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Shack Upgrades

Discussion in 'General Ham Radio Discussion' started by Highlander_821, Mar 25, 2010.

  1. Highlander_821

    Highlander_821
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    Amour d'Ecosse

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    Anyone done anything to update/upgrade their setup recently?

    I made a couple of modest changes that really paid off big operating dividends, and added some really cool functionality to my Galaxy.

    I have been running PSK-31 and SSTV quite a lot with my Yaesu FT-847 and a homebrew simple rig-to-computer interface that a friend made for me. It worked perfectly, but I didn't like the fact that it got audio into the rig through the mic connector, instead of using the "DATA" port on the back of the rig. Same thing with the sound out to the computer--it came from the external speaker jack, instead of the dedicated DATA jack. The really nice thing about the DATA jack is that the levels are fixed. I had to always be careful and vigilant with the Mic Gain and volume controls to avoid overloading.

    So I purchased a "TiniCat-847" interface used for about 50 bucks and have it hooked up. In addition to now using the fixed level DATA port on the rig, the new IX also has the added feature of CAT control of the rig via serial port. Now, using either the Ham Radio Deluxe suite, or the DXLab suite, I have the full integration of those programs with rig control. Now the logging and digital routines in both programs work together. Log windows are already filled out with most of the relevant info, I just have to add my signal report info and click save. Pretty slick.

    The other really cool thing I got going is I rewired the mic plug for the older interface with a 4 pin plug setup for Galaxy/Cobra wiring. So now I've got a Galaxy DX2517 (which has been modded for full 10 meter coverage) now running SSTV and PSK-31 modes! Additionally, I have two of those mic plug adapters for the Lincoln/2510 and the Magnum 6 pin! So I could get digi modes going on my Lincoln or any future Magnums that I might have (I want a 257) with just the use of a mic adapter. How cool is that?

    Just a small amount of money and time, and I have really enhanced my operation here.



    Now if I could just get this AGWPE sound card packet program working, I'd be batting 1000 for the week!
     

  2. Robb

    Robb
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    Yup

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    Got pics?
    Diagram of station would be nice too...
     
  3. Sonwatcher

    Sonwatcher
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    That's cool David ! Where are you running SSTV on 10m ? That would be neat. I just bought a 706MKiiG and really like it a lot. I am slowly getting accessories for it. My next would be the interface for it for SSTV . (y)
     
  4. Highlander_821

    Highlander_821
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    The stack on the left is of course the Galaxy DX2517 (26.965-29.665), above it is a Galaxy 250 base amp (2x 2290), an MFJ 969 roller inductor tuner which connects to my W5GI wire doublet, then the tuner on top of that is an MFJ-945E tuner, which connects to the Imax. The computer under that desk is a Dell Optiplex 745, and the blue cable running to the DX2517 mic plug is connected to the homebrew "Penny Pincher" sound card interface. The interface connects to the sound card in and out ports, and the DB-9 serial port. On the monitor you see the MMSSTV program.

    Just to the right of the 2517 setup is an MFJ-1703 antenna switch, which is nice because it switches not only the two antennas, but also the two transceivers. It is setup so it swaps them out for each other, meaning neither TX is ever not hooked to some sort of antenna load. It made it very simple to send SSTV and PSK-31 signals between the 2517 and the 847 to get everything calibrated and slant adjustments, etc. done. Below that is a little MURS 5 watt 2 channel VHF set and a little 3 amp Cobra power supply which powers it and all my meter lights.

    To the right of that is the FT-847, powered by a Samlex SEC1223 switching power supply, and an MFJ 873 VHF-UHF meter. The D104 is usually the mic I use for phone modes on the 2517, and to the right of it is the Yaesu MD100 desk mic. The monitor to the right of that is connected to a Dell Dimension 9100 with 4 serial ports, allowing me to have 4 rigs connected to it. The top half of the screen is the display and controls for a WinRadio 1550e wide range receiver (1khz to 1500MHZ, continuous, all-mode), and the bottom half is Ham Radio Deluxe displaying the rig-control screen for the 847. On the upper shelf is a Radio Shack Pro-2096 that I have for sale in the swapshop, and it is connected to a WinRadio AX31B log periodic antenna that is built into a fiberglass substrate with a low noise preamp that is also built into the antenna substrate.

    The other antennas that are part of the system are a Workman UVS-300 2m/70cm stick, a Diamond Discone, and an Antennacraft ST-2 (Scantenna). All four vertical antennas (Imax, UVS-300, Discone, and ST-2) ) are at around 30 feet at feedpoints. The W5GI is suspended between a tree on one side ~60 feet, and a mast on the house at the other end at around 35 feet, so it is kind of a sloper.

    Ron, I've just been sending pictures back and forth between my two radios so far, using 28.615 USB, I think. I haven't heard anyone else using digi modes on 10 yet, but I hope to get some good contacts when the band opens up more. I really want to run SSTV and PSK-31 on 11 meters sometime, I've always wanted to do that just for shits and grins.:D

    Oh, yes, I forgot -- the little handheld scanner sitting on the DX2517 is a Uniden BC-245xlt, which connects to the same Dell Optiplex that I'm using with the 2517. There is some nice freeware that puts a nice big display on the screen, much better than looking at that tiny little display on the radio. The program also lets you store alpha tags for the freqs in the scanner, something that the scanner can't do on it's own. I've ordered a slimline dual-port serial PCI card so that I won't have to keep swapping the cables out when I want to run the 2517 or the BC245---and I'll actually be able to run both at the same time.

    The BC245xlt is connected to the ST-2 scanner antenna, and monitors local airports and aviation freqs. The 1550e is connected to the Discone most of the time, and it usually monitors public safety freqs for surrounding counties. The Pro-2096 monitors two P25 systems--one is Starcom 21, the IL statewide system, and the other is our Champaign County digital system, which is mostly public safety, with other agencies like Highway, Public Works, etc migrating to it. I also have client/server software setup for the 1550e, so I can access it from any computer on my home LAN. So sometimes I hook it to the W5GI for SWL, then listen and tune it remotely from a laptop or other computer in the house. Pretty slick!

    My Lan is pretty cool. We have a 1.5meg DSL connection that is connected to a Linksys wireless/wired router. My wife's comp is connected directly to the router, and then another cat 5 runs to my son's room, whwere there is a D-Link router configured as a switch, allowing him to connect up to 4 devices (like XBOX 360, his comp, etc) It also has a second wireless point, so he can use his netbook, gameboy, etc. My Dimension 9100 here in the shack is connected to the Linksys router wirelessly, and then it connects to the Optiplex 745 via crossover cable, thus sharing it's connection with the Optiplex, and allowing them to share files. Then we have another Dell upstairs that is the focal point of our home theater (the "boom room", lol) It also connects to the Linksys router wirelessly. All these boxes share files and a single network printer.
     

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  5. Highlander_821

    Highlander_821
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