Y2K Compliance of Amateur Radio Equipment

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Question was asked on a previous thread if transceivers will be ok after 2000. Here's what the Big Three equipment manufacturers have to say regarding Y2K compliance:

Yaesu Year 2000 Compliance Statement

Icom's Y2K Statement

Nothing at all at Kenwood's site re: Y2K compliance.

Yaesu's statement was forthright, but Icom fudged a bit, saying that if you're using a computer to operate the radio, you must have a compliant computer - duh. At least I think that's what they said... check it out.

-- sparks (wireless@home.com), March 16, 1999


Update: Just received the April issue of QST (the house organ of the American Radio Relay League, which is the national organization for ham radio operators), and there's a Y2K article on page 56, and mentioned on the cover too. It mostly goes into how to see if your PC is compliant, with a sidebar on what amateur radio products and protocols are compliant (according to the article, almost all are, except for a few "not known" or software-related items). Another sidebar lists some Y2K websites, including ZD Net, Y2K News Magazine and PC Week's Y2K Watch. Ed Yourdon's site is notably absent, as is Cory's, Gary's, and Ed Yardeni's, to mention a few.

The author doesn't get down to the meat until the very end of the article, with the standard "nobody knows what will happen", and proceeding to devote a full 3 paragraphs to what amateurs should do to prepare. The following is my opinion... and since QST has the magnanimous policy of requiring written permission to quote from their magazine, I'll paraphrase the author's comments:

"Avoid Y2K panic, instead make calm and prudent preparations to enable you to cope with the situation."

Now, what the situation may be covers a lot of ground in my book, including prolonged grid failure and food-supply-chain breakdown, not to mention folks getting pretty cold, but he goes on to say that we should:

"Get ready as if you were preparing for a hurricane or earthquake."

Apparently he's one of the three-to-five-day crowd (sigh).

"Make sure you have lots of batteries, or maybe obtain a generator."

Maybe obtain a generator. Hey, let's not go overboard, now... just because you may be your community's sole means of contact with the outside world doesn't mean you need do anything in the way of ensuring a supply of juice for your equipment! No mention of renewable energy like solar, wind or hydro, either.

"Putting away some first-aid stuff, food and water, and flashlights is also a good idea."

Good idea, but totally gutted by his above recommendations of only a few days supply.

"This may be a great opportunity for us to render service..."

Not if we follow his (pitifully inadequate) recommendations, it won't be.

Sad, very sad.

-- sparks (wireless@home.com), March 16, 1999.

It is simply too hard to determine absolutely if the newer ham gear is compliant. To my knowledge no current rigs have any real time clock chips or similar features (the Katchina radio is a unique exception). In some sense this is irrelevant, most hams have a collection of stuff from different manufacturers and of different vintage. Nor does the average ham require that ALL of his equipment be working.

Just be sure you have enough backup power.

-- Hiram Percy Mufflerman (w1aw@newington.com), March 16, 1999.

And I agree, his preparation suggestions are totally inadequate. Hams should be overprepared, guns, food, medical supplies, chainsaws, generators, NBC fallout shelter, solar panels and dont forget the rubber dinghy....

72 hours worth of TP and granola bars is propaganda for civilians.

-- kd6something or other (Spamatuer@radio.net), March 16, 1999.


Seems that hams showed up here that didn't post to the "who are the hams" message.

-- Dean -- from (almost) Duh Moines (dtmiller@nevia.net), March 16, 1999.

wz9m here. don't forget that the 3 main manufacturers of ham gear are all japanese companies, and japanese companies lie like sidewalks, in my experience. so the old drake twins may come in very handy. i'd recommend getting opinions from some reputable u.s. manufacturers.

-- jocelyne slough (jonslough@tln.net), March 16, 1999.

btw, my local repeater club voted 2 hours ago to purchase a generator, so not everyone is a dimwit.

-- jocelyne slough (jonslough@tln.net), March 16, 1999.

Jocelyne, while it's possible these companies may be lying about compliance, I consider it highly unlikely. There simply aren't any timing functions within the gear that would register year 2000, much less react adversely to it. Personally, I don't buy the whole line about non-compliant embedded chips, apart from a few custom ones that are date-dependent, and clearly used for that purpose. I design RF and electronic circuits for a living, and I'm comfortably certain that even in VLSIC's there is NO date embedded in them at the time of manufacture, hence no possible countdown to a rollover and possible failure. Any timing functions contained in them may count seconds or portions thereof, but years - no way.

-- sparks (wireless@home.com), March 16, 1999.

Side note: anyone catch Art Bell's last interview with Wayne Green? Lots of shop talk for you hams & also a good 30-45 minutes on Y2K. If interested I'll dig up the link.

-- Bingo1 (howe9@pop.shentel.net), March 17, 1999.

yes, bingo, please dig up the link. btw, i'm not suggesting that the japanese are lying about ham radios, i'm just saying you need to watch what they say, in general. i speak from experience.

-- jocelyne slough (jonslough@tln.net), March 17, 1999.

OK, I get your drift... yes, they do tend to obfuscate - sort of a Japanese version of "Yankee trading".

-- sparks (wireless@home.com), March 17, 1999.

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