Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What happens to your gear when you die?

How's that for a title? I'm helping a widow sell her late husband's ham gear. Things are going quickly as a local ham bought most of the newer gear based on recent sale prices from eBay and the QRZ.com swapmeet forum. Had she not reached out to the local club, it's likely she would have sold thousands of dollars of gear at a yard sale for pennies, or simply sent it to recycling.

This got me to thinking...does my wife know who to call to dispose of my gear should something happen to me? While probably not high on the things to do list if I pass suddenly, it sure would be a good idea to have a list of hams I trust in a folder for her.

There are some great hams out there - I met another one over email this week who spends hundreds of dollars a year to provide data services for other hams. But there are also crooks and thieves that would rob a widow blind. Do your significant other a favor...leave behind a list of hams you trust.

Friday, February 27, 2015

When Good Caps Go Bad

I've been helping out the guys in Springfield, IL get the W9DUA DSTAR gateway back up and running. We were successful reviving it after some Linux magic and Google-foo I performed a few weeks ago. We did notice that the server would reboot occasionally. Weird, but hey this is amateur radio not public safety.

After a few more hiccups it was time to investigate. Steve, K9CZ brought the server to me to take a closer look. After putting it on the bench and doing some more testing, I got to the point where I could scare it into a reboot on demand. Nothing in the logs, memory was properly seated, Dell diagnostics all passed, and reverting the last OS patch didn't help.

Hmmm....looking around some more...I found these four capacitors on this Dell SC440 motherboard. Yep, they are toast. Something bad has happened in this server's past. I yanked the hard drive and have it in a new machine now...after some more testing it should be back up and running by the weekend.

When capacitors go bad, bad things happen.

Monday, February 23, 2015

WAS most wanted?

This weekend I finally snagged Nevada. Not one of the smallest states in the US, but certainly one that has been elusive to me since getting back into HF in 2013. I had worked a ham in Nevada earlier last year, but my multiple requests for LoTW or a paper card fell into the noise. But this weekend I worked a Nevada station that promised a paper card straight away.

This got me to thinking...with the magic list of DXCC most wanted, is there a WAS most wanted list? I worked every state and received quick confirmations in short order except for Delaware and Nevada. And watching the psk streams go by, I sure see a lot of people asking for NV, and DE. Of course, it depends on where you're located.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Raspberry Pi Sales > 5 Million

This is pretty huge. With a goal of selling a few thousand computers....this UK group has now surpassed 5M in sales of the Raspberry Pi. This is a very small, fully functioning computer. I've got 4 of these doing various tasks around town. They are amazing little things.


KN0WCW - working the FISTS USA Club

I'm back up and running on HF after getting purchasing a very lightly used KX3 from Elecraft to replace my smoked radio! The radio arrived last Wednesday and I was back on the air that night. I've made a few casual contacts using various digital modes. I even worked K1N late in the week with 12 watts with CW on 20M. While not truly QRP, it does show that you don't need a kilowatt to bust a pileup!

Also a notable contact was with KN0WCW/2 - that's KNOW CW - the club call for the FISTS CW Club NA Chapter. Cody was the operator of the night from 2 land. I was slightly embarrassed even answering his call...my CW is rookie level at best, even with the great keyer on the KX3. I couldn't get the /2 to come out right no matter what I did! Cody hung in there with me and we had a nice QSO. I didn't keep him too long so he could log some more. Good job there Cody!