Sunday, September 03, 2006


Today's lesson is Read The Friendly Manual. After I made my first QSO with the IC-7000 last night I found a safe place in a Pelican 1510 case for the radio and all its accessories. So far, I have the radio, power supply, auto-tuner, PowerPole distribution box (RIGrunner 4005), CT-17 with DB reducer, 12 volt harness for the power supply, power harness for the radio, and a plastic box filled with little cables that make everything connect to everything else. All this with the case now weighs 27 pounds. Not a bad start.
While I was putting the power supply in the case I noticed the markings on the outside mentioned only 120v/60Hz. Panic ensued. I thought for sure I had been careful selecting this power supply, ensuring it worked with both 120 and 230 volt mains. Was I wrong?!
So, at 11:30 PM last night I'm rifling through my stack of radio papers for the Alinco manual. I look through it and find no mention of switching between 120 and 230v. Nothing. I got my screwdriver and carefully opened up the power supply to look inside, ignoring the Do Not Disassemble - No User Serviceable Parts Inside warning. (It funny how hams never heed that advice anyway.) Sure enough, there was a big rocker switch on the bottom of the circuit board for this function. Additionally, there is a hole in the bottom of the case allowing access to this switch. It was there, just not in the user manual.
It was mentioned in the Alinco DM-330 Service Manual that I downloaded just now, however. (I should have looked for this document before reaching for the screwdriver. Old habits die hard.) Sure enough, the dual voltage feature is highlighted clearly enough in the service manual (though the reason why it wouldn't be included in the user manual that came with the device escapes me).
I came away with several lessons and ideas from this experience:
  1. Don't try to start solving a problem at midnight.
  2. The tool to use first is your head, not the screwdriver {grin}.
  3. Collect all the manuals for an important device when you get the device. That way, when you've got a question later, you'll have the document you need.
  4. Put all the documents for your equipment on a CD or thumb drive so you can reference them when you travel. You might not have internet access from your place in paradise and even if you do, why spend valuable vacation time doing a panicked web search on stuff you should already have?

I'm going to start that electronic document collection this month. If you find my argument compelling, I suggest you do the same.


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