Almost bought 27MHz equipment (again)

I like a clean desk with some structure. That helps me to relax and concentrate. I can’t work in the middle of a messy table. Too bad my shack’s operating table is cluttered with cables. In fact, it’s only two teenie weenie cables. One ultra thin USB cable for the mini mouse and one small PS/2 for the keyboard. So what’s the deal here? It’s not the cables, it’s the draconic RFI measures I had to take to keep the PC running in a QRO environment. With the antennas so close to the shack, there is a ton of RF flying around the PC. Once I turned the amplifier on and key the rig, the PC would freeze or even worse: “Windows is now shutting down…” while I didn’t even touch a thing apart from the keyer. Devastating for those scarce 15m runs.

To cut a long story short: those two cables are now wrapped in aluminum foil including the keyboard itself. Then they run through the copper shield of a big coax cable which is grounded at the end. Finally they’re totally covered with ferrite clamp on cores. That ain’t a pretty sight and it limits the flexibility to position mouse and keyboard. A couple of years ago I found the solution. A major discount supermarket carried a wireless keyboard/mouse combo for only 25 Euros. Deal! Once installed in the shack, it worked FB until I keyed the amplifier. The PC acted as if I was pressing all keys on the keyboard at once. Of course: 27 MHz technology… I should have known better.

I heard a lot of good things about the new 2.4 GHz wireless technology for mice and keyboards. I posted the question on the ON Hams reflector and I heard a lot of good things about the Logitech brand. I browsed some websites and for about 70-80 Euros I could buy a 2.4 GHz combo. Until I saw an add from (another) major discount supermarket. They offered a Logitech mouse/keyboard combo for less than 40 Euro. I jumped in yesterday but the box didn’t reveal anything whether it was 27 MHz or 2.4 GHz technology. I almost took the bait but then I decided to bail out and not to buy. Better check the Internet first to be sure.

It was hard to find this information. The manufacturer’s website didn’t mention it. At least I didn’t find some detailed specs. I needed to Google pretty deep to find out it’s using 27 MHz transmitters. So I barely escaped another 27 MHz trauma.

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