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

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

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

 

A Couple of New Ones!

I worked two new countries this evening, both on FT8 … Oman on 40 meters and the Falkland Islands on 30 meters. Yes, Virginia, there is life left in the ham bands.

I also went ahead and updated the firmware on my IC-7300 with no problems noted. I don’t know why so many people have difficulties with this … if you follow the manual step-by-step, it’s hard to mess it up. DO remember, however, to save your configuration before upgrading, unless you want to go menu diving and setting up your whole operating environment again.

I downloaded MMTTY and integrated it with N1MM+ in preparation for the RTTY contest tomorrow. I haven’t tested it live on the air yet, but it should work fine. Tomorrow will tell!

Wow … three posts today! Maybe I should have saved up and dribbled it out more slowly. Oh well, I hadn’t posted for a while so I guess this makes up for it.

73 de Dick N4BC

The Pits …

I see the sunspot number is still at zero … where it’s been for the last three weeks. Those scientists much  smarter than me say it’ll be there for at least the NEXT three weeks, too. Ah, well … even with secret rites in the dark of night, I don’t think we can make any difference. We just have to wait for old Mother Nature to crank up the next solar cycle.

BUT … as I noted last weekend … even with the numbers as abysmal as they are, there’re always QSOs to be had. Contest weekends, especially, seem to light up the ionosphere.

Our DMR net (TG 31515, Tidewater VA) yesterday evening was a bit sparse … only four of us checked in. It’s pretty much the doldrums of summer now. People are on vacation, outside doing family things … you know the drill. This weekend we’re looking forward to scattered thunderstorms and rain. A typical summer weekend. At least it’s been cooler the past few days.

Not much ham stuff going on this weekend that I’m interested in. The North American QSO Party for RTTY is happening. I haven’t participated in that in forever, so I might dabble a bit there. I’ve got to get me a thicker cushion for my shack chair, though. The IARU CW contest last weekend was murder on my butt!

Well, enough blather! Have a great weekend and do some radio!

73 de Dick N4BC