All handhelds, all the time

In my quest for simplification, I decided to try something I haven’t tried in awhile with regards to my shack configuration. I basically decided to just start putting stuff away. I put away my FTDX-10 and the associated antenna tuner. I put away my FTM-500DR. I coiled up all the coax and put it in the closet. And I put away my Astron power supply and Bioenno battery setup that was powering my shack.

The only thing I have running off 12 volts now is the FTM-200DR that I’m using for my WiRES-X node. And I’m running that off a little Samlex 1223 power supply. About as simple as it gets.

It’s kind of hard to justify having a base VHF/UHF FM rig on a base antenna. Other than nets, the local repeaters have very little activity. Of course, this is what drove me to digital voice in the first place.

With regards to putting away my FTDX-10… I very rarely key up the mic on HF. While I have made a few memorable contacts, my end-fed random wire at 6 feet is a pretty poor excuse for an antenna. But just like my FTM-500, I basically concluded that it wasn’t worth the desk space to have this radio on the desk.

So this means I get to limit my activities to doing digital voice with my hotspots or doing Allstar via my two Allstar nodes. And all with my handheld radios. I like the simplicity of this.

Did I say simplification?

My last post indicated I was simplifying things. But I quickly realized, the result was way too much stuff on my desk. And six, count them, six microphones on my desk. I had to work from home a day or so last week. And the desk was way too crowded with the extra laptop. So today I did another reorganization.

I have ditched my WiRES-X node. Because I think WiRES-X doesn’t give enough benefit to make it worthwhile. I could easily run a WiRES-X node. I have the gear sitting right here. I see no point in it. I will still use YSF reflectors however.

And I have ditched the TGIF DMR network. The TGIF DMR network does not play nicely with the openSPOT. And neither SharkRF or TGIF want to fix it. They both understand the problem. And either one of them could fix it if they wanted to. Because of this… if I wanted to use the TGIF network I would have to use a DMR radio and a Raspberry Pi hotspot. And yes, I have several DMR radios and several Raspberry Pi hotspots. But it’s not worth the extra clutter on the desk when I have so many other ways to communicate. The other DMR networks I use work fine with my openSPOT and my C4FM radio.

Oh yeah… and I ditched my VoIP phone that I had setup with ham only VoIP services. It might have been a neat idea. But it in reality it ends up being a little creepy unless you have friends that also have it.

With my FTM-500DR I can talk through my six openSPOT4 Pro hotspots, my two Allstar nodes, or my attic antenna. I figure that should be enough. At the moment I’m thinking this is better than a desk full of radios.

More simplification

I got a wild hair this time. I pulled out several radios from their boxes. And I put away a bunch of hotspots and such. Then I proceeded to reduce things down to one thing “per mode”. I will have:

  • One way to do C4FM. My WiRES-X node.
  • One way to do D-Star. My ICOM IC-4100A in terminal mode.
  • One way to do DMR. Only one hotspot, running DMRGateway. Monitoring multiple talk groups and networks on one frequency.
  • One way to do Allstar. One node instead of two.
  • One FM frequency on my base antenna. 146.52

This setup essentially means, no more spinning the frequency/memory selector knob on any of my VHF/UHF radios. All the radios will be parked on their single frequency. Each radio will have one mode. And each mode will only have one frequency. Gone are the days of having fifteen nodes and hotspots all going at once. I no longer have to decide between WiRES-X and YSF reflectors. C4FM will always be WiRES-X. And no more crossmoding. Each mode is native.

What I had going here was some serious scope creep. If I stick to this setup… I might have some gear to sell.