Thursday, April 28, 2011

Super Radio SS-301

Yesterday I got a notification to pick up a parcel at the local supermarket. Yes, supermarket, the post office was closed and "out sourced" to my local grocery. Actually, this even has an advantage to me, opening hours are much more convenient.

So, today it was pickup time for a parcel from Thailand. In the parcel, a "Super Radio SS-301" handheld transceiver. You may not have heard about this brand nor the model... it is a clone of the Albrecht AE2990AFS, aka Magnum 1012, aka Dragon SS301. Imagine, the radio incl. shipping set me back not even €170.- (check ebay for the present conditions).

A guide for frequency coverage modification was provided inside the box. However, other than this single sheet of paper, the radio, a battery case, and wrist strap and a rubber duck aerial, the box did not contain anything in addition. I guess, I will have to hunt down a manual on the internet (probably not the most difficult task ever).

The actual modification itself, from whatever mode to 12m/10m operation, was done in not time at all. Contrary to the guide, two solder bridges had to be removed (Soder Wick) first. Temporary shorten terminals 1 and 2 whilst switching on the radio is a bit tricky, not difficult however. Having selected the correct code, for hams "0" would be ideal, the two solder bridges 2-3 and 4-5, have to be put in place again.

The radio is a bit annoying what beeping is concerned. Julian G4ILO describes how to solve is issue.

Listening to my 10m MEPT (A1A), which happen to run today, I noticed a slight jitter in the PLL. I am not yet sure what this means and what causes it, I hope that this could be solved in the same way the PLL-jitter in the Target HF-3 was removed, by retuning individual sections of the frequency synthesis.

The radio employs the following modes of operation: FM, AM, USB and LSB. There is no CW. I noticed that between USB and LSB pure noise sounds very differently. Another indication that factory tuning may not be ideal.
The transceiver is provided with microphone and external speaker jacks. Digital modes, provided the jitter is gone, should therefore not be a problem.
The lack of CW, although kinda natural to a HT, kinda sucks. As soon as the bands are open again, I will use a keyed sine generator for transmitting CW using the side-band modes via the microphone jack. Due to the low locking speed of the PLL, QSK is no option... so what! Audio keying a transceiver has got an added bonus: power regulation can be done by audio level control.

Can't wait until CONDX provide us with open high bands, so I can have DX-QSOs whilst walking to work.