Monday, May 30, 2005
Living in the Allegheny Valley here in the suburbs of Pittsburgh we get our share of weather. Matter of fact one of the local running gags is the “If you don't like the weather in Pittsburgh just wait a minute.” and it is not far from true I'm afraid. We get our share of weather but it is not like living in the mid wests tornado alley or on the coast of Florida.
Some of that weather includes very server thunder storms often accompanied a great deal of mother natures answer to cold fusion for generating power. Lightning! If we could just find a way to capture a few of those bolts and store them in the flux capacitors we could all tell Duquesne Dark to shove off. That technology I fear is very far off in the future.
Be that as it may we currently have none of the advantages of bottled lightning and all of the disadvantages of uncontrolled lightning in the atmosphere. I had this painfully demon straighted to me last week when one such storm descended on my QTH while I was not at home.
I have never been in the habit of going around and disconnecting all of the electrical appliances in the house when a violent thunder storm happens along. I have older relatives who will unplug even things with electric motors like can openers and won't talk on the phone where there is a storm about. Well, they may have something with the phone.
So I arrive home to find that the power has been off and whatever in the house that is not on a UPS needs reset or reprogrammed. I headed up to the ham shack to check things out there and initially all looked pretty good. I had one scanner that for some reason had lost all of its memories but it is just an older BC-560XLT and only has 16 channels so restoring it was no big deal. All else seemed fine.
That is when I noticed it. The S meter on my Icom IC-735 was running extremely high even with the noise level that I have around here. I reached over and turned the volume control knob up but heard nothing from the external speaker. I tried changing bands and dialing around to different frequencies but the rig remained silent. Maybe I had accidentally turned the squelch control up so high that I wasn't hearing anything. I could hope right? Needless to say the squelch control was wide open but there was still on audio from the rig. So I pulled the rig out to the front of the operating table and reached the back panel and pulled the external speaker jack. Maybe the external speaker went bad right? It could happen! Well no joy and no rush of static, whistles and howls that you would expect from 40 meters this time of the day.
Sad to say my beloved IC-735 is currently dead at least on the receive side. Not being able to hear I did not want to fire up the transmitter and take the chance of plowing over top of someone in QSO to see if the rig was putting anything up the coax in the other direction.
I guess having learned the lesson the hard way I will get myself a good coax switch with a grounded position between the rig and the wire hanging in the back yard. More on this latter when I get back on HF once the 735 is returned to normal operations.