Unwinding this

When I make changes to my shack… often they are small changes strung together that over the course of time lead me in circles. I have enough gear where I can set things up many different ways.

My last blog entry spoke about switching to all handhelds. Well. Part of that choice was setting things up to run each digital voice mode natively. And this meant putting away my openSPOT4 Pros in favor of my Pi-Star based hotspots. Because there was no need for the openSPOT4 Pro if I’m not cross-moding. Also, running three modes natively meant having three separate radios. Three separate mobile radios on my desk is messy, so I went with three separate handhelds instead. Nice and simple. All is good. Running only handhelds made sense.

Then I start contemplating. What would I have to give up to swap the Raspberry Pi hotspots out and go back to the openSPOTs? Because after all, the openSPOTs have a much nicer form factor than the clunky Pi 400s I use for my Pi-Star based hotspots. And the openSPOT4 Pro does have a lot of things going for it.

The answer to that was… I’d have to give up DMRGateway and TGIF. Because neither of those work on the openSPOT4 Pro. But after listing out the pluses of the openSPOT4 Pro I decided to go for it. Boom. Back over to the openSPOT4 Pros I go.

Ok… now I’m like well… if I am going to run the openSPOT4 Pros… why do I need to run three different radios so that I can run each mode natively? After all… the openSPOT4 Pro is great for cross-moding. So… I no longer need three different radios. And if I don’t need three different radios… I can go back to a proper mobile radio instead of using all handhelds.

Yes it’s true. I have put my two FTM-500DRs back on my desk. And I have put away all of my handhelds. I’m running one FTM-500DR on my attic antenna and the other FTM-500DR on a dummy load. Works great with the hotspots. I also put my Astron / Bioenno 12 volt power setup back up.

At this point the circle is complete. And part of the cost of going around in that circle was the new ICOM ID-50A that I will not even be using now. Because my plans change that quick. But next time I go around this circle… I will have a nice new handheld to use… at least until I complete the circle and end up back using mobile radios again.

I am the first to admit that this whole process… which repeats itself frequently, makes me feel like a hamster on a wheel. With each change I think I’m accomplishing something and making a positive change. But I end up going around and around in circles wasting not only time but money as well.

There is a certain entertainment value here. I completely reconfigured six openSPOT4 Pros from factory reset back to 100% functional in about 30 minutes. When I change things around this often I get pretty good at it. And I do get to buy new gear on occasion to facilitate my constantly evolving shack configuration.

I think when people have a hobby… they tinker. And I tinker a lot. Sometimes it seems futile. And it probably is. It is probably a textbook example of what the word “pastime” describes. It is a way to pass the time in a way that is at least semi-agreeable. It’s a diversion.