Uniden UBC125XLT vs Yaesu FTA-250L

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Uniden UBC125XLT vs Yaesu FTA-250L

Postby Scan125 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 7:49 pm

This is possibly going to be a drip feed, long running thread (I don't blog on twitter, facebook, etc). Information will appear as and when and may even need to be later corrected. If you are interested then fine, if not then ignore the ramblings.

First of all I'll point out and preface this post with the thread: https://ukradioscanning.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=6494&start=30

The basic point being that when Airband frequencies and scanners are concerned what ATC/pilots call/dial is not always the ACTUAL frequency that is used when 8.33kHz steps are in use.

Now pucker aircraft certified 8.33 radio kit is very expensive and they are also transceivers. Not something airband/airshow enthusiast are ever likely to invest in.

There are I'm told some scanners out there that handle to 8.33 saga quite well but even the UBC125XLT does not get it right 100% of the time which is why my Scan125 Control Program has optional automatic correction functions.

As many of you know I actually get my mental exercise and thrills from writing software for comms kit as opposed to actively pursuing airshow, airport, other reception hobbies and would stress for UK residents there may be legal issues with unauthorised reception of ANY signals other than Broadcast and Shortwave ones. Would ALSO STRESS any content disclosure or use of infomration received (even by chance on a typical portable broadcast receiver that for strange reasons have airband reception) can get you into deep legal trouble.

Now I've had Emails from budding pilots in training and even air related sports like parachute jumpers etc. who want to listen, learn and get familiar with what they only get to practice in lessons etc. IMHO this is excellent and for this they use cheap generic scanners like the UBC125XLT.

Still with me?

The Yaesu FTA-250L is a pucker hand held Airband Transceiver, supposedly 8.33 compliant, can actaully act as a scanner and is fairly cheap (£200). Research show that many private pilots are now using the Yaesu FTA-250L and other makes as a cheap way of being able to be 8.33 compliant without having to pay for far more expensive "fixed rig" updates. ( https://www.flyer.co.uk/yaesu-fta-250l-transceiver/ )

So now I have both a UBC125XLT and an FTA-250L. In addition I have the Yaesu YCE16 programming software and cable for the FTA-250L.

It is now my plan to play with the two units side by side and also hopefully possibly develop some "virtual control" software for the FTA-250L. I say hopefully because initial investigations would indicate that there are no obvious control API commands/options and only Programming functions. Time will tell.

Meanwhile if you have an FTA-250L and a UBC125XLT or even another scanner then I guess this is the thread to offer your views and experiences. Open to all so don't be shy.
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Re: Uniden UBC125XLT vs Yaesu FTA-250L

Postby Minus1 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:16 pm

The audio on the FTA-250 is not perfect, it can sometimes sound a bit like digital distortion, even though it's a analog signal.
That said, it's much more practical way of distinguishing between adjacent 8.33 kHz channels.

One day it will occur to Yaesu to do a receive only version … :rolleyes:
I reserve the right to ignore people who have made no attempt to the read the manual, and expect others to do it for them.
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Re: Uniden UBC125XLT vs Yaesu FTA-250L

Postby Scan125 » Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:21 pm

Minus1 wrote:The audio on the FTA-250 is not perfect, it can sometimes sound a bit like digital distortion, even though it's a analog signal.
That said, it's much more practical way of distinguishing between adjacent 8.33 kHz channels.

One day it will occur to Yaesu to do a receive only version … :rolleyes:


I'm finding your observation regarding audio on the FTA-250 to be true. Two items immediately spring to mind:

1) The basic audio from the FTA-250 speaker is tinier and less wholesome / lacking bulk

2) When the squelch opens then the background hiss/white noise is more prominent on the FTA-250 compare to the 125XLT

To this end I find the overall "audio qaulity" in terms of readbility to be better on the UBX125XLT compare to the FTA-250L.

What I have not done yet is to use the headset adapter and listed to the audio quality delivered to a decent headset. This could make all the difference and is probably how the FTA-250L is used in anger by the professionals.
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Re: Uniden UBC125XLT vs Yaesu FTA-250L

Postby Scan125 » Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:50 pm

A little more playing with the FTA-250L and programming it with the Yaesu software is revealing some interesting information.

1) To talk to the FTA-250L via software requires the unit to be manually put into "CP Mode" during Power On. This completely kills the keyboard and all other buttons.
2) With the FTA-250L in normal mode then on inserting the programming cable plug all the keyboard and other buttons are inhibited and audio output is cut off.
3) With the FTA-250L in normal mode then on inserting the headset adapter cable (same socket for programming) only cuts the audio off and all other buttons work. This is what I would expect.
4) Comparing the two jack plugs then the programming cable has a metal top stepped shoulder whereas the headseat adapter plug has an insulated stepped should. This difference is what is triggering the different operational effects seen in (2) and (3) above.
5) Initial analysis of data flows between the Yeasu software and the FTA-250L seem to indicate that the programming concept is based on reading/writing a block of memory where unit's settings and memory locations are stored. i.e. a memory mapped data structure.

So all the above is strongly pointing to the lack of any ability to dynamically control the FTA-250L from a PC in a Base Station operational mode.

If this proves to be true then this is a real bummer (technical term) for me developing a program like Scan125 for the FTA-250L. Also as the FTA-250L requires the what now looks "special" programming cable jack and that the Yaesu YCE16 software is FREE then there is little point in me developing a program just to do exactly what the Yaesu software already does.
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Re: Uniden UBC125XLT vs Yaesu FTA-250L

Postby Scan125 » Tue Jan 01, 2019 5:07 pm

Scan125 wrote:I'm finding your observation regarding audio on the FTA-250 to be true. Two items immediately spring to mind:

1) The basic audio from the FTA-250 speaker is tinier and less wholesome / lacking bulk

2) When the squelch opens then the background hiss/white noise is more prominent on the FTA-250 compare to the 125XLT

To this end I find the overall "audio qaulity" in terms of readbility to be better on the UBX125XLT compare to the FTA-250L.

What I have not done yet is to use the headset adapter and listed to the audio quality delivered to a decent headset. This could make all the difference and is probably how the FTA-250L is used in anger by the professionals.


Have been doing more back to back comparisons on audio quality and my suggestion (2) above that the background hiss/white noise is more prominent on the FTA-250 compared to the 125XLT is in fact unfair and actually they are both the same. It is just that the FTA-250L sounds worse that it really is and this is because of the less wholesome / lacking bulk mentioned in (1).
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