RAC Winter Contest and FlexRadio 1500

Ran QRP during the 24-hour RAC Winter Contest and made some new discoveries about the Flex 1500 and my computers. Was getting an occasional burst of noise on receive and dropped CW characters on transmit so went into the computer’s administrative tools and turned off everything I could.

All of sudden, the 1500 and the Windows 7 computer started to cooperate for the first time and no crackling noises and no dropped CW characters. Neat.

I’m also using a trackball mouse which complements the SDR software tuning. I can move slowly or quickly as I desire and with the program that activates whichever window the mouse is hovering over I no longer find I’m making sudden and unexpected frequency changes.

At 5 watts I did a couple of hundred of Qs including working the North-West Territories on SSB. My CW speed is going up and I can only hope so is my accuracy. Speed without accuracy is less than useless.

Anyway I see that almost all my issues are due to my lack of computer power The Flex 1500 works fine and there’s nothing better than a 22″ panoramic display showing the activity around you when you’re searching and pouncing.

Most fun I’ve had in years 🙂

Flexradio and CPUs

Seems my two Windows 7 Best Buy type computers are deficient 😦 

The experts on the FlexRadio site suggest that computers for SDR radio use should score at least 1,000 on the Passmark computer test.

And yet, the good news is my FlexRadio 1500 is running just fine on a 2.8 GHz PentiumD machine running an Asus motherboard with 4 gigs of RAM and a Ratheon graphics card despite scoring only 500 points.

Operated on the 10-meter contest last weekend and had no issues with delays or noise on either CW or SSB. Everything worked just fine.

I am one happy camper….but I still want a better computer….maybe later next year.

BTW notice the Flex 1500, the 100-watt amp, the LDG Pro 200 autotuner, the remote antenna switch, rotor control and various power supplies are all off the desktop. The only things up there now are my Idiom Logikeyer and Bencher paddles and computer screen and mouse.

The black box to the right is my Drake 2-B receiver which is in mint condition and works just fine. I use it to warm the shack. (It’s -10 degrees C outside today.)

BTW that’s not me in the operating chair. That’s Buffy, the second op around here 🙂