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Kenwood TS120V

Picked up a second hand Kenwood TS120V.

I have a soft spot for these little radios. Previously owned one which I regret selling.

Was able to pick this one up for a $120. Full power output. Receiver great. She is a bit rough.

Need to address;

  • Cosmetic
    • front panel
    • surface rust
  • Logical
    • PLL Unlock, 15 meters only (Dots on display)
      • internal clean
      • Re solder joints
      • Realign
Taking the top off has revealed a straight but dirty radio.
Bit to do here…



Real QRP action !



Sensitivity:0.25 uV (10 dB S/N)

Type: Amateur HF transceiver
Frequency range: 10-80 m
Mode: SSB/CW
RF Power output: Max 10 W
Selectivity: SSB: 2.4 KHz (-6 dB), 4.4 KHz (-60 dB)
CW: 500 Hz (-6 dB), 1.8 KHz (-60 dB)
Image rejection: N/A
Voltage: 12-16 VDC
Current drain: RX: 2 A
TX: 5 A
Impedance: 50 ohms, SO-239
Dimensions (W*H*D): 241*94*235mm
Weight: 4.9Kg
Manufactured: Japan, 1978-19xx (Discontinued)
Other: Vox, NB, RIT, Digital readout

Preparing the Garmin for use

Garmin eTrex 30

eTrex® 30

Weight – 141.7g with 2 AA batteries for 25hrs use.

Replaced the Garmin eTrex Legend

IMG 0307

Weight – 150g with 2 AA batteries for 18hrs use.


Basic Configuration

  • Datum – GDA 94
  • Position UTM UPS
  • Units – Metric

To configure BaseCamp with summits download GPX file from ParksnPeaks then import. 

Tracks V’s Routes

I have had issues in the past where a route defined at home is shown as a straight line in the bush. This is despite keeping the device FW current and using licences Garmin maps. To prevent this happening have decided to define proposed routes then convert to tracks for use. This device has a 2G SD card in it so storage not a issue.

  • Routes are where you are planning to go
  • Tracks are about where you have been
  • Routes typically use straight-line, “as the crow flies” navigation; tracks more accurately reflect the shape of the trail, with all its twists and turns

A ROUTE follows the network of the activated map. A TRACK defines your path. Read more about Tracks V Routes here.

Tracks are recorded waypoints (coordinates) after a certain distance or time, usually distance. Depending on memory you can record an unlimited number of points. Tracks are not as efficient as routes for storage but they don’t require a map and roads to function. Routes can be as simple as a start and end point. BaseCamp and the GPS can use map information to calculate a route. When you convert a track to a route, BC inserts enough waypoints onto the track such that hopefully when the route is calculated through the inserted waypoints you get a route that follows the tracks. If there is no road or trail to follow on the map then you will get a straight line. Manually insert waypoints when no tracks are available.


  1. Create Track in Basecamp.
  2. Modify points as required
  3. Convert to Route
  4. Send to GPS

MTR v2 Completed

Finished the build of MTR but was not convinced the device is working optimally. I aligned manually by the manual without access to a real cro or frequency counter.

David VK3IL has these tools and has updated the firmware to addresses a minor bug with stepping through the band and expanded the bands to match Australian conditions.

Jumped at a opportunity to use the correct equipment to align the MTR and update the firmware.


David V3IL  with the super specs and Glen VK3YY supervising.

After a short period involving probing measuring and adjusting the conclusion was 4W out at for 12V 8W in so 50% efficient. Both David and Glens devices were able to get 5W out. This must come down to the winding of the toroids. Combined with the addition of the capacitor to increase the audio gain the MTR burst into activity. 

Very happy with the outcome. Finally got out 24th August 2014.See below for MTR in action in the Aussie bush,


Bothy Bag

Given the return of winter and desire to activate summits that qualify for the seasonal bonus whilst staying comfortable, the SOTA community is obtaining Bothy bags.

The intent is to provide quick shelter to keep equipment and activators out of the weather whilst operating. My SOTA activations in this weather are usually quick with the intent of more than one summit a day in order to get the points, so a bothy bag is ideal instead of the weight and time required for a small tent.

I purchased the Mountain Leaders 2-3 man Bothy Bag from eBay and it took 13 days for delivery to Lal Lal.  Turned up the Monday after VK3/VT-010 Talbot Peak walk.

Paul VK5PAS as the same unit and Andrew VK1NAM has the 2 person Bothy Bag from Summit Gear


It is high visibility orange It is really compact and lightweight

It has some PVC clear windows and a breathing hole with an integrated draw cord.

Packed size/weight – 340g and 10cm x 22cm in it’s stuff sack, so very small and light.

Deployment – pull it out of the stuff shack, shake it out and get in it from underneath. It will still be a challenge in a windy location however worked fine in my lounge room.

Accommodation – once inside, pull the draw strings to close up the base. A couple of small plastic windows. With one person in there, plenty of room for radios and pack.

Packing – release the draw strings and fold it back up whilst watching the windows. 

BothyBag VK3VE022

Bothy in use in VK3/VE022

Will be interested to see how the different units in use fare after a couple of activations. 

MTR Update – Increase audio

 G3CWI pointed out that that can solder a 10uF capacitor between pins 1 and 8 of the LM386 to increase the audio gain by 200%

Lm386 gain

The complete data sheet is here – Page 6 shows that adding the 10uF cap increases the gain from 20 to 200.

The sidetone gets added later in the audio chain, so this mod will not affect sidetone level.

MTR Bottom

MTR v2 Debug Update

There are differences between a MIC5205 and the TC1014.

The difference is the amount of capacitance on the output needed for stability, the MIC5205 would like to have more then is currently on the board. Can verify this by either removing C30 or adding addition capacitor to the output of the regulator.

Removed C30 and she starts up as expected. Change the bands and she detects the change displaying the new info correctly. 

Sits at 32mA with 8.92v input.5v is at 4.99v whilst 3v is at 3.8v. Bet the higher 3.8v is related to the MIC5205 so will verify that the 3.3v rail is not getting power from 5v or V+ by;

  • Removing the MIC5205
  • Power up the rig
  • Check the 3.3v rail out of the now non-existent 3.3v regulator, should be less than 3.3v, (probably close to zero)
  • Power down and add the new TC1014 
  • Power up the rig, check the 3.3v rail

Measured 1.68V on 3.3v rail.

VK3HRA Back debug 003

Anyway enough for now until the replacement part arrives.



MTR v2 Debug

Debugging MTR v2 SN 364

Build progressing but have ran into a problem. On startup it is cycling through the band announcement. You can hear the number for the band and it is correctly displayed on the LED then pauses and re-plays and shows the number again and continues to loop. If you change bands it will reflect the change correctly and will continue to loop showing the band info. I can hear stations between the announcements when connected to an antenna. If you key the transmitter you can see output into a dummy load but the device continues to show and play the band info.

I have used a MIC5205 to replace a missing TC1014. Apparently the MIC5205 is pin equivalent to the TC1014. The replacement device is marked KB33 so the fixed not a variable unit.

Responses from the Yahoo groups indicate this problem is pointing to a power issue potentially caused by a short / dry joint. To address go back and check the connections. I have visually checked and double checked the connections with no joy. Have progressed to the point of checking against the schematic as what ever is the issue it can’t be detected with my eyes.

Current Measurements – 31ma to 44ma @9.01v on a new 9v battery. I am looking for shorts as the consensus is the current is too high.

Have disconnected L18 and removed all connections. 

To address any high resistive joints I have touched with the soldering iron all connections to reflow the solder.

Having trouble with the board and schematic. So verified the documented voltage levels around the major components hopping that would point to a issue;

TP1 0v

TP2 2.5v

U1 ok

U2 ok with 7=2.5 8=1.26

U3 ok

U4 ok

U5 correct to msg 13586 “MTR2 Circuit diagram error”

U8 ok

U10 Voltages as per manual except for 0 on both P5 and P6. Continuity to the crystal. X6 Crystal case to ground. U10 RST to 3.3v = 10K

U11 P1 3.25v P2 0 P3 1.68 P4 3.25v Top of case to ground. 

Q3 D 8.04 to 0v

Q5 D 8.6v

I don’t have a fast enough CRO to watch the voltages logging for ‘snags’ so checked with the multi-meter. There are variations;

9v (8.36 to 8.43) 

5v (4.89 to 4.92)

3.3v (3.61 3.68)

Checked the resistor values against the photos with the only variations being a connection from RST to R22 but as Jerry (KE7ER) pointed out, from the photo on page 4, R17 is a 47k (pullup from RST to 3.3v), and R22 is 2.2k (at the gate of Q2). Both of these are 10K (103) on the kit. I check the photo of VK3YY’s board and they are both 10K. So a variation but not my issue.

Paid particulate attention to the area around L11and shorted it out with no difference. 

So from here, To ensure no issues I’ve ordered a “MICROCHIP,TC1014-3.3VCT713” and will replace the MIC5205 when it arrives (Estimated delivery: Mon. 16 Jun. – Thu 19 Jun).


VK3HRA Frount debug 002


VK3HRA Back debug 002