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R1500/R2500 Remote Heads - Max Distance?

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KC1UA

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Hello,

I've never had any experience with a radio that has a remote head until my recent acquisition of the Icom IC-R2500 receiver. The included remote head cable is a simple three pair cable with RJ style jacks on either end.

I would love to be able to just take my remote head out to the porch during the summer and have it control the R2500 in the radio room. To do this I anticipated I'd need to run about 30 to 40 feet of cable. I'd probably use CAT5 to do so, and the connectors at either end of course are self explanatory. Obviously a speaker wire would have to be run to get the audio out there as well.

Has anyone extended a remote head setup similar to these and if so what were the results? I have cable laying around and the connectors are cheap, so it's a good weekend experiment, but I figured I'd inquire nonetheless.

Thanks in advance.
 

n0doz

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Oh yeah, a fun project.
6-conductor with RJ connectors...perfect. I've used 4- and 6-conductor phone or CAT-5 cables with several different brands of radios, such as Kenwood, ICOM, and Yaesu. Works like a charm.
When you use a cat-5 cable for a radio that uses less than 8 conductors to run the remote head, use the remaining ones to bring other functions to the head - such as a speaker, in your case. Simply pick out a pair prior to crimping on the 6-conductor RJ and solder on a mini plug on one end of this pair and a speaker to the other end. I've done exactly that and it works great.
Only thing to watch out for is that some manufacturers reverse the order of the wires in the plug and others do not... for example, left to right on one end is "red-blue-green-black" and the other end left to right is "black-green-blue-red".
 

DaveIN

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If the signal will travel that far it may work, but remote heads are usually designed for automotive use and do not use the length of cable. Experiment and let us know, Scott.
 

KC1UA

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The End Result

I'm pleased to say that this project has worked, and worked quite well. Here's what I did to make it happen.

I purchased a 25' length of 3 pair flat telephone cable and some 6 wire RJ-25 connectors. The cable needed for the remote head is a straight through cable so it was necessary to lop off one end of the prefab cable and replace it with a connector for straight through communications. I ran this and a piece of CAT5 cable from my porch downstairs into the radio room. The length of telephone cable was just enough to get the job done; there was a good deal of slack left on the CAT5 cable.

The telephone cable obviously attaches the remote head to the R2500 in the basement radio room. There is no degradation in performance and everything works dandy.

The CAT5 cable offers some intersting "enhancements". I'm using three of the four pairs currently. One pair is used to connect to the R2500's external speaker jack. The other two pairs are used for each discriminator tap of the R2500. One is connected to my Connect Systems CD-1 tone decoder. The other is connected to the line-in jack of my laptop for use with Trunker, UniTrunker, and Wintone. Discriminator audio obviously has no problem traveling across about 35', as CTCSS/DCS response with the CD-1 is immediate. UniTrunker decodes at 100% as well.

I'll probably neaten up this project by eventually using a second CAT5 cable for the remote head; I just didn't have enough CAT5 cable available to get it done right now. Other than that, the outcome is good and it makes for a quick and easy setup outside during this nice (finally) summer weather, as you can see.
 
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KC1UA

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DaveIN said:
Awesome. Now on to P25 right?
Unfortunately not with this one, as most are by now aware from our other thread. That aside I love this radio and definitely got a good deal on it. It fits this niche quite nicely. If I get the 10.7 MHz IF tapped someday then I'll have P25 capability with the ARD25.

On my site, one of my regulars pointed out my audacity in using a Cobra speaker....so I fixed the problem. ;)
 
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garys

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Hey, I'm just trying to help you preserve your image Scott! <G>

Gary
 

vince48

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Scott
That&#8217;s a fine combination you have there. Those nights in the sunroom or patio will be enjoyable and cool :)
I'm very interested in the tone decode module (and connection to the R2500) you are using.
How high are your antennas? See you have a tree line on the property.

vince48
 

SCPD

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Alright Scott!

I see the brew, the BBQ-grill, the scanner, laptop and tube. Are you just trying to rub it in? LOL

Thanks for all the work you and Vince do in regards to the R2500…. among other projects. Makes life interesting.

Take care.
 

KC1UA

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vince48 said:
Scott
That’s a fine combination you have there. Those nights in the sunroom or patio will be enjoyable and cool :)
I'm very interested in the tone decode module (and connection to the R2500) you are using.
How high are your antennas? See you have a tree line on the property.

vince48
The tone decoder is a Connect Systems Incorporated CD-1. It connects to one of the discriminator jacks on the back of the R2500, and displays CTCSS, DCS, or DTMF. I like it because of its bright display. I also use an Opto DC440 decoder but it's very difficult to read when it gets dark out.

DaveIN said:
So is the 2500 any comparison to the 8500?
From an unscientific standpoint, yes. I have both radios connected to a scantenna via a Stridsberg Multicoupler. Without fail the R2500 hears what the R8500 does...thus far anyway.

jrbobdobbs said:
I see the brew, the BBQ-grill, the scanner, laptop and tube. Are you just trying to rub it in? LOL

Thanks for all the work you and Vince do in regards to the R2500…. among other projects. Makes life interesting.
Just beats the hell out of sitting indoors on nice summer nights. It takes about 10 minutes to setup and break down. Well worth the time.

Thanks for the kind comments, but don't leave out Eric C., who was the brains behind the technical digging into the P25 issue we were having. I'm counting on him to come up with a good mod for the R2500 to bring out the 10.7 MHz IF for use. That will be a nice addition to this radio.

When I get some more CAT5 cable I'm going to experiment with some various lengths when I have the time to see how far I can remote the head. Should be interesting. In the interim, the above setup works dandy.
 

SCPD

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scancapecod said:
Thanks for the kind comments, but don't leave out Eric C., who was the brains behind the technical digging into the P25 issue we were having. I'm counting on him to come up with a good mod for the R2500 to bring out the 10.7 MHz IF for use. That will be a nice addition to this radio.

I agree. Eric C. deserves equal credit for all his in-depth work with the R2500.

Scott-One quick question. How long is the original cable for the remote head as it comes from Icom?
 

VE6BRW

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I've just finished running 80' of Cat-6 (4 pair) using 1 pair for speaker and it fired up 100%, everything work great and now the remote is in the living room with the main unit in the radio room shortening the coax runs closer to the antennas by 80'.... way better reception to. Use the computer in the radio room and can control the 2500 from both locations... very happy so far now onto getting the unit to work on the new windows 8.2 (PC won't recognize the radio or it connection.
 
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