Thursday, 26 March 2015

Problems with an IC-7000

One of the members of the Frontenac Radio Group, my local club, had an issue yesterday with his ICOM 7000.........the radio would turn off as soon as he modulated on transmit.  After an incredible period of frustration checking coax connectors, RF feedback in the shack, too much mic gain, too much compression and reading the service manual for clues he ran across an article in QRZ that mentioned a possible voltage drop.

Interestingly, as soon as he spoke into the mic on full power (100 watts) the current should be about 15 to 25A and the voltage should remain constant at 13.8 to 14.0 volts, if not , the ICOM shuts down and then reboots in a few seconds.

The ICOM power cord has two (2) 30A inline fuses. The article suggested that one should pull them (they are auto style bayonet type) and check the lugs for any corrosion or water damage.  He pulled both fuses and thoroughly cleaned the lugs and reinstated them back in the power cord. Voila, he had full power and the rig did not turn off.

It seems the ICOM is very voltage sensitive below 13 vdc and will automatically shut off. When he tried to power up the transmit mode there was a demand for high current and the resistive contacts made by the fuse blades dropped the voltage below 13 volts and the rig shut down. 

So there you have it, an easy fix to a very frustrating issue.  Hopefully Derek's experience will save you from learning some new swear words if this happens to you and your IC-7000.

Monday, 23 March 2015

WL2K Mobile

The VE3CLQ digital Go-Box
It was a pretty good day yesterday, the Frontenac Emcomm Group held their first WL2K deployed exercise of the year after doing a lot of RMS Express classroom work, and I deployed up to Perth Road Village, about 28 km north of Kingston.

We had eight stations up and running on the air, several from their home QTH and several from deployed locations around Frontenac County.  Over the past 18 months we have been building up a digital network here so we can stop using the archaic ARRL message forms and take Emcomm into the 21st Century.

So far in Frontenac County we have the following Gateways and Nodes:

VE3UDO-7, located in Clarendon Station this Node covers all of Northern Frontenac, most of Northern Lennox-Addington County, and a good portion of Lanark-North Leeds.

VE3FPN-7, the Node is located at the Sydenham Firehall and covers all of Central Frontenac as well as most of Central Lennox-Addington County.

VE3FRG-7, this Node is located in South Frontenac and covers all South Frontenac, the Frontenac Islands, the City of Kingston, South Lennox-Addington County, and Northern Jefferson County in New York State.

VE3MNE-10, this Gateway is located in West Kingston and covers a very large area.  The Gateway is able to connect to all of our Nodes.

VE3DTG-10, this Gateway is located in Central Kingston and is able to connect to our Nodes.

The Frontenac Club recently authorized the purchasing of equipment to build two portable Nodes which will help fill in a few holes in our coverage, and they will be able to be moved and placed where they are most needed to extend our coverage in an emergency.

All of our WL2K Gateways and Nodes operate on 145.070 and are on the air 24/7/365.

My Digital Go-Box consists of a Motorola CDM-1250 VHF radio along with a Coastal ChipWorks TNC-X and a ACER Notebook.  It performed very well.

We had a few learning experiences, we found that the Gateways will support heavy traffic with little problem.  The Nodes did get overloaded so we have a few issues to work out there.  Overall we passed the traffic we were supposed to with only a few hiccups.  It was a good training exercise and I'm looking forward to the second half of it in April.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Aurora Bounce

Interesting times on 6m tonight.  I spent a pleasant hour bouncing signals off the Aurora.  There were many stations calling from all over the US and this was the first time I have ever heard the Aurora Flutter.

Aurora Flutter normally occurs when radio signals are reflected from the auroral curtain.  SSB signals that are reflected sound very raspy, sound like the other operator is talking in a quiet whisper, and are difficult to understand and tune in.

At 2300 UTC the A Index was at 100 and the K Index was 7.  I have never seen the A Index that high before.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Your Answer To Your HOA.....

Once in a while a person's HOA gets a bit "uppity" about the supposed "stealth" antennas you're using, especially when a neighbour complains about it.  Well have I got an answer for this for you !!  

How about a portable antenna system that is mobile and can be folded, and rolled away.  This allows you to use it at night when those complaining neighbours are fast asleep.  

This system is available for a good price at your local friendly Russian Army Surplus Store.  Order it quickly, they're going fast!!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

P5 Activation February 2016

This just in:

That Dom 3Z9DX had written permission to operate amateur radio from a VERY wanted DXCC entity. Today, we can reveal that entity is North Korea (P5).

Dom 3Z9DX explains he has received a further letter from authorities in Pyongyang inviting him to a final meeting to discuss [and for he to accept] rules by the North Korean military and the relevant telecommunications department.

This meeting will take place in December with activity planned for January or February 2016.

According to P5 telecoms, Dom will be permitted only three bands (20-15-10) likely using a multiband vertical from a secured place in Pyongyang with two government supervisors over-looking 24/7.

Activity will last for 5 days.

At the moment this is a solo expedition to the #1 Most wanted entity using SSB only. He is working hard behind the scenes to get one more op (CW) to join him.

Please realise this project is a work in progress and to understand that it may only be Dom who operates from North Korea.

More updates / website throughout 2015.

I never expected to see this activation in my lifetime, but I don't think very many of us will get this P5 callsign in our logbooks. As this solo DXpedition is only for 5 days, and it is the number one most sort after country, and has been for many years, I can only imagine the pile-ups, deliberate QRM, LIDS, and band police that will be out and about in full force during those 5 days.  I hope I'm wrong, but history has shown (K1N for example) I'm probably right.