Archive for July, 2015

Motorola Lust

MaxtracI admit it!  I have a THING for Motorola radios!

I started with one:  A simple VHF Maxtrac that I use as my primary 2 meter radio.  It’s simple to use, works extremely well, and I get great audio reports from other hams when I use it!  Best of all, as a used radio, it was very inexpensive.

But then it started.  I wanted another Maxtrac in UHF.  Then another in VHF to use as an EchoLink node.  Then a slightly newer CDM1550 to use as a mobile radio in the car.  And then a slightly newer Radius in UHF because it has a nice DTMF microphone that I’ll need to control the EchoLink.  Will it never end?

I guess not!  I just acquired 3, that’s right THREE, MT-2000 Handi Talkies!  Why?  Because they were extremely cheap, they are rugged (read that as nearly indestructible!), and you see, I have this… ummm… errr… problem now! SMH

If you see me at a Hamfest casually browsing someone’s Motorola radio collection with that certain gleam in my eye, PLEASE, drag me away and try to talk some sense into me!  Or if you catch me searching Ebay for Motorola radios, please distract me with something shiny.  Clearly, I need help!

Ok, so a while back I decided I wanted to build an EchoLink node.  After discussing my plan with my friend Paul (AA0GB), he got fully behind my building the node and setting it up to work on our favorite repeater.  Paul has been a gem, encouraging me, helping me get the parts I needed, showing incredible patience with me and I admit, I have taken a LONG time to get it to work correctly.

Finally, about a week or so ago, I got it working properly.  I was overjoyed, and even wrote a Facebook post about it, but still didn’t complete the work.  Two days ago, I decided that I would get it finished, and of course, Murphy and his Law decided to squash my project.  The computer that would run the EchoLink died.

After beating my head against the wall for a couple hours in frustration, I finally calmed down and did some troubleshooting.   The hard drive died in the computer and would no longer allow it to boot.  After a little re-engineering with my other computers, I made a hard drive available and proceeded to rebuild the system.  I’m now back at the point I was before but I think I’ve learned a lesson or two here.

First, testing is a good thing.  I could have rushed this system into service only to have it fail shortly after going live.  Second, be cautious when using used critical computer parts.  Having done this sort of stuff for most of my professional career, you’d think I would have known better and paid more attention to these two lessons.  But I guess I was just trying to get it moving along.  Oh well, no lives were lost and with the exception of Paul’s waning confidence in me, I’m no worse for the wear! LOL

We’ll be putting up the EchoLink node hopefully sometime this week for general public use.  If you’d like to use it, look for node N0NOE-R.  It will be tuned to the 146.805 repeater in Sullivan MO.

P.S.  I’ll be putting a list of DTMF commands that you can use when connected to N0NOE-R in a separate page here on this website when the node is actually up and running.  Check back later for that information. 😀