Posts Tagged ‘Off topic’

The captcha has finally arrived!

Out with the old
In the past I have posted my frustration with the captcha and how it was so mind bending and hard to read. Well someone in captcha world has just figured out that numbers can be captcha's as well and not the CRAZY letters we had to wrap our heads around. I would say for the last month I have been thrilled to post on blogs to find captcha's that are all numbers!! The captcha gods have heard and listened.
In with the new and may it stay!

Getting old and ham radio……….

Keeping it simple
I'm only 54 years old but over the past few years it's either my age or the growing of the hobby both technically and gadget wise that has given me some senior moments!! I really can't blame just the hobby as I have had times when heading to the car to only stop and wondering where is was I was heading too and for what! I'm comforted from online reading that says this is from having lots on the go and nothing to do with loosing your memory.  How does this relate to ham radio you say...........The rigs I have are the Elecraft K3 and KX3 both are menu driven as are many other rigs on the market are. I find myself going to the user manual or as I call it sometimes the "useless manual" to relearn a function that was just used the week before. I have had my ego get the best of me at times and refused to hit the books as I "knew" how to do this silly function command!! After going through several unknown menu's and not knowing how I got there, what I have done to the rig and better yet how to get the hell out! Oh and don't get me started on passwords that a whole other blog post!
3x5 life savers
For those of you who have the same memory melt downs at times as I do here are some helps that I use. In high school and University the good old 3x5 cards helped me learn (notice I said learn and not memorize very big difference) and pass many a test. The 3x5 helped me in the past and is doing so today, I write down step by step instructions for anything ham related items so I can refer to the card and not the Advil bottle. I cover over the card with clear tape so it will last for some time and the only thing I have to do is keep the cards in a place I can remember.....but maybe there is a card for that...:)). Just today I wanted to charge an external battery for my KX3 as I was going to do some hamming this weekend. I pulled out the battery and for the life of me I could not remember the setup to charge this darn battery. Thanks to a fellow blogger Larry W2LJ who has the same battery set me on the right path with an email. Now the instructions (simple as they may be) are taped on the side of the battery. 

The Rigol DS 1052E oscilloscope 50 mhz to 100 mhz

Rigol DS 1052E now DS 1102E scope
For some time now I have been in the market for an oscilloscope. Like most hams I don't want to break the bank but at the same time want good value for every buck that is spent. My travels lead me to the Rigol DS 1052E 50mhz  dual channel scope. The scope comes in at the low end  price but has had some very glowing reviews. Also one major plus was the ability to "hack" this scope up to a 100 mhz unit! This a a software hack so no need to get into the SMD nightmare. This may not be what is called a 100% ham blog posting but I do know that lots of hams and non hams are looking for a great scope as well info on how to hack this one to a 100 mhz unit. I am going to run down the process (and mistakes) I went through to finally jack the DS 1052E up to the DS 1102E 100 mhz scope.

1. The first thing I had to do was to check what software version was on the scope. To hack the scope your software version has to be 2.00 or 2.02 SP2. Well I checked by simply turning the scope on and looking at the start up screen  mine was 4.00.
4.00 software
2. Now I would have to downgrade to ver 2.00 and on the net I found 2.02 and that was just fine. I loaded it on a thumb drive and plugged it into the scope and the software was downloaded and I was now at ver 2.02.
3. This is were the fun begins....I had to hook up a serial cable (not crossover and female to female) from the scope to pc. It was now time to enter some code via Hyper Terminal!! The instructions are very very very clear on the mess up the code and you could "Brick" your scope. Looking up "Brick" in a nut shell meant rendering it useless until MAJOR programing or hardware issues were dealt with.
Down grading to 2.02
SO IF YOU ARE GOING TO DO THIS MODE BE VERY CAREFUL CHECK AND DOUBLE CHECK CODE LINES. Having said that I did mess up the code but in the end all did work out.....(side note going to buy lotto ticket seems lady luck was on my side)
4. I entered the code in Hyper terminal asking it to connect to my scope and it did by giving me the serial number of the scope.
5. I then entered code to change the scope from model DS 1052E to DS 1102E and then (according the online instructions) entered the serial number but changing one specific letter to a " B". I then entered that line of code.
6. It was now time to restart the scope and see from the systems info menu if the model changed to DS 1102E and if the serial number had changed to the new number with the "B" in it.
7. It was successful (after a few hiccups)  and I could further verify by turning the horizontal scale down and if it went to 2 nano seconds things were good to go!

Downgrade done
Here are some of the mess ups that happen to me.
1. I was not able to connect the scope at first to the PC hyper terminal program. Turns out I just changed RS232 ports on the PC and all was ok.
2.When I installed a lower software version into the scope and then went to hyper terminal to confirm I did not get any serial number. I restarted the scope and ran the commands in hyper terminal again and I was good to go.
3. For some reason lady luck had me put the "B" letter in the wrong part of the revised serial number. That resulted in a new serial number of @@#$#%%$$% (ya no numbers just junk) on the Rigol start up screen. That was fixed by reloading version 4 software and then in hyper terminal changing the serial number back to the original number. It was then time to start all over again and change the model and serial but pay more close attention this time.
model and serial change
 I am going to be adding a page to my blog in the very near future that gives more detail of the "hack" and were to get the 2.02 SP2 software and the 4.0  you need to upload that as well. The Hyper terminal code needed. How to setup hyper terminal to connect to the scope and finally how to change the serial number and model number of the scope through hyper terminal.

Upgrading back to 4.0 software

2.000ns means 100mhz scope

4.0 upgrade good to go

A weekend of fun and then snow!!

It may look like rain on the window but it's very much snow
It has been a week of not  much radio time and one of where you just seem to be spinning your wheels and not getting to far. In the evenings once dinner is done I am just to tired to hit the radio. The weather last week was great very warm and showers only now and then. The temp's were in around 24C dinners were BBQ's each night and even turning on the A.C was being considered. That was short lived when this weekend came
Male Polar bear
around and the temp's dropped. When I say dropped I mean it has gone from 24C last week to snow falling today and frost warnings for this evening. My Saturday was spent with Julie at the Metro Toronto ZOO.    We are about an hour and 20 minutes away from the zoo but this place is amazing and well worth the drive.
Sumatran tiger...seeing us as dinner dinner
Julie and I were there for 9 hours and we still did not cover the entire property. There are over 5,000 animals, about 1.3 million people visit the zoo each year. There are both huge outdoor exhibits and very very well done indoor as well. Julie was able to take 1500 pictures (and now is editing them) if you ever come to visit Toronto this is a must see venue. Here are some of Julies ZOO shots from our amazing day.
White Lion not to camera shy
Jaguar having his say

Have you ever been listening to something that may not be there???

Thought it was time this evening to power up the K3 and see what was on the bands. The software  I use is DXLab and it comes with a spot collector as it's called. I noticed a spot for AX7GN on 20m so I double clicked on the spot and the K3 magically was there! So here I am listening for AX7GN and yes there is a station there calling what sounded like CQ....or did I want it to be a station calling CQ? Well I hoped it was not little voices in my head talking to me. I heard nothing so I just put my call out there....and listened just maybe a little to intently. I did hear what sounded like VE? VE? By this time the APF was on the RF gain was being adjusted and the filtering narrowed.  I gave the call again at a deafening 5 watts!! Between the static and the ringing sound from the APF  I thought AX7GN was giving out what  "KINDA" sounded like my call.....or was it those voices again!! I passed along a 559 but did not hear much in return. To be honest I am not sure what the heck happened.....did I want to hear my call so bad that the static kinda sounded like VE3WDM?? For a short time I listened to the band and low and behold AX7GN was there and answering some U.S calls! I'm not going to put this one in the books as I am just not 100 percent it was just not the DX voices playing games with me. Has this ever happen to you??

MFJ 1026 noise canceling unit…for today ham!

Things don't seem to work  when you really need them
I have been reading on many blogs of fellow hams who have had an increase in QRN due to many electrical sources and routers just to mention a few. The enjoyment of ham radio has been for many cut short due to devices blowing a hole in the spectrum!! Yes the companies are suppose to adhere to regulations regarding emissions. BUT both the adhering and the enforcement are very much lacking. We as hams are left to somehow deal with the hash that many modern items produce. I have this feeling it is not going to decrease as time goes on but increase. I have found this is were in my case the MFJ 1026 shines for me. I have a Plasma TV on the main floor and when Julie is cooking, surfing the net or relaxing the TV is on with some music playing in the background. I could go down and ask her to turn the TV off....but....I am a married man not a foolish man. Below is a YouTube video I did today showing how effective the MFJ 1026 is. It was done with my Iphone so some movement will be noticed. (note to self....get a proper recording device)

Anonymous is getting very smart!

Happy to be back from the vet's
First off  I took a vacation day from work as I  had to take Oliver (our cat) to the vet for a followup after dental surgery and by the way looking back on my career decisions I should had been a veterinary dental surgeon! They do say hind sight is 20/20. Oh and for those wondering Oliver had a great checkup, he was ecstatic  to get out of the veterinary clinic and home. Some of the other time today was spent on the radio TRYING to make contact with TX5K. On all the bands I had absolutely no problem hearing the pileup trying their luck at making contact but I could not even hear TX5K!! On Saturday my wife has a hair appointment and a trip to the surgery just a checkup....BUT  in ham radio lingo what does XYL at the salon and dentist spell........RADIO TIME!!! So I am going to give TX5K another go before the DXexpedition is over. So why did I entitle this post "Anonymous is getting very smart!" In the past I had
maybe 2 or 3 "anonymous" postings a week. Now let me clarify what I mean my anonymous......these are advertisers trying to post a comment on my blog but the main idea is to plug their biz with a link! Blogger has been excellent with the ability to discern between the real deal anonymous comment and the...let me take advantage of your blog and plug my biz anonymous comment.  Over the last month I have noticed a large increase of anonymous comments (the take advantage type) trying to use my blog. Not sure why this blog can't be all that popular? I really don't care if they "try" to post their fake comments but what I have noticed is they must be getting smarter in how they word the comment. Blogger is  not recognizing it as spam but seeing it as a legit comment. These past couple of weeks I have had to go through my comment section of blogger and delete comment posts that are just plain spam! Has anyone else had this issue? Or do you have suggestions on how to deal with this?

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