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

Antenna Analysis

There are lots of antenna analyzers on the market now … and at all price points. Here’s an extremely affordable one … the RigExpert AA-30ZERO. Barebones, but looks interesting, even if only from an experimental viewpoint. Eric, who has a great YouTube channel covering all aspects of ham radio (HamRadioConcepts), did a pretty thorough demonstration :

The boards are available from Gigaparts for $75 + S&H as I’m writing this. I’m getting one!

And don’t forget to check out all of Eric’s videos (and he’s got a LOT!) … he talks about antennas, radios, DMR, accessories… you name it!

73 de Dick N4BC

Last Weekend

Well, the best laid plans … . I had planned to participate in the NC QSO Party, but circumstances changed that. I just had too many honey-dos to finish.

I did get my Tytera MD-380 codeplug programmed, but can’t hit my local DMR repeater from my house (maybe improved antenna?). I drove a few miles closer and did hit the repeater OK. Checking, I see that his antenna is only at 30 feet, but he does have plans to raise it, I believe.

So, my solution is to add a hotspot to the mix. I have a Raspberry pi lying around, and ordered a dvMega to link into the network from the DMR portable. It should be here on Tuesday, so I’ll let you know how it works. Yes, I know some people say it’s not “real” ham radio if it uses the internet, but I want it for communications, not for awards. I’ve already created a SD card ready to plug into the pi with the Pi-Star image on it.

Well, that should do it for now. I’ve done a lot of research on this DMR stuff, and actually think I’m beginning to understand what’s going on. Oh, I knew a lot, due to working with Motorola radios and systems for years, but this is a new realm for ham radio.

73 de Dick N4BC

WSPR-X

Well, I did a bit of fiddlin’ with WSPR-X this evening. Here’s the results …

Stations that heard me …
Graphic representation of stations hearing me …

 

I was transmitting 5 watts, using a 31-ft vertical. If you’re more interested in how WSPR-X works, it’s one of the modes included in W1JT’s WSJT-X ver. 1.8.0 software. WSPR is explained at http://wsprnet.org.

73 de Dick N4BC

Neat trick

2-inch speaker mod

I saw this somewhere (can’t remember where) and said to myself, “That can’t work very well.” Today I was in Lowes and picked up a 2-inch elbow to give it a try. Place it right above the speaker. Hey, it makes a big difference, especially on CW. It redirects the speaker audio towards the front. Well worth the $1.88 (+ tax) I paid for it.

73 de Dick N4BC