Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Better late than never?

Yesterday I was surprised to receive a package, by air mail, from Greece. It was the micro transceiver module I ordered at the beginning of April from Elcom Research. I was informed that it had been sent by registered air mail, but when it didn't turn up and further emails went unanswered I opened a dispute with PayPal which was judged in my favour and the money was returned to my account on May 21st.

What I received was just what you see in the picture (less the PL259-BNC adapter which was included in the picture for scale). No documentation, no indication as to what the connections to the 10-pin connector are, nothing. It is completely unusable as sent. What's more, the Elcom Research website I originally ordered it from now seems to be defunct. The only identification is the part number FC201SA on the circuit board. I typed that into Google and found that the module is an FC-201/SA Audio/Data RF Module manufactured by Friendcom in China. Google also turned up a PDF user manual on the Friendcom site, so I was able to download and print off that.

From the manual it appears that Friendcom would normally supply a cable for the 10-pin connector. I didn't receive one. Without it I will have to solder directly to the pins, because although it looks like a standard 0.1in PCB header connector it isn't. The pins have a spacing of about 1.8mm. I haven't been able to find a mating connector, though I admit I haven't looked at the professional parts suppliers as with minimum order quantities and so on it isn't economic to order a single connector from them anyway.

My intention with this module had been to make a micro-power Echolink hotspot. As I no longer expected to receive it I had moved on from that idea, but now it's here I guess I'll have to pay for it. I don't plan on doing anything with it until the autumn at least, as for me summer is not the time for constructional work.


M0XDF said...

I think I would send a mail to the supplier acknowledging that it has turned up, minus a connector and documentation and that you will pay for it if you get a confirmation email in reply and those parts are sent to you.

That way, you either get the parts and you can either use it or sell it on, or you don't get the parts and you don't pay.

And if they don't respond, you do pay and are no worse off.

Lynn (D) said...

ArgentData uses the FC-301 in their integrated 5-Watt VHF tracker. Maybe Scott can help you out with the connector cable?

Lynn (D) - KJ4ERJ


Roberta X said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roberta X said...

Are you sure those pins aren't on 2mm spacing? I've started finding that standard in pro equipment built for maximum compactness.

(Name-link will take you my main blog with a lot of US politics mixed in, likely dull, infuriating or both; try Retrotechnologist for my ham blog).

Unknown said...

Yes, I measured 18mm across the pins and divided by 10, but of course I should have divided by 9. Once I searched for the right thing, eBay came up with the goods (as usual.)