Got me a new old refurb (2010) Intel I7 with 16 GB RAM for Xmas & dumped the preloaded & just
horrid W10 for W7. After putting up with that monstrosity for 18 months (only Millenium was worse, but just), I had had
enough. Forgot just how good, solid, reliable & a real pleasure to use W7 was/is & all my perfectly fine older software
& hardware which W10 wouldn't support runs just fine, once again. The I7 allowed me to take all the programs & hardware
spread across 3 dual core computers & mash it all together on the one desktop with lots of horsepower to spare. Even
an old I7 can "smoke" a modern I5 in cost & performance.
UIVIEW was also dumped & I setup an Arduino Uno based APRS
I-Gate using an Ethernet shield, plus Argent Data APRS/packet radio & Adafruit LCD shields. All the parts had been collecting
dust for a few years & since I was rebuilding the main system, why not learn a bit about networking a Duino, too? The only issue
was fixing some minor source code bugs. The gadget plugs into the station router & connects to the APRS-IS. APRS
audio is received from an FT8900 (AF out) which monitors 144.390 MHz 24/7.
30 December 2017
Added my Jan-Feb 2018 TCA column
(ATD032) & support files to the All Things Digital section.
And "HAPPY NEW YEAR!"
28 October 2017
Cobweb antenna & new MX-P50M RF power amplifier (see eBay) with my Flex-1500 SDR. It's in the same shape &
style, just slightly smaller. The two match nicely, esthetically speaking. Sometimes 5 watts just isn't enough (especially with FT8)
so having a "boot" helps during the solar cycle doldrums & it isn't going to get any better till well after 2020. The
amp is convection cooled & 100% duty cycle modes gets it very hot (over 50 C @ 50% power) but that's normal without
an external cooling fan for such a small aluminum housing/heat sink to dissipate heat on its own. There isn't much
technical information about it online & no documentation comes with, but it's fairly easy to figure out how to use. Included
are a fused power cable plus unterminated PTT wires with the connectors needed to hookup either an FT-817 (8-pin mini-DIN) or
KX3 (2.5 mm TRS plug). Had to use a male DB9 to connect to the Flex's "FlexWire" port (PTT out & ground, pins 3
a 93-year young Amateur on FT8. Antenna restrictions make digital modes only real option for him to active & stay on the air.
You need a spry mind to keep up with FT8 QSOs because it's like a continuous contest or "sprint" because of the
fast two-way QSOs & trying to keep up with properly logging contacts because the eQSL card request rates are crazy high for
the new mode.
16 October 2017
Added the last of year 2016 revised & reissued releases of my past columns (ATD024, 025
and 026) plus support files to the All Things Digital section.
08 October 2017
FT8 adventures continue! Worked Iceland
station & UN World Bank Group ARC in Washington, DC (bankers gotta have fun, too!). Using the mode to test various antenna designs
due to its fast turn around rate. I can see how signals vary, in real-time, across the world in FT8 monitor mode & use PSKReporter to
show my station's results collected by its automatic logbook. Twenty metres is just crazy full of DX & U.S. signals,
but Canuck stations are rare enough that I get quite a few "double strikes" when calling "CQ" & FT8 is "smart" enough to sort
things out for you on the fly. My eQSL request rate is nearly 50% of all my contacts so proper logkeeping (electronic/paper) is
a must. The much older JT modes faded away (literally overnight) from HF use because of FT8!
24 September 2017
to work K1JT via FT8 on 20 m today! Saw his CQ & got him on the first try. Not too often you get to hook up with a Nobel
Laureate & the "father" of WSPR, JT modes & "co-father" of FT8. My station has streamed 8193 spots to PSKReporter
from 68 different countries including Easter Island, Galapagos Islands & the Falklands.