21 Jan 2011

New firmware already ?

Gone are the days when you would go out and buy a Transceiver, take it home and it would (in most cases) work right out of it’s box occupying a large space on your desktop for the next 10 years,  as did my Kenwood TS830 which I bought new in 1983 (I still have it) with original 8146’s – though now  needing attention ! These days most new bits of kit contain chips and have their own processors built in which every so often require  an “update” be it via PC or “OTA” (over the air)  I’m always worried these things are going to foul up half way through and render your prized new possession useless – another thing that sometimes bugs me is quite often there is no indication to warn you of problems or how far the updates are going – in fact if indeed anything IS happening at all, while your sitting there wondering if it’s finished…!?

Before Christmas I indulged in a new all singing all dancing Blu Ray player  (it was one of the latest) and it was a networked model which you could sync up with your home router and connect to these online film “thingy’s”, You Tube,  and a weather service, and of course (for the benefit of UK viewers BBC I-Player) which I thought would be useful.

Having got it running I could not get it to connect to the router at first (I’m usually pretty quick on these things) but it took a couple of day to figure it out.

Anyhow it connected – no BBC I-Player,  everything else was there – quite fun flicking through some of the ham/qrp videos though , and seeing Randy K7AGE fill my wall in HD.

Then we started getting prompts for new firmware – which I tried every time it was switched on but nothing happened, coming up with a warning along the lines of “Cannot find source file” this continued into the new year until one fine day it found it and downloading commenced – now I realise its wireless but it took an age with only a bargraph type display indicating ANYTHING was happening, and frankly I was beginning to wonder if there would be any change at all when it re-booted, I was also praying we did’nt have a power cut or something and the whole thing  fouled up.

The install DID complete and relieved I powered up again to see what we had  -  BBC I-Player,  now this IS a very useful thing to have, and I have to say that even running wirelessly the quality is exceptional, so it did work and for once I was glad to have tried it – I cant think of anything else I’ll likely need so might disable future updating.

Getting  back to my original point (Kenwood)…  the All singing – Dancing TS590  super rig has a firmware update ! can you believe it – the thing has only been out a couple of weeks,  I wonder if these rigs will outlast my TS830?


  1. Hi Peter,

    I too have a TS830 with the original 6146s. It still works well although I changed the driver valve a few years back. What I great rig- I still prefer its receive to the more modern stuff and reports of the transmitted audio were always good.
    The YL and I bought A Wii games console between us for Christmas (mainly for the keep fit games-honest!!) although it was brand new and straight out of the box it still prompted us for a firmware update as soon as it was plugged in and connected to the 'net.I guess that's the way of things now but I am always worried that if something goes wrong with the firmware update of these devices you could just be left with an expensive doorstop!!

    73 Kevin

  2. Hi Kevin:
    Yes thats exactly my point especially when you look at the prices of some of this equipment - The TS830 was a great rig in it's day - I too liked the receiver, and it looked like a proper radio though its actually a bit clunky and noisy on cw. I have a the 817 here which is absolutely fun to use and does its job pretty well - I also have the FT450 which again as a general purpose radio is good, though I have noticed spurious breakthrough and birdies on 10m but fine for most of the digimodes.
    I am still weighing up a move for a K3, it's all you'd ever need I reckon .
    You have fun with that Wii of yours...! ;-)

    73 Peter


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