Software error messages…..gotta love them!!!

A drive though town
Good evening from Atlantic Canada, just yesterday we had our first Maritime snow fall in around 10cm or so. That's more or less a dusting when it comes to snow storms I am told down this way. The temperature was in around 0C during the storm but it cooled off after the snow fall down to -5C. Hmmmm so way the weather report......I had a chance to see how the Endfed antenna held up in the snow. When I got up in the morning I noticed the snow accumulation on the wire and caused a major sag. It's funny how a small wire can get such a large (compared to the wire size) amount of snow it it. Just a fast "flick" of the Endfed wire fixed the snow issue and the antenna was back to its normal height.
While on FT8 Saturday morning on 30m which is my normal watering hole these days with a cup of Java as I greet the morning I noticed a message appear on my PC screen. It was a message from my Win4icom software suite. Usually these messages are not a good sign and rarely contain info you really want to see while having fun on the radio. This message was not good news...and  my FT8 stopped working, my rig was stuck in transmit and CAT communication was lost.
Just love seeing these messages
To be fair I did have this message in the not to distant past. The messages informs you regarding a possible RFI issue, it turned out it was infact an RFI issue. After doing some reading on the internet I found others had issues with the USB cable from the Icom 7610 to the PC. The solution was fer-rite chokes on the USB cable which I did and the issue was gone. For some reason it was back and I wasn't   sure way? I did a very fast check of the chokes as they are snap on ones and sometime they unsnap but all seemed to be good that way. I had things to do and had to investigate the cause later in the day or evening. My antenna is an Endfed from KX3helper.com and as I have read many times on the internet and user groups that these antennas are prone to RFI issues. Up to this point I have placed a high quality 1:1 balun from balun designs on the coax feed close to the radio.  I have also grounded all my equipment to single point then to an 8 foot ground round. I have tried adding a separate counter poise to the Endfed antenna and that did nothing to improve things. It would seem that I now have some type of an RFI issue or according to the message a software issue but I am inclined to think it is RFI popping up it's ugly head again.
Make shift connection 
My first question to myself is "what has changed with the radio, antenna and computer software"..... nothing has changed. The only thing that has changed was the weather it has gotten very very cold outside. Would the cold affect my ground system....? I have no idea if the cold weather can affect this or not? I went to the internet to seek out ideas from others who have an Endfed antenna. One thing that kept coming up was to ground the shield of the coax feeding the radio from the antenna. It was worth a try so I made a make shift ground on the outside of the PL-259 to ground. I started the PC and radio, I tried transmitting in segments as I increased the power output and low and behold the issue was gone and has been ever since. I did remove the ground and the issue returned right away so this seemed to be the solution that worked. I am now back on the air!
Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

6 Responses to “Software error messages…..gotta love them!!!”

  • Harry Latterman:

    Very good Mike. I have had on and off issues, but mostly on 80 meters driving my KPA500 to 300 or so watts. We have two touch LED reading lights in the house that seem to like to turn on, off and change in brightness. When I was in Texas as my brother in laws house and just using the IC-7300 into a 9:1 unun and 50 ft of wire I had 3 touch light go nuts with power over 50 watts.

    Now to see what damage I can do with my IC-9700 and 100 watts… Also did one of my “OMG did I really do this trade”, trades and got a Kenwood TS-990S in a straight trade for my FTdx5000MPL that was a straight trade for a K3/100 that came about 10 yrs ago for a my TenTec Eagle for his factory K3/100. The TenTec Eagle was a trade… well we will leave it at that. So basically I have a $8,000 radio that cost me $104 (my shipping cost) and maybe a total real out of pocket investment of a bit over #1,200 spread over 12 yrs… One hell of a way to build a retirement station on a budget…LOL or is it Hi Hi or Giggle..

    Always enjoy your postings. Keep it up. This time the grounding of the coax was a brilliant idea I must try… Thank you for sharing

    73 to you and yours

    Harry K7ZOV

  • David, KJ4CMY:

    Hey, Mike,
    Glad you solved the problem!
    Welcome to the Maritimes. When I was in PEI, I noticed that the rural roads we were travelling on were about 6 feet higher than the fields. You might get a ton of snow this year. 🙂

  • Greg K7GAN:

    I am going to try your fix as well. Been trying to figure out why i can turn my furnace on when doing 30m using my end fed. Been to PEI several times, but never in winter.

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good evening Harry, I have to say you really need to write a book or publish something on the how too’s with trading! It truly is a talent or another thought would be to offer up your services to trade others equipment for a fee? From reading all your posts to me and how you trade ham gear it’s a real talent you have.
    With regards to the touch lights they are capacitive touch lights and are very very prone to RFI. The hobby room we have here at the new place is made up of my radio area and Julie’s quilting area. She has a touch light and I can when using 40m turn this light on at certain power. Now get this….. she has a new iron and when it his put facedown there are 4 small feet that automatically popup and hold the iron above the surface. When on 40m at a certain power (about 40 watts) the iron on it’s own (it is plugged in but not turned on) the feet will pop the iron up!! So I have limited my output on 40m to less than 40 watts. I do have a touch key and I had to put snap on ferrite on the line between the key and radio.
    It’s always nice hearing from you Harry have a great week.
    73
    Mike
    VE9KK

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good evening David thanks for stopping by, I too am very happy that the RFI issue has been resolved. One thing I will say is when these issues arise it gives me a chance to get on the internet and learn lots of stuff. My wife and I when we first arrived here took a trip to PEI as she has never been there before. Now it was not in the winter but it was the fall and was very nice place to see. As for the snow we have already had one snow fall last week of 15cm and this evening into tomorrow we are expecting another 15cm. I am retired so I really don’t care I just won’t venture out until the roads are cleared. We also have a backup generator so we will have power if there are any issues that way.
    Thanks for taking the time to comment David and have a great week.
    73,
    Mike
    VE9KK

  • Mike VE9KK:

    Good evening Greg, yes it seems the Endfed antenna are sure prone to ham getting on the internet and learning about RFI. As for the furnace you may also want to investigate with snap on ferrite chokes on key areas on your furnace. I would look it up on the internet and see what other hams have run into regarding their furnaces and see that have done. But by all means give the shield grounding a try and see what happens. With me when of 40m at power levels above 40 watts I lockup our electronic washing machine. I am not going to play games trying to ferrite choke the washer I just keep the 40m power level to below 40 watts.
    Have a great week Greg and thanks for stopping by.
    73,
    Mike
    VE9KK

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