Well, it has been a little over a year since my last post…Been Busy, Life Gets in the way, Propagation SUCKS…

These are not valid excuses… I just haven’t been playing radio all that much.

But I did acquire a new toy… The Anytone Apollo II (A.K.A.: Stryker SR-94HPC, CRT 2000)


Being a bit behind the times, I have been looking at these since before they hit the streets a couple years back, thanks to Simon The Wizard   and his outstanding BLOG of all things Radio related.

I got a wild hair and ordered up a “Radio Set”:

Anytone Apollo II

3′ Jumper

RM Italy KL-203P.

This is an AM/FM radio that boasts 2 power settings for AM (4W/10W) and 3 power settings for FM (4W/10W/40W)

Not Trusting anything to be setup from the factory correctly, or in the frequency band I’m most likely to use this thing in, Off Came the Lid…


This is the first radio I’ve ever seen with factory installed “maintenance lighting” on the board!!!

Just Kidding, but that back-lighting is plenty bright.

First things First:

Cut the white wire loop that is labeled “L45”

Then you need to decide your band of operation, and your choices are:

-10 Meter Amateur Radio 28-29+ Mhz

-11 Meter Citizens Band 26.9-27.405 Mhz

-VFO Party Mode 25.615-30+ Mhz

The choice is yours….

The next step is to hold the FUNC and P6 buttons in and hit the PWR to turn the radio on.

A screen will pop up showing the band currently set. Use the big (and ONLY) knob to select your band of choice, then push AND hold the knob in until the radio resets… and you are in like Flynn…

Next I decided to throw this thing on the Meter and O’scope to check out how it left the Factory.

First thing – AM Low Power which should be around a 4 watt Carrier:


The Meter says pretty damn close to 4 Watts:


And the Carrier:


Time to throw some Modulation on that Carrier




And the O’Scope says…



This Concludes Part 1 of the Anytone Apollo II adventure…







Image  —  Posted: May 19, 2019 in HiFi 11 Meter Thoughts and Stupidity
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So I decided to tweak a bit more… because that is what I do.

I details decided the happy spot for the Anytone Apollo II and RM Italy KL-203P, for me anyway.

Radio Low Power Carrier set to 2 Watts.

Out of the KL-203P delivers a 25 Watt. Carrier.

That looks good on the O’Scope…

That Apollo stock Mic is sensitive… I was turning off random noise.makers in the shack to get a clean waveform

Next we throw the modulation to it:

1kHz @ 100mV

Looks pretty damn good to me.

I do not own an PEP Watt meter that I trust, because I really don’t care about “Swing!”

I care about clean waveforms and 100% modulation (unless I’m running assymetric modulation, then I only care about 100% Negative Peak Modulation and no flat-topping of the Positive Peaks)

Swing Watts are for the meter monkeys anyway… believe the O’scope…

Time to check the Factory High Power settings on AM, advertised to be a 10W carrier:


The Meter Agrees

And the High Power Carrier:


Next we shove 1kHz @ 100mV of Sine wave down its Microphone Jack and see how it likes it:


Not Bad at all, but it can use a bit of help, so here we go:

Under the lid of the Apollo II there are a total of 7, yes, 7 adjustments you or your local “Golden Screwdriver” Award winning Radio Technician can use to make your new radio sound like total ass on the air.


Please make sure he has a sharp crayon to write these down:

W1 – AM/FM High Power Carrier Set

W2 – AM/FM Low Power Carrier Set

W4 – AM High Power Modulation Set

W5 – FM Deviation Set

W6 – AM Low Power Modulation Set

(The Jury is still out on what W3 and W7 do, but I’f I figure that out, I’ll update this list)

First Up, Low Power Adjustment:

I plan on adjusting the Low power setting low enough to cleanly drive the KL-203 Amplifier, and the general rule for these is 1-2 Watts input.

So I Keyed up the radio and adjust W2 until the Meter shows 1.75W


The O’scope was adjusted for the standard Carrier in 2 divisions on the screen:


Next input the 1kHz@100mV at the mic jack and adjust W6 until you are showing 100% modulation (for the mouth breathers, Crayon eating, Whack Pack Installing “Radio Technicians”, that means the signal is 4 divisions on the O’Scope and there is NO FLAT LINE IN THE CENTER OF THE SCREEN)


See This? Proper modulation… Round Positive Peak on the tops, Round Negative peaks in the center… Sounds Good, Lasts long time…

Now for the High Power AM Modulation Adjustment, that is W4

Same 1kHz@100mV into the Mic Jack


Nice, Round Peaks…

Can you See the Roundness and no Flatness, no Squares….?


Say it with me:




Therapy Time is over, get off my couch and back to the task at hand…

Say Hello to my little friend… RM Italy KL-203P


The RM-Italy amplifier line get a lot of bad press, mainly by people that don’t take the time to set up their radio to drive the amplifier in its “Happy Space”.

The Power Specs are listed as:

Input Power (AM/FM Carrier): 0.5 – 10 W

Input Power SSB (PEP Watts for the AM Meter Junkies): 2 – 20W

Output Power (AM/FM Carrier): 100W Max

Output Power SSB (or Modulated AM/PEP): 200W Max

If you are the type of guy that thinks you can shove the Max Carrier and PEP limits into this little amp and expect it to survive, You probably should be reading my BLOG..

The General Thoughts on this amp is that the are happy with a 1.5 – 2W Carrier input from the radio, and if you setup your radio correctly with 100% Positive/Negative Peak Modulation, you will be well within the Output PEP limitations of the amplifier and run clean.

First thing I did was to check the Input SWR of the KL-203P using the SWR Meter on the Apollo II (It agrees with my SWR Meter, so it is close enough)


Looks like just an RCH over 1.1.. Nice.

That being said, I set the Apollo II up for a 1.75W Carrier on the AM LOW power Setting, turned the KL-203P on and checked the Carrier Power Output (Aiming for a 20W carrier out of the amplifier)


Just like that.

Then I checked the Carrier on the O’Scope and set it up to show 1 division above and below the 0 Voltage line:


Then I threw the modulation to it to check the Modulation Envelope:


Looking pretty Healthy. Round on the Positive Peak, Round on the Negative Peak.


Can  I get more out of it? Probably, and I may experiment a bit more, as long as the amplifier runs clean and doesn’t got into saturation.

Before I do that, I need to attach a cooling fan to the heat sink, as this sucker gets warm quick.

I picked up an 80mm 12VDC cooling fan, and wired the power leads into the amplifier on the power switch. That way when the amp turns on, so does the fan.


The next thing to do is to figure out how to attach the fan to the heatsink…

More to come

BTW.. The FM on this radio has really nice, full audio. I used my Stryker SR-655HP as a receiver with an External Stereo speaker hooked up… Man that FM sounds killer!



Image  —  Posted: May 19, 2019 in HiFi 11 Meter Thoughts and Stupidity
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So I picked up a new piece of test gear for my radio tweaking lab…

I have a 200KHZ Signal Generator, but it is analog… I wanted something that will sweep, and the 2 channel will allow 2 tone checking of SSB…

So I found a JDS6600 DDS Signal Generator/Counter 2 Channel that goes to 40 MHz



Not bad for ~$85 off ebay… it will work…


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I have been redoing my Station Grounding a bit at the QTH…

Ever since I moved out here to the desert, I’ve never been totally happy with my transmitter setup, and I could always sense a little RF in my audio… not cool…

Literally, while transmitting in SSB and monitoring on a O’Scope, when you key the transmitter with no modulation, it SHOULD be a flat line on the O’scope, until you speak… mine was always a tad twitchy… and I could see, and hear the noise on the Monitoring radio…

Now ever since I started playing with ESSB, for the most part, I’ve used MXL Microphones. They sound great and are at a great price point. I have a few of them, and since I also play guitar, what isn’t being used on the Radio setup is pressed into duty recording other noises… music

I recently picked up a MXL 2008 Condenser Microphone from Massdrop.  The 2008 sounds like it should be great for doing some HiFi Radio…

  • Class A circuitry
  • FET preamp with balanced transformerless output
  • Type: Condenser pressure gradient mic
  • Frequency Response: 30Hz-20kHz
  • Polar pattern: Cardioid
  • Sensitivity: 18mV/Pa
  • Output Impedance: 150 ohms
  • Equivalent noise: 16dB (A-weighted IEC 268-4)
  • S/N Ratio: 78dB (Ref. 1Pa A-weighted)
  • Max SPL for .5% THD: 130dB
  • Power Requirements: Phantom Power 48V ±4

Cool… right?


So here it is mounted in a Shock mount, with Pop filters installed..

This weekend, I started chasing my RF in the audio problem:

Mic Cables are solid and cap bypassed, New grounding scheme is solid (<2 Ohms from any component in the systems Star Ground Point to the 8′ ground rod), Audio rack is in good shape.. except I have a burned out meter bulb in the Modified Bellari RP-503 (Bellari doesn’t pay attention to the Pin 1 problem either, but I fixed that 10 years ago before I put it in-line).

Then I noticed something…

On the Bellari RP-503, turn the Phantom Power Off, the Noise on the Transmitted signal was reduced, but still there, turn the phantom power back on and the noise comes back…

I turned the Phantom Power off and grabbed my indestructible EV 635A/B Dynamic Mic, disconnected the MXL 2008, and hit the transmit… Flat line until modulated, no RF noise I even tweaked the rack levels to get the proper ALC deflection on the ICOM… and it was still quiet…

I may have found my Guilty party, and I thought of the “Pin 1 Problem”, and you can read more about that here from the Rane Library: Pin 1 Revisited

Time to take a look:

The patent:


I pulled the body apart and investigated the XLR connector… and I didn’t like what I saw:


Pin 1 is where the Black Wire is connected, and it also jumps over to the Mic case ground. The jumper is good, but that Black wire is not.

I started chasing the Black wire to see where is would lead:


As you can see, the black wire goes to the “Ground Plane” on the circuit board, which is a classic Pin 1 problem. The Pin 1 is the Chassis Ground and should be totally isolated from the Circuit ground, so the metal body of the microphone can act as an RF Shield for the rest of the Mic circuit. Also, the 2 screws that hold the circuit board to the Chassis go through the same ground plane.

But wait, it gets better….

If you have a sharp eye, you might have already spotted the issue:


So the circuit board ground is tied to Pin 1 with C1, C2, D3, and the Inductor below Q1, but it gets worse: Look at the Ground Wire from the mic element…

Grab the trusty DVM: Black Lead on Pin 1 of the XLR, Red Lead on Mic Element Negative…


Damn! That short doesn’t get any deader than that.

I guess it is time to figure out how to isolate the Chassis Ground from the Circuit Board Ground to keep the RF out of my Audio.

I have a hand full of MXL Condenser mics, and now I’m starting to wonder how many of then have this issue.

I’m betting all of them…

For now, its back to the MXL BCD-1 Dynamic Broadcast Mic, which is properly wired, I checked last night.

The Rack

More to follow….


Gots me an update..

Friday I swung over to Petsmart an picked up 6 fish (buy 4, get 2 Free). They are “Feeder” goldfish, but the girl helping me out decided to get me some “Cute” ones….IMG_20170728_165001_005-1

So fish in Friday evening, and that night, I made a cover for the “pond” to help cut down on evaporation losses…


Here is is Sunday afternoon.

No losses of Fish yet. Water is staying 85-90 degrees, and my zucchini seeds is a sprouting!




This might just work after all….