This is getting to be boring… another equipment fail.
I have lots of vacation days to use up and so took a day off as the WX was meant to be cracking. In the end it was OK. I’ve been out in worse weather! I needed a good walk and picked Ben Chonzie GM/SS-015 the nearest Munro to me. It’s dead easy, tracks/paths to the top, or a line of fence posts to follow, you can’t fall off and there’s a car park. What’s not to like? It has a bad reputation amongst walkers for boring but it’s a good radio perch and for lardy boys like me, 13km walk and 770m of ascent is good exercise.
I got the car park at 9.30am and it was full, overflow parking on the grass. That looked a bit dodgy, I have AWD but summer tyres and they don’t do sloppy grass/mud. Actually it was fine, just don’t press the “loud pedal” much. I packed up the new rucksack and was off in a socially distanced crowed of about 10 people. We soon spread out as we climbed. The track is easy walking and you either turn off at the cairn and take the mudbath path to the ridge or follow the track to its end then aim for the ridge line and follow the fence posts.
WX was murky and the tops were in the cloud. The forecast had changed from “cracking weather Grommit” to “dry, no rain, mist/cloud to lift”. I could see the cloud lifting as I climbed. The computer said 2hr30 and I did it in 2hr which made me very happy. Last time it took 2hr30 but I was talking to a guy from the start to the top.
I stopped, unpacked and setup using an old fence post to support the pole. I just wanted a nice long HF activation to work lots of people and hopefully one or two QSOs with Viki MM6BWA who was doing GM/SS-104 and GM/SS-105… I have been waiting to chase them for 13 years. So LF dipole rigged, handy on 145.500, everything connected, plug battery to 817 connector and “ker-plunk” 817 powered up. I like to turn the 817 off at the switch rather than pulling the power and it didn’t sound right the way it came one. So finally I got a signal on the phone (Vodaphone 2g then Edge) and sent a spot for 10.1888. Hit the paddle and no TX. Boo! Faffed with cables (normally it’s the 3 pin Molex to the Palm Paddle) and nothing. Boo! Hiss! Plugged in a mic, push button… no TX.
Hrmph! I’m sure I’ve seen this before. Turn radio off, pull battery, count to 10, attach battery, turn on. Push PTT nothing. Lather, rinse, repeat. No TX. I’m surprised the scream of anguish wasn’t heard world wide. OK, power off, disconnect battery pick up VX170. Play with VX170.
I found G5ZX/P and 2E0FTU/P playing on Helvellyn G/LD-003. Nice and easy S2S. Aha, there’s Viki… an S2S/Complete made and that made up a little for the no TX. “Have you got 70cms?” “Yes, but 817 is not TXing let me kick it around the summit”. I worked Rod MM0JLA and came back to Viki with a “Nope, it wont TX”. I had made an effort to put the 817 rubber duck in my new bag just so I could give Viki a 70cms QSO.
Despite the 13 year wait for a complete I was not a happy bunny. I faffed about more and came to the conclusion “It’s worse than that, it’s dead Jim”. Well nearly. Many words were said that would make sailors blush. I picked up the VX170 and stumbled into an S2S with Chris MW0RSF on Tal-y-fan GW/NW-040. That was nice, 358km, 211miles. Then QSOs with Ken GM0AXY, Christine GM4YMM and Rober GM4GUF.
OK 8x QSOs, 3x S2S, 1x complete and a 358km handy to handy QSO on 2m FM. Not that bad. I packed up and wandered out. I had a chat with a lovely elderly guy on the walk down. He set off when I did and took about 2hrs45 to summit. He told me he was 80 and was still recovering his fitness after being laid up for all of 2017 with Oesophageal Cancer. I think that gives us all hope that we can still play on the hills as we get older!
Back to the car and after 2 cans of diet Red Bull I was off. Once the oil temperature gauge said “you can give it the beans now” I drove back and gave it the beans many times on the wonderfully twisty road from Comrie to Braco. Having a power to weight ratio approaching 200bhp/tonne doesn’t half make driving fun again.
Pictures suffer from the misty murkiness. Three infrequently activated summits.
Creag Uchdag GM/SS-022
Shee of Ardtalnaig GM/SS-047
Creagan na Beinne GM/SS-019
A wide angle shot of all 3 previous summits, this is looking North. The Lawers ridge lost in the clouds behind.
Despite a 200+mile FM QSO, a 13year wait for a complete over and qualifying the hill, a not too pleased looking FMF.
Loch Turret. There’s a good distillery a bit lower down the road from the dam.
Summit cairn Ben Chonzie GM/SS-015. With the never ending stream of walkers.
Schiehallion GM/CS-005. I must get on and do this. However, Mrs. FMF wants to do it too and she doesn’t like hanging about whilst “radio tomfoolery” takes place.
Ben Chonzie GM/SS-015 from about halfway up. The summit is about 1.5km from the ridge.
I think there was a glacier here 20000years back! It may be a boring hill to many, but the views are rather good.
So what about the 817? Is there a happy ending?
Back home I noted all the settings and memories as I was hoping a reset would fix things. So there are 3 resets available getting more and more serious. Well I tried all the 3 and would the bast^W set TX? No. I then did some Google-fu and could not find anyone with a similar issue. But it did seem familiar in some way. Finally I found a description and cure from Steve GW7AAV on an old post on here (What happened to Steve… one day he was chasing and the pazow… he was gone?)
I was thinking “How much is a KX2?” and just buying one. I have another 817 for driving my transverters. But I did think I should not give up so easily. Steve’s fix is based on the fact that the 817 gets all screwed up when the internal battery voltage is greater than external and you use the radio. There has been no internal battery in this 817 since I bought the set and removed it and put it in a drawer. I found and plugged it in… dead. OK external supply connected and power on the radio, press charge, turn off radio and wait. You are meant to charge up the battery for hours and then power on the radio on just the internal battery and let it run down. When you apply fresh power again it will be all shipshape and working.
Wait for hours? Me? No way. After a few minutes I tried. No TX. A few more minutes, nothing. OK leave it charging and go and eat. 30mins later wander into shack, pull external supply, power up set on internal, swear using the strongest words at 817, push PTT. Bugger transmits. Oh deep joy!
OK, I have no idea what is going on here other than SOFTWARE BUGS. I reckon we should string up all the programmers in the world till they stop writing buggy code!
Now to reprogram a gazillion settings on my main 817. I would use 817 commander but I’ve never tried it on W10 and I can’t find the data lead for the 817. Therapy will be to enter them all by hand.
I might still buy a KX2 anyway.