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Old 09-11-2013, 8:50 PM
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Default Moto Maratrac low band for 6 meters

I need a little input from the Motorola guys on this one. I have come across a stash of recently retired Maratrac low band radios, all in VERY nice condition.

I have been doing a little research on them, trying to figure out if they're able to work on 6 meter ham. I can find Syntor 9000's all day long, but these Maratracs are cheap & in MINT CONDITION! I've looked over at batwing & repeater builder, but I keep getting mixed information.

My question is, have any of you guys got a Maratrac to work in the 6 meter band? Some sources say you have to replace some chips on the RF board, some say it's not needed. I have a Motorola guy but he's been out of pocket all week with a job. He'll be doing the programming when the time comes.

These will be base station radios. I'm not wanting to build a repeater at this time. Just want to get in 6 meter FM as there is an active 6 meter repeater in Broken Bow, OK. Also some of the guys I ragchew with have 6 meter capabilities.

Thanks guys.
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Old 09-12-2013, 12:07 AM
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No direct experience, but...

If you look at batlabs and RB, you will find that there are several methods of conversion. I would suggest that you start with the easiest one, and see how that works. If it doesn't, go to the extended effort. I suspect that the reason there isn't a straight and definitive answer is that different individual radios may vary as to how far out of band they can go.
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Old 09-12-2013, 8:06 AM
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I've done three of them, all work great. I got the info from Repeater Builder on how to move them to 6.

Basically, hex edit the software to allow programming out of band, put 6 brass screws in receiver tuning slugs to up the sensitivity, then adjust the vco.
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Old 09-12-2013, 4:09 PM
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Hi. I'm out of Broken Bow, and just happened to have purchased an Alinco DR-06T, which is a 6 meter FM transceiver. Once I get my Hy-Gain V-6R assembled and up on the pole. I will hit you up here. Good to hear more people getting on six! What is your call sign?
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Old 09-12-2013, 5:01 PM
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I have modified a several dozen Maratracs and Maxtracs to Six meters over the last 25 years or so.
The Maratrac and the Maxtrac used the SAME RF board except for little connector extenders and different firmware.
So, if you find any articles about the Maxtrac, it applies the same to the Maratrac ( and M400 ).
These make pretty good radios for six meters, but there is a little work involved.
You can use the brass screw method to get the rx sensitivity to usable.
I found that I preferred removing all the RX front end coils and shortening them by one turn.
Removing the coils is a LOT of work. Figure a few hours to to the complete mod.
With just brass screws,DVM and sig gen you can make them useable in about 15 minutes.
Find the hacked RSS or hack it yourself, program in your freqs, adjust the steering line voltage for TX and RX then put the screws in to get the sensitivity you are happy with.
I used one for several years before I got the Syntor X 9000.
Caution on the TX power tho.
Make sure you have a power supply that can supply 35 amps.
Until you get everything set right, it is pretty common for those to put out more than 150 watts.
Often WAY more.
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Old 09-12-2013, 5:51 PM
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First, you need to know what bandsplit the maratracs are. The 42-50 split is the one you need to go to 6 meters. I believe the model numbers are all the same for the 3 splits, but the way to tell without reading the radio is to look at the part # on the P A board ( the one near the fins)
HLB 4117A 29-36 MHZ
HLB 4118A 36-42
HLB 4115 42-50
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Old 09-12-2013, 6:33 PM
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Very good point.
You really can't move any of the Maratrac/Maxtrac/M400 RF boards more than a few mhz out of band.
Lets hope the radios the original poster is looking at are the high split.
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Old 09-14-2013, 4:15 AM
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Wow, thanks for the help guys. I appreciate it. I'm in pretty good with the local Motorola guy, so hopefully he can do the work for me. I'm not at the skill level it takes to open one of these radios up & work on it yet.

The radios are 4115's 42-50MHz. I have been looking into the Syntor radios that can do 10m & 6m FM. They're quite a bit more price wise. I'm just dreaming at this point. I like the Motorola mobiles myself. Built like a tank, but the modification & programming part always holds me up on getting one cheap. I'll head back over to RB & Batlabs to look into it a little deeper.

K5AHH, I'm in McAlester, my call is KF5LCH. Do you guys still have the 6m machine up & running down there? I can get into the 2m machine with my J pole when conditions are good. I'm sure I could get into the 6m machine with a beam. Holler at us sometime on our Daisy machine: 145.210 PL100.0 or the Clayton machine: 146.730 PL 114.8 I would love to hear from someone down there. When I get 6m capabilities I'll be sure to give you a call.

Thanks for the help guys.
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Old 09-14-2013, 5:01 AM
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Thumbs up 6 Meters

--Hi. Glad to meet a semi-local Ham. I talked to some Ham from your town on 2 meter SSB the other day, cannot remember who, though...someone with a bigger station than myself, haha. My current (working) antennas up are a 10 meter 5/8 wave vertical, a 2 meter SSB Horizontal (Cushcraft 13B2), and a fan dipole for 75/40 meter bands. We put a metal roof on the house last year, and the last time I got on the roof to change out an antenna (while wearing high-traction tennis shoes), the roof was fairly slick and I almost fell. The roof has actually saved us money, at least when comparing previous years electric bill, but I sure miss the traction of the old rough black roof, lol. One of these days I will take down the messed up Cushcraft AR6 six meter vertical that's above the 13B2 and put back up the Hustler G7-144 two meter vertical. A few weeks ago, I purchased a Hy-Gain V-6R six meter vertical which should outperform the AR6 anyway. The thing is over 25 feet tall, too, lol! I might put that up on the pole and we can try 6 meter FM, though at our distance, I'm not sure we could make contact...at least in the FM mode and being vertical.

--Speaking of six meters, and to actually answer your question, YES, the six meter machine is up and running, though not sure how the coverage is in your neck of the woods. When it was first put in, the club said it was toned, and the tones of 97.4 OR 100 would activate it, lol. I guess something is messed up in there. The last time I put my call out on the repeater, I was able to activate it with NO tone whatsoever, so the CTCSS part of the repeater messed up, or they "deactivated" it.

--I'm glad you are getting on six meters FM. I hear TOO many people say stuff like "Ehh, nobody is on six meters", or "The band is always dead". Well, two things are true, if you never actually throw out your call sign every now and then and get on 52.525 FM, nobody will know you have a radio for six meters. Also, if nobody bothers to purchase a six meter radio and actually use it, there is a possibility part of the band could be "reclaimed" by the FCC. Now, chances are, it won't happen to six meters anytime soon, because there is plenty of activity on SSB on the lower end, and six FM does have its followers still. Hope to hear you on! I have almost always had really good luck making contacts on six FM in the wintertime. Hopefully, by that time, the antennas will be up. 73.
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Old 09-15-2013, 10:26 PM
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Cool beans guy! I'm not sure who all has a 2m ssb rig around here. Not too many that's for sure. Might have been Dennis, NV5J. I believe he's fairly active on 2m ssb.

Glad to hear the machine is still kicking down there. I'm fixing to get serious into 6m FM. The commercial equipment is so cheap & plentiful right now you'd be crazy not to invest in it. I can get a truck load of these Maratracs for a few hundred bucks.

I would love to build a 6m repeater for around Mcalester. It would bring in an entirely new experience for ham around here.

Next time conditions are good I'll try for you on the 147.135 B-Bow machine.
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Old 01-09-2014, 3:17 PM
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Default conversion ...

is there info on using the PA's for ssb ??
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