Plodding Along

Not a lot has changed in the past couple of weeks, radio-wise. I’m still working lots of digital modes (including CW) and enjoying it. FT4 activity seems to be increasing … probably since the FT8 segments are so crowded. PSK and Olivia activity is still sporadic, but I did notice some nice signals on 20 meters around lunchtime today … strong and lots of them!

One of my coworkers just became a ham last week. He attended an outdoor testing session, to comply with the social distancing recommendations. He passed the Technician and General class licenses, and was formally granted KO4DBF after about a week’s time or so.

Our club held its first virtual club meeting last night, using Zoom. Last week I attended our QCWA chapter meeting via Zoom as well. Looks like Zoom is the preferred method of social interaction now. At work, we’re using Microsoft Teams, but I like the Zoom interface better.

As a matter of fact, I’ve got two Zoom meetings later this evening. First, our Scout Troop, and then after that, our church Choir. We’ve been doing virtual meetings for Scouts for several weeks now and it seems to be working well. The choir meeting is more of a social thing rather than musical … just to keep in touch while in-person services are suspended. Our virtual church services are on FaceBook live.

73 de Dick N4BC


I’ve been going crazy trying to track down an interfering signal that showed up recently on my FLDIGI waterfall.

Finally, I connected the RSP1A to the antenna and lo and behold, there was nothing there! It had to be something with the radio. Not only that, but it was there when changing the frequency and band … never moving on the display.

What could it be? DING DING DING !!!!! Operator ERROR!

Somehow I had fat-fingered the Notch on the IC-7300. Don’t remember doing it, but I sure did! Deselect the Notch and back to normal..

73 de Dick N4BC

Mea Culpa

I used to think that people that complained about the fan being annoyingly noisy in the Icom IC-7300 were real whiners. I never found it very noticeable.

My apologies to anyone who I thought poorly of … since I got hearing aids and now have my higher audio frequencies back, I can see what you mean. It’s really LOUD, isn’t it?

But still … it is what it is. Some smart engineer decided this was the best fan for trouble-free operation, so I’ll defer to him (or her). You DO learn to tolerate it.

AND … you SHOULD be wearing headphones anyway, shouldn’t you, to keep out distracting noises?

p.s. I still LOVE my IC-7300 and wouldn’t give it up for anything (except maybe an IC-7600! HA HA!!

73 de Dick N4BC

Boot Drive Swap

I swapped out the boot drive in my laptop today. The old drive was a 1 terabyte Western Digital Blue mechanical drive (HDD) and the new drive was a Western Digital 1 terabyte Blue Solid State Drive (SSD).

What a difference! Running a benchmark speed program on both drives, the SSD is over five times faster on both read and write. That’s an impressive number and it’s even more impressive watching how fast things happen. I’m a believer!

Using Macrium Reflect, the drive took 2 hours to clone. Removal of the old drive and installation of the new drive took about fifteen minutes. The hardest part of the job was opening the pop-apart bottom of the Dell Inspiron 5588. I’ve got some special tools that made it easier, though.

The only disadvantage so far, is that my wife wants me to update her laptop now. That’ll be a bit more complicated since she’s still running Windows 8 and I’ll want to upgrade that to Windows 10 for her.

73 de Dick N4BC

Getting My ALC Under Control

I’ve been doing a lot of digital operations, as I remarked earlier. I haven’t done any PSK-31 QSOs yet. I thought I had everything set up, but found that the IC-7300 was hitting the ALC pretty hard … too hard for my preferences.

I started digging with good ol’ Google, and found several solutions, but the best (for me) that I found was this page by K0PIR . There’s a balancing act, and it took me a bit of back and forth to reach a compromise for WSJT-X and FLDIGI. I think I’ve got it now, though.I show NO ALC using WSJT-X and about 50% of the “safe” ALC zone of the ALC meter.

73 de Dick N4BC