Monday, January 14, 2008

New Year, New Gadgets in the shack

Every new year comes full of promises for dreams fulfillment. But some time you have to help a little bit to make this true. I think that gadgets are actually extensions of ourselves. You choose them for specific reasons. You feel more complete and more confident just using them in the every day routine. It is a kind of sophisticated toys for adult.But let me tell you what is this little introduction all about: Just to present you my new gadgets.

1. My new weather station. It is a DAVIS Vantage PRO2 wireless. All sensors are integrated to one unit and transmit data to console in a very efficient way. (First and only weather station in its class to use frequency hopping spread spectrum radio technology to transmit weather data wirelessly up to 1000' (300 m)).
I installed the ISS (Integrated Sensor Suite) up to my terrace just under my HF antennas. Fortunately the whole system turned out to be RF proof, an issue that my old Monitor II suffered a lot. The isolation between sensors and console protects the later from static that under bad weather conditions make provoke severe damage. But a weather station without a data logger and proper monitoring software it is absolutely useless. DAVIS has made great job on this part too. Data logger keeps data for 50 days if you choose one record every 30 min (there are many options upon this interval). WeatherLink, as they call the provided software, it does very well its job and can convert the older data bases to the new format. This weather station is a really mature product and quite compatible with HAM environments.

2. My RigExpert AA-200 Antenna analyzer. To say the truth I have not test this instrument as much as I want. First impressions are very good. I have to say that it is very good looking and gives the feeling of a well and toughly manufactured item. It is powered by a rechargeable Ni-MH battery pack 1800mAH and it has autonomy of 2 hours of continuous metering or 20 hours in stand by mode. It can also connected to a PC though a USB port. Connected to a dummy it gave me a R=50.1Ohm and reactance 0.2Ohm. My trapped dipole for 40m and 80m gave me this nice SWR diagram centered to 7080KHz. Magnify to see details. No bad, isn't it? If it is so accurate as I expect this is the ultimate tool for the serious amateur. Anyway I will come back with full review when I have much more measurements.

3. Finally I will add a small review for my ACOM1000 linear amplifier. This is not quite new but it need some time to test a linear.
What can I say about this state of the art piece of radio equipment? There are so many good reviews that I feel I have nothing to add. But let me do just a few simple comments. I work with it more than six months. I have participated in several contests during this period. Among them there were some very demanding ones, as CQ WW RTTY for example. Lots of hours of continuous working without any complain. Every time I am sitting in my shack beside my ACOM1000 I feel proud and full of confidence. Before I get it, I knew that it had a very good reputation, but my cohabitation with it, it is beyond my expectations. What are its hot features?
a. Absolutely silent (whisper fan, vacuum relays)
b. Very easy tuning (attenuator in order to tune with full driving power)
c .Withstand 3:1 SWR transmitting with full power (no external tuner required)
d. Excellent liquid crystal control monitoring 12 parameters
e. Very smart and efficient protection circuit
And some words about service. I need it only once. A minor problem resolved in a couple of days. People in ACOM are very friendly and really helpful. Simply the best service I have ever experienced in my 30 years amateur life.

1 comment:

Adrian said...

Dear George,
I also have the AA-200 but the CD supplied is not working. Can you be so kind to help me get the software?