Frequently Asked Questions (and also a few questions we wish were asked)

This page will be expanded as the questions come in.

Payment Questions

Q – I live in Europe, can I pay you by SWIFT wire transfer?

A – We’re sorry, but we don’t accept SWIFT wire transfers.  Banks in the US use a different network.  See the next question about other ways to send money to Ham Supply/Idiom Press.

Q – I don’t want to use a credit card.  What other payment methods do you accept?

A – If you would prefer to send a check or a money order in US dollars, you can place an order on our web site using the payment method “mailing payment”.  The web site will give you a page that you can print and mail with the money.  We do accept PayPal and Bitcoins.  Other payment methods are also available.  Contact Us for more information

Ordering Questions

Q – I live in a different country.  Can you ship to my country?  How much will it cost?

A – We can ship our products almost anywhere.  We regularly ship to Europe, Japan, South America, Australia, New Zealand, etc.  We are happy to ship to countries with fewer ham radio operators also.  Orders to other countries are shipped by air mail.  The shipping and handling cost for other countries is shown in the ordering information part of our Webpages.

Q – I live in a different country, and I am ready to place an order.  Do you have any advice on how to place the order?

A – Our ‘shopping cart’ software on our web site does not show the address correctly for every country.  For example, the address has the city before the postal code, which is not correct for many countries.  Please do not let this concern you.  We can research the format of the address for any country, and we will write the address correctly on the package.  If you like, you can type your address exactly as it should be on the mailing label in the box that says ‘Comments or Instructions’ on the web order form.  The web order form asks for a customer’s telephone number.  For customers outside the US, this telephone number is used for the Customs form.

The international format of the telephone number, which includes the country code, is preferred.  Please include a space after the country code.  If you are not sure about the proper international format, then please use the format that you know; we can research the international format.  For customers in Italy, Brazil, Spain, and Australia, please give the state or province that contains your city.

Repair Questions

Q – My Idiom Press product is broken.  What do I do to get it repaired?

A – We offer support and repair services for all our products.  If your product is still under warranty coverage as described in the product manual, and the failure is covered by the warranty, then please contact us for assistance.

If you would like us to repair your product, then please contact the person below, according to what product you have:

  • Rotor-EZ Boards and Rotator Illuminator LED Light Kits:  Charley Snodgrass (KC0CD).  Charley provides complete services for CDE/Telex/Hy-Gain rotator control boxes, including repairs and installation of Rotor-EZ Boards and Rotator Illuminator LED Light Kits.  Please contact Charley direct at: charley46813@gmail.com
  • CMOS-4:  Please visit Ron Tonneson’s (K0QVF) CMOS-4 Webpage for troubleshooting advice or repair services
  • SCAF-1:  Please visit Ron Tonneson’s (K0QVF) SCAF-1 Webpage for troubleshooting advice or repair services
  • Any Other Product:  Please Contact Us directly.

Ron Tonneson and Charley Snodgrass are trusted partners.  If Ron or Charley are temporarily unavailable, then contact us directly for assistance.

If you have the experience and the desire to repair your own product, then we can give you assistance and sell replacement parts at a reasonable price. Please Contact Us directly for more information.

Keyer Questions

Q – Can I use an Ham Supply/Idiom Press keyer with my transmitter that uses tubes?

A – There are two ways that tube transmitters are commonly keyed: grid block keying and cathode keying. Grid block keying has the keyer switch the tube’s grid current at a fairly high negative voltage, typically -100 V or so.  Idiom Press keyers use an MPSA92 transistor in the negative keying mode.  The MPSA92 is rated for 300 V, so Idiom Press keyers will work with grid block keying when the keyer is configured for negative keying.  Grid block keying is used in almost all tube rigs built after about 1964.  Common rigs that use grid block keying include the Collins S-line; the Drake C-line; the Kenwood TS-520, TS-530, TS-820, and TS-830; the Yaesu FT-101 and later; the Heath HW-100, HW-101, and SB-series rigs; Swan rigs; and all Viking transmitters that have a built-in VFO.

The other keying method is called cathode keying, in which the keyer is asked to switch the current to the tube’s cathode.  Idiom Press keyers are not rated to switch voltages or currents that high.  If you would like to use an Idiom Press keyer with a cathode-keyed transmitter, then you will need to use an external isolating relay such as the Jackson Harbor Keyall.  Earlier Heath transmitters such as the DX-60 and DX-100 use cathode keying.

Q – I have an Idiom Press keyer that contains an internal battery pack.  Do you recommend that I use batteries or external power?

A – All Idiom Press keyers use CMOS technology, which uses power very efficiently.  Also the microprocessor goes into a ‘sleep’ mode when it is idle, which reduces power consumption even further.  The only thing in the keyer that consumes much power is the speaker.  If the speaker is not routinely used, then batteries typically last many months.  Battery endurance of two or three years is not unheard of.

Of course one must also consider the possibility of the batteries corroding.  Modern alkaline batteries are much better than the old zinc-carbon batteries in this regard.  If good quality name-brand alkaline batteries are used, and the keyer is normally kept in an indoor environment, then the risk of battery corrosion is low.  If the batteries do corrode and leak, then at least the battery holder is easily replaced (replacement battery packs are available at a reasonable price from Idiom Press).

RotorCard Questions

Q – I have a Yaesu transceiver with a Yaesu Data Management Unit. I also have a Yaesu rotator.  If I buy a RotorCard SDX or a RotorCard DXA to put in the rotator control box, can the DMU control the rotator?

A – Unfortunately not.  The Yaesu GS-232 and the RotorCard use different serial command protocols.  The Yaesu DMUs only understand the GS-232 command syntax.  However just about every computer logging program or rotator control program that can control a rotator should work fine with a RotorCard.

LogiTALKER Questions

Q – Does the LogiTALKER work with VOX?

A – The LogiTALKER works VOX without any problems.

Q – Do I have to make a special or different connection if I will use a power amplifier at the same time as a LogiTALKER?

A – When everything is hooked up correctly, the radio has no idea that the microphone input signal comes from the LogiTALKER rather than from a regular mic.  If the radio doesn’t know the difference, then the amplifier won’t either.

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