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The Azden PCS 6000H

        This is a 2 meter FM unit, meant for mobile use. It is completely digital (as is most of what is available these days), and puts out fifty watts of power. For the time being, and into the near future, this is my primary 2 meter mobile. The standard PCS-6000 is the same radio, but only puts out 25 watts. There are 21 memories in this unit, all of which can be set for tone and offset. The unit is entirely of metal construction, seems quite rugged, and is compact and good looking. In addition to the 2 meter band, this unit will receive on frequencies from 188 MHz to 174 MHz, giving it some utility as a monitor for air and PB.

        This was a groundbreaking radio in its day, and introduced many new features and much new technology. The newness of the technology is reflected in the strangeness of the programming and operation. By today's standards, this radio uses a rather odd method of programming. In particular, entering tone information is more difficult than it needs to be. Rather than entering the tone directly via keypad, or perhaps scrolling down a list of tone frequencies, you scroll down a list of tone codes, which have to be looked up in a table to determine their actual frequencies. The most common tone in my area is 127.3 which is tone number 19 on the list.

        Programming the frequencies themselves is easier, though you still can not make a direct entry via the keypad - at least not according to the manual. You basically scroll to your preferred receive frequency using the arrow keys. You then hit the M Mode button, and enter your receive tone, which will usually be 0 for no tone. You then hit the M Mode button which allows you to scroll to your transmit frequency, and then you continue to set your transmit tone. You continue to do this until you cycle through all twenty memories, or run out of repeaters to enter. Though it is a bit cumbersome, a great advantage to this system is the ability to set any shift you want, rather than being limited to a range of preprogrammed shifts. Still, nearly everyone uses the standard 600KHz, so perhaps it is not that big a deal. One very strange thing is that to save the memory information, and get out of program mode, you turn the unit off.

        I had one issue with the radio. The previous owner was involved with CAP and MARS, and had set the unit up for a non-standard frequency step of 12.5KHz. This was not merely a configuration entry, but an actual hardware mod. Setting the unit to standard configuration required disassembly, and the cutting of a pad and diode on one of the circuit boards. This was kind of interesting, and was my first experience with a hardware mod. It certainly made me appreciate all the work that goes into constructing these radios, and the genius it takes to design one. It also filled me with a real respect for those who regularly modify their rigs.

        The Mod DK site had instructions on how to make the hardware modification for the frequency step change, but it was kind of vague about where to find things, and was actually incorrect on the number of the pad to remove. DK said it was pad D2, when actually it was pad D208. I snipped it with a pair of nail clippers - very professional. This required removal of two circuit boards to get to the right place. The DK diagram seemed to indicate a middle jumper which would have been the wrong one. I was also tempted to cut the jumper wire visible just under the display in the photo above, as it seemed in about the right place; but this would have been a big mistake. Frankly, the only reason I get it right was that whoever did the original mod was not exactly an expert electronic tech. When I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to determine the correct connection from the instructions on DK, I removed the circuit board and examined it with a magnifier to try and see anything that looked non factory - boy did I find it. There were scratches, sloppy soldering, and even a part of one of the connectors was melted. You can see this in the photo to the right. If you should ever get one of these radios and have to change the mod, you can use this photo as a reference.

        Finding the correct diode, I snipped it, and then reassembled everything, still uncertain as to whether I got it right. Upon turning on the radio, I was relieved to hear a beep and see the display light up. I ran through all of the functions, programmed the unit and tested it - everything worked. Thank goodness for the previous owner's sloppy workmanship, or I would have never known where to cut. With my radio operational again, on standard frequency steps, I programmed and then hit all of my favorite repeaters.

        Reception was great, far better than either of my handi talkies, even when connected through the same antenna system.  I got lots of compliments on my signal. Presently, this is the most powerful two meter unit I have - my Kenwood TS-711A base only puts out 25 watts. I guess its time for a linear. On the low power setting, the Azden puts out ten watts. The back of the unit is dominated by the large heat sink. The only other things back here are the power and antenna connections, as well as a jack for an external speaker. This unit will pull over ten amps when transmitting at full power, so that heat sink is really needed.

        The microphone keypad duplicates much of what can be done on the radio's front panel, and also features a tone pad. Buttons on top of the microphone scroll the frequency up or down.  The microphone is screwed together, and like the radio. appears solid and nearly indestructible. Even so, I doubt I will be doing anything very complicated with the unit while mobile. As was mentioned before, programming is a bit involved, and not something you want to do while driving.

        Presently, this unit spends most of its time in my van, connected to the outside world through a quarter wave magnet mount antenna.  Occasionally I set it up as a base, through my home antenna system and power supply. Before leaving on a vacation, I generally look up repeaters at my destination and preprogram them into the B bank of the memory, keeping my local repeater frequencies in the A bank. Its always fun to access repeaters in other parts of the country, and it can sometimes help me to extend range of my handi talkies when I am traveling with other ham operators.

        The computer control system has all of the usual features, like priority scan. Outside of the memory channels, the radio can be set to scan between preset limits. This makes it a potential air band scanner or VHF police scanner. Standard offset can be quickly configured, when not in memory mode. You can also scroll through the frequencies manually.

        As a former MARS/CAP radio, this unit has been set up by the previous owner to transmit on 140.100 MHz to 149.995 MHz. Strictly speaking, I will be breaking the law if I transmit outside of 144 MHz - 148 MHz, and there is really no one outside of those frequencies that I want to talk to anyway. Still, its interesting to know that they are there. Its a shame that there is not just a little bit more frequency range. It just misses being able to get on the MURS frequencies.

        I recall Azden phonograph cartridges and other audio gear from back in the 60s/70s. Apparently, they only entered the amateur market in the seventies, and got out in the nineties. The PCS-6000H was one of the last products they made for amateur radio. Today they are back to making mostly high end audio gear, as well as microphones and wireless units for public events. Its sad to see yet another company get out of ham radio. I watched Radio Shack, Heath, Kachina, Drake Collins, and so many others leave amateur market. Many are still in business, but no longer saw a profit in ham radio, and now do other things. Many others have simply gone out of business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Azden PCS-6000H manual

 

SPECIFICATIONS

GENERAL

Frequency Coverage. ……………. AM 118000 135.995MHz (Rx)

FM 136.000 173.995MHz (Rx)

FM 140.000 149.995MHz (Rx/Tx)

Note Specifications guarantee 144 — 148MHz

Display ……………………………LCD

Frequency Control. ………….….. .Microcomputer-controlled PLL

Emission Type ……………………FM (16F3)

Memory Channels…………………20 + 1 Temporary Memory

Power Requirement. ………………13.8V DC 15%, negative ground

Power Consumption. …………….. 0.6A (receive)

6.OA maximum (transmit...high)

Operating Temperature………….. —10 to +500C 5QQ

Antenna Impedance…………….. 50 Ohms

Microphone………………………. DT.M F Microphone (U.S. Version) with

UP/DOWN, Memory call switch

PCM-463A, Dynamic type 500 ohm (European

Version) with UP/DOWN. Memory call switch

Dimensions………………………...2H X 5 W X 7 D inch

(50H X 140W X 182D mm)

Weight……………………………..3 lbs (1 4kg)

TRANSM ITTER

RF Output Power…………………. 25 watts (high)

5 watts adjustable (low)

Modulation System……………….. Variable reactance FM

Frequency Deviation………………1-5KHz maximum

Spurious Radiation…………………Better than —60dB

Offset………………………………600KHz, programmable

PL Tone……………………………Programmable

(European Version: 1,750Hz)

RECEIVER

Receiving System…………………. Double conversion superheterodyne

Intermediate Frequency……………16.90MHz (first), 455KHz (second)

Sensitivity…………………………. FM: Better than 0.35;V for 20dB NQ

AM Better than l.0uV for 10dB S/N

FM Better than 0.19uV for 12 DB SINAD

Selectivity…………………………. 6KHz or more at 6 dB down

15KHz or less at 60 dB down

Squelch Sensitivity………………… Better than 0.l2uV at threshold

Audio Output……………………….2 watts or more (8 Ohm 10% THD)