|Back to Computers||Back to Ham||Back to Home|
In addition to acting as a control head for my radios, Porky runs a selection of Ham radio software. These include logging, and digital radio programs. The digital programs allow me to use the radio to transmit packet, RTTY, and many other modes. I can also receive fax, weather maps, and whatever else is out there. I even have programs which will translate morse code into text, or allow me to transmit morse code by typing it out on my keyboard. There are also numerous clock programs, including connection to the atomic clocks at the National Bureau of standards, as well as the U.S. Navy. I can display Universal time, as well as the times in several different cities, at once. The best clock program I have is Earthwatch, which displays a moving map of the earth with the daylight areas lit. Times for the entire word are displayed in this program. There are also programs which can display world propagation information. I am also able to send QSL card via email, or even use a program to print them out.
The main radios being operated out of Porky are a Kenwood TS-440SAT, TS-711a, TS-60S, and an Icom PCR-100. I have full control over all of these radios, and the use of the computer considerably raises the number of memories available for the Kenwood. The only unusual feature of this computer, and the one which permits it to connect with all of these radios is the addition of an extra pair of serial ports. These are on a PCI card. These are getting harder to find, as nearly everything uses USB ports these days. The combination of computer control, and the proper software, allows the use of either of these radios (though the Icom does this better) as a spectrum analyzer. This can be a handy feature to have, though I get little practical use from it. I can quickly check traffic and activity on any or all of the ham bands (commercial bands too), and see what's out there.
Porky has no modem, and connects to the internet through the gateway on my network. This is occasionally useful for connecting to the atomic clocks, and for downloading software. The original Porky had been one of my oldest computers, and it made me feel kind of bad to part with it.
The motherboard had to be flashed, in order to get the unit to see the large hard drive. This also solved a problem that the machine seemed to have with Windows 2000. The unit would crash, during the install, and I would get a blue screen, telling me that I should notify my administrator (I suppose they meant I should go have a talk with myself, but I do enough of that already).