UVerse. Fixed?

I won’t go out on a limb and say our AT&T UVerse service is fixed after the technician spent about 3 hours at the house, last night working on moving out modem and fixing the shoddy work that was previous done from another AT&T tech. It’s funny, but the last three technicians who have come to the house have all fixed the connector leading from the street into the house. Not sure that says much about the quality of their technicians. I will say our original installer was terrible.

I explained the problems with their UVerse service from latency issue to dropped connections to the cheap 2wire gateway AT&T uses in the house. I wanted to move the modem from it’s original install local, the upstairs bedroom, which doubled as our computer room and later my shack to a downstairs location where my XYL’s computer currently is. The technician gave me a few options on how to accomplish this, neither which were aesthetically pleasing or acceptable, so I selected the less of two evils.

I was hoping a change of venue of the 2wire gateway, further away from the shack would lessen the RF that was previously disconnecting the gateway when I keyed up on 20/40/80M when working SSB. Oddly enough I did not have the problems when running the amplifier for CW or RTTY. I will test this theory this weekend with CQ WW DX (CW) starting today at 0000z.

Once he capped the old connection he moved all the hardware to it’s new location on the opposite side of the house. The new cables were run and he connected the connection up to his test equipment. We watched it for 35 minutes and there were no FECs detected in that time. Not surprising since many our our latency issues, and disconnects were random, except when I was transmitting SSB using the amp at 1 kW.

The televisions were then connected and all looked good. Usually it did not take more than about 20-30 seconds to drop the gateway connection when keying up. I tuned the amp for 40M and spun the dial to 7.279 and called CQ three times over the course of 5 minutes. Not once did the connection disconnect, nor did the stream video I was watching hiccup. Is this a sign of good things to come?

As I said, not sure this a fix, but it’s a step in the right direction. I inquired about ferrite and the technician responded, “What’s that?” I was somewhat taken back he had no idea what it was. When I showed him an example he told me AT&T did not use these any longer because they did not resolve any problems. Again, I was somewhat shocked in his response. I guess if AT&T wants to continue cutting corners, the not adding ferrite is one way to do it. The funny thing was the last tech we had about 6-8 months ago installed ferrite on the power cable leading to the gateway. Suddenly some months later it’s obsolete.

So I have gone around unsnapping all the ferrite that I had on different items. I am going to participate in CQ WW this weekend, at a leisurely pace and hopefully when I tune 40 and maybe 80M the gateway does not disconnect. I am planning on adding ferrite to the gateway. I also want to run some further noise tests around the house with my hand held to see if I can further pinpoint noise that is coming into my station.

We have decided to give AT&T UVerse one more month. If their service continues at the quality it is we will move back to Comcast. Supposedly there have been upgrades made in our area (not confirmed) that are allowing decent connections. Their local node was overloaded causing all sorts of issues, which was the main reason we dumped Comcast for the snake oil that is UVerse.

Linear Latest

As advertised I received the linear (ETO Alpha 76PA) last Friday, in the late afternoon. It was not until Sunday I actually got time to put the transformer back in the case and connect the amp to the radio and foot pedal (in order to key the amp). There is still one outstanding question as to the use (or not) of the ALC jack. There are arguments on both sides, such as not driving your rig at 100w, while providing higher PEP and making your voice sound better on SSB. The differing opinion came from N4UQ who worked on it, saying its “old school technology” and not needed.

Armed with that information I did not connect the ALC cable and was able to have a QSO with John, KX5JT in Louisiana. With the Yaesu FT-1000MP at a full 100w, the amp was putting out about 1.6 kW (1600 watts). I was an easy “armchair copy” on 20M as the sun was setting on the West Coast. I still did not truly tune the amp based on my rig, but used the settings provided, which were included as a baseline and fairly close to what the manual states.

It will still take some time to get comfortable using the amp because damn….it is a lot of power! I have already ran into one issue. The same day I had the QSO with John, I turn around to find the XYL standing in the shack doorway saying she can hear me on her computer headset. Doh! Since then I have used ferrite on her computer and headset, hopefully this will squelch the problem. No complaints from the neighbors, but I am sure those will come to.

I was unable to get to the HOA meeting this past week, but will send an e-mail off to the manager and let her know of changes to my station and the increased possibility of interference complaints. I know some will argue against this move, but I have found the board of directors and manager of the association to be very open and honest and thankful I provide them updates on any changes. I feel keeping this line of communications open only helps to keep them happy and allow me to pursue the hobby I love and most importantly let me keep the vertical erected.

Now if I could only convince the wife of a small (35′ tilt over tower) tower in the backyard with a 3-element beam. Hahah….yeah right. It won’t happen. But I am working on getting a 33′ mast in order to run the Alpha Delta DX-EE in an inverted vee. Hopefully this height will increase the signals and possibly provide a better receiving capability.