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"Frequency Meter" for older transceivers?

Discussion in 'Survival Communications' started by WA4STO, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. WA4STO

    WA4STO Digital Communications Monkey

    Lately, I've been in the mood to start collecting the older Ten-Tec transceivers. Like the Triton, for example.

    Saw one today on pee-bay and it stopped me cold. The picture shown indicated a 40 meter
    frequency of 7.188 mHz. Oh my...

    That was 35 years ago. Today, my IC7000 shows a frequency of 7.188.010, so without some clever
    means of coming up with a "frequency meter" that has a much better resolution, I'm not going to be doing the digital modes with those old RF beauties.

    Then I got thinking. Doesn't happen often. I got wondering if it wasn't time for one of the usual
    "antenna analyzers". What I can't wrap my head around is whether or not there's a way to keep the
    AA "in the circuit" so that all I need to do is key the radio briefly and know exactly what freq my
    digital signal is on. Oh yah, and without instantly frying the analyzer. Yah, that would be good.

    Does the typical analyzer (MFJ, Palstar, whatever) have as good a frequency resolution as the newer transceiver digital displays?

    Or is there a much cheaper way to come up with a digital meter that would satisfy this requirement?


    Luck, WA4STO
    ARRL A1-operator, BPL Medallion holder, circa 1977
    VUCC Satellite (all CW)
    NTS(D) Digital Relay Station, Central Area
    NTS(D) Target Station, CAN, TEN & NE
    TCC Station “Fox”
  2. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    That would depend on the time base used by the AAs.... If it was my station, I would go look for a Freq Counter from the 80's, and sample the RF at the Driver Stage for a reading. Should have little issues as long as you aren't driving the FSK or PSK inputs when taking a reading. Or, an alternative is bring out ALL the local Osc's and mix them outside, in the same scheme as the Radio, and count the result. That would give you a continuous Tx Reading, sans modulation.
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    If you take the MFJ 259 as an example, they don't go in line, and don't like power poked into them. Likewise, the Bird units aren't made for that. Has to be a better way, for sure. Not knowing nuthin much, I'd hazard a guess that those old timers may not be stable enough to hold a tenth of a kHz.
  4. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+

    I have an MFJ-269. Part of the attraction was the built in frequency counter. As stellar as the instrument is on every other level, the frequency counter function is unimpressive. I ended up buying a dedicated MFJ-886 counter and I'm very satisfied with it.

    If all you care about is a frequency counter, then save yourself a ton of $ and get the 886 or something similar. They run about $120 or so. It goes out to six decimal places, is very small and is simple to use. It comes with a telescoping antenna. Just place it near the transmitter and key 'er down (no direct connection needed)...the 886 will take it from there.

    I wrote up a detailed, full review of the MFJ-269 on another website. I'm no longer a member there and the post would now be over a year old anyway. I think I saved a text file. If I can find it, I will post it here.

    Hope this is helpful.

    UPDATE: I found my original 269 review from over a year ago. I'm going to make a few editorial changes and will have it online soon.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2013
  5. techsar

    techsar Monkey++

    ...or if you don't want to reinvent the wheel:
    http://aade.com/dfd1.htm dfddim.

    BTW, some older rigs are stable enough for some digi modes. I used an HW-104 for PSK several years ago. Granted, you had to let the vfo warm up and stabilize first but it is possible. Pactor or Winmor, no way ;)
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2013
  6. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+

  7. techsar

    techsar Monkey++

    Nice review and matches with my experiences with the -259 and -269 models. Just remember the number one rule of thumb with these and never hook your transmitter up to it! (No, not me but a friend of mine, now SK, toasted one. MFJ fixed it for about $25 + shipping)
    Tevin likes this.
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