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IC-T90A quick guide update!

This update reflects new information on,
changing the speed on the CW readout,
Manually setting PL tones
and navigating the set mode menus.
Numbered lists included.

This new information was provided by,
Ivan Fetch KC0OSK

Icom IC-T90A, USA Model-- a Quick Guide for Blind Amateurs
Volume 0.4 February, 2003

This guide is for those amateurs who use the Icom IC-T90A, USA model. It is not meant to take the place of the manual. We suggest that you acquire the manual in a form that you can read. This guide will only cover some basic functions and some of the many functions of the IC-T90A that you wish to use may not be covered here.

This guide assumes that if your IC-T90A is a new one, that you have charged the battery pack for a full 15 hours for the first charge.

Just a word or two about the front panel of the IC-T90A:

On the top left front, just below the corner of the visual display, are two buttons set one over the other. The top button is, volume up and the one just below it is volume down.

Just below the two vertically set up and down buttons are two horizontally set buttons.
The button on the left is the power on button and the one just to the right is the band button, or the DTMF “d” key. Holding this button down for one second will trigger the Morse Code readout.

The Keypad

The keypad is a group of keys, three high and five wide.
This keypad is a little different, in that the pound sign, zero and number sign keys are along the right side of the number keys, fourth row from the left.
It goes like this, from the upper left corner of the keypad, moving to the right.
1. 2. 3. The fourth key on the top row, [the manual calls the DTMF, “F” key, however, it is used as the DTMF, pound key, or, scan key.
The fifth key on the top row is the DTMF “A” or VFO key.

The second row of the keypad is as follows, moving to the right.
4. 5. 6. The fourth key on the middle row is the zero key. The fifth key on the middle row is the DTMF “B” “MR” or memory recall key.
The third row is as follows, moving to the right.
7. 8. 9. The fourth key on the third row is the DTMF number sign key, or the period, or dot key, used for frequency input example, “444.350".
The fifth key on the third row is the DTMF “C”, or Call/TV/Lock, key.

First things first.

Power on button.
Immediately above the keypad, there are two buttons. The one farthest to the left is the power on button. Hold the power on button down for one second to turn the transceiver on or off.

CW readout. The CW readout will not work right out of the box. To get it working, press, power on while holding down call-tv-lock, the “c” key on the bottom right of the keypad.

Here are some keys to remember as you use this little rig.

Band Switch Button. This button is immediately to the right of the Power button, which is located on the left front of the panel of the rig just above the keypad.
This button also serves as the DTMF “D” Key

CW readout band switch button, or the “D” key.
Hold the “D” key down for one second to hear the CW readout.

Offset key for repeater offsets is the “4" key. The USA model of the Icom IC-T90A comes with the Auto repeater function on as the default. The Auto repeater function will automatically set the proper offsets when a repeater frequency is chosen under normal conditions, so this is a key that you should not need to use often.
Press the “4" offset key for one second to choose,
Minus offset,
plus offset,
or simplex operation.

VFO key is the “A” key.
Pressing the “A” VFO Key selects, VFO A, or VFO B and returns you to the previous condition, while setting a frequency, or memory channel.

MR, or Memory Recall key is the “B” Key
The MR key toggles between, 1 Memory mode,
2 Memory bank.
It is a good idea to add tones, if you are going to add tones to your chosen frequency in the VFO mode, before you program the frequency in to the selected memory channel.

Press and hold the “B” memory recall key for one second to enter memory write mode, or two seconds to save a frequency in to a selected memory channel from the VFO mode.

Mode/Scan Key is the DTMF “F”, or pound key.
Push to select operating mode (FM, WFM, and AM)
Push and hold the “F” Mode/Scan key for one second to start a scan.

CALL-TV-Lock key is the “C” key.
Pressing Call-TV-Lock will select in sequence,
1. call channel
2 TV channels
3 National weather service frequencies [USA models only]
Press and hold, Call-TV-Lock, for one second to toggle the lock function on or off.

Power level Key is the “3" key.
Press and hold the “3" power level key for one second to toggle between, high and low power. Or press and hold the “3" key, while turning the tuning knob to the right to set high power, or to the left to set low power. No matter how many times the knob clicks, it will only select high power to the right and low power to the left with the “3" key held down.

Scan key, is the fourth key from the left on the top row.
To start a scan, press and hold down the scan key for one second.
To stop a scan, press the VFO, or “A” key.

Programming a frequency in to the VFO mode.
Remember, that you can select frequencies in the VFO mode independent of any band switching.
First, go in to the VFO mode with the “A” Key, then using the keypad enter the frequency that you desire, like this, “146.760" or “444.350".

Loading a frequency into memory.
Now that you have chosen a frequency and set it up with tones if tones are required, in the VFO mode lets load the frequency in to a memory channel.
First press the “B”, MR, or, Memory recall key to take you in to the memory mode.
Now select the channel that you would like to use to store your chosen frequency, lets say, channel 16.
Choose channel 16 by entering “016" on the keypad.
You will hear a beep each time that you press a key and a longer beep when the last digit is pressed whether you are in the VFO mode, or the memory mode.
Now that you have chosen channel 16, you can check to see if it is clear.
Press and hold down the Band, or, “D” key for one second to hear the CW readout.
If the channel is clear, the CW readout will send the letters, “C L E A R”. If the channel is not clear, the CW readout will announce the digits of the frequency stored in that channel.
If the channel is clear, then go back in to VFO mode with the “VFO” or “A” key to make sure of the frequency that you have chosen and to finish the process.
Then, while you are in the VFO mode, press and hold down the”B”, MR, or memory recall key for two seconds.
You will hear a short beep when you press the MR Key. A somewhat longer beep in about a second as you enter memory write mode and two short beeps when the process is complete, about two seconds from start to finish.

Set mode key, is the “8" key.
Press and hold the “8" set mode key for one second to enter the set mode.
Press the “8" set mode key to select the displayed set mode item. Selections are made with the tuning knob.
[See the note below on navigating the set mode menu]
Tone scan key is the “7" key.
Press and hold down the “7" tone scan key for one second to start a tone scan.

Tone key is the “2" key.
Press and hold down the “2" key for one second to toggle through the following functions. We will number each function to make them easier to count.
If you get lost in the tone function menu, try the following.
First, tune to a clear frequency, then, Loosen the squelch all the way, by pressing and holding the squelch key, just under the push to talk key on the left side of the hand held and turning the tuning knob to the left until the squelch opens.
Consult the chart below.
1 Sub-audible tone encoder, squelch open.
2. tone squelch, Squelch closed.
3. pocket beep squelch closed.,
4. DTCS squelch, squelch closed.
5. DTCS beep, squelch closed.
6. No tone operation, squelch open.

Tone scan.
This function is used most effectively with “scan stop beep” turned on.
The transceiver can detect the sub-audible tone frequency and
DTCS code in a received signal. By monitoring a signal that
is being transmitted on a repeater input frequency you can
determine the tone frequency required to access the repeater.
It should be noted that on many repeaters in the USA, the same sub-audible tone is re transmitted on the repeaters out put frequency as a squelch tone. If this is the case, you may scan the sub-audible tone on the repeaters output frequency.
Set the desired frequency or memory channel to be
checked for a tone frequency or DTCS code.
Push the “[2" or TONE] key for 1 sec. one or more times to activate the
repeater tone, tone squelch or DTCS squelch. (T, T SQL
or DTCS).

NOTE! See the note on the “2" or tone key!

Push “7" Tone, SCAN key for 1 sec. to start the tone scan.
When the tone frequency or DTCS code is decoded, you will hear the scan stop beep if you have turned it on. The set mode contents are programmed with the frequency or
The tone scan pauses approx. 10 sec. when a tone frequency or
DTCS code is detected.
The decoded tone frequency is used for the repeater tone frequency
when the tone squelch or DTCS squelch is OFF.
The decoded tone frequency is used for the tone squelch frequency
when the tone squelch is ON.
The decoded DTCS code is used for the DTCS code when the
DTCS squelch is ON.
Press [VFO] to stop the scan.
If the scan is cancelled before the transceiver detects the tone
or code, the set mode contents are not changed.

Unwanted memory channels can be cleared (erased).
Before clearing a memory channel
make sure it is no longer needed
as cleared memories cannot be recalled. Scan edges (0A/0B) cannot be cleared.
Push [MR, or the “B” or memory recall key for 1 sec. to indicate a memory channel.
Memory channel indicator blinks.
Do not hold [MR, or memory recall key for more than 2 sec., otherwise the previously selected VFO or memory channel will be overwritten.
Select the memory channel to be cleared with ].
The keypad. Scan edges (0A/0B) cannot be cleared.
Push [CALL/TV] several times It seems that four times is the correct number to select “CLEAR.”
Push [MR, or memory recall key for 1 sec. to clear the selected memory channel.
3 beeps sound, one long beep and then about a second later, two short beeps, then the frequency is cleared.
Push [VFO] to return to the previous mode.
Squelch Key is just below the push to talk key.
Adjust the level of the squelch by pushing the squelch key and turning the tuning knob to the left to loosen the squelch and to the right to tighten the squelch.
While listening to a station on a repeater frequency, pushing the squelch key will allow you to listen to the repeaters input frequency.

To use the VFO scan options you must go in to the VFO mode, by pressing the VFO or “A” key.

Then, press the “mode scan, button” number Four from the left on the top row of the keypad, while turning the tuning knob.
First of all, While holding down the “Mode scan Key”, turn the tuning knob more than seven clicks to the left to make sure that you are at the first setting. This menu will not wrap. No matter how many times you turn the knob to the left, you will not go past the first setting and no matter how many times you turn the knob to the right, you will not go past the last setting.. When you have turned the tuning knob several clicks to the left, while holding down the scan key, then, consult the chart below and remember that you are already on one..
1 Scan all, scans the entire VFO range from just below the AM broadcast band to 900 MHZ excluding cell phone frequencies.
2 Band scan, a broad scan of the bands chosen with the band switch which is located just to the right of the on/off button, on the left of the front panel, just below the volume up/down buttons.
3 program scan zero, a broad UHF/VHF band scan.
4 Program scan one Scans the six meter band.
5 Program scan two, scans two meters.
6. Program scan three, scans the 220 MHZ band.
7 Program scan four, scans 440/70 CM.
When you have made your choice and release the “mode scan key”, the scan will begin. When the scan stops on a signal, the scan will start again in a few seconds. If you do not choose to wait for the auto scan to restart, you may re start the scan by turning the tuning knob to the right if you want the scan to go up in frequency, or to the left if you want the scan to go down in frequency. You may stop the scan with the VFO or “A” key.

Changing the speed of the Morse code synthesizer
By default the Morse code synthesizer outputs Morse code at a rate of 20 words per minute. To change this we will need to go into "set mode". If you'd like to change the speed of the Morse code synthesizer, do the following. [These instructions will not work if you have already changed the status of the exp1 and exp 2 options in the set menu]:
1 Hold down the number 8 (bottom row, second button from the left) for one second to enter set mode - the radio will emit one short beep and then a slightly longer beep.
2 Turn the dial to the left a lot to be sure you are at the beginning of the set menu options (dial position 1).
3 Turn the dial to position 21 (which should be expanded set 2, or exp2), press the 8 button to select the exp2 option.
4 You can now turn expanded set 2 on or off - turn the dial to the right to be sure that expanded set 2 is turned on, then press the 8 button to save the change.
5 Now turn the dial far right (at least 20 times) to select the very last option in the set menu (key speed). Press the 8 button to select the key speed option.
6 You can now use the dial to select the speed of the Morse code synthesizer (10, 15, 20, and 25 words per minute). Remember that twisting the dial far left puts you on 10 words per minute, and likewise twisting the dial to the far right puts you on 25 words per minute. Once you have selected the desired speed, press the 8 button to save your changes, then press the VFO button (top row, far right) to exit set mode completely.

Setting a PL Tone:
TO set a PL tone, the radio must be in VFO mode. (the VFO key is the first row, far right), then do the following:
Hold the set key for one second (this is the number, “8 key” last row, second from the left).
Twist the dial far left so you know you are at the beginning of the set menu. You will have selected "R Tone" (which is what we want) - press the set button (bottom row, second from the left) to select the "R Tone" option.
Twist the dial far left so you know that you are at the beginning of the PL tone choices, then slowly turn the dial to the right, counting dial clicks, in order to set the right PL tone. [See the numbered chart below].
Once you have picked the PL tone you want, press the “set mode key” to save your changes, then press the VFO button (top row, far right) to exit set mode.
To tell the radio to use the PL tone when transmitting, press and hold the tone button down (also the number 2 button, first row, second from the left) and twist the dial far left after you hear the slightly longer beep. Now by turning the dial you can explicitly set the tone option you want. Turn the dial once to the right (second position) which will select "Dup T" (duplex with tone) and let go of the tone (number 2) button.

PL Tones:
Here is a list of PL tones and their corresponding dial positions
67.0 (dial position 1)
69.3 (dial position 2)
71.9 (dial position 3)
74.4 (dial position 4)
77.0 (dial position 5)
79.7 (dial position 6)
82.5 (dial position 7)
85.4 (dial position 8)
88.5 (dial position 9, radio's default)
91.5 (dial position 10)
94.8 (dial position 11)
97.4 (dial position 12)
100.0 (dial position 13)
103.5 (dial position 14)
107.2 (dial position 15)
110.9 (dial position 16)
114.8 (dial position 17)
118.8 (dial position 18)
123.0 (dial position 19)
127.3 (dial position 20)
131.8 (dial position 21)
136.5 (dial position 22)
141.3 (dial position 23)
146.2 (dial position 24)
151.4 (dial position 25)
156.7 (dial position 26)
159.8 (dial position 27)
162.2 (dial position 28)
165.5 (dial position 29)
167.9 (dial position 30)
171.3 (dial position 31)
173.8 (dial position 32)
177.3 (dial position 33)
179.9 (dial position 34)
183.5 (dial position 35)
186.2 (dial position 36)
189.9 (dial position 37)
192.8 (dial position 38)
196.6 (dial position 39)
199.5 (dial position 40)
203.5 (dial position 41)
206.5 (dial position 42)
210.7 (dial position 43)
218.1 (dial position 44)
225.7 (dial position 45)
229.1 (dial position 46)
233.6 (dial position 47)
241.8 (dial position 48)
250.3 (dial position 49)
254.1 (dial position 50)

Set Menu Options:
There are twenty-one options in the set menu, two of which can be expanded to add additional options to the menu. Probably the most straight forward way to navigate the set menu is to keep both expanded options turned on if you will ever use any of the options provided in the expanded sets. Expanded set 1 will always be dial position 20, and expanded set 2 will be dial position 21 if expanded set 1 is turned off - this makes it possible to always set the expanded sets to a known state.
Here are the available options for the set menu (hold down the 8 button for one second to access set mode).
r tone (dial position 1)
c tone (dial position 2)
code (dial position 3)
off set (dial position 4)
resume (dial position 5)
pause (dial position 6)
prio (dial position 7)
beeplv (dial position 8)
beep (dial position 9)
light (dial position 10)
busy (dial position 11)
ap off (dial position 12)
p save (dial position 13)
moni (dial position 14)
speed (dial position 15)
autorp (dial position 16)
dtmf (dial position 17)
mic (dial position 18)
wx alt (dial position 19)
exp 1 (dial position 20)
exp 2 (dial position 21 if exp1 is turned off)

If expanded set mode 1 and expanded set mode 2 (exp1 and exp2 respectively) are turned on, here are the rest of the set menu options. Although it is possible to turn off exp1 and leave exp2 turned on, there would be no way of knowing whether dial positions above 20 were selecting exp1 or exp2 options.
stop b (dial position 21)
stop l (dial position 22)
lightp (dial position 23)
color (dial position 24)
edge b (dial position 25)
ap on (dial position 26)
lock (dial position 27)
ptt lk (dial position 28)
cont (dial position 29)
opn.msg (dial position 30)
exp 2 (dial position 31)
dtcs p (dial position 32)
lk out (dial position 33)
tot (dial position 34)
active (dial position 35)
split (dial position 36)
narrow (dial position 37)
mc syn (dial position 38)
key spd (dial position 39)

This is as far as we go for now. We do plan to add to this guide over the next several months.

This Guide was created with information from:

Patrick Byrne K9JAU, e-mail: k9jau@sbcglobal.net
Keith Reedy, WA9DRO, e-mail: wa9dro@joink.com
Ivann Fetch KC0OSK, e-mail, lists@ivanfetch.com
And with input from the kind folks on The Blind Hams List.
This guide was prepared in the offices of:
Bibles for the Blind and
Visually Handicapped International

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