W2CXM Generic Skycommand

Overview

Inspired by Bob Bruinga’s (WB4APR) Generic Sky Command set up in Annapolis MD the W2CXM crew decided to give it a shot ourselves.

Sky Command is a built in option from Kenwood that allows any D7, D72, D700 or D710 radio to act as front panel controls for a Sky Command Enabled HF Radio. W2CXM has chosen the Kenwood TS-2000 with a Butternut HF9V (80M – 6M) Vertical antenna as it is part of the Cornell Universities Disaster Recovery and Emergency Preparedness equipment.

Setup

We have a Kenwood TS-2000 connected to a 9 band HF Vertical antenna mounted on top of Barton Hall at Cornell University. In an effort to ensure that the club is able to fulfill its role in the Universities disaster plan we are trying to learn every operation of the radio that we can. One of those options is Sky Command. The idea of a “Generic” version is so that anyone in the area can operate on HF, if their license class allows, to help provide communications from our area without the need to climb to the club shack, which requires a climb of 108 stairs. This also allows us to extend this operation to any of our mobility impaired members of the community to join us in HF fun.

Currently the Call signs for Commander and Transponder are not the true generic as published on Bob’s page, but we are utilizing the club call sign with SSID’s so it’s not overly difficult to remember.

The members of W2CXM have set up the TS-2000 already, and to not reinvent the wheel I’ll be referencing someone else’s power point for how it was set up. http://www.hamstation.com/gallery/Kenwood%20Sky%20Command%20PPT.ppt

With that, our Kenwood TS-2000 is operating with the following settings:

Main Band 145.610 MHz (10W)
Sub band 445.250 MHz (10W)
Transporter Callsign W2CXM-2
Command Call W2CXM-1
Sky Command Tone 100 Hz

In order to operate on our Sky Command HF set up you will need to program your Kenwood D7,D72,D700 or D710 with the following:

Band A(left) 145.610 MHz (RX Only for you)
Band B(right) 445.250 MHz (TX band for operations)
Transporter Callsign W2CXM-2
Commander Callsign W2CXM-1
Sky Command Tone 100 Hz
Sky Command Menu Commander

Once you've done this, you can simply Press [0] to begin Sky Command

For reference, WB4APR's setup is as follows:

(WB4APR, n.d.)

Commander Controls

Remember, YOU are the control operator, and YOU are limited by YOUR licensing privileges

  • 1 = Power for HF Transiever
  • 2 = RX on/off – Tells the Sky Command Transporter to transmit HF audio on the 2M link frequency.
    • There is currently a 10 minute time out timer on the transporter if there is no activity via Sky Command
  • 3 = Mode – Change mode of operation
  • 4 = RIT on/off
  • 5 = XIT on/off
  • 6 = CLR – Clears the XIT and RIT changes that have been made
  • 7 = Split – Split RX/TX enable/disable
  • 8 = M/V – Memory/VFO
  • 9 = Blank
  • 0 = Sync – retrieve current settings from Transporter
  • * = Fast – Rate of change with the tuning Knob
  • # = Ent – Allows direct entry of VFO Frequency, or Memory channel
  • PTT = Transmit audio to the HF Frequency

For reference:

Operating

Choosing a Radio

Now, the question you may have is, do I need to have an expensive Kenwood Radio to participate. The answer is only partially yes.

You have the frequencies and PL tones for the up and down links, all you need is someone to have the system turned on and transmitting HF audio back out on the 2M side. After that, anyone with the information can participate with any kind of radio that the transporter can hear.

Group Operations

What is really neat is that everyone in range of the HF base can set their own mobile or handhelds to the SkyCommand channels and participate at the same time. On the front panel of all radios, everyone will see the current operating parameters of the HF radio and all will hear the HF radio on VHF. Further, anyone can join in the HF transmission s if they are using the designated PL. The good news is that everyone that is only monitoring can set a different PL before entering SkyCommand and they can then all talk back and forth for coordination purposes on the UHF command channel, but only the station that has the correct PL will be transmitted on HF. This means it is easy to operate this HF SkyCommand remote base as an HF link in a group effort and ALL of this can be done by the users with nothing but their stock D7, D72, D700 and D710 radios. – (WB4APR,n.d.)
Last modified:: 2014/04/25 16:57