Monthly Archives: January 2015

Linux, the Yaesu FT-1D, and the SCU-18

I had almost given up on programming my Yaesu FT-1D on my Linux computer.  The software provided by Yaesu wouldn’t work on Linux and CHIRP didn’t support the radio.  Well, CHIRP didn’t support it until now.  While it’s not official, their daily build claims to support the radio and that makes me excited.  But there’s still a problem.

The programming cable that is provided by Yaesu, the SCU-18, doesn’t seem to be recognized by my Linux system.  Well, it’s recognized but it doesn’t actually attach the device to a port so I can use it.

usb 3-1: new full-speed USB device number 12 using xhci_hcd
usb 3-1: New USB device found, idVendor=0584, idProduct=b03a
usb 3-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=0
usb 3-1: Product: USB-Serial Converter
usb 3-1: Manufacturer: RATOC Systems,Inc.

and

Bus 003 Device 013: ID 0584:b03a RATOC System, Inc.

It turns out, the device appears to be a RATOC System USB60MB.  What Yaesu is shipping looks just like these devices except for where the 9-pin serial connector is there is actually some proprietary USB plug.

I think this is the only part that is holding me back.  I’m hoping to talk with a few people tomorrow that can hopefully help remedy the problem.  I feel that I’m really close to a solution, though, and hope to make this process easier for other Linux users out there.

SKCC 1,000 Miles per Watt Award

Update

It would appear that my K1 is stuck transmitting 6 to 7 watts no matter what the power output setting is.  I can only assume that the contacts I made for this award were not made using 100 mW but rather 7W.

I have already responded to the award coordinator and to the SKCC group, in general.  Now I need to figure out why the radio is doing this and how to fix it so I can actually go try to make these contacts.  *sigh*

Last night I dusted off my Elecraft K1 transceiver and hooked it up to my Carolina Windom antenna so I could work some locals on QRP.  On a whim I decided to call WB5KSD on a 40m frequency he was on using only 100 milliwatts.  To my surprise not only did he answer me but also gave me a signal report of 559.  Needless to say, I was in shock.  That is a distance of 1,875km (1,165mi)!

About fifty minutes later I decided to work K5TRI as we had tried to work QRP x2 a couple of nights before without luck.  He was operating as K3Y/7 and also responded with a 559 from near Redmond, WA.  Astounded, I let him know that I was running a tenth of a watt and he replied that the signal was good.  The distance between he and I, coast to coast, is about 3,768km (2341.4 mi).  We repeated the contact some forty minutes later although the band was starting to close by then and significant fading was present.

I submitted my award request to W0EJ who formally presented my award this morning.  According to the roster my contact puts me in fifth place behind KC9IL at 146,500 (who the heck did he talk to and at what power?), AK4JA at 98,500, K8PG at 70,500, and AC2C at 38,000.  I’ve got my eye on a couple of stations out in Hawaii so maybe I’ll be able to extend my endorsement one day.

SKCC: I now have my Centurion!

I received the following message from Ron Bower, AC2C, after submitting my SKCC award log last night:

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Gather 'round and pay heed to the news of this
day!

Let there be celebration to recognize a fellow SKCC member who
has advanced to the Centurion level of SKCC achievement !!!

Having submitted a log and sworn statement, documenting the
completion of QSOs with 100 other SKCC members, Eric Christensen,
W4OTN, SKCC #7320, is duly proclaimed to be SKCC Centurion Number
1107 effective at 0000Z on 21 Jan 2015. SKCC Centurions are
encouraged to proclaim their accomplishment by appending a C to
their SKCC Number.

The Master Centurion List has been duly scribed where all SKCC
Members may reflect upon and pay tribute to this momentous
achievement.

Duly approved, recorded, and published.

I set forth my hand and key.

20 Jan 2015

Ron Bower, AC2C
SKCC 2748S
SKCC Centurion Administrator

Woot!  So as of tonight at 0001Z I now can append a “C” to my SKCC membership number!  I guess I’ll start working on my “T“, next.

Now on medium wave!

160m on Kenwood TS-2000XYears ago I purchased a 40-80-160m dipole antenna in hopes of getting a good signal out on the lower bands.  Unfortunately the antenna ended up being too large for my yard and I didn’t use it.  Fast forward to now and I’ve got plenty of room for antennas.  When I put up this antenna the trap for 160m on one leg broke off.  I had most of the antenna up in the air so I just didn’t do anything with it.  Now that it’s winter and 160m is supposed to be useful now I wanted to get on the air and make some contacts there.

As temperatures recently poked above freezing for the first time in some days I heated up the soldering iron, bundled up, and made my way out to the antenna to make the repair.  Luckily it was a simple fix and in less than an hour I was back inside with the antenna up in the trees like it’s supposed to be.

I did some tests and I’m disappointed that there is only one real sweet spot on the antenna (around 1860kHz).  The little tuner in my radio doesn’t handle the band very well but I guess this is better than not having anything at all.

I’m glad to be concentrating towards the bottom of the band and I’m hoping to find some CW down there.  I’d love to get a signal report if you do hear me on the band.