callsign ZERO! For anyone not familiar with British Army communications procedure - Zero is the standard callsign of the net control station. I hope in the next few days also to be able to claim the callsign SUNRAY...

Being now the owner of the PRC-320, the next step is to give it a thorough overhaul. To start with, I wish to see if it has had its PSU high voltage capacitors replaced, and if not, to do so. This will help extend the radios life by pre-empting the dreaded 110v fault.

It also means that I can begin working in earnest on the PIC controlled synthesiser remote control system ive been developing.

At the same time, I also obtained various Clansman spares, one item of which is a 'display only' battery.

The reason for acquiring this is simply to empty it out and refill it with a much more modern battery technology. Having drilled out the rivets holding the top on, and levering it off, I was confronted, not surprisingly, by a mass of expanded polyurethane foam. First job then was to remove as much of this as possible, until I could get at the cells

Using various tools, including a set of pipe wrenches, I managed to get a cell out. It was then a job of carefully chiseling out foam, and pushing, pulling and rocking the cells free, until the top layer was all out

The bottom layer needed the same techniques, but in the now cramped confines much more effort.

But, eventually, all the old cells were out, and most of the foam scraped away. Ive now to get the lid properly straightened out.

Eventually, I plan on fitting this case with a modern, 7S 5,000mAhr Lithium Polymer battery. That will drastically reduce the weight of the set-up, but also means investing in a suitable charger. Luckily, a charger suitable for 7S LiPo batteries is also capable of handling a 24v 4Ahr NiCd!

I also took 'delivery' of the new LCD modules from China, and have unfortunately found myself disappointed by my usual supplier. Firstly, whichever dork actually delivered the package, left it inside a recycling bin! I luckily noticed it. But then, on opening, I found that the LCDs had been shipped with the encoder I had also ordered, and not properly packaged. Two of the three LCDs, including the expensive 4x20, have impact damage to the screens as a result.

Im not at all happy about this, and have sent pictures off to the supplier and requested replacements. These displays all had projects waiting for them, which are now delayed.

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