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Ramsey AR2 - Synthesized Aircraft Receiver

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Palmetto

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Nov 27, 2007
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I've searched the threads and read some general thoughts, but no real hands on opinions from experience with the Ramsey AR2 - Synthesized Aircraft Receiver. It comes assembled or in kit form, but I'm less concerned about the challenge of building the kit than about its ability to receive aircraft signals.

It looks like a good idea, is a good size for mobile use, but there seems very little information from actual users of the radio. It's a considerable expense for an aircraft only receiver, but if it is clearly superior to premium scanners, then the cost might be justified. If it's simply on par with good scanners, then it seems a waste of money.

Since the last postings has anyone had actual experience with the radio which they'd care to share?
 

N1BHH

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Mar 31, 2007
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Jackson Square, East Weymouth, MA.
Unless you have built a kit in the past, I wouldn't try building one. There may not be many people using them, that's probably why there is no user feedback anywhere. The reason it's superior to any scanner is that it is a single band/frequency radio. Scanners have a far wider spectrum to listen to.
 

Palmetto

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Nov 27, 2007
Messages
17
Yes, Clyde,

I believe that you are correct. A radio which is designed for one band is far more likely to perform better than scanners which try to be all things to all people, a nice idea which just doesn't pan out in reality.

It also comes assembled, but that's a good bit more expensive. If it's specs are accurate, it would be a very nice addition to the automobile for air monitoring since I have no scanner in the car and the size seems right as well.

Older fellows like me well remember the proper soldering techniques, but we need stronger glasses, better light and maybe slightly more steady hands in the close quarters.

Thanks for your reply.
 

KE4NYV

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Apr 18, 2003
Messages
1,002
Location
Williamsburg, VA.
I guess I am bringing this thread back from the dead...

After eyeing this kit for the last three years, I finally picked one up this year at the 2009 Dayton Hamvention. I was there as a vendor, so my buying time was limited (not to mention buying money with our lousy sales this year) and I had to make a quick decision on the last kit they had on hand. I stuck a cash deal for about $20 less than the sticker price.

I am not a stranger to kits. I love them and love building one when I have the time and money. Normally, I rush through a kit to get it built and enjoy, but I took my time with this one, stretching the build job over about a week. About an hour a night, just going slow with it. Someone mentioned or implied that proper soldering was a lost art and that you have to be old to get it right. I beg to differ, I am 28 and I have been soldering since I was 10. I can solder just about anything you put in front of me, including SMT parts down to 0603 size WITHOUT a scope or loupe. I do it professionally now as a tech for NASA.

My inital reactions to the kit is mixed. It went together well, they did a good job with the manual. The first thing that got me was two caps that are refferenced were not in the kit. I decided to mark these down and continue on. At the end of the kit, I had two 0.1uF caps left over. I assumed these were replacements for the originally spec'ed 22nF caps and I installed them. Big mistake? Maybe, we'll see.

Alignment was not as simple as they make it seem. They claim you can simply align it with a DMM and on-air signal. Yeah right. To PROPERLY do this, you really need a signal generator in addition to a DMM. The DMM is a good start on the VCO, but the signal generator is really handy in getting the RX cap aligned. Also, the tuning tool included doesn't fit the RX cap. It fits the audio adjustment can, but that is so stiff that it spirals the tip. I found myself looking for tuning tools in my personal kit. They claim a RX sens of about 0.1uV, but I found the best I could get was about 0.25uV, not bad, but not great either. The audio tuning was tough too. I had to generate a pretty stout tone into the receiver to really get it adjusted to where it was pleasing to the ear.

Once I managed to get it aligned, the best I could, I tried to listen to some short on-air transmissions. First off, the internal front speaker SUCKS. It's tinny and just really hisses at you when you are receiving anything. An external speaker is a must. Maybe this is why the audio adjusting was such a pain. I might go back and try to re-do that part with an external speaker.

I have the receiver sitting on top of my old BC780 on my desk at work. We have quite a bit of air traffic, so I was excited to get this receiver. So far, it works, but not as well as I had hoped for a dedicated air receiver...especially at a price tag of $200.

Has anyone since this thread started also built thsi kit? What are your reactions?
 

wmpshaffer

Newbie
Joined
Jul 26, 2011
Messages
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Ramsey AR2 Receiver"KIT"

Hi, I just finished building (Yesterday) building the Ramsey AR2 kit. The radio powered up fine and I did receive some stations. Then I followed the instructions for TUNING the radio and NOW NOTHING.

I tuned the radio per the instructions and and got the "M" on the freq counter.I went one step further and used a DVM to check the volatges on pin 1 of chip U5. And nothing. I've tried scanning the entire band and haven't picked anything since yesterday afternoon.

There's a MARS station on base, just three miles away. I've walked past their door several times and I've seen test equipment in their office. So tomorrow I plan to pay a visit and see if I can't get one of the HAMS to tune my AR2 with an _oscope and Freq generator

The kit went together pretty fast and the instructions are good. There was however one glitch in the instructions. The instruction list a 2.2pf Cap and I could only find a Cap labled 224. It was the last part left so I installed it.

When my Amprobe CR50 Capacitance Meter arrives I'll measure that Cap to ensure it was the correct part.
 
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