Home Improvements

I was busy last week doing a few small jobs that I had put on the long finger.  The main culprit was a Rigblaster Nomic that I had picked up a few months ago for €30 to replace my homebrew interface.  Its main advantage is that it will work with almost any rig that has a 8 pin round or modular mic input.  That appealed to me.  But I found having to disconnect the mic to connect the rigblaster every time was a nuisance and will probably do damage in the long-term.  At least that was at the front of the rig – the audio out from rig was at the back – I needed to grope around at the back to disconnect the BHI speaker and connect the rigblaster audio.  So I finally got the soldering iron out and built a simple switching box with a small toggle switch on the top.IMG_6236

I screwed it to the wall of the shack so I wont lose it!  Apologies for the clutter…

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Now that I had the audio output sorted I needed to do something about the input.  I needed a cable to go from an RJ45 connector on the rigblaster to the 8 pin DIN ACC1 interface on the back of the rig.  It was a bit fiddly doing the 8-pin DIN connector but I got there without melting it.  My problem was that I used a pre-made 3 metre length of CAT-5 cable with moulded connectors (1 removed obviously).  These type of cables use stranded wire and not solid core which made it more difficult to solder to the pins in the din connector.  I only used this cable because it was lying around.  So far so good except that the audio is a little low going through the rear port requiring the mic gain to be turned up quite a bit from where I normally have it.  More fiddling…

Luckily I found a cure.  I decided to treat myself to a new dynamic vocal mic.  Again the soldering iron was needed to modify the cable with the new 8-pin connector which needed a tantalum capacitor fitted inside to block the voltage on pin 1 which would otherwise kill the mic.  The gain on the dynamic mic is quite a bit lower than the powered electret hand mic (but still perfectly adequate).  The new level that I was now using was a perfect match for the level needed for the rigblaster.  2 birds with one stone.  I will replace the goose-neck with a scissors style boom in time.   I am using a home-brew hand switch at the moment but I intend to get a foot switch.

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New antenna

I put up a fan/fence dipole for 15/12/10/6m  that I finished today.  Its sitting just below my half-size G5RV.  Its working perfectly on 15,12 and 10m but won’t tune on 6m so it will have to come back down when I get hold of an antenna analyser.  I had a quick QSO with a Canadian station on 15m and got the usual 59 report so the antenna works!  20160222_173617

Coolmine Rally report

I attended the Coolmine rally in Dublin.  It was very well attended with hams from all over the country.  I met a few familiar ops and got to put a few new faces with voices.  I picked up a few bits to make a fan dipole for 17/15/10/6m  that is under construction atm.  A pleasant day out was had.