The Intek HR-5500 CB Radio is a 28MHz radio transceiver (CB radio) which can be expanded via software to 25.605-30.115MHz. The CB radio comes as a standard 28MHz radio transceiver, which broadcasts and receives on standard UK/EU Citizen Band radio channels (channels 1-40). However, reprogramming the radio allows it to transmit and receive on 10m Amateur Band.
The HR-5500 is also known as an SS-6900, AT-5555, DX-5000, BR-9000. The following video will work on those radios too:
This upgrade (or hack) enables the radio to transmit and receive on frequencies other than what it was shipped with.
The reprogramming is not permanent, and can be changed back by reprogramming it again. You can download pre-programmed settings off the internet (see below), instead of having to type in the frequencies you’d like to use.
It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that when you first read the default bank of frequencies off the radio that you SAVE a back-up copy to your computer. If it all goes wrong, you can re-load that saved file back into the radio and reset it back to the factory settings.
Following on from my post last year about playing with the DX and more recently revisiting a hobby, I have decided it’s about time I went back into education. My interest in Amateur Radio has, so far, been more than a fleeting trial. Some of my previous interests and hobbies waned quickly (snow boarding, RC helicopters and painting to name a few!). I’ve learned to give things time before devoting more effort (and money) towards them. So I plan on learning the Foundation License syllabus to gain a basic license as set out by OFCOM.
The Foundation License is the basic of three levels. It’s the “easy way” in to Amateur Radio and tests the basic understanding of transmitting and receiving, antennas, the technicalities of radio and, most importantly, safety.
In order to see if this interest will stick, I’ve set myself the challenge of learning and passing the exam within the next six months. My understanding is it shouldn’t take more than 12 hours worth of ‘classroom based’ theory with a trained operator, or alternatively learning the whole syllabus by myself, but I’m keeping in mind the fact I’m freelance and have no idea what my schedule will be like from one week to the next! When I’ve passed the exam I’ll be given a call sign, be allowed on certain frequencies and interact with other hams around the world.
I’m interested to hear from others on their experience of Amateur Radio, so please do leave a comment below.
Are you a ham operator?
Was it easy for you to get your licence?
Did you run into any particular problems?
UPDATE 1: Out of interest to see if my (rather old) high school education in Physics and Higher Physics would help, I took a mock Intermediate License multiple choice exam. I scored 37%. Clearly I need some work!
UPDATE 2: I contacted my closest Ham Radio Club to discuss training, but they were fully booked on their upcoming courses. I guess that proves the hobby is still as popular ever. The gent I spoke to suggested I could probably go it alone, and he’d send me notes, homework and mock exams. So that’s the plan!
As a geek of all things “film and television” I’m also becoming a geek for radio. Today I rediscovered my interest for amateur radio. As a kid, my friends and I used to use my dads “citizens band” radios for fun, pretending we were police officers, or spies, running around the neighbourhood playing electronic hide and seek. Today I was reminded of the fact it was my granddad who probably started my interest in radio as a young boy when he gave me a radio scanner which let us listen to the pilots at the local airport. Of course, amateur radio has a bit more to it than just scanning frequencies. But it’s definitely granddad John’s fault I like the sound of white noise!
Last year I bought an Intek HR 5500 transceiver. After many nightshifts of research I bought this model as it has the ability to be reprogrammed and use other frequencies, more than what it shipped with as standard. It meant it was capable of the ‘standard’ CB channels, but could also be used on 10m. However, reprogramming it wasn’t easy. For starters, the software to reprogram the radio only works on Windows. And I’m a Mac user. So I had to use emulation software in order to run it. Secondly, the emulator didn’t recognise the reprogramming cable device. This turned out to be a software driver problem. And thirdly, I couldn’t find any documentation to show me where to plug in the cable, or how to use the software!
And so, out of frustration, this tutorial was born. If you have an Intek HR 5500, an Anytone AT5555, a Comtex CX 1000, a SuperStar SS 6900, a Hannover BR 9000 or a K-PO DX 5000, then this video will show you how to reprogram it. The circuitry inside appears to be from the same chinese factory and rebranded for export to different parts of the world. The steps to reprogram all these radios is the same.
EDIT: When I wrote the below I had pretty much no idea what I was doing. I used a basic 2m antenna connected to a QS1R Software Defined Radio attached to my MacBook Pro to spot signals, and free Windows software emulated via VirtualBox to decode any Morse Code. I say I had no idea…
July 22 2012 11:25 BST
TP2CE sent website address “www.tp2ce.eu”. I signed their log to say I had heard them 415 miles away
July 22 2012 12:35 BST 28.264Mhz LSB
“A4Q IN8ØWC CUENCA TT E EA4Q PWR 5W EANT GPT VVV DE T4Q INI”
So, someone in Spain sent morse code using a 5W transmitter, and I heard it in London using a radio picking up 28Mhz (10m radio). Their Readability Signal and Tone was readable, strong and clear.
Their simple 5w radio signal travelled approximately 800 miles.
July 22 2012 13:00 BST 28.175 LSB Beacon
1EWEM/B JN35WD 2ØW
Someone in Italy using a 20W transmitter has a repeating beacon. They are 570 miles away.
July 22 2012 14:00 BST 28.027 LSB
EA8BLV TEST TEST
Biggest reception yet. 1773 miles, Tenerife to London!