Telecar9's gallery

The local ham radio clubs HB9MM and HB9WW had the opportunity to get many of these tranceivers. We had access to 4 different versions:

2m version with front panel
70cm with frontpanel
70cm without frontpanel
2m with reduced frontpanel

Modifications for amateur radio use (summary)

The original firmware is usable on the amateur radio bands, but is not very convenient to use. Wulf-Gerd, DL1FAC has developped a new firmware that is much more « ham-friendly ». It is open source. With this firmware you can change the frequency as you like, change the power, set the squelch,… I highly recommand to update to this customized firmware. See below to get your own copy. You need to erase the EPROM with an UV eraser and burn it again with Wulf-Gerd’s binary, using a suitable EPROM programmer.

Of course the original radio firmware is also usable if you really want to use it or if you don’t have access to an EPROM programmer. You can programm it through the user interface, but it’s very long and painful. Best is to use a simple MAX-232 level converter and a slow enough PC (pentium with win98 is OK) to run the the programming software developped by PE2HVL.
Alternatively the software provided by triple1.nl runs on a contemporary computer using the same MAX232 interface

On the hardware side if you have got a 2 meters version, you don’t need to change anything. If you have a 70cm version, you need to add about 10 pF in parallel to each VCO (TX and RX) and adjust the whole RX chain. Use of an RF generator, or a transceiver testset helps a lot.

Firmware variants

The firmware is contained in the EPROM chip (27C128 or 27C256) inside the radio. There are several variants.

DL1FAC’s firmware (recommended)

Installation procedure

If you have access to an EPROM programmer I highly recommend to use DL1FAC’s firmware.

  1. Get Wulf-Gerd DL1FAC’s firmware corresponding to your radio version. See the table below for the different firmware corresponding to your radio versions (see table below)
  2. Remove the EPROM inside the transceiver.
  3. Burn a 27C128 with DL1FAC’s firmware. If you don’t have a 27C128 but a 27C256, use the dos command « copy /b file1.bin+file1.bin file2.bin » to get a double sized EPROM file. The files are in raw binary format
  4. Insert the newly burnt EPROM in the socket
  5. You might have a small problem if the content of the EEPROM is random. It probably contains the settings of the previous firmware such as channels, CTCSS, tones squelch,… Therefore it’s good practice to erase the EEPROM chip as well. This is the XLS2816 chips located juste beside the EPROM. Put FFs in the whole memory.
  6. Enjoy the nice firmware. Although it’s pretty user friendly, there are some option that are not fully obvious. HB9ONO has written 2 documents to document them:

User manuals to download (french but anyways useful)

Fimwares versions (binary files for EPROM)

Radio version4m2m70cm
Normal tc4m-V15.bin tc2m-V15.bin tc70cm-V15.bin
TrunkingNot available tc2mB-V15.bintc70cmB-V15.bin
DL1FAC’s firmware versions depend on the radio model

Notes

Original firmware – Programming software from PE2HVL

If you don’t have access to an EPROM programmer, then you have to use the original firmware, although it’s less convenient than DL1FAC’s one.

  1. Build a small RS-232 level converter (see section Programming Interface below)
  2. Download the programming software from triple 1 (see section Telecar 9 on the web below). This is probably the best solution, as the software runs also on recent PCs.
  3. Another option is the programming software from PE2HVL (see section Telecar 9 on the web below). Unfortunately it does require a slow PC (win 98)
  4. With this software you need also the password of the radio. If you don’t know it, it can be found in the EEPROM at adress 0xB4 to 0xB7. But you need an external EEPROM reader to get this information.
  5. HB9ONO, Jean François, found and documented that the squelch settings are not organised in a logical way in PE2HVL’s software:

Original firmware – Programming software from PA0JMY

I have not checked this possibility by myself. But it is claimed to work, and with a contemporary PC. Here some comments from PA0CDR who checked this software and was happy.

Hardware

For the 2m version there are normally no hardware modification to do, once you’ve the right firmware programmed with the right settings.
For the 70 cm version of the radio, it’s slightly more complicated.

A detailed step by step description (in french) of the hardware modification exist as PDF file.
Have a check at the frequency deviation in any case, before going on the air!

If your radio has no front panel (french)

HB9ONO has documented a way to use the radio as a mono-channel transceiver, using the original software. Of course volume setting will be fixed. But for a digipeater or remote control application this is still very sufficient. A description in french is available.

Interesting documents and links

Schematics and original documentation

I have scanned some papers, coming out from the service manual:

Schematics

Layout of the circuits

Microphone

HB9ONO has modified the microphone of the Clarion JC-10 934MHz CitizenBand radio for Telecar usage:

Original Firmware reverse engineering

The firmware of the 70cm version without front panel has been analysed by Martial. Below the 8031 code laying in the EPROM (binary), as well as the EEPROM content.

Programming interface

DC5WW has designed an interface and published it in CQDL 04/2002. The DARC kindly accepted me to place a scan of the article on my website. Thanks to them for their ham spirit! This interface can be used with the original firmware of the radio and both softwares from PE2HVL and triple1 on the PC side.

Comments

I had a lot of fun to « play » with this radio. There was help from many people among them DL1FAC, HB9ONO, DG6EK, HB9HLI, PA0JMY, HB9TLN, HB9TUH, and others who provided softwares, schematics, documentation, components,… and most important part of there free time to help this project move forward. We could convert I estimate more than 20 rigs to amateur usage, and all this for almost no money. To me this is a living demonstration of ham spirit. Thanks to everybody

By the way, if you have experience with this radio (good or bad) feel free to contact me. It’s always interesting to see other playing with the same toys, and if you have any information to share, I’d be glad to add it on this web page.