It took a lot of effort, but I made it!
I pulled new LMR400, some nice heavy rotor control cable and two runs of CAT6 cables yesterday. I also reinstalled the roof-top mast and rotor.
Today, my middle son helped me hoist the hexbeam antenna back up on the roof and I installed a new ground bar and strap.
I got cluster monitoring working in HRD and then attempted to get on the air.
I called CQ a few times.. and tried to answer the calls of several of the 13 colonies special event stations. Nothing. Crickets. I felt like I was talking to a teenager. 😉
The first thing I noticed was that DAX in SmartSDR didn’t have a stream set. After setting it, I at least saw some movement on the DAX control panel indicator. However… still no indication on the SWR or Power meters in SmartSDR. WTF?
What I ended up doing was setting the PTT configuration in HRD to the COM port that was set up in SmartSDR CAT. The default option to have it controlled by HRD wasn’t working. After I set it to a COM port, all was good. Then it was just a matter of tweaking the gain to ensure I was fully efficient but not clipping the levels.. and therefore splattering the band.
A decent (re)start
I managed to make 13 contacts today.. even with the bands being as bad as they are. 20m, the lowest band I can operate with my antenna, is ‘fair’ to ‘poor’. I observed that it fluctuates from good to poor in a matter of seconds in the middle of a QSO.
The only other thing that seems a bit weird right now is that hitting CTRL-C/CTRL-V in DM780 doesn’t work… I have to right click and select Copy and Paste. I also wish that there was a button to move the rotor within the logging interface of the contact screen.