A new video card was added to the system. The onboard (built-in) video has been used since day one. It was and can do everything needed as far as a station computer. But I share the computer with my 8 year old granddaughter when she visits and she (and I) play Minecraft with it.
At first, about a year ago, it was doing fine. But something changed either in Minecraft or Ubuntu. Video was getting anoyingly "laggy" in the game. I figured it was time to go to a newer video source. An inexpensive (~$50) but decent video card was obtained and installed, Game play is now as expected. That's the new video card, dead center.
The dust within the machine was getting a bit much. So with the case open, I pulled all the cables and hauled the box out into the shop. there is a large shop air compressor there. That does the best job of clearing out all the dust bunnies that had taken up residence.
So now "Sandbox" is cleaner, faster and just "better".
Started looking at my Omni VII and determined the ham rig may be next for the D&C treatment. But it doesn't have fans pulling air (and dust) through the case.
The first step was to get a few cobwebs out of it's operational readyness. Having neglected real on-the-air operation for sometime, that needed to be fixed. Shame on me...
All the audio connections out of "Sandbox" that fed in and out of the Omni VII, were "pulled" so of course that had to be check out again. Fldigi is used for my digital modes. By just using the audio from the computer and switching to transmit with VOX works very well. No complex external keying necessary.
Making sure the latest version of Fldigi was installed, the Omni VII was fired up with PSK31 on 20 meters. 14.070.000. This was about mid day but there was one good signal from Wisconsin, AA0AW. The rig was left on on all day and I worked more stations as the conditions improved. It sure felt good to know everthing was in working order.
I even got the chance to do a little dusting and cleaning in the log book.
My highest interest at this point in over 45 years of amateur radio is in microwaves. I already know I can talk anywhere in the world on the HF bands. But talking is not my primary interest with amateur radio. I am more the techie guy who likes to create the equipment and make the hardware work.
The “microwaves” as I will simply call it, is still the builder’s delight. Almost no operational station comes as a single unit, RTR (ready to run) in a box that you plug into the wall socket. Some components may be off-the-shelf, like the primary IF transceiver. Many components are kits and scratch built. Microwaves are not an appliance operator’s vision of heaven.
I am becoming associated with the North Texas Microwave Society (NTMS) as I realize there is an extreme disadvantage to being a loner in trying to construct a microwave station. When it comes time to operate, much of the time the contacts are pre-arranged. It’s not like deep ocean fishing on the HF bands, where you throw out your baited line to see what bites. I think of it as a paintball game where the object is to let everyone know where you are so they can shoot at you. The goal in microwaves is to get hit as often as possible. Oh yeah, you get to shoot back as you both want to get paint on your shirt.
My activities for now will concentrate on design and construction of the hardware. I have no deadline (yet) such as an impending contest where I need to be operational. However that may influence the final push later on. As I write this in September, it is currently the second weekend of the 10GHz and above contest.
I believe I will need at least six months and maybe a year to get a fully operational station built. I intend to enjoy the construction as a major part of the effort, spreading cost and effort. This first build creating a 10 GHZ station is providing the basic components for expanding operations into many other VHF, UHF and microwave bands. There can be a long road ahead.
I was first licensed as a novice (WN8EHS) in 1969 in Boardman, Ohio. Special thanks to John Petrek, W8BNO (SK) who gave me my Novice test.
My receiver was a Hammarlund HQ-170-C (17 tubes, triple conversion) and my transmitter was a crystal controlled 75 watt Johnson Viking Challenger also using tubes. I’ll explain tubes someday…
Novice tickets in those days were only good for two years, non-renewable. You HAD to up-grade! So I did, to Advanced, and my call changed to WB8EHS in 1971. Also at that time you could not go directly to Extra from Novice. (Don't ask why.) You had to be a general or advanced for at least a year. A pencil geek decision at FCC for a few years.
Thanks to the FCC Vanity call sign program, I changed my call to W8EHS on October 1, 1997. Then again on January 28, 2000 I changed to my present call W5EHS as I am a permanent resident of Texas, USA
A New Blog
Definately a work in progress (WIP) this will be the location for all my activities in Amateur Radio and electronics experimemtaion. This is the first entry so there will be a lot more publishing coming.
I create and manage many websites and blogs. I have always combined my amateur radio activities into my other web publications. Here I have started a new web location where I will concentrate solely on my many activities in Amateur Radio, electronic construction projects and embeded computer applications.