My wife decided that she wanted to go to Cornwall again this year, so Cornwall it was, and September 7th saw us pitching our tent a few miles from Hayle. I owed Carnmenellis DC006 a return engagement for an unqualified activation in the spring, so we headed that way on Sunday 9th, a blisteringly hot day (a change from the sea fog of the previous day on the North Coast!) I approached from the south via abandoned fields through waist deep bracken and gorse with enough spiders to furnish the cast for several horror movies, and set up for 2 metres as far from the transmitter mast as I could get, well out of sight of the fabled guardian!
At first it seemed that the black hole was going to win again, nothing could be heard other than an unidentified portable who was inaudible without the DSP, and CQs on SSB and FM went unanswered even at 50 watts despite posting an alert from the campsite that morning (£1 for 15 minutes, wow!) but at 1242 I heard a foreign voice and beamed south to make contact with EA2TO/1 at 5 and 7 each way. Nice! I now had visions of an all-DX activation!
We were just coming to the end of the QSO when the SLAB toppled on the uneven ground (granite boulders with a film of turf) and pulled off the crocodile clips. I hastily put one back on and picked up the other one only to have the first one slip off again. I cursed and replaced them only to find that, blinded by sweat, I had put them on the wrong way around. It was at this point that I discovered two things:
- the FT857D does not failsafe to off when the power is cut off, and
- the FT857D has no reverse voltage protection, unlike the FT817.
There was a faint whiff of magic smoke.
When I get the rig back, I am junking the crocs and fitting some sort of non-reversable connector, and will look at the possibility of some sort of diode protection (belt and braces), in the meanwhile I offer this sad story as a warning to other users of the FT857, BEWARE!!! It is a sweet rig, even if it is a bit on the ugly side, but it won’t stand for any messing about!
PS A good friend (M3AOM) has lent me an FT290R, so I am now back on 2 metres QRP. Thanks Roj!