Friday, November 27, 2020

Finally the computer issue is solved.


A short time ago I posted about a computer issue which had my monitor screen now and then after the system started looking like the picture above. It only happened now and then on startups and I was not really concerned about it. I knew that over time it would get worse and it did......The consensus regarding the issue seemed to centre around the graphics card. I removed my PC from under the desk (easier said than done) opened it up and checked to see if the graphics card fan was working and it was, checked to see if it was seated firmly and it was. I then changed out the DVI-I cable from the PC to the monitor. For a time things seemed to be going just fine until a few days ago. 

I started my PC and when to do somethings while it started and when I returned to the room the monitor was black no desktop was being displayed. I moved the mouse around thinking the monitor went to sleep but that did not fix the issue. I powered the monitor off and on via its power button and nothing. I then restarted the PC and all was ok.  Now I am thinking the graphics card is on its way downhill finally. I restarted the PC several times and once in a while I was greeted with the black screen but not always. I then found I did not have to restart the PC to fix the black screen issue but rather just turn the monitor off and on several times.......interesting.  One time after the PC had restarted and the desktop was being displayed without issue I then started to turn the monitor off and on to see if I could get the black screen issue to pop up. While I was doing this the screen looked like the above picture with just simply turning the monitor off and on again......interesting. I am not suspecting the monitor to be the issue which is cheaper than a sound card. I had the monitor connected via a DVI-I cable so I then removed that and tried an HDMI cable. A very short time later had the same issues again, so it was not a cable issue. I have a second monitor that I use with the Icom 7610 as a radio display. I decided to connect it to the PC and enable my dual monitor option on my video card. This way I can use both monitors at the same time and see if both monitors display the same issue of just the troubled monitor. 

It only took a few restarts before the suspect monitor was black but the smaller monitor was working just fine which confirmed to me it was the monitor all along.  A new monitor was ordered and should be here in a few days. At this point time time the suspect monitor only acts up only on startup or if I cycle it off and on. Once it is working I have no issues with it, I am thinking that over time this is going to change as the monitor gets worse the reason for ordering a new one. This weekend is the CQ WW DX CW Contest and I am hoping my monitor will last me until the end contest. I want to reconnect my other monitor to the Icom 7610 as it is very handy to have during a contest. 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Contesting at QRPp levels!

Yesterday I dabbled in the OK/OM DX CW contest for about an hour and a half. This time for some fun and interest I entered QRP level but lowered my power to just one watt. Propagation has been surprisingly nice over the past week or so and I wanted to give the new solar flux a test run. My radio is the Icom 7610 and my antenna is a slopped Endfed antenna at about 25 feet. I stayed on 20m as the radio gods seemed to be smiling on me there. I made only 10 contacts as I was not in the contest for scoring just to see how the fishing was with one watt. I was only asked for repeats regarding my exchange twice other than that the 1 watt made it through. 

Because I was operating at only 1 watt I also wanted to take the loss of my SWR into account. I checked with my antenna analyzer and the CW portion on 20m my SWR was 2.3:1. According to the power loss at various SWR readings chart at 2.3:1, I was in around 15% so this took my 1 watt down to 850 milliwatts. 

Below are the results of my QRPp contest efforts: 

Band     20m 

QSO     10

Score    300

Contacts and Miles per watt using grid square to grid square for millage  

1. OM7M        3720 miles  4376 miles per watt at .850 watts. 

2. OM3CGN    3795 miles 4464 miles per watt at .850 watts.

3. OL3Z           3515 miles  4135 miles per watt at .850 watts. 

4.OK7K          3503 miles 4121 miles per watt at .850 watts.          

5. OK1DOL    3478 miles 4091 miles per watt at .850 watts. 

6. OK5Z         3601 miles 4236 miles per watt at .850 watts. 

7. OM7JG       3773 miles 4439 miles per watt at .850 watts. 

8. OM5ZW     3755 miles  4418 miles per watt at .850 watts 

9. OK1RI        3462 miles 4072 miles per watt at .850 watts. 

10. OM2VL    3714 miles 4369 miles per watt at .850 watts. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

RFI issue solved!

Back in May I posted regarding an RFI issue I was having and at the time I thought is was the neighbors heat pump. A few weeks ago my neighbor was away on business and his heat pump was off but my RFI was still present and more of it! I took my Eaton FRX5-BT put it on AM with the antenna up and took it for a walk about. When I passed by my Hydro smart meter the RFI was present big time but last time there was no issue at the meter. Upon investigation I read that the meter has cycles were it transmits data and thus the off and on issue with the RFI. The other issue is we are in very close proximity to other homes and I am certain my Endfed antenna is picking up not just my smart meter. The good new in all this is my Icom 7610 has great filtering and my NB is able to filter it out and the issues are gone. It's a problem that I can live with along side the rigs filtering.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Well here we go again!

On January 15th, 2020 I posted my short ride with Windows 10 installation on my PC.  I was having issues with the upgrade and I decided to downgrade back to Windows 7 pro. It's now 10 months later and I am getting the Windows 10 itch again. I was having sound card issues for my WSJT-X and JTDX programs when using Windows 10.....but I am hoping now those issues have been dealt with. I have also read and seen some YouTube videos on how to stop Windows 10 from doing updates. It seems at times Windows updates cause issues with some ham radio software. This time around if I go ahead with Windows 10 I will do a fresh install and not overtop of Windows 7. 

I am looking forward to the input of those of you who are using or have upgraded to Windows 10 and what has been your experience and what advice do you have?