ZS6AA Gets Wired

I’ve had Internet access at home for severl years now, using iBurst from my wife’s PC. Up until now I’ve resisted the temptation to link it to the shack PC, though, out of fear that a virus, worm or other malware might affect my logging software during a contest. However I’ve finally given in, largely because I wanted to try the live contesting scoreboard at http://www.getscores.org for the CQWW WPX CW contest next weekend.

So I’ve installed a LinkSys WRT54GL router. The setup was simple, other than the standard installation wizard I only had to set the MTU and the domain (iburst.co.za) to get my iBurst
Internet connection working through the router. I’ve used wired Ethernet connections for my wife’s PC and the shack PC, since they are in the same room and I wanted maximum immunity from RFI. But the (secured) wireless access point will be useful with our work laptops.

So now I’m investigating what else I can do with a “wired” shack.

  • The Windows Internet time server picked up the connection automatically and synchronised my clock, which saves me having to dial the “speaking clock” before contests.
  • I enabled DX cluster spots on Logger32, which I use for casual logging (but not on WriteLog, which I use for contesting, as I enter the unassisted category). Last night while working a few Europeans on 40m it was quite interesting to see when I had been spotted, and by whom.
  • I’ve downloaded Ham Radio Deluxe with a view to investigating remote control of the station.
  • I would like to provide a live audio stream from one of my receivers so you can hear what it sounds like on my side of the pileup. However I’m not sure this will be possible with my current Internet connection speed and 700 MB per month cap; also my XYL might not be thrilled if I use up all the bandwidth! Still I’ll see what I can do.
  • A CW skimmer reverse beacon is a lower-bandwidth possibility, although it would require a broadband receiver.

Anyway I hope the endless possibilities will keep me amused for a while.

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