Again!

I had my IC-7300 reset again in the middle of a QSO. Irritating, to say the least. I thought I had the problem solved, but evidently not.

The Samlex power supply output terminals require that you insert the power wires into them and then tighten setscrews to secure the wires and make good electrical contact. A wiggle of the wires showed that there was nothing secure about the connection, even though the screws were tight.

I did some reading, and found that the power supply manual stated that the wires inserted into the terminals should be soldered. If not, the individual strands could distort and present a reduced cross-section and thus, a reduced current-carrying capacity.

I applied solder to the power cable ends, bonding all the wires together, and then reconnected them to the power supply. I put the system through the ringer … key down, max current draw, and no reset was noted. Problem solved … I hope!

73 de N4BC Dick

Problems

I had an issue last night. I fired up everything to work some FT8/FT4, and the rig was intermittently shutting down. I would get error messages about loss of communication with the port from Win4Icom, and oddly enough, a message from Windows Defender about how it had saved me from myself! Certainly some mixed messages!

The prime problem was the radio turning off, though. At first, I thought maybe the software was shutting it down remotely, but eliminated that. My next suspicion was that RF was getting into the laptop. That wasn’t it either!

Next, I wiggled the positive wire from the power supply to the rig … no change. Then I wiggled the black ground wire … the rig powered off! Further tugging and wiggling pulled the wire out of the terminal on the rear of the Samlex power supply. Aha!!

Evidently, the setscrew holding the wire in the terminal had loosened over time and finally, there was enough resistance to cause the voltage to drop below the minimum required to run the radio.

The moral of the story is that a simple problem can mimic a host of other problems. If your radio is shutting down, check the voltage first!

73 de Dick N4BC

Public Service – Deuxieme Partie

Well, I’ve had mixed luck programming up my HTs for the upcoming foot race. The score is two successful and one bricked! The Kenwood TH-F6A and the Icom IC-51A Plus 2 portables both programmed ok, but the Baofeng bit the dust. 🙁

I don’t know what the issue was with the UV-5. Maybe a corrupted codeplug or a glitch when writing to the radio? In any case, it is now non-functional and I can’t connect to it via the programming cable or the front panel. I tried resetting it, but all that did was clear all of the programming. I’m pretty sure the firmware got corrupted.

So, the score is two to one. I’m not too worried. I think I only paid twenty-some odd dollars for the Baofeng, and I’ve had it for quite a few years. I can handle the loss!

More later … 😀

Note … For those of you that are challenged by French, “Deuxieme Partie” translates to “Part 2”!

73 de Dick N4BC

Workin’ for It

Afternoons and evenings, the noise on 40 meters has been terrible here at the ole’ homestead. Lots of hash and static crashes from weather-related phenomena. Of course, this is prime park-hunting time. It’s frustrating to hear stations working the activators and not hear those activators. You can tell they’re there … you can occasionally hear them rise above the noise for a moment … and then they dive back down into the noise. I could probably fake my way through a contest-style QSO … signal report, QTH, and 73 … but that’s almost like cheating if I’m not sure what they’re saying … if I have to guess.

CW’s a bit better. In the past couple of days, I’ve worked NK8O and WB8ERJ, and they had great, readable signals … hey, CW is like SSB with an amp! Digital and CW are certainly the way to go when conditions suck!

Even when you can copy with lots of difficulty … the old ears ain’t what they used to be … the noise and crashes are really fatiguing. You can’t keep it up for long. In the afternoons, after work, I like to listen and monitor the spots while working on other stuff at my desk … it gets irritating fast. It’s summertime!

Late evenings and nighttime are better, but unless they’re camping, most of the POTA guys have packed up and gone home. Parks being what they are, they close at sundown unless you’re registered and camping … nature of the beast.

73 de Dick N4BC

Doin’ the Contest Thing

I spent a good part of the day working stations in the ARRL RTTY Roundup. I decided to use “classic” RTTY, rather than one of the new modes (FT8, PSK31, etc). I had to fiddle a while to get all the software working together, but nothing serious. I used Win4Icom, my IC-7300, FLDIGI, and N1MM+ Logger. It all played well together. I was running about 30 watts power out.

My first contacts in the contest …

I had tried to use a different RTTY engine before (MMTTY), but had a few issues with it. It worked … but I was less than impressed with some aspects of it and that’s what led me to try FLDIGI.

I operated AFSK (Audio Frequency Shift Keying), using the sound card in the IC-7300 and the only little nag there, is my ALC was at about 50 percent on transmit. The manual says this is OK, but I’ve always tried to get it as close to zero as possible. I think there’s a way to use both the USB and CI-V cables to use FSK (Frequency Shift Keying). I’ll have to research that.

The IC-7300 will do FSK in the RTTY mode, and there’s lots of memories for preprogramming contest messages, so I guess you could work a contest just sitting there reading the display and pressing buttons, but then you don’t get the integrated logging that N1MM+ gives you. Synergy, I think they call that!

I probably would have continued on a bit more, but !!MAN!! — did that stint at the radio do a job on my lower back. I definitely know I’ve been sitting in a “not too comfortable” chair for a long time. I definitely need to take more frequent breaks and walk around a bit.

So that’s the story! Maybe I’ll get on the air a bit more tomorrow afternoon … we’ll see. I have good intentions …

So far, my stats are 75 QSOs and 2,625 points … only 3 DX QSOs … all the rest USA and Canada. Pretty pathetic, huh? Hey, don’t judge me … I’m playing radio!

UPDATE: I ended up with 161 QSOs, 7 of which were DX stations, and 8,050 points. I had fun!

73 de Dick N4BC