A radio on every port

I left Faros running overnight. I needn’t have bothered: Nothing whatever was heard on the bands 14 – 28MHz from 1730 yesterday until 0730 this morning. Even now, the Finland beacon OH2B is the only one making much of a showing on the lower 3 bands, though there is a flicker of a signal from VK6RBP on 15m. I haven’t interrupted beacon monitoring to take a listen on 10m yet but prospects for the ARRL 10m contest don’t look very good.

I am going to have to interrupt beacon monitoring some time soon. I need to yank the shack computer out to install a spare 2-port RS232 board to give me two more real serial ports. I should have left it in instead of replacing it with the 4-port board whose four serial ports are now all used up (K2, K3, TM-D710 TNC for 2m APRS and TM-D710 Echolink control, since you ask.) I want to use my FT-817 for beacon monitoring as it is a bit of overkill to use my K3 for this, and the FT-817 CAT cable I have has a DB-9 for a real serial port. I could always use a USB to serial adapter of which I have three, or even make up a USB cable using a wire-ended USB-to-serial plug. But USB ports are in equally short supply, as you might imagine. Whilst the cover is off the computer I will take the opportunity to hoover out the inside which has an amazing ability to attract dust!

Being able to use the 817 for beacon monitoring won’t solve the conflict between monitoring and operating as I still have only one suitable antenna for both tasks. But it will allow me to give the K3 a rest!

Julian Moss, G4ILO, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Cumbria, England. Contact him at [email protected].

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