The road to getting your computer to interface with your computer controlled
radio (If you do not have a radio that can be computer controlled, then you
are missing a ton of fun), interfaced with the packet TNC, and maybe
networked to a second computer and rig is a bumpy one that is also full of
pot holes. I am giving this info to everyone in hopes that it will help you
reach your goal and save you many hours of time trouble shooting problems
that I have conquered. Yo! I am no hero. Other guys have done the same
things that I am about to describe. We just do not communicate very well.
As previously stated my contest logging experience is with K1EA's CT. OK!
Here we go! Looking at CT ver 9 in the 50 line mode on a 14" .39mm dot
pitch monitor for a whole weekend is not an experience that I want to go
through. The text is small and fuzzy (no KY1H it is not a "warm" fuzzy).
This is guaranteed to give one a headache and even with my bifocals it is
not pleasant. This crazy W3MM is saying I need a new monitor! That is
up to you to decide. I just present the bare (naked) facts. The difference
in viewing area between a 14" and 15" monitor is too small to even
consider as an upgrade. Now the difference in viewing area between a 15"
monitor and a 17" monitor is about 25%. Yep! CT ver 9 in 50 line mode
on a 17" monitor is a pleasure. I don't need my glasses to read this
sucker. OH!, you accidently brought up a window in CT that you don't
want to see, place the mouse cursor in the window and hit the right mouse
button. The window will go away.
Now for those of you who may be inclined to upgrade your monitor to the
monster 17". At the present time there are some good buys on monitors.
The monitor manufacturers are scrambling to get the "plug and play"
monitors on the market. The resellers want to unload the non plug and
play versions and there are some good buys available right now. I needed
a 17" monitor right before CQCW. I had decided on a Mag Innovision
DX17F (yeah, Mag is the supplier of Gateway2000 monitors). I did my
shopping in Computer Shopper and settled on Arlington Computer
Products as my vendor of choice. I expected to pay $669. I got the
salesman on the line and told him what I wanted. He said that one is on
special for $639. The shipping from IL was $30 but I was happy with my
Now the road is getting shorter! Where do I put my monitor? I put the 43
pound 17" monitor right on top of the FT-1000D. I do not use the swivel
base for the following reason. It makes the monitor too high. You have
to look up at it. The ideal situation is that you are looking down at the
monitor just as you are looking down at the radio dials and readout.
I put a board under the monitor at the rear of the monitor to get the angle
right. You do not want to be moving your head up and down. This will
tire you very quickly.
Ok! Ok! I have my monitor sitting on top of the radio. What do I do now?
Well now we start trouble shooting the monitor installation. What does
this guy mean? 1. Monitors are the number one source of radio noise
(hash) from a computer. 2. Monitors are extremely sensitive to magnetic
fields from transformers and blower motors. Let us move on to the next
paragraph and I will discuss the new MAG DX17F.
OK! The signal cable that goes between the computer and the monitor
has a ferrite molded into the cable at BOTH ends of the cable. This
should be an indicator to you that the manufacturer has made a significant
effort to meet the FCC radiation specifications. Now in my haste to get
this monitor into service I allowed the ac line cable to go right over the
top of the Yaesu computer interface. I was listening on a dead band
and was testing the new CT ver for cw keying. Well the cw keying was
just fine but I noticed that the noise floor on the radio had gone up. I
the computer off but left the monitor on. The noise went away. Turning
the computer back on brought back the noise. I then looked at the ac line
cable for the monitor and noticed that in very fine print it said "shielded".
I think that this is the first time that I have encountered a shielded line
cord. I redressed the line cord layout away from the computer interface
and the noise went away.
OK! A quick look at magnetic field interference on a monitor. What does
it look like? Well it is usually a very subtle dancing of characters on the
screen. It is not violent, just subtle and guaranteed to make your eyes
cross. It is sorta like the characters are swimming.
What causes this to happen? Well rotor control boxes that are too close
to the monitor will do it. In my case I use Ten-Tec Titan amps and the
blower for the tube cooling is mounted on the right hand side of the Titan
chassis. If I place the Titan on the left side of the FT-1000 and again
it is on the left side of the monitor, the characters on the monitor "swim".
If I move the Titan to the right side of the FT-1000 and monitor the problem
goes away. This is the kind of stuff that you will have to trouble shoot long
before the beginning of the contest.
OK folks! I think that I have put you on the correct course to getting
your computer working with your radio. The next installment will
deal with the video card. Yes and after that one we are going to get
into the problem of serial ports! This is the key to success with the
contest computer and your contest radio.
For Now Vy 73 de Dave W3MM email@example.com
>From firstname.lastname@example.org (Greetings from WB2JSJ RADIO!) Wed Dec 6
From: email@example.com (Greetings from WB2JSJ RADIO!) (Greetings from
Subject: 160-M Contest Results WB1GQR
From: wb2jsj@ka2tcq (Greetings from WB2JSJ RADIO!)
WB1GQR 160 Meter Contest
band qsos points mults
160CW 1046 2263 92 claimed score: 208,196
I figure on losing a few Q's after I scrub the logs and take out the
busted calls and possibly gaining a multiplier or two after I update
my ancient countries list (my version still from before Europe gained
62 DX contacts.
Stateside, missed ID, SJV, SK, VI, AK, PAC, NWT
Working AK and HI are once-in-a-decade events from here.
TX/RX: TS830s + Amp - 1200 watts with good tail wind.
Antenna: Dipole at 50 feet.
No receive antenna. No beverages except for an occasional Coke.
Operator: Still can't copy cw, but getting better.
(Most of you probably know this already!)
Frankly, I'm surprised I can keep up with a lot of the guys with
exotic antennas and high inverted vees.
160 Meters was in very good form again this year. It's going to be a
shame when the sunspots come back and conditions drop on 160.
Last year was tremendous to the West Coast. This year Europe was
tremendous, and the West Coast was a little above average.
The band gets new activity each year, resulting in more people to
work. Unfortunately, the QRM level sets new records each year as
well. I wonder if those "magic" QRM filter boxes make that much
difference in the heat of battle?
I had a real scare Friday night, Just before the contest as I was
called out on an emergency job. Saturday, I managed to get the job
done, work in some sleep and get back on Saturday evening. Only lost
2 hours in the late afternoon.
Something should be done to bolster the "doldrums" Sunday at
0700-1200. There is plenty of good propagation, but a lot of
operators hang it up, not willing to waste their time on rates
approching 10 Qs/hr. There is a good deal of insanity to operating
during these times. I also pick up some nice multipliers also!
Of the contests I operate, the 160 doesn't appear to have the 3830 KHz
score dumping net afterwards, probably due to the fact that
propagation is dead in the morning. The Reflector has been real
valuable in bringing in the scores and gossip about the contest.
73, Mitch WB1GQR/WB2JSJ
>From Jeff Steinman <Jeff.Steinman.firstname.lastname@example.org> Mon Dec 4 01:22:24 1995
From: Jeff Steinman <Jeff.Steinman.email@example.com> (Jeff Steinman)
Subject: KR0Y ARRL 160 "score"
Subject: Time: 9:21 AM
Cndx stunk compared to CQ WW. Spent my "radio time" dropping a
240V line into the shack on Saturday. Not limited to 600W out anymore.
Operated about 3 hours. Surprisingly easy to find a hole to CQ on.
Had a 131 hour from 0200-0300 Saturday night. Guess that extra power
makes a difference, hi.
320 QSOs x 79 Mults (70 sec + 9 country) = 52930
FT1000, Alpha 78, shunt fed tower for TX and two
short (350') beverages for receive.