S-readings when I push PTT on my HT

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by K2EGB, May 19, 2019.

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  1. K2EGB

    K2EGB Subscriber QRZ Page

    Newbie to Ham radio here (2 months) and I have a question about my Yaesu FT60. Regarding the battery, the highest voltage reading I get when fresh off the charger is "8.1" and the lowest I've seen it go before the low-battery icon shows up is about 6.5. On a couple of occasions (like this morning while I was attempting to check into a net on a local repeater) my outgoing S-meter readings were not consistent each time I pushed my PTT. Once, it would not go above a 4, then it was up to 9 and then the third time it came up "LOW"; my battery was showing 7.8 volts. I have an upgraded Diamond antenna as well. For all three of these attempts I was standing on my back patio.
    Is this normal? Is there something else I should be doing I'm not thinking of?
    Thanks in advance for any thoughts/insights!
    K4AGO likes this.
  2. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not sure. But maybe your SWR is changing.

    Does the reading change if you put your hand near the antenna.

    Maybe the antenna is loose.

    My experience with replacement antennas on a HT, Many times the original antenna works better than "A Better one".
    W9WQA likes this.
  3. KE5MC

    KE5MC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Transmit demands on battery are high. At the end of the battery charge and an older battery at end of life you will start to see erratic voltage/current. I never really paid attention to the "S" meter other than to occasionally check to see which power setting I had selected. What you saw describes a dynamic display of power, not what I expected and should have after all theses years. After a transmit with 'Low' then 7.8 volts suggest the battery needs charging and more specifically needs replacement.

    I see the FT-60 is sold now with NiMH batteries. Years ago when I would recommend a starter HT it was the FT-60, but at the time I recall they were Ni-Cad. If I'm correct and yours is the older chemistry, then definitely time to consider replacement. If the new chemistry then a few charge/discharge cycles will help especially if a new radio. If bought used then long idle periods of non-use can greatly reduce the batteries life.

    K2EGB and KA0HCP like this.
  4. N7WR

    N7WR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    When you transmit that meter is not an "S" meter (S meter shows receive signal strength). It is a power out meter on transmit. Having said that previous comments from others should be helpful. Check the antenna, keep it clear of your body and other objects when transmitting and if you still have the fluctuating output problem then consider a new battery. I had an FT 60 for years and found it to be a very reliable handheld
    K2EGB likes this.
  5. K2EGB

    K2EGB Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thank you ALL for the insights/feedback. I should have mentioned that this radio is brand new...well, 2 months old. I've also just purchased a second battery and will use that one as my primary for a while to see if this happens again. Thanks again!
  6. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Matt, there's a whole lot more to amateur radio than hand held VHF-UHF stuff.

    Explore! And "upgrade," as with a General class license, there's a lot more to explore.

    I read your bio and seems Grampa was a ham with a K2 callsign..where was he from? Not Chula Vista.

    A ham friend of mine in NJ was K2EFB, very close to your Gramp's callsign, and he was in northern NJ and an engineer with Bell Labs when I was first hired to work there in the early 70s. The K2EGB callsign probably hails back to the mid-50s or so. Would be interesting to hear more about that. I might have even known him, although I don't remember.
    K2EGB likes this.
  7. K2EGB

    K2EGB Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the words of encouragement! Yes, I do plan to upgrade to General within the year. For now, I am enjoying VHF/UHF and getting my skills up...don't know that I'll pursue CW though lol.

    Yes, I believe you're correct that Grandpa got his call sign sometime in the '50's...that sounds about right. He passed away in 1980, so I do not have any memories of him being on the air, but I do recall what some of his equipment looked like. The rest of what I know about Grandpa's Ham days - including what his callsign was - came via my dad. Since getting my license, Dad has been recalling his own memories of Grandpa being on the air when he was younger...Dad recently told me he can still hear in his head what Grandpa's call sign sounds like in Morse code because he heard it so often, lol. The Ham gene skipped a generation...I am the only Ham in my family.

    Anyway, my family is from Central/Western NYS, so right again on the K2 call sign; I'm the only one here in CA. Wow, that would be amazing if YOU had any recollections of having met him! His name was Carl Bates, Jr. If you do have any memories or records of ever having made contact with him, I would love to hear more!

    Thanks again for the response!

    Matt Bates, K2EGB
  8. W0IS

    W0IS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm not sure about yours, but my Yaesu HT (VX-3R) has a power saving feature that lowers the transmit power if the receive signal is strong enough. If that's activated (and again, I don't know if yours has it), then you will have a lower output if you just received a strong signal. If you're walking around with the HT, then the receive signal might vary considerably.
    K2EGB likes this.
  9. K2EGB

    K2EGB Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think that might be it! I just checked and found that TX Power save mode was "on"...which was probably my doing from when I first got my radio and was playing around with various settings...evidently not fully understanding what I was doing. After a more careful read of the owner's manual, I learned that having this feature on automatically lowers the TX power level if the RX signal is "very strong." So this means I was transmitting perhaps as low as 0.5 watts when I thought I was closer to 5.0. It's off now, so I'll be eager to see what happens going forward. Thanks for the suggestion!
    W0IS likes this.
  10. K6CPO

    K6CPO Ham Member QRZ Page

    May I extend an invitation to attend the next meeting of the South Bay Amateur Radio Society in Chula Vista? We meet on the first Monday of the month at Fire Station Number 4 at 850 Paseo Ranchero (off E 8th street). Our next meeting is June 3, 2019 at 7 PM.
    You can find out more information on our website www.sobars.org.

    We have many members who are very familiar with the FT-60 (myself included) and we can certainly help you out with it.
    John Wright, K6CPO
    President, South Bay Amateur Radio Society
    WA8FOZ and K2EGB like this.

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