New stuff, and the M.I.T. Flea

My Icom IC-736 has arrived!  I’ve been doing listening over the past few days, and aside from some attempts at tuning to a horrible quasi-dipole I threw out my window (and one or two ill-advised, barely-reasonable SWR CQs) I haven’t done any real transmitting.

What I *have* done, however, is listening, and a little bit of homebrewing.  It was wonderfully gratifying take this:

  • Parts of an old alarm system ‘brain’
  • A 1994 Microsoft Serial Mouse
  • 1970s Lead-acid charge controller
  • Some ‘bargain drawer’ stuff from a Radio Shack I visited in 2005 that was shrinking their parts department

And turn it into:

  • Serial-to-CI-V. (controlling my rig’s front pane from my PC, more or less)
  • Serial-to-PTT (What I need to ‘send’ from my digital modes)

I’ve even got an audio interface running, and managed to decode some PSK31.

I’ve had a bit less luck with my Baofeng UV-5R handheld.  Not a ton of fun to program w/o the cable.  (I have one on the way, but it’s not here yet).  That being said, I’ve managed to chirp at, and listen in on a local repeaters, and one in the Boston area when I was visiting, but I haven’t gotten any replies.  (I’ll be testing this later against my RTL-SDR to see if I’m actually transmitting audio).

Now – Boston area?  Indeed!  I was down, visiting some friends of mine, and was lucky enough to be in the area of the last M.I.T. flea of the season.  Wow.  that was well worth the $4 admission price just to experience.  I do regret not coming home with some of the stuff, but I bought some cables, and some copper & aluminum wire at a decent price.  I could have used some SO-239 connectors, but for some reason I didn’t buy any out of the endless piles of them.

With some luck, my Ultimax-100 antenna will be arriving today, and while I don’t think I’ll have time to set it up, I might be able to do so tomorrow.  We’ll see!

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