Saturday, March 1, 2014

Interface Cable Located! Now the Fun Begins.

First Night of PSK31 on Indoor Buddipole & IC703+
Moving is never fun and it just so happens that things get lost or misplaced. I opened up our travel trailer today to see if I could locate my Icom interface cable that I used with my IC-703+. I came up empty but I did get a few things out that I needed. I was bound and determined to hunt it down. I knew it could not be far but I was concerned as I had opened up and unboxed all shack contents. I checked and double checked in several mothballed equipment boxes but nothing. I was stumped.

It just so happens that I carry my Icom IC-703+ and related equipment in a small, deep plastic pistol case. A cheap Walmart knockoff of the Pelican cases made by Plano. I checked my case a few times with no success. I decided to pull everything out of it today and whaa-laa! I found it in the very bottom of the case underneath the foam padding. I figured I had it close but I was just not looking in the right place.

I got everything hooked up and decided to run a bit of JT65, however my clock was always off by more than 8 seconds! Normally such issues were caused when I would utilize Google Chrome or browsed in the background. Since this timing issue was normally indicative of browser use, I closed down everything except JT65 and of course, Dimension4, for the clock sync. Still it would always be 8 seconds off so needless to say, I was not decoding anything. I had it working just fine in Alaska, so something had to of changed. I decided to run PSK31 instead.

I had my Buddipole tuned for 10 meters but I parked on 20 meters in receive only mode for PSK31. I was using HRD's DM780 to decode and upload the spots or my reception reports. The map above is what I was hearing on 20 meters today on my indoor antenna. 

I had posted a tweet regarding my clock issues and thankfully Karen, W4KRN reminded me that the program needed to be run as an Administrator in Windows 7. Sometime during one of my numerous Windows updates (I normally shut off updates on ham computers as updates lead to more hair pulling and heartburn than what they are worth) something must have changed. I checked and sure enough, it was not running as Administrator so once I checked that box, things were back to where they were before I departed the 49th. 

IC703+ Connected to Mini Dell running DM780
I'm excited for this interface cable find as running QRP I can start taking advantage of some of the weak signal software to gain some new countries and states on the bands. The small screen on my Mini Dell can be an issue with some programs but JT65 has a small GUI version built right in, so it does a great job. DM780 can be a challenge but I'm hoping to grab some more software and start playing. I will be running WSPR on weekend nights in receive only mode just to get a grip on propagation in these parts. There is a new JT mode I want to try as well. While many are participating in the SSB contest this weekend, I will be playing around on the digital modes getting things set up. From HELL to RTTY, I'll be stalking digital signals and possibly working a few, too.       

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