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My QUANTAR story

This forum is for discussions regarding System Infrastructure and Related Equipment. This includes but is not limited to repeaters, base stations, consoles, voters, Voice over IP, system design and implementation, and other related topics.

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batdude
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My QUANTAR story

Postby batdude » Fri Aug 01, 2003 10:05 pm

well, i finally bit the bullet.

sorta.

i bought a range 2 VHF quantar from a company out in Texas.

received it today, programmed it this afternoon, and placed it on the air late this evening.

all i can say is WOW!

not only is the thing completely 100% tuned by the RSS, but the procedures in the manual are accurate and EASY TO FOLLOW for even an RF retard like myself.

i borrowed a fluke sig gen, hooked up the R2012/d as the spectrum analyzer and had the preselector retuned in about 30 minutes.

programming was easy (i had the book), and the thing dropped right into the upper end of the 2m band without problems... even though it's a 150+ range 2 unit... the RSS was friendly enuf to ask "DO YOU REALLY WANT TO DO THIS"... ha ha ha!


anyway, for those of you who are looking into the big enchilada, all i can say is go for it.

FYI, my particular unit, manufactured in 1999, was initially configured as a base station with the relay on the back.... RSS change to repeater mode, and hardware config change (software only) to ASTRO CAI / ANALOG and whammo... a dual mode astro repeater.

granted, i think i got a little lucky - i had always thought, in my youthful ignorance, that there's no way in H*LL that Moto would sell the quantar as pretty much completely loaded... all the options are strictly software.... want astro, just turn it on in the software...this pic is a UHF unit... but same thing except the VHF has a 6 pole preselector instead of 3....

<img src=http://members.aol.com/milguy11/quant1.jpg>


doug
Last edited by batdude on Sat Aug 02, 2003 6:27 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Postby ASTROMODAT » Sat Aug 02, 2003 12:33 am

Congratulations, batdude! Welcome to the world of Quantar!

But, I must warn you that: 1) Quantars become a major hobby in-and-of-themselves (which is not at all a bad thing, if you have a generous amont of spare time), and 2) if you thought Motorola ASTRO portables, mobiles and all of the related RSS/CPS suck up your time and money, watch out as the Quantar can become like a full time hobby when you really get into it . A friend of mine who has a Quantar on the Ham band (440 UHF) is a retired EE, and I bet he easily spends as much time delving into his Quantar as some folks do on their full time jobs! And I'm not exaggerating.

I can personally attest to the fact that I spend a great deal of time working with my Ham Quantar, but then again I find that it serves as a stress releaser. My wife is a Cardiologist, always reminding me that "we all have but one heart," and she advises me to work on my Quantar when I get stressed out. (I think it's actually her way of getting rid of me when I'm in a bad mood.) Since my Ham and commercial Quantars reside on the top of a tall mountaintop, "working on my Quantar" usually involves studying the manuals, or messing with the DIU3000's, which is another story...

As you can tell, I really agree with your comment about the Quantar manual. They are the very best Motorola documents I have seen (and I believe that Motorola documents typically are outstanding, as opposed to many other companies' tec manuals). The Quantar manuals have a wealth of technical information, as well as tons of practical information that can typically answer any question you may have relative to the Quantar and its operation and features. As you will notice, they are massively thick, but it's well worth your time to study them.

You'll find that the more you get to know your Quantar, the more questions you will have. You start discovering all sorts of capabilities and features that it has that are not at all immediately obvious. You soon discover why a Quantar costs as much as a half-dozen ASTRO radios when you start seeing how much technology is jam-packed into that little 12 inch high cabinet. It's an awesome machine!

Good Luck with your new Quantar---it's the ULTIMATE ASTRO toy!

Keep us posted on your progress!

Larry :D

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2wayfreq
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Quantar cabinet pic

Postby 2wayfreq » Sat Aug 02, 2003 3:34 pm

I would'nt mind seeing what one of these puppies looks like..Could someone post a pic? Coolio...thanks..!!

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Postby ASTROMODAT » Sat Aug 02, 2003 11:16 pm

We stuck a TX/RX Systems 6 cavity mobile duplexer in the Quantar slot second from the right (normally this is where the optional second receiver goes). This way, the entire repeater (with the duplexer) fits inside the standard 12" cabinet. Makes it very convenient. We can throw the entire Quantar repeater in the JetRanger, and easily haul it to/from the mountaintop, even in the middle of the winter.

Larry

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Postby ASTROMODAT » Mon Aug 04, 2003 12:48 am

Batdude, watch out if you have the old Onan switching supply on your Quantar! I was looking back through the Batboard re: Quantars, and found out the following:

If your unit was manufactured around 1999, or maybe even a little newer than that, it might well have the ONAN P/S. Supposedly, someone on this board claimed that the Onan P/S had a design flaw involving some exposed leads/contact points carrying a 400 volt potential. If you blew off dust from the P/S and it migrated into the supply, or wiped it with a rag to where the dust fell into the supply, it could cause an arcing situation, and/or possibly blow a few caps. This was subsequently corrected with the Motorola designed/manufactured switcher.

If your P/S is made by M, you are fine. If it's an Onan, be careful to only clean it with the A/C OFF!

Larry

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xmo
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Postby xmo » Mon Aug 04, 2003 6:34 am

Based on the posted picture, Batdude has the exploding Onan supply. The Onan supplies have a fan in the back, the new Motorola supplies have a fan that is visible from the front.

When these babies let go it sounds like a firearm discharge. I had one go off about two feet away. Smoke and flames shot out three - maybe four feet. I had a Motorola project manager in the room at the time and he was even closer. He reported the problem to the factory.

In the interim, before the new Motorola supply was ready to ship, Motorola had Onan put a shield plate in these so the explosion is contained inside the supply. You can tell if you have the shield by looking right through the front. If it is there, you can't see any parts, just the plate.

I believe the problem does originate from accumulated dust. We had several of them fail and it always was when someone was on site. I think just being there stirs up dust in the air or else vibration from bumping the rack the staion is in dislodges dust and causes the failure.

My ham Quantar has the new supply, but if I had one of the Onans, I think I would drill out the rivets and look it over inside. Perhaps if you cleaned it regularly the problem could be averted. Maybe even install your own blast shield.

The new supplies have been more reliable, but we even had one of them fail with a loud pop - just no smoke and flames. In any case, I have learned to NEVER stand directly in front of a Quantar!

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Postby ASTROMODAT » Mon Aug 04, 2003 9:26 am

Wow, xmo! I gotta' tell you, I was on the floor laughing when you mentioned the exploding P/S! Unbelievable that a temporary fix would involve an explosion shield!

It's too bad you didn't bring all this up during the recent flame wars over switchers vs/ linears!
Larry

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xmo
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Postby xmo » Mon Aug 04, 2003 10:11 am

Flame wars - yeah, those Onans make their own flames!

This problem happened all over the country. One of the techs at a big Motorola Beta site was right in front of one that blew up. He had ringing in the ears for a week & was lucky he didn't lose an eye. He was plenty upset.

During that time frame where we were trying to convince Motorola to solve the problem, we had a factory team come out to do some system upgrades. To tweak them a little we went to W.W.Grainger and got a sign to put on the door to the transmitter room. It said: "CAUTION! BLAST AREA! FACE SHIELD REQUIRED!"

They didn't think that was too funny, but hey - eventually Motorola solved the problem!

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batdude
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whew!

Postby batdude » Mon Aug 04, 2003 11:17 am

well, the pic that's posted above is waaay to big, so i am going to fix that post haste.

the new picture above is my unit as it was unboxed from the shipper



doug

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xmo
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Postby xmo » Mon Aug 04, 2003 11:34 am

The Quantar pictured above appears to not have a wireline interface [WLI].

The WLI will let you program tone remote control and/or interface to a DIU if you get one of those later. The WLI also provides the station with wildcard capability.

My Quantar did not have a WLI. I installed one with no problems. If you are interested in a WLI, there is one on ebay right now but you will have to hurry - it ends in 2 hours.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... tegory=296

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batdude
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WL board

Postby batdude » Mon Aug 04, 2003 1:09 pm

if i buy another item that says ASTRO on it during the next 12 months, i will suffer from "mid-30's divorce syndrome"


d

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Postby ASTROMODAT » Mon Aug 04, 2003 1:59 pm

Hey, Batdude, that latest photo of your Quantar appears to be absolutely brand NEW in the box! Is it?!

Larry

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batdude
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well...

Postby batdude » Mon Aug 04, 2003 2:53 pm

pretty close i think.

there was some minor dust on the PA fans.. that's about it.

so it wasn't THAT new, but at least it was in a clean site.

all of my firmware versions on the various boards, as reported by the software, were 20.xx.xx.xx



d

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Postby ASTROMODAT » Mon Aug 04, 2003 3:01 pm

Hi, xmo!

Thanks for the tip-off on the Quantar cards (WIB TRN-7477D and Station Control Module TRN-7760D) that were on eBay! I got 'em both! I owe you one for that, xmo! Got to the auction maybe 13 minutes before the end, and some guy jacked both boards up pleny high in the last 15 seconds, or less! Damn! I almost lost both boards. Still, it's great to have these 2 critical spares, especially when you consider the new prices.

BTW, xmo, the complete FRU's for both of these boards involve CLN part numbers. What's in the CLN that is above and beyond the board? Is it the front plate and maybe some manuals/literature, etgc. I HOPE that's all it is...

Both of these eBay boards carry "D" suffix's, whereas my Quantar manual shows the current suffix's for both of these boards as "F." And, my manual is a "dash-O" issue, so I don't know if there may be a more current manual that specs out boards that are subsequent to the "F" versions.

Is your sense that one is O.K. with such "D" boards, and if so, how does one get the schematics, and other info, for previous rev boards, such as the "D" version boards? I also have the board level Quantar Maintenance manual (the $200 gem), but this, too, only shows the "F" versions.

BTW, do you ever see the UHSO board (I didn't want to spring for the extra $2k when I ordered new), but I may eventually need UHS. I assume that when APCO says "Go" on 4 channels of TDMA per 25 kHz vs. 2 channels of FDMA today, one will definately need this UHSO option. I noticed that even for 12.5 kHz analog ops, Motorola says that one needs the UHSO. Alternatively, have you ever seen the way KEWL high stability externa sources on eBay that one could plug into the Quantars timing bnc?

Larry

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batdude
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w/l interface

Postby batdude » Mon Aug 04, 2003 3:38 pm

xmo, although it's not visible in the foto... there are two small LED's in the WL holes on the control board... one is WL FAIL and i forget what the other one is...

but i'd think that with these two LEDs, there is a W/L interface board installed.... and to boot, i got a T1600 series old as dirt remote with the repeater... probably micor era




doug

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xmo
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Postby xmo » Mon Aug 04, 2003 4:05 pm

Larry. I'll look at the part number issue at work. I doubt if the revision numbers make much difference. Maybe the CLN is a kit that includes the current firmware.

BTW - talk about good ebay deals - RRRRRG! [as in HOW did I miss it ??? - RRRRG!]

How about an Astro DIU for only $##.00 [I can't bring myself to type the number - RATS! - Asleep at the keyboard!]


Arrrrgh! [ item #: 3037146969]

Doug. That Quantar sure is pretty! Nice & clean. All the other LED's are visible in the picture, except for the WLI, but if you have that - great. You should also see a connector on the back for the lines to hook up to.

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Postby ASTROMODAT » Mon Aug 04, 2003 9:16 pm

O.K., xmo---I've got nerves of steel, and I'm now going to type the number for you: The ASTRO DIU on eBay went for $43.00 (F-o-r-t-y T-h-r-e-e U.S. dollars)!!!

I was frickin' SHOCKED when I saw that! Why in the hell would someone sell a piece of equipment that is pushing $10,000 new for $43.00?!

The ASTRO DIU is every bit as good as the current DIU3000, as you have often pointed out here on the Batboard. (in fact, I like the ASTRO DIU's white plastic case way better than the DIU3000's black metal box, and it matches a T5600 perfectly!) Heck, for $200 you can order the Motorola firmware PROMs that uplift the VSELP in the ASTRO DIU to IMBE. I just checked my R3 price book. You can lift it to current firmware for $500. A missing power supply is a trivial issue. Is this just a pure fluke, where the poor schmuck seller was UNBELIEVABLY ignorant, or what?! If so, my sympathy goes out to him/her! I have never before seen such a deal. Heard about these things, and always assumed they were just folktales. I guess not...

Go figure...

Larry

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Postby Astro Spectra » Tue Aug 05, 2003 12:57 am

ASTROMODAT, could you please post the P/N for the firmware and software upgrade, I can't find it?

By the way you'll need either a modem adapter for your Quantar W/L board or a RS-232 adapter before you can hook up your DIU.

Cheers.

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Postby ASTROMODAT » Tue Aug 05, 2003 1:33 am

Similar to all other FLASHport upgrades, the DIU3000 firmware must be ordered through your Motorola salesperson with a full blown FO number. The slick thing about the ASTRO DIU and the DIU3000 is that you just plug in the PROMs, and turn on power to execute a FLASHport uplift. There is no need to screw around with the PC, SRIBs, etc. as is the case with other typical ASTRO FLASHport upgrades.

For your salesman, here are the applicable numbers:

ASTRO Conventional F2046 (Line #1 on the STIC-1 form) $700
Conventional Software Release (sub item on STIC-1) X959 $500
If you need to uplift from VSELP to IMBE, add CAI X807 $200

Numbers are different for Trunked firmware, of course.

Prices are as of June 26, 2003 and are not discountable.

Hope this helps.

Larry

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Postby ASTROMODAT » Tue Aug 05, 2003 9:56 am

Hey, xmo, I was just looking back through my price books. I knew something bothered me about the DIU FLASHport upgrade costs. As of August, 2003, Motorola is now charging $700 for the F2046, which is the Main Line Item on the STIC-1 order form for the DIU FLASHport upgrade to current firmware. But, prior to August, 2003, this was a NO CHARGE item, and only the $500 for the actual software uplift applied. This was increased from No Charge to now $700. So, the total cost of a FLASHport upgrade for the DIU3000 goes from $0 + $500 = $500 Total, to now $700 + $500 = $1,200 Total. (Then there is another $200, if you need to uplift a VSELP ASTRO DIU to IMBE.

I started cruising through the price book more, and found that there are many of these little goodies across the ASTRO line. You tend to find out when you work up a total price, and then you notice that it's way higher than it was last month. The increases are like the DIU, where you discover, Gee, last time that was a No Charge, and now it's a high charge item. Looks like someone went through the entire ASTRO line and hit it hard. Seems a bit strange in the middle of a recession.

Oh, well...

Larry

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batdude
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if there are any Quantar digital team members reading this..

Postby batdude » Wed Aug 06, 2003 10:40 am

I WANT A )@#_@#(%$#'ing COURTESY TONE added after analog and digital transmissions.

ideally, one tone for analog repeat, and a different tone (courtesy beep) after a digital transmission.


larry's solution with the DIU being used as a repeater controller doesn't really appeal to me too much - certainly this is something that can be addressed in the firmware.



doug

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Postby ASTROMODAT » Wed Aug 06, 2003 3:02 pm

Batdude, I think you might be thinking in analog terms, in sofaras courtesy beep tone(s) from the Quantar, at least if you want them to also be able to work while in ASTRO25 (IMBE) mode.

For cost saving purposes, it was an early Motorola design decision (per a previous post from xmo) that there would be NO CODEC in the Quantar station. Although you easily could do something in the firmware in terms of a courtesy beep tone in FM mode, I don't think you could do it in ASTRO mode, without a CODEC unit. Thus, the requirement for the DIU.

The DIU is an external "box" that essentially includes 5 major things:1) an ASTRO modem for remote connection to/from the Quantar, or V.24 connection for local lash-ups; 2) a CODEC unit; 3) ASTRO data/digital translations of analog tones to/from the Tone Remote Console, 4) control functions from the DIU keypad; and 5) encryption functions, when optioned. It's the CODEC function that is key here.

A used ASTRO DIU doesn't necessarily have to be expensive----don't forget that xmo found an ASTRO DIU on eBay 3 days ago that sold for $43. Granted, it needed a power supply, but that's an FRU (FPN5580) that's no big deal. For $43 vs/ $10,000 new, a guy ccould buy quite a few power supplies and still be miles ahead of the game!

Sooner or later, if you own/operate a Quantar for Ham use, you will eventually not be able to live without a DIU. Just need to be patient until the next $43 DIU pops-up on eBay. Might be a while, though...

Larry

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Quantar Late Model WIB's Use Light Pipes

Postby ASTROMODAT » Tue Aug 12, 2003 3:33 pm

xmo had noted that Batdude's Quantar photo (posted above) looked like it might be missing the WIB, because in his Quantar photo the two WIB LED's that are normally visible in the SCM front panel holes can NOT be seen.

It may mean that Batdude has a later model WIB using light pipes.

From Quantar Installation Note # 68P81129E31-0, dated 10/15/95-UP:

"Later model Wireline Interface Modules for Quantar/Quantro stations are equipped with light pipes which bring the light from the two LEDs to the two holes in the Station Control Module front panel. When replacing an older model Wireline Interface Board with a later model, it will be necessary to ... blah, blah, blah,...my fingers are tired, and I'm stopping here!

Anyways, the point is that it is hard to tell if the WIB is in Batdude's Quantar, since later model WIBs utilize light pipes.

Seems a bit strange to call a 1995 Quantar a "later model." The Quantar WIB Installation Note is dated 10/15/95. I believe that the Quantar was introduced sometime in 1994!

Larry


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