JMFD results, VK5 SOTA and hard drive recovery

The John Moyle Memorial Field Day was held back in late March, and this was also the day I got my FT817ND. For its first trip out I went up to Mt Beenak, a SOTA summit, and used the rig for six hours.

I made 111 QSO, mostly on 40 and 80 metres, and secured myself third place in the portable, six hour, single op, HF, phone category. I’m already thinking about next year where I’ll head up to a SOTA summit and work the six hour section again. Hopefully I will do a little better now I have a better idea of using the radio.

Talking of SOTA, the VK5 SOTA enthusiasts have been working hard to get VK5 included in the SOTA program. If all goes to plan it will go live on Monday 1 October 2012. This will give more opportunities for SOTA chasers as it increases the number of activators. I’m keen to make a VK5 SOTA contact on Monday but I have to work. Everywhere else in the country has a public holiday on Monday but not Victoria. We get our next public holiday on the first Tuesday in November, Melbourne Cup Day.

Back in July I had a failure of my external hard drive. This was a real problem because it is where I store all my photos, radio manuals, electronic logs, QSL info, LOTW certificate and password, email archive and lots of other stuff that I need. I share the drive between the PC in the study and the PC in the shack. Having most of my info on it made access really convenient.

When it stopped working I asked a couple of my friends, who are far more knowledgeable than me, what I could do. They suggested a few things and I tried them but nothing would bring it back. In desperation I went to eBay to buy another drive of the same type so I could try swapping the controller board. It was here that I learnt of firmware problems with this type of drive. I consulted the ultimate knowledge source on everything, Google, and got info about the problem and the fix. All I needed was an RS232 to TTL converter, made of a MAX232 chip with 4 capacitors, and a serial ASCII terminal. After building the converter and hooking it up I had the problem fixed in no time. Details of the fix can be found here.

Of course, now I have fixed the drive I have copied everything to a different drive and all is good again.


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