[CQ-Contest] Concerning my stupidity!

Tom Horton k5iid at ntelos.net
Mon Dec 16 21:46:58 EST 2002


  After my fiasco of this past weekend, I have had several people ask me 
just what the
problem was that caused my FT-1000MP not to work.
  Although I cannot say definatively what the problem was, I will provide
the following information. There is a term that absolutely describes this
whole thing, but I better not use it here.
  Let me begin by stating that this is one of the most embarrasing
admissions I have ever made. (There are a lot that I haven't admitted)
  I will preface this by saying that my career was always electronics
troubleshooting. I always considered myself as one of the best 
troubleshooters in
my company.
  This is something for everyone to remember. I know it, I remembered it, I 
didn't apply the knowledge.


  This past week  had been anxiously awaiting the ARRL 10 Meter Conest. It 
is one of my
favorite contests and I prepared as much as I possibly could to prepare for 
it. I got the logging
program set up, checked that the time was properly set (something I 
normally forget till after
the contest starts), got the coffee pot set up, etc.
  Here begin the errors of my ways:


  For some reason (stupidity again) I forgot that daylight savings time 
ended well over a month ago.
At 7:15 PM local time I went up to the shack to get ready and do a couple 
of housekeeping
chores there before the contest started. I tuned the radio to 28 Mhz CW and 
was listening
while I did the chores. All of a sudden I recognized that  people were 
calling CQ TEST!
I looked at the computer clock and saw that it said 0024Z. Oh man!!!!! I 
had totally screwed up!
I jumped into the chair and started working the contest late.
  Conditions were not good from here, and the words "plodding along" comes 
to mind.
Anyway, after a bit, I took a break aned went down stairs. Upon returning 
to the shack
I thought since things were slow, I would check e-mail while searching around.


   Since I was going to check e-mail, I needed to boot into WIN98.  Since 
conditions were
about gone for me for the evening, I figured I could run my DOS logging 
from a DOS window
rather than booting straight into DOS. I've done this lots of times and 
have noticed small
problems occasionally, but nothing really serious.
  With the program running in the DOS windows, I was making a few contacts 
and then all
of a sudden, the transmitter locked on...and I mean locked on! The only way 
I could get out of
transmit was to turn the power off. When I turned the power back on, I 
could not get the MP to key
at all...SSB, CW, VOX MOX...NADA! Did the master reset thing , et al. Shut 
the logging
program down, etc. Tried massive amounts of things. Nothing worked!
  To make this shorter, suffice it to say that I gave up after a while and 
went to bed very dissapointed!


  Since I could not operate the contest (I only have the one radio) I just 
did honey-dos around the house.
I talked to Bill, N8KM on the phone that afternoon and explained my plight 
to him.
He reminded me of a time when he had a similar problem and how he had just 
torn everything
apart and put it back together and it all worked that then.
  I denied that this was my problem, but as I watched the news on TV,  I 
began to wonder. I went
back to the shack and started tearing the rest of the station apart.
  I put everything that was necessary to operate the contest back together 
and hit the key.
It keyed the rig! Plugged in the mike and it worked. VOX, MOX CW, SSB all 


  This mistake was assuming that the problem was a major one rather than a 
minor one.
Amazingly this is something that I had encountered repeatedly in my working 
days. I used to
have a young technician working for me that couldn't repair an electronic 
circuit on a bet.
But he could find bad solder joints, broken wires, etc., better than anyone 
I ever saw.
You must always assume that the problem is fixable until proven otherwise.


  I have no exact explanation for what happened, unless, using the program
under a DOS window told the computer/radio something it didn't want to 
I just didn't take the troubleshooting the next step farther. In essence, I 
just gave up!


  The radio is back to working and I did operate all day Sunday. So, the 
next time
you have a wierd problem, just remember that most of the times, 
strange/weird problems
are just that and they are normally fixable with a bit of stick-to-it-ive-ness!
And no, I am not going to open up a repair shop specializing in 
weird/strange pproblems.

I have not mentioed all the stupid things that occurred during this mess. I 
do have a bit of pride left,
so I shan't embarrass myself further.

Again, just remember. DON"T QUIT TRYING!

Hope some of you learned something. I sure did!!

  Tom K5IID

BTW... Thanks Bill!

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