Configuring the IC-7300

I was determined to get the external Spectrum Display function of the IC-7300 working with N1MM+. I’d tried before, but had issues. For the external display to work, you need to set the baud rate to 115200, and the fastest I can get WSJT-X to run with the IC-7300 is 9600. Any faster, and it loses sync with the radio.

The solution was actually simple … I can run WSJT-X just fine with the “baseline” configuration I have saved on the SD card, so I created another file with the N1MM+ settings saved. Now, when I want to do the contest thing and want to have a big spectrum display, I load that file. When I’m done and am ready to go back to “normal” operation, I load the baseline file. Hey, it works! I know I’m missing something, but … . 

I also updated my Pi-Star software on my hotspot and activated the D-Star functionality as well, in anticipation of the arrival of the new ID-51A Plus 2. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about D-Star when I have a chance, and I think I’ve got a fair understanding about operating and programming now. Thank goodness for the internet!

It was a pretty sparse crowd for the DMR net last night. Only four of us showed up, but it was still OK. We talked a bit about the new mobile interface that someone has written for Pi-Star. I think it runs in a browser or maybe it’s an app, but anyway, Howard, WZ4K, is planning on trying it out this week. We should have a blow-by-blow description for the next net meeting!

The button battery in my MFJ clock died, so I was off to the drugstore to find a replacement. Of course, they had a different brand, which means a different part number. The internet on the smartphone helped me there too, but of course, they didn’t have the one I needed. I’ll try another place tomorrow.

I’ve been doing a bit of FT-8 after work and picked up a new country. I caught 9G5AR in Ghana calling CQ and pounced. I’ve got him in the log and now I just have to wait for the LOTW confirmation. I also saw a station in Bahrain, but couldn’t connect with him. This was on twenty meters, so the DX is out there. You’ve just got to be in the right place at the right time. I also worked a bunch of other stations 40,30,20,17, and 15 meters, too.

Well, the XYL just reminded me that we have a birthday party to go to tomorrow that I had completely forgotten about, so there went my weekend plans. Gotta be fast and think on your feet around this house.

See you on the bands!

73 de Dick N4BC

Holy Cow! Another Win!!

You may remember, not too long ago I mentioned that I had won the Icom HamNation weekly “swag” contest. Well, they take all the weekly winners and draw for a monthly Grand Prize. I WON THIS MONTH!!! The Grand Prize is an Icom ID-51A Plus 2 D-Star transceiver. Thank you, Icom!

I’m just starting to get a reasonable understanding of DMR, and now I’ve got to learn about D-Star, too! Well, they say the way to stay young and keep your wits is to challenge and exercise your brain. Thank you again, Icom!! You’re obviously thinking about my mental health!

Last night was our monthly club meeting, and Charlie, WB4PVT, did a presentation on connectors … PL-259 vs Type N. Even an old-timer like me learned a few new things. I also picked up my ticket from Rob, KE4JDY, for the Virginia Beach Hamfest in early September. There’s a forum on implementing a mesh network that looks interesting.

You know, I find that I’m becoming less interested in the equipment for sale at the hamfests and more interested in the forums. There’s a lot of good knowledge presented. And, it sometimes leads you in new directions … that’s how I got interested in amateur DMR.

I haven’t done a lot of operating this week. Lots of reasons (excuses?) … Thunderstorms, other commitments, and just pure, unadulterated laziness. Hopefully this weekend will bring some relief from my static state.

73 de Dick N4BC

 

NAQP CW Contest This Weekend

The CW North American QSO Party is coming up this weekend. I hope to get into it, at least for part of the time. The way things have been going lately, though, nothing is sure. I think I enjoy the CW contests the most of all. I’ve been doing so much keyboard digital operating lately, it’s nice to get back to the original digital mode for a change. Not to mention that the bands seem to miraculously spring to life during the bigger contests.

It’s been raining and storming for the past few days, so even though I’ve been hiding indoors out of the damp, the lightning and thunder have kept me “radio silent.” Tomorrow night is our monthly club meeting, so I’ll have a chance for some “eyeball” QSOs.

73 de Dick N4BC

The Changing Face Of How We Operate

I was reading through posts in one of the on-line forums (sorry, I can’t remember the  poster), and he made a comment that made me stop and say to myself, “That’s so true.” The gist of his post was that with the advent of spectrum displays in more state-of-the-art SDR radios (such as FLEX, IC-7300, et cetera) we have changed the way we search for stations to work. With the older radios, we tune around, listening for other stations to work. Unless you happen across a station while he is putting out a signal, he doesn’t exist as far as you’re concerned. He could have stopped transmitting just a second before you reached his frequency, and you wouldn’t know he had been there. But, with a spectrum display, you’re looking at a broad swath of the band and seeing ALL the activity … ALL the stations. One of those “light bulb over the head moments” for me. ‘Ain’t technology grand?’

73 de Dick N4BC

Goodies

I received a nice box via FedEX yesterday. Earlier this month, I won a weekly  random drawing in the Icom HamNation Weekly Swag contest. The box contained an Icom ball cap, Icom T-shirt, bumper sticker, map, chapstick with the Icom logo, an Icom neck lanyard, a nice Icom Luggage/Equipment tag, a pen, a couple of fake tattoos, lots of equipment brochures, and probably some other things that have slipped out of my feeble mind. Nothing of great value or consequence, but really appreciated and enjoyed! Thank you, Icom! The swag all goes well with and compliments my IC-7300!

The procedure is simple … watch HamNation (on YouTube), and then fill out your info and answer a few survey questions (see the link in the first paragraph). You have a chance to win a weekly prize or a Grand Prize monthly. Nothing ventured … nothing gained, right?

I worked a bunch of stations on 17, 60, and 80 meters yesterday evening. I was hearing good signals on all the hf bands except 10 meters. Truthfully, you can make FT8 contacts just about anytime on SOME band.

73 de Dick N4BC