uBitx Firmware and Speakers, and the Canada Winter Contest

Today, in keeping with my winter vacation goal of spending more time on my hobby and doing what makes me feel fulfilled, I’m catching up on my blog posts, and working on my uBitx HF kit.

It’s still not in a case, but it’s assembled and connected to an actual 80-meter HF dipole that I assembled for the CQ Santa Net for Jordan to hear Santa.

Wednesday night, I uploaded an enhanced firmware from KD8CEC to it, which makes it a whole lot easier to tune around and switch bands, and adds accessible filtering adjustments to pull people’s voices out of the noise. It even adds CAT rig control, or the means to control it from a computer. I plugged in a USB mini cable and was able to change the frequency, but not much else.

The new firmware shows 2nd VFO, IF filter in addition to current station and mode.
Laptop speakers wired up

Tonight, tired of the hum introduced by the old speakers that came with the family’s Tandy 486 DX 66 MHz PC back in 1990-something, and the knobs that don’t quite work anymore, I pulled some speakers from a dead laptop. I trimmed some excess cable from the headphone jack, and added the speakers using one of the remaining pins. I tested with and without headphones plugged in, to be sure it disabled the speakers with headphones connected, as expected.

My son Jordan wanted to be right involved, of course, but I had to back him away from the hot soldering iron and the propane torch I’m using for shrink wrap. I don’t even trust myself with this stuff, yet… I accidentally burned a hole in the padding of my favorite headphones with the soldering iron today. Grrr…

After he went to bed, I tuned around and picked up a contesting station, VE1RAC out of Nova Scotia. He was calling CQ for what seems to be Canada’s version of Winter Field Day, the Canada Winter Contest. I could hear him talking to folks from Ontario, New York, New Jersey, and a couple from across the pond somewhere (faintly).

Color me impressed, given the thrown-together dipole is now sagging from the weight of freezing rain.

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