Monday, May 16, 2022

TR-35 with updated firmware

One of my pet peeves with the IC-705 is that, if I'm using the built-in memory keyer to call CQ and I want to cancel the outgoing message, a tap of either the dit or the dah paddles cancels it - but also sends the dit or dah out over the air.

This causes a dot (or dash) of self-QRM over the station you're trying to copy.

Elecraft, Small Wonder Labs, OHR, TiCK, KD1JV and everyone who's anyone in the making of CW rigs/keyers gets this - just not Icom.

A tap of the paddles cancels, but doesn't transmit the cancellation tap when the memory keyer is active.

Add the Penntek TR-35 with the latest firmware, to the list of those that get this right.

The V.0.27 firmware not only corrects the lengthy word spacing of the beta version of memory keyer, it also allows cancellation of an outgoing message with a tap of either side of the paddles without sending that tap to the world.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Will ransomware become an acceptable marketing practice for amateur equipment?

The term "ransomware" usually refers to the encryption of files on a remote computer with the computer's owner then asked to pay a fee to the anonymous hacker in order to regain access.

But it is also used to describe the practice of, in this case, test equipment, manufacturers who lock out certain functionalities unless they are paid for, on top of what the equipment already costs.

This is common among both hobbyist- and professional-level test equipment like signal generators and spectrum analyzers: pay $1500 for the analyzer and get these specs; pay $2000 for exactly the same model and get increased resolution bandwidth, for example.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

K-8364: Flowers, 17m DX and a manatee

I had good intentions for today's activation regarding my mcHF.

Problem is, a picnic table, or similar, is needed upon which to sprawl the rig and its paraphenalia.

No picnic tables are to be found at K-8364, the Ocklawaha Prairie Restoration Area State Conservation Area here in Eff Ell A (as Lou Reed calls it). In fact, the park is tough to find if you use Google maps for navigation. That method'll take you down a private road that ends in a gate.

This may explain the infrequent activations for the park despite its location near a large city (Ocala).

I imagined an octant (a sextant-sunstitute for land) in my head, channeled Lewis & Clark, who used one with amazing accuracy, and made my way down a dirt road a few miles right to the entrance to a lonely, beautiful place with a sign bearing the name of my intended QTH.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Video: POTA'ing at Alexander Spring in Ocala National Forest K-4471

Since moving to Florida 5 weeks ago I've visited four fresh-water springs in the area, most of them being in Ocala National Forest. Until today, I hadn't operated radio from there - just hiking and swimming.

This morning I grabbed the IC-705 & snorkel gear and headed to my favorite (so far) spring.

It was a cool morning with beautiful clouds so I made a few photographic stops along the way, eventually making it to the spring an hour later than planned.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

"Three Dots & a Dash" - a WW2 cocktail and a song

Three Dots and a Dash was a cocktail invented by Donn Beach at the end of World War II to celebrate V ictory by the Allied powers.

Recipes for it can be found online with original variations using three cherries (the dots) on a skewer, and a short slice of pineapple (the dash) mixed in. Some of the other ingredients are quite uncommon; at least today.

Sort of a high-octane punch.

And speaking of punch, the Punch Brothers - a "bluegrass" group from Brooklyn NY (I know, I know) - recorded a song called Three Dots and a Dash.

A careful listening of the song discerns no Morse-like rhythms to my ear.

But the music ain't bad, though it's more like Canadian Maritimes-meets-Scots-Celtic rather than anything I'd call bluegrass, though the instruments are the same as those you might find on a West Virginia porch on a Saturday evening.