Thoughts on the Hobby

I worked a few FT8 contacts this morning … around 6 AM … and decided to check out their bios on QRZ.com. Most had more than the stock entry of name, address, and FCC info.

One thing I noticed about most of them is that their station pictures all showed computers … most with multiple monitors. That really emphasized to me just how much the hobby has changed (and benefitted) from technology.

My computer basically controls most aspects of my operating. Logging, equipment control, instant information … all are under computer control. With the touch of a key, I can pull up your QRZ page and get a pretty good idea of who you are and how you operate.

BUT … more importantly … I can still operate without all that stuff, if necessary. I can fling a wire up into a tree and be working stations on battery power with a moment’s notice.

The technology has advanced the hobby immensely, but the roots are still there. The naysayers preach that we are irrelevant in today’s world. BUT, as has so often been demonstrated, all those sophisticated systems have many points of failure, and WE have been the only means of communication.

Sure, we’re not needed as often as we were in the past, but when all else fails, we’re still here.

73 de Dick N4BC

“Interference”

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

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

PARC Repeaters

Finally! We’ve got some serious action going on for our two repeaters – W4MT VHF and UHF (145.23.& 442.9 MHz). We have secured permission to use the site of old Fire Station 3. There is a 140-foot free-standing tower there, and an equipment room with power and environmental control.

We’ve been searching for a few years now (ever since we lost our last site), and all other prospects have fallen through. This one is a firm offer, though. Antennas should be going up soon!

73 de Dick N4BC