How’s it going?

Things are going pretty well since my computer died, with a few exceptions. The replacement computer is great, and I’m back to multi-mode operating and logging. I’m experiencing difficulties with loading a new LOTW certificate, and waiting for direction fom the LOTW staff. I’ve also had issues with the new Windows 11 security enhancements and getting some software to work, but have pretty much resolved those issues. I still cannot get the latest version of Com0Com ( to work, but the previous version ( works just fine.

The bands have been “interesting” lately 🙂 . FT4 and FT8 continue to be the most productive modes, with some nice openings on the higher bands. CW is still my preferred mode of operation, but when conditions are “iffy”, digital is definitely the most prolific mode. Last night 80 meters, 60 meters, and 40 meters were the producers. Gotta go where the contacts are 😀 .

73 de Dick N4BC

The 7 Beeps of Death

I got home from work yesterday evening, sat down at my desk, and pressed the button to power up my Dell Latitude computer.

Nothing happened, until I heard …

The Dreaded 7 Beeps of Death!

This is the indication of a motherboard or processor failure, and was not welcome. Admittedly, the laptop in question is six, going on seven years old, so it had lived a good life, but … it’s always sad to lose an old friend. 🙁

It was not upgradable to Windows 11, so it’s days were numbered eventually, but it did advance my replacement schedule by a year or so. I just wanted a more controlled move to the new laptop.

Now, I have a formidable task ahead of me … reloading and configuring all of the software onto the new laptop. I could restore a backup image, but there’s an advantage to a clean install, and getting rid of all the clutter. Still, it’s a tedious job.

I ordered the new laptop last night from Dell, it’s being shipped today and arrives tomorrow. Then the fun begins …

73 de Dick N4BC

Easier CW

I recently purchased an addition to my portable gear that makes CW much easier. The item is a Ultra Picokeyer kit from HamGadgets.

Ultra Picokeyer - Available Colors
Ultra Picokeyer – Available colors

My favorite portable transceiver is the Yaesu FT-817ND. One of my not-so-favorite things about it is that it has no CW memories. If you’re contesting or working a POTA pileup, it can wear your hand out!

The Ultra Picokeyer solves that problem. It has CW memories, and a continuously variable speed control, in addition to lots of other features. In addition, it’s a pretty simple kit to build … I didn’t time myself, but it couldn’t have been more than an hour or so. It went very fast, and the only tools required were soldering gear and some flush-cutting wire cutters. Easy-peasy!

73 de Dick N4BC

Miscelleney …

The repeater antenna has been repositioned and braced against excessive sway, and all repeater operations are back to normal. If you recall, high winds had blown the antenna into the tower and one of the elements had hung on the tower structure.

Six meters FT4 and FT8 were busy this afternoon. Seems like Cycle 25 is heating up

I picked up a new “Pocket Portable” iambic key from CWMORSE this week. It’s 3D printed and is really nice quality. I’m looking forward to getting out into the field with it soon.

Field day is coming up soon. Our club, in concert with several others, is mounting a combined operation, as we have in past years. Hopefully, it’ll be a great event.

73 de Dick N4BC

Oops …

Not good …

Somehow, out main repeater antenna has flexed a bit too much! From the picture, it looks like the top may have flexed into the tower structure and gotten caught. We’ll be going to the site on Saturday morning to further evaluate the problem. I haven’t seen the actual antenna yet … just this photo that was sent to me. We’ve still got the backup antenna if needed.

73 de Dick N4BC