Should contest rules allow and act upon 599K QRM reports?

Sunday 11 March 2012

ERC (Easy Rotator Control) kit

One of my friends (MM0GPZ) put me onto this handy kit. It converts your old manual rotator controller to a PC driven one (retains manual capability). The photo above shows the new serial and power cables at the bottom right of the shot.

The advantage is that logging programs such as WinTest (wtRotators) can turn your antenna for you. If you enter a callsign and type (Ctrl-F12) for short path or (Alt-F12) for long path, the wtRotators program will automatically turn the antenna to the correct bearing for that station. The ERC uses the HyGain DRU-1 protocol so WinTest must be set up to expect this protocol and not Yaesu or whatever controller you are using. Once this is setup correctly, you get a nice on-screen digital bearing with manual adjustment icons all at the tip of your mouse.
I found a link on the internet describing GU0SUP's install in the same rotator controller case so I copied his installation location.

The kit arrived in 5 days from Germany. It had 1x 22pF capacitor missing which I replaced from my spares box, but apart from that all went together in around 3 hours (+2 hours installation into controller) and worked first time.
I squeezed the ERC into my G-600RC rotator control box and connected it up to the serial com port on my PC. I used a wallwart PSU to power the ERC.

Rene DF9GR very gratiously allowed me the DXCC 10 Euro discount for being the first GM claimant. The final bill was 66 Euro.

Calibration went without a hitch. I tried transmitting 400w through a 3 ele yagi on the 10m band (approximately 15m away) pointed directly at the controller and observed no effects. I'm very pleased with the results so far.

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