Sunday, June 9, 2019

Time to update!

Today was my time to sit down at the PC and check out what amateur radio programs needed updating........now this has always lead me into a computer/software adventure. I use the word "adventure" loosely as it's more like a grey hair adventure. The programs I planned to tackle were:
                    - N1MM+ my contesting program
                    - WSJT-X my digi program
                    - JTDX my digi program I am testing out to see if I like it over WSJT-X
                    - Amateur contact log my logging program and sometime contest program
                    - WSJT-X JTAlert 
                    - Win4icom my Icom 7610 radio control program
                    -  Win4K3 my Elecraft KX3 radio control program

After I had finished with all that excitement it was then time to do a Windows update (running windows 7 64 bit pro), virus software which is Bitedefender and  malware software which is Malwarebytes.

The first program I tackled was N1MM+ contest program and this was one program I have updated many times in the past without issue. I thought this would be a nice place to start off the whole process. I had everything updated and install. When I started the program I was greeted with the message below on my PC.
It read "The remote server returned an error (404) Not found" so it would seem for some reason the great option this programs offers that it looks for new updates to the program and it informs you has an issue. I am  not sure if this is my issue or one with N1MM+ site. I will be later today posting on the N1MM+ user site for further info.
I then moved onto Win4icom radio control program for it's latest and greatest! All downloaded just fine and then when I started the program all was well and it connected with my rig no problem. I then tried to connect my logging program and Win4icom was not able to connect to it. I then went to the settings page of Win4icom and was greeted with the message below:
All of my Aux/CAT ports were now blank but fortunately this has happened to me in the past and  I now keep track of the port assignments. This was not a big deal but it still takes time to redo the whole deal.
My next task was to upgrade WSJT-X to the latest and greatest 2.1.0 rc7 and once done and I started it for the first time I was greeted with the message below:
In a nut shell it was telling me (which I knew) that this program was a per-release version but also (which I did not know) this program was not going to run this weekend. Since I wanted to see  how all my programs were getting along this was not going to do. So I just uninstalled this program BUT it seemed to uninstall ALL my previous WSJT-X programs so it was time to start from scratch and install the version I was using. Fortunately the DLL file was in-tacked and all my settings were loading and I was up and running in no time.
To keep track of my ports, order of program start up and some common problem fixes I have post it notes on the PC desktop.
 Win4k3 was very smooth but it has never been setup to communicate with any other programs at this point it just a stand alone program that controls my Elecraft KX3. WSJT-X JTAlert was the smoothest off all the programs to update.  The windows updates, malware update and scan and the bitedefender scan went off without a hitch. I was going to type that I was "all set to go" BUT software can be a funny thing and so I am just going to just leave to a warm fuzzy feeling inside and that's it.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Blogging......has it seen it's time?

This past weekend up here in Canada has been a long weekend with the Monday as  a holiday. I spent some time just Googling " ham radio blogs" "Amateur radio blogs". I had many hits and  upon visiting the pages that were listed I found most were no longer being updated. I came across blogs were the last post was a few years old. I came across more blogs that have been abandoned than ones that are up to date. I will admit my blog is not updated as often as it should do to the fact there are many things going on and unfortunately the blog sometimes takes second or third seat. With the Google search that I did and the results that came back it begs the question "is blogging becoming something of the past?"  I very much enjoy reading the blogs I have listed on my blog as favourites. I also go to other blogs and check out who they follow and read those as well. I am very much enjoying my blog reading but I was shocked to see how many blogs out there are no longer current. So my question of the day is......"is blogging on it's way out?"

Friday, May 17, 2019

Well the news is out!

Elecraft has added some “eye candy” to Dayton the Elecraft K4! My email inbox has gone from an average daily count of about 25 emails to a new high of 80 to 100! The Elecraft reflector being the  new leader for my inbox. I’m not going to get into the specifics as that has been all over the internet and blogs.  It’s nice to see Elecraft enter this new phase in their product line.....am I going to rush out and purchase a K4.......nope. I am happy with my Elecraft KX3 and the Icom7610. For those of you out there who were considering an Elecraft rig now may be the time as I assume there are going to be those who are selling their K3 or K3S to get cash for a nice new shiny Elecraft K4.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

A new "touch" paddle for the shack.

About a month ago I received a new morse code key, the 9A5N solid state CW paddle. I chose the all black twin lever model and from the get go Neno 9A5N was in contact with me. The paddle arrived from Croatia within 3 weeks of me ordering it. Most of the 3 weeks was the key being slowly moved through Canadian customs or it would had been here sooner. It was very well packaged and Neno advises that you keep the shipping box if ever you need to store the key for a move. The uniqueness of the solid state paddle are:
 
- No moving parts to ware or make a clicking noise.
- You just turn it off when not in use so no accidental dit's or dahs sent when inadvertently touching    the paddle.
- There is not maintenance (other than changing the batteries) no periodic mechanical adjustments.
- If you have owned a iambic key there really is no learning curve just turn in on and away you go.

The only adjustment that you may want to do is adjust the touch sensitivity with the key factory set at 10 grams and adjustable to 50 grams in 5 gram steps. Seeing this is a touch paddle depending on your "touch" you may want to increase or decrease the sensitivity. I seemed to be happy with were it was factory set to at 10 grams.
The nice thing about this paddle is it's not bang your head on the wall menu driven. What I mean by this is I have owned ham radio electronic devices that can drive you crazy with long and short holds of buttons and or combination button holds. Then there was the count the short and long beeps and so on. With the 9A5N paddle to adjust the sensitivity you simply turn the paddle on, then hold the on/off button in the on position until you are greeted with 3 LED blinks now release the button and your ready to adjust.Then simply touch the left paddle to increase and right to decrease. If you hit the top end (50 grams) or bottom end (10 grams) the LED will blink 3 times to let you know. To save and try a new stetting either wait 15 seconds or push the power button once.
The only other menu change you can do is place the keyer in contest mode and what this means is the keyer will not time out and turn off on you. Normally If you forget to turn the paddle off it will do so after 40 minutes of non operation.
To enter contest mode make sure the key is off then push and hold the on button until the LED flashes then release the button. So in a nut shell to adjust the key paddle touch sensitivity start with the key turned on and hold the power button. To put the key in contest mode (meaning it will not turn off on it's own) start with the key off and hold the power button. 
The key is very well made and the base is 1.8 kilo's so it's not going anywhere on your desk as you use it.
The last item I wanted to mention was yes it does take batteries (2 AAA) according to Neno's instructions the battery life should be up to 800 operating hours. The blue LED which is on during operation will indicate low battery life when it gets dim. So you do have an indication when its time to change out the batteries. Finally the paddle is warrantied for 24 months from date of purchase.