Saturday, April 26, 2008

Not so bad news

Icom called me on Friday to tell me that they'd finished the work on my radio. It was, indeed, shorted final transistors. They've been replaced, and, as I requested, Icom also did a little work to correct a bit of error in the frequency on 6 meters. (It consistently read 200Hz low, so when the display said 50.124.80 Hz it was actually on 50.125.00 Hz). I asked the technician who called how much it was going to cost, and the total, with shipping back to me, will be around $250 or so. I had authorized them to charge significantly more to my credit card if necessary, so I'm happy that it wasn't more. They ship the radio back via ground shipment, and apparently after they finish the actual work on the radio it takes another business day or two to go through their systems to be shipped, so I was told that I should expect delivery to me early the week of May 5. While my 706 has been working just fine, I do miss my "big" radio. I'm looking forward to getting it back.

Earlier this week, I took my son Brett up to look at some colleges in Ithaca and Syracuse New York. I still haven't gotten around to permanently mounting either my VHF/UHF rig or the 706 in the car, but I figured it'd be nice to have a radio along for the drive. Fortunately, the battery in my car is located in the trunk, and it's really easy to get wiring from the trunk into the car, so I just hooked the power
cables directly to the battery, mounted my Diamond K400-3/8C trunk mount on the trunk, used the separation kit for the 706 to put the radio in the back of the car and mounted the head on the dash using the windshield mount that I'd bought a couple of years ago but never used. I'd intended to listen in on the 40m County Hunters Net but although I'd gotten the Hamstick tuned before I left, I had a lot of trouble getting a decent SWR once I started driving. When I initially tuned the "stinger" (the upper, adjustable part of the antenna), the car was parked close to the house, and I think that might have thrown the tuning off. I did pull off into a rest stop shortly after leaving and try to re-tune the antenna, but after spending about 10 minutes, I decided to just give up and get going. I suspect that part of the problem was that the mount may not have been making a good enough ground connection, which I believe becomes more necessary as you go lower in frequency.

For the trip back down (we spent the first night in Ithaca, did the tour there, then headed up to Syracuse, toured there the next day and returned from there), I used a 20m hamstick which tuned up very well. Although I didn't work anything terribly unusual, I did work about 10 stations during the
ride, include a few stations from Italy, a few from Germany, one from Slovenia, and a few others. I got surprisingly good signal reports, and it helped to pass the time. Brett was working on schoolwork part of the time that I was on the radio, but helped log the stations (yes, on paper) which I entered into my main logger when I returned home. This was really the first long (relatively speaking) trip I'd made in a while, and I really did enjoy having the radio to keep my company while Brett was otherwise occupied.

Finally, I got a nice surprise this week from the nice folks at the Northern California Contest Club, who run the California QSO Party. I got a certificate for placing 3rd in New Jersey for the 2007 CQP. I was very pleased to have placed decently, and it was nice of the folks from the NCCC to send out a certificate. I think that the CQP is an excellent example of a well-run QSO Party contest, and doing little things like sending out certificates will definitely act as an incentive to keep me coming back.

1 comment:

  1. You brought back a few fond memories with you tales of mobile operation.
    As for the "big radio" - glad it's back on your desk.

    It works too!

    73 de XW1B