New Photos And How Stupid Am I (Very)

Even though today is officially the start of spring it sure doesn’t feel that way. Temperature around 34 degrees, cloudy… We’re impatient to get outside and do something again.

Nevertheless, I had the camera out and was taking some photos of the indoor plants, some of which are flowering right now.

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 1.09.48 PM

This guy is sitting in the kitchen window at the moment. Those flowers are only about a quarter of an inch across. Here’s another shot of a different cluster of flowers on the same plant with different lighting…

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 1.10.42 PM

That camera does a great job taking closeups like that.

Another plant in flower at the moment is this one:

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 1.11.15 PM

I love this plant. The color of the leaves, the texture, and those tiny little pink flowers that are about the size of the head of a pin. It’s a lot of fun.

MrsGF’s violets are in full bloom too right now:

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 1.10.54 PM

Then there’s this really weird plant…

Screen Shot 2018-03-20 at 1.11.54 PM

That’s Kai. I’m very surprised she held still long enough for me to get that photo. She usually runs away when she sees me with a camera.


And now, on to the stupidity…

Nothing makes me look dumber than when something goes wrong with my radio equipment sometimes. This one was a real gem, though.

For some reason the TS-990 decided to stop transmitting AM and I couldn’t figure out why. Everything seemed to be working just fine otherwise. I could still use SSB, the digital modes, FM, all were working fine. But when I keyed the mic using AM, it would go into transmit mode, but no signal.

I spent something like two hours this morning trying to diagnose what the problem was. As a last resort I got out my morse code key and hooked that up. Not sure why. Just was trying to eliminate other things as problems. I tried sending my callsign in CW and…

And nothing. Same symptoms as the AM problem. It went into transmit, but no signal, no power going to the antenna.

Hmph… I went on line and searched around, found out there was an update for the radio’s firmware, so I downloaded that and installed. That went well. In fact, better than well because now the noise blanker works the way it’s supposed to and some other little things were fixed. But same problem as before, no AM and no CW.

I pulled out the manual once more and started to dig through that and…

Oh. Oh, brother… All right, look, the 990 is a very complicated piece of equipment. I mean it has controls and knobs and buttons on it that I’ve never used in the almost four years I’ve owned the thing. So I suppose I can be excused for not noticing this.

Most of the knobs on the radio are “nested”, that is there is a central knob that controls one function, and an outer ring around the central knob that controls an entirely different function.

The Power knob which controls the rig’s output power is the central knob. The outer ring is something labeled “Car” which stands for carrier. The carrier setting is essential to transmitting in CW and AM modes. I normally have it set dead center right in the middle. But since I almost never do CW or AM I almost never touch it. But I do use the Power knob to adjust the wattage going out to the antenna or feeding into the amplifier.

Somewhere along the way, the Car knob got a bit sticky and started to track along with the Power knob when it was turned. But only in one direction: down. When I turned the power down, it was also dragging the carrier knob down towards zero, but not dragging it back up when the power was turned back up. Eventually the carrier was turned down to nothing. So without a carrier, there was no AM or CW.

Sigh… Spent more than two hours trouble shooting a problem that didn’t really exist. All I had to do was turn the Car knob back up to the center position and all was well.

And now I just found out my amplifier relay isn’t working… How did I get into this hobby in the first place?

Author: grouchyfarmer

Yes, I'm a former farmer. Sort of. I'm also an amateur radio operator, amateur astronomer, gardener, maker of furniture, photographer, wanna-be artist, owner of cats, motorcyclist, cook, and I'm trying to learn Japanese for the heck of it.

2 thoughts on “New Photos And How Stupid Am I (Very)”

  1. That strikes me as a bad design feature. – Nesting the dials like that. I mean I guess it saves space, but your experience strikes me as a likely scenario. The world is full of dust, lint and cat hair. All of which could accumulate with the normal oils in a hand to create friction.
    I’m glad you found it. If you are like me you will forget this scenario and when it comes up again a year from now it will make you crazy when you realize 2 hours later that you should have known!!!
    I have one of those bugs in my life. And at least one a year I find myself going crazy tracking it down and then being angrier that I didn’t immediately remember the obvious solution.

    Like

    1. That’s exactly what is happening. Alas, modern transceivers like this one have so many functions these days that they have to do something like that or it would be overwhelming. As it is this thing has 16 knobs, almost all of which are doubled like that or at least have multiple functions. If they didn’t double them up they’d need space for 32 knobs. Plus all the buttons. I counted them: 113. And a lot of those have multiple functions when pressed more than once or held down for more than a second or two. It’s very easy to mess something up. And I’ve ended up in exactly the situation you describe where a problem that I know I solved long ago crops up again for some reason and now I can’t remember how I fixed it.

      Liked by 1 person

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