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Another ALC Question, hope someone can help!

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  • pjayuk
    Greetings all from the UK, my name is Paul, call 2E0PJY. I purchased an FT-897 a few weeks ago and I am happy with the rig overall but its taking a lot of time
    Message 1 of 10 , Jan 2, 2013
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      Greetings all from the UK, my name is Paul, call 2E0PJY.

      I purchased an FT-897 a few weeks ago and I am happy with the rig overall but its taking a lot of time to get the hang of the menus, its certainly more of a challenge than my FT-450D.

      I have a quick question regarding the reading of the ALC meter that is confusing the hell out of me.

      Why do i seem to get a different ALC reading (ie. slightly higher) on the higher bands than the lower ones. In other words the ALC meter seems to peak higher on 20M that it does on 40M. Same settings all on SSB but it certainly seems to read lower on 40 than on 20 or 10 meters. I suspected an antenna mismatch but my vertical is resonant on 10, 20 and 40 and I have an LDG Z11 Pro2 inline to ensure that the SWR remains close to a perfect match.

      Radio is working fine and I am getting contacts but this just bugging me as I dont see it on any of my other radios.

      Can anyone offer me some advice?

      73
    • Geoff
      I m not sure, but here s another weird one I noticed on the weekend. I hadn t noticed this before as I tend to operate low power at home. On 100W power output
      Message 2 of 10 , Jan 13, 2013
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        I'm not sure, but here's another weird one I noticed on the weekend. I
        hadn't noticed this before as I tend to operate low power at home.

        On 100W power output I *could not* make the ALC operate no matter how
        much input I made to the mic (blew air into it as hard as possible, no
        ALC action). As soon as I dropped the power to 75-80W I got normal ALC
        action. This was on 6m SSB.

        Interesting!

        Geoff


        On 3/01/2013 7:51 AM, pjayuk wrote:
        >
        > Greetings all from the UK, my name is Paul, call 2E0PJY.
        >
        > I purchased an FT-897 a few weeks ago and I am happy with the rig
        > overall but its taking a lot of time to get the hang of the menus, its
        > certainly more of a challenge than my FT-450D.
        >
        > I have a quick question regarding the reading of the ALC meter that is
        > confusing the hell out of me.
        >
        > Why do i seem to get a different ALC reading (ie. slightly higher) on
        > the higher bands than the lower ones. In other words the ALC meter
        > seems to peak higher on 20M that it does on 40M. Same settings all on
        > SSB but it certainly seems to read lower on 40 than on 20 or 10
        > meters. I suspected an antenna mismatch but my vertical is resonant on
        > 10, 20 and 40 and I have an LDG Z11 Pro2 inline to ensure that the SWR
        > remains close to a perfect match.
        >
        > Radio is working fine and I am getting contacts but this just bugging
        > me as I dont see it on any of my other radios.
        >
        > Can anyone offer me some advice?
        >
        > 73
        >
        >



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • pjayuk
        This sounds very similar to my issue and the ALC metering appears to work in a very weird way! Having lived with the rig now for a month or so I have to say I
        Message 3 of 10 , Jan 14, 2013
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          This sounds very similar to my issue and the ALC metering appears to work in a very weird way!

          Having lived with the rig now for a month or so I have to say I am very happy with it. Its now the main radio in my shack and I going to buy the batteries for it at some point to make it truly portable.

          I have to say I really like the 897D!



          --- In FT897@yahoogroups.com, Geoff wrote:
          >
          > I'm not sure, but here's another weird one I noticed on the weekend. I
          > hadn't noticed this before as I tend to operate low power at home.
          >
          > On 100W power output I *could not* make the ALC operate no matter how
          > much input I made to the mic (blew air into it as hard as possible, no
          > ALC action). As soon as I dropped the power to 75-80W I got normal ALC
          > action. This was on 6m SSB.
          >
          > Interesting!
          >
          > Geoff
          >
          >
          > On 3/01/2013 7:51 AM, pjayuk wrote:
          > >
          > > Greetings all from the UK, my name is Paul, call 2E0PJY.
          > >
          > > I purchased an FT-897 a few weeks ago and I am happy with the rig
          > > overall but its taking a lot of time to get the hang of the menus, its
          > > certainly more of a challenge than my FT-450D.
          > >
          > > I have a quick question regarding the reading of the ALC meter that is
          > > confusing the hell out of me.
          > >
          > > Why do i seem to get a different ALC reading (ie. slightly higher) on
          > > the higher bands than the lower ones. In other words the ALC meter
          > > seems to peak higher on 20M that it does on 40M. Same settings all on
          > > SSB but it certainly seems to read lower on 40 than on 20 or 10
          > > meters. I suspected an antenna mismatch but my vertical is resonant on
          > > 10, 20 and 40 and I have an LDG Z11 Pro2 inline to ensure that the SWR
          > > remains close to a perfect match.
          > >
          > > Radio is working fine and I am getting contacts but this just bugging
          > > me as I dont see it on any of my other radios.
          > >
          > > Can anyone offer me some advice?
          > >
          > > 73
          > >
          > >
          >
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
        • Joel
          I am just wondering why the ALC reading is important to you , I never look at that reading at all unless I am operating digital to make sure its at 0. What
          Message 4 of 10 , Jan 14, 2013
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            I am just wondering why the ALC reading is important to you , I never
            look at that reading
            at all unless I am operating digital to make sure its at 0.

            What information do you get from the ALC reading that is important to you ?

            73

            On 1/2/2013 2:51 PM, pjayuk wrote:
            >
            > Greetings all from the UK, my name is Paul, call 2E0PJY.
            >
            > I purchased an FT-897 a few weeks ago and I am happy with the rig
            > overall but its taking a lot of time to get the hang of the menus, its
            > certainly more of a challenge than my FT-450D.
            >
            > I have a quick question regarding the reading of the ALC meter that is
            > confusing the hell out of me.
            >
            > Why do i seem to get a different ALC reading (ie. slightly higher) on
            > the higher bands than the lower ones. In other words the ALC meter
            > seems to peak higher on 20M that it does on 40M. Same settings all on
            > SSB but it certainly seems to read lower on 40 than on 20 or 10
            > meters. I suspected an antenna mismatch but my vertical is resonant on
            > 10, 20 and 40 and I have an LDG Z11 Pro2 inline to ensure that the SWR
            > remains close to a perfect match.
            >
            > Radio is working fine and I am getting contacts but this just bugging
            > me as I dont see it on any of my other radios.
            >
            > Can anyone offer me some advice?
            >
            > 73
            >
            >
            >
            > No virus found in this message.
            > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com <http://www.avg.com>
            > Version: 2012.0.2221 / Virus Database: 2638/5531 - Release Date: 01/13/13
            >

            --
            KQØJ



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • pjayuk
            Now that is a good question! I have been taught and also have read in the manual etc that too much ALC action is a bad thing and causes distortion to TX audio.
            Message 5 of 10 , Jan 14, 2013
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              Now that is a good question!

              I have been taught and also have read in the manual etc that too much ALC action is a bad thing and causes distortion to TX audio. I have therefore tried to limit the action I am seeing on the ALC meter on the FT897D but it would seem at the expense of transmitted audio. When I achieve the recommended slight deflection of ALC with voice peaks the reports I am getting is that my audio is weak. I accept that the ALC metering on the 897D is probably no more than a simple reference but I am just following what I was taught about setting a radio up.

              On the other hand my FT-450D reads nearly full ALC deflection pretty much at all times which according to the manual for this rig is also normal.

              Maybe I should just set it and forget it!

              --- In FT897@yahoogroups.com, Joel wrote:
              >
              > I am just wondering why the ALC reading is important to you , I never
              > look at that reading
              > at all unless I am operating digital to make sure its at 0.
              >
              > What information do you get from the ALC reading that is important to you ?
              >
              > 73
              >
              > On 1/2/2013 2:51 PM, pjayuk wrote:
              > >
              > > Greetings all from the UK, my name is Paul, call 2E0PJY.
              > >
              > > I purchased an FT-897 a few weeks ago and I am happy with the rig
              > > overall but its taking a lot of time to get the hang of the menus, its
              > > certainly more of a challenge than my FT-450D.
              > >
              > > I have a quick question regarding the reading of the ALC meter that is
              > > confusing the hell out of me.
              > >
              > > Why do i seem to get a different ALC reading (ie. slightly higher) on
              > > the higher bands than the lower ones. In other words the ALC meter
              > > seems to peak higher on 20M that it does on 40M. Same settings all on
              > > SSB but it certainly seems to read lower on 40 than on 20 or 10
              > > meters. I suspected an antenna mismatch but my vertical is resonant on
              > > 10, 20 and 40 and I have an LDG Z11 Pro2 inline to ensure that the SWR
              > > remains close to a perfect match.
              > >
              > > Radio is working fine and I am getting contacts but this just bugging
              > > me as I dont see it on any of my other radios.
              > >
              > > Can anyone offer me some advice?
              > >
              > > 73
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > No virus found in this message.
              > > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
              > > Version: 2012.0.2221 / Virus Database: 2638/5531 - Release Date: 01/13/13
              > >
              >
              > --
              > KQØJ
              >
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
            • Joel
              I guess over all the decades I have been using SSB rigs I thought ALC was indeed automatic in its action in your rig ( at reasonable mic gain levels ) and the
              Message 6 of 10 , Jan 14, 2013
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                I guess over all the decades I have been using SSB rigs I thought ALC
                was indeed automatic in its
                action in your rig ( at reasonable mic gain levels ) and the voltage was
                used to send to your amplifier to prevent overdriving.

                I dont use a ALC connection to my amp , I keep the drive to 50 -60W per
                amp spec and none is needed
                from my understanding of the amp specs.

                The main concern I am aware of is for digital modes where you want no
                ALC indication as those modes
                are more sensitive to that and you get a signal that rings like a bell
                and looks like one of those Cuban PSK
                stations splattering all over.

                Anyone else want to weigh in I would be interested in any comments.


                73




                On 1/14/2013 3:48 PM, pjayuk wrote:
                >
                > Now that is a good question!
                >
                > I have been taught and also have read in the manual etc that too much
                > ALC action is a bad thing and causes distortion to TX audio. I have
                > therefore tried to limit the action I am seeing on the ALC meter on
                > the FT897D but it would seem at the expense of transmitted audio. When
                > I achieve the recommended slight deflection of ALC with voice peaks
                > the reports I am getting is that my audio is weak. I accept that the
                > ALC metering on the 897D is probably no more than a simple reference
                > but I am just following what I was taught about setting a radio up.
                >
                > On the other hand my FT-450D reads nearly full ALC deflection pretty
                > much at all times which according to the manual for this rig is also
                > normal.
                >
                > Maybe I should just set it and forget it!
                >
                > --- In FT897@yahoogroups.com <mailto:FT897%40yahoogroups.com>, Joel wrote:
                > >
                > > I am just wondering why the ALC reading is important to you , I never
                > > look at that reading
                > > at all unless I am operating digital to make sure its at 0.
                > >
                > > What information do you get from the ALC reading that is important
                > to you ?
                > >
                > > 73
                > >
                > > On 1/2/2013 2:51 PM, pjayuk wrote:
                > > >
                > > > Greetings all from the UK, my name is Paul, call 2E0PJY.
                > > >
                > > > I purchased an FT-897 a few weeks ago and I am happy with the rig
                > > > overall but its taking a lot of time to get the hang of the menus,
                > its
                > > > certainly more of a challenge than my FT-450D.
                > > >
                > > > I have a quick question regarding the reading of the ALC meter
                > that is
                > > > confusing the hell out of me.
                > > >
                > > > Why do i seem to get a different ALC reading (ie. slightly higher) on
                > > > the higher bands than the lower ones. In other words the ALC meter
                > > > seems to peak higher on 20M that it does on 40M. Same settings all on
                > > > SSB but it certainly seems to read lower on 40 than on 20 or 10
                > > > meters. I suspected an antenna mismatch but my vertical is
                > resonant on
                > > > 10, 20 and 40 and I have an LDG Z11 Pro2 inline to ensure that the
                > SWR
                > > > remains close to a perfect match.
                > > >
                > > > Radio is working fine and I am getting contacts but this just bugging
                > > > me as I dont see it on any of my other radios.
                > > >
                > > > Can anyone offer me some advice?
                > > >
                > > > 73
                > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                > > > No virus found in this message.
                > > > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
                > > > Version: 2012.0.2221 / Virus Database: 2638/5531 - Release Date:
                > 01/13/13
                > > >
                > >
                > > --
                > > KQØJ
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                > >
                >
                >
                >
                > No virus found in this message.
                > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com <http://www.avg.com>
                > Version: 2012.0.2221 / Virus Database: 2638/5532 - Release Date: 01/14/13
                >

                --
                KQØJ



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Geoff
                http://g8jnj.webs.com/FTALC.pdf required reading for any FT-897 owner :) Geoff ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                Message 7 of 10 , Jan 14, 2013
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                  http://g8jnj.webs.com/FTALC.pdf

                  required reading for any FT-897 owner :)

                  Geoff


                  On 15/01/2013 8:48 AM, pjayuk wrote:
                  >
                  > Now that is a good question!
                  >
                  > I have been taught and also have read in the manual etc that too much
                  > ALC action is a bad thing and causes distortion to TX audio. I have
                  > therefore tried to limit the action I am seeing on the ALC meter on
                  > the FT897D but it would seem at the expense of transmitted audio. When
                  > I achieve the recommended slight deflection of ALC with voice peaks
                  > the reports I am getting is that my audio is weak. I accept that the
                  > ALC metering on the 897D is probably no more than a simple reference
                  > but I am just following what I was taught about setting a radio up.
                  >
                  > On the other hand my FT-450D reads nearly full ALC deflection pretty
                  > much at all times which according to the manual for this rig is also
                  > normal.
                  >
                  > Maybe I should just set it and forget it!
                  >
                  > --- In FT897@yahoogroups.com <mailto:FT897%40yahoogroups.com>, Joel wrote:
                  > >
                  > > I am just wondering why the ALC reading is important to you , I never
                  > > look at that reading
                  > > at all unless I am operating digital to make sure its at 0.
                  > >
                  > > What information do you get from the ALC reading that is important
                  > to you ?
                  > >
                  > > 73
                  > >
                  > > On 1/2/2013 2:51 PM, pjayuk wrote:
                  > > >
                  > > > Greetings all from the UK, my name is Paul, call 2E0PJY.
                  > > >
                  > > > I purchased an FT-897 a few weeks ago and I am happy with the rig
                  > > > overall but its taking a lot of time to get the hang of the menus,
                  > its
                  > > > certainly more of a challenge than my FT-450D.
                  > > >
                  > > > I have a quick question regarding the reading of the ALC meter
                  > that is
                  > > > confusing the hell out of me.
                  > > >
                  > > > Why do i seem to get a different ALC reading (ie. slightly higher) on
                  > > > the higher bands than the lower ones. In other words the ALC meter
                  > > > seems to peak higher on 20M that it does on 40M. Same settings all on
                  > > > SSB but it certainly seems to read lower on 40 than on 20 or 10
                  > > > meters. I suspected an antenna mismatch but my vertical is
                  > resonant on
                  > > > 10, 20 and 40 and I have an LDG Z11 Pro2 inline to ensure that the
                  > SWR
                  > > > remains close to a perfect match.
                  > > >
                  > > > Radio is working fine and I am getting contacts but this just bugging
                  > > > me as I dont see it on any of my other radios.
                  > > >
                  > > > Can anyone offer me some advice?
                  > > >
                  > > > 73
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > >
                  > > > No virus found in this message.
                  > > > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
                  > > > Version: 2012.0.2221 / Virus Database: 2638/5531 - Release Date:
                  > 01/13/13
                  > > >
                  > >
                  > > --
                  > > KQØJ
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  > >
                  >
                  >



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Radio_Randy
                  I m confused when you say your audio is weak . The only time you would have weak audio is when your modulation is low on AM or your deviation is low on FM. In
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jan 16, 2013
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                    I'm confused when you say your audio is "weak". The only time you would have weak audio is when your modulation is low on AM or your deviation is low on FM. In SSB, your audio is just as strong as your RF because your audio and RF are directly related to each other.

                    If you are concerned because your power meter is not showing solid 100 watt peaks...relax...that's normal. Just keep your ALC down to just a few bars and you will be fine. Getting accurate reports from your fellow ham is next to impossible because everything is subjective.

                    I know a ham who is constantly told (by another ham, 20 miles away) that his dipole is too low to get out. With this same low dipole, this guy consistently gets into an HF net, 80 miles away and farther. I told him to leave his antenna alone and take this "experts" advice with a healthy dose of salt.

                    73, Radio Randy N7CKJ

                    --- In FT897@yahoogroups.com, "pjayuk" wrote:
                    >
                    > Now that is a good question!
                    >
                    > I have been taught and also have read in the manual etc that too much ALC action is a bad thing and causes distortion to TX audio. I have therefore tried to limit the action I am seeing on the ALC meter on the FT897D but it would seem at the expense of transmitted audio. When I achieve the recommended slight deflection of ALC with voice peaks the reports I am getting is that my audio is weak. I accept that the ALC metering on the 897D is probably no more than a simple reference but I am just following what I was taught about setting a radio up.
                    >
                    > On the other hand my FT-450D reads nearly full ALC deflection pretty much at all times which according to the manual for this rig is also normal.
                    >
                    > Maybe I should just set it and forget it!
                    >
                  • Clark
                    I share this confusion ... I often hear other hams discuss weak SSB audio and can t quite figure out what it is :-) . However, I got a better idea after I
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jan 17, 2013
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                      I share this confusion ... I often hear other hams discuss "weak" SSB audio and can't quite figure out what it is :-) . However, I got a better idea after I got a decent PEP (active, the NYE RFM) wattmeter. The dynamics of the audio can contribute a whole lot to SSB intelligibility and if I don't "bump up" against the ALC to some extent, I may indeed be hitting the PEP envelope to the maximum, but the rest of my audio is less present (watch your average reading wattmeter vs. the peak reading wattmeter, not a linear relationship as you back off the gain ... at least on my radios.)

                      So, one more simple idea, make sure you speak directly into the mike and have the audio gain on the radio so that the ALC meter goes into the ALC range on a regular basis as you speak. SOME radios / ALC need only a tiny bit of ALC to reach the fuller envelope, some need more. Fiddle with it as well as take heed of Radio Randy's tips.

                      Let us know what you find out. I learn a lot from this group.

                      Clark
                      WA3JPG

                      --- In FT897@yahoogroups.com, "Radio_Randy" wrote:
                      >
                      > I'm confused when you say your audio is "weak". The only time you would have weak audio is when your modulation is low on AM or your deviation is low on FM. In SSB, your audio is just as strong as your RF because your audio and RF are directly related to each other.
                    • Joel
                      Weak audio output is very common on 2 meter FM in my area - seems a lot of guys got the idea somewhere that with FM since you have full power out all the time
                      Message 10 of 10 , Jan 17, 2013
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                        Weak audio output is very common on 2 meter FM in my area - seems a lot
                        of guys got the idea
                        somewhere that with FM since you have full power out all the time you
                        need little modulation. I have
                        to ask a lot of ops that have a full scale signal to speak up - you hear
                        it all the time on repeaters
                        as well- dont worry you are not going to ' over deviate' if you speak at
                        a good level and have a
                        decent mic gain setting. The other problem is the guys that then tell
                        people that they are
                        ' driving it too hard' because they have to turn their volume down when
                        a station that is not whispering
                        comes on. They are so used to talking to mumble mouth Joe that they have
                        their volume all the way up
                        all the time.




                        On 1/17/2013 10:42 AM, Clark wrote:
                        >
                        > I share this confusion ... I often hear other hams discuss "weak" SSB
                        > audio and can't quite figure out what it is :-) . However, I got a
                        > better idea after I got a decent PEP (active, the NYE RFM) wattmeter.
                        > The dynamics of the audio can contribute a whole lot to SSB
                        > intelligibility and if I don't "bump up" against the ALC to some
                        > extent, I may indeed be hitting the PEP envelope to the maximum, but
                        > the rest of my audio is less present (watch your average reading
                        > wattmeter vs. the peak reading wattmeter, not a linear relationship as
                        > you back off the gain ... at least on my radios.)
                        >
                        > So, one more simple idea, make sure you speak directly into the mike
                        > and have the audio gain on the radio so that the ALC meter goes into
                        > the ALC range on a regular basis as you speak. SOME radios / ALC need
                        > only a tiny bit of ALC to reach the fuller envelope, some need more.
                        > Fiddle with it as well as take heed of Radio Randy's tips.
                        >
                        > Let us know what you find out. I learn a lot from this group.
                        >
                        > Clark
                        > WA3JPG
                        >
                        > --- In FT897@yahoogroups.com <mailto:FT897%40yahoogroups.com>,
                        > "Radio_Randy" wrote:
                        > >
                        > > I'm confused when you say your audio is "weak". The only time you
                        > would have weak audio is when your modulation is low on AM or your
                        > deviation is low on FM. In SSB, your audio is just as strong as your
                        > RF because your audio and RF are directly related to each other.
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > No virus found in this message.
                        > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com <http://www.avg.com>
                        > Version: 2012.0.2221 / Virus Database: 2638/5539 - Release Date: 01/17/13
                        >

                        --
                        KQØJ



                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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