Monday, September 24, 2007

Backup rig

I was up late last night (again). While Sandy was upstairs watching baseball, I was downstairs with the evening's project spread over the whole of the bed. I turned on The War by Ken Burns and began to work, first straightening out my Yaesu FT-817 kit, and then bring HamMac up to date.
The FT-817 has served as my "backup" radio for trips. Weight and space permitting, I'll include this in my St. Kitts DXpedition, too. If the Icom IC-7000 dies before the contest, I guess I'll change my category to QRP and work as much as I can with 5 watts. Of course I don't expect that to happen, but there's nothing wrong with being prepared.
In addition to the radio, I have a small power supply and the LDG Z-11 automatic antenna tuner with the W4RT one-touch-tune accessory. In fact, I have a bunch of the WR4T Electronics accessories including the FT-817 Reference book, the One BIG Punch speech compressor, a 500 Hz CW filter, and a bale.
I made a modification to the radio last year adding a small box to the rear with a PowerPole connector. The small power supply leads terminates in a PowerPole, the radio has a PowerPole connector, and the power cord for the tuner also has a PowerPole connector. I had somehow misplaced my "Y" connector for the power (so I could route juice to both the radio and tuner) so I crimped another as part of last night's exercise. Once that new power harness was in place, both the radio and tuner fired up happily.
It was then time to turn to HamMac. HamMac, as you might remember, is my laptop dedicated to radio work, especially DXpeditions and travel. I have not been deliberate in keeping the software up-to-date, nor had it been backed-up in a while. I worked towards both of those goals last night as part of this exercise. Included in the effort was installation of the new drivers for the West Mountain Radio RIGtalk USB rig control interface. MacLoggerDX recognized the radio immediately. (OOPS. MLDX was also out-of-date. A quick download and now I'm running the latest version of the logging program, too.)
The rest of the evening was spent loading software, manuals, and books on to the machine. I added the ARRL Antenna Book CD, the ARRL Handbook CD, and the ON4UN Low Band DXing CD. For fun, I also added the Chuck Adams (K7QO) Morse Code course. I'm trying, but sometimes I think my brain has become a dried and brittle thing.
I need to now review what is on the laptop and determine what else, if anything, needs to be added. I'll begin that effort tonight.

The St. Brandon log (3B7C) didn't have my 20m QSO in it when I looked this morning. Hopefully, this will appear later today. I did work them. Well, I'll put it on the card and (along with the 80m contact that does appear in the on-line log) and see if they confirm it.


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