Sunday, September 10, 2006

Two small features are big

I'm still thinking about yesterday's trip to Georges Island. Sandy mentioned to me this morning that I didn't sound hoarse after yesterday's operation and reminded me that the last couple of times I went to the island my voice was shot from calling CQ. What was different this time was the voice keyer built into the 7000 got a workout, saving my voice.
I lusted after the 7000 because of the IF DSP capabilities (which I sorely missed while on St. John) and the form factor (small!). But, the radio has many very nice features that are particularly useful for lightweight and portable operations that you could easily miss in the data sheet's fine print. I'll mention two here: the voice keyer and the clock.
The voice keyer provides you with up to four different recordings for a total of 120 seconds. Once everything was assembled yesterday I thought it would be a good idea to record my outgoing CQ message. Of course, with everything going on, I'd not had a chance to read the manual yet. Luckily, the Nifty Manual I had packed with the radio gave me clear directions for recording and playing back the messages.
Dave (KZ1O) found me on the air yesterday and captured a 30 second audio clip of my operation. You can listen to it here. The first few seconds are from the voice recorder; the remainder is me live in a QSO. I can't tell the difference between the recording and my live voice in the QSO. (Many thanks to my friend and Elmer Dave for the recording.)
The other feature that you might miss was the real-time clock in the display. Since I was not using computer logging, I needed a way to capture the time of the QSOs in my paper log. I have the MFJ Dual LCD clock that I'd bought a couple of years ago, but this feature in the radio means I don't even need to bring that. Again, it is a minor feature you'd likely not notice in the long list in the brochure, but in a portable operation, it is very handy.

Car update: Sandy's idea to try a speaker mount for the head of the dual-band radio was a great one. We pulled an Omnimount AB2 mounting kit off the wall in Radio Shack yesterday and I installed it today. It looks great! So, one of the two radios is now back up-and-running. One down, one to go. It feels good to be back on the air in the car!


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