Yaesu VX-7R HT Transceiver

Yaesu HT Belt Clip Mod

This is a very simple little hardware hack for all those who dislike the method of releasing the Yaesu hand-held (HT) amateur radios from their rotating belt clip. This tutorial uses the VX-7R as an example, but should work for any radio belt clip of the same design, or for any belt clip of the same design for any product.

To remove the Yaesu VX-7R, and possibly other Yaesu HT radios from their belt clip, one has to rotate the radio completely upside-down before it will pop out. I personally find this awkward and annoying since there exists the possibility of dropping the radio after it’s released as you fumble with it to turn it right side up again. I’ve seen a number of forum posts from people who dislike the OEM belt clip because of this, so i decided to address the problem. I suspect one reason why Yaesu chose the rotating clip design might be to keep the radio antenna in a vertical position for better reception, regardless of how your body is oriented. Though it seems debatable how well this actually works for reception, the rotating clip might be desirable when seated in your vehicle or a chair.

What this hack will do is make it so that you can pop the radio out of its belt clip by rotating it 90 degrees, instead of 180 degrees, so that the antenna is pointing forward (see the last image) while still being unable to remove it in any other position, except if upside-down (the standard way), though you can prevent this as well. All you need to make this modification is something like a sharp razor knife, a steady hand, and a little patience.

The first thing to do is to determine which side of the belt clip stud — the part that is mounted to the back of the radio — to modify by referring to the image below. If you are right handed and carry the radio on your right side, then you will want to modify the top of the stud as shown in the image below. Likewise, if you are left handed and carry the radio on your left side, you will modify the bottom of the stud.

Yaesu belt-clip mod - back of radio
Right handed users will chamfer the top inside edge, while left handed users will chamfer the bottom (click to enlarge)

All we are going to do is scrape a very slight chamfer along a small portion of the belt clip stud. When the radio is tilted 90 degrees, this chamfer will align with the little catch in the belt clip. The chamfer will act as sort of a ramp, allowing you to remove the radio from the belt clip by depressing the tab on the clip when pressure is applied. You want the chamfer to be fairly narrow in width and here it is about 2/3 of the width of the screw. The image below is for right handed users so if you’re a lefty, you will want to chamfer the opposite side of the stud.

Yaesu belt-clip mod - stud chamfer
Keep the chamfer small — about 3/16 to 1/4 of an inch should work well (click to enlarge)

To make the chamfer, i used a razor (E-Xacto) knife and you want to be real careful here. I wanted to have to use some force to extract the radio from my belt clip and if you remove too much material, it will slip out too easily. As shown in the image above, you almost cannot see that any material was removed. To do this, place the point of the knife in the inside corner of the stud and tilt it as needed so the edge of the blade is touching all along the vertical part of the stud. In other words, you want the cutting edge of the knife perpendicular to the back of the radio. Then tilt the knife handle ever so slightly toward the cutting edge so that the blade is touching only the top of the inside edge of the stud. You don’t need to remove any material from the inside corner where the tip of the knife blade is, but we do need to remove a little from the top edge. Just scrape back and forth to do this, being careful not to make the chamfer too wide or deep. It really doesn’t take much to get it to work.

Yaesu belt-clip mod - chamfering the stud
Only remove a very small amount of material. If too much is removed, the radio can slip out of the belt clip too easily (click to enlarge)

Continue removing very small amounts of material and testing until the radio releases from the belt clip with the desired amount of force. I place my thumb on top of the belt clip to make it easy to pop the radio out.

Yaesu belt-clip mod - removal from belt clipIf you want to eliminate being able to remove the radio from its belt clip when it is upside-down, which is the default way of removing it, then you could remove the little tab on the inside of the belt clip stud (not the belt clip itself). Doing so will allow the radio to rotate 360 in the belt clip, so consider whether this might be an issue beforehand.

ICU: How You Are Tracked Across The Web

As you may know, there are many ways your browsing habits can be tracked. Most people are probably aware of http cookies and perhaps even the so-called super-cookies, or Flash local shared objects (LSO’s), but it doesn’t end there. For instance, did you know that you can be tracked through CSS, even after this loophole was recently addressed by several browser vendors?

For a great overview of some of the ways your privacy can be invaded, see this article, Technical analysis of client identification mechanisms, by Artur Janc and Michal Zalewski.

To defend against such efforts to track your browsing habits, i can only offer advice for the Firefox browser, but this information should provide the keys you’ll need to better secure any browser. For Firefox i recommend the following extensions:

If you don’t mind using Greasemonkey, i would also recommend the Direct Google script, or any one of several like it. There are also a few extensions available at the Mozilla Add-Ons site for Firefox which will accomplish the same result.

Additionally, the RequestPolicy extension is an excellent concept, but it has some serious usability problems and bugs as of this writing, and development has been excruciatingly slow. The good news is that it appears new life is being breathed into it and you can download the latest development version from this website.

I would also recommend the following configuration tweaks which should be added to your user.js file. You can copy and paste the following code to make it easy. For detailed explanations of these settings, you can search the MozillaZine Knowledge Base for the preference name:

user_pref("beacon.enabled", false);    // disable hyper-link auditing
user_pref("browser.send_pings", false);    // disable link hyper-link tracking
user_pref("browser.send_pings.require_same_host", true);    // if browser.send_pings is enabled, at least restrict it to the same host
user_pref("network.dns.disablePrefetch", true);    // disable DNS prefetching
user_pref("media.peerconnection.enabled", false);    // disable the ability to talk to other browsers (chat/video/etc.) and reveal your internal network address - may break some web pages
user_pref("network.prefetch-next", false);    // disable link prefetching
user_pref("plugin.default.state", 1);    // browser plugins: 0 = never activate, 1 = ask to activate, 2 = always activate

Lastly, also see my articles, Firefox Extensions: My Picks and Opting out of the Firefox/Google partnership, as well as this excellent article regarding hyper-link auditing.

Kelly Beverly

Please Help My Friend Kelly

I just learned today that my friend, Kelly, 46, has cancer and apparently she has had it for about 6 years without ever knowing it.

Kelly and i met several years ago at a meeting i attended and i was very impressed by her personality. She is an intelligent, easy-going, down to earth kind of girl who shared many of my interests, so we had plenty to talk about. Though we never became really close over the years, i have kept in touch and she is often on my mind. Hearing about her battle with cancer came as quite a shock and i would like to reach out to any of my readers to help her in her fight by making a donation so that she can afford to explore healthcare options. Apparently she has no insurance, very little income, and a dying car, so her situation is rather desperate.

Please read her heartfelt story on her gofundme page from where you can send her a donation.

a mix of alternative news, information and windows software