Monday, February 11, 2013

A blinking nuisance

It's beginning to look as if my shack PC monitor is on the blink. Recently I have noticed that when the system comes back to life after going into standby the picture flashes repeatedly - flash, blank screen, flash, blank screen and so on. Nothing I do seems to bring this cycle to a halt, I just have to wait until the picture eventually stabilizes on its own.

This morning for the first time this occurred upon powering up the system from cold. So it looks as if the problem is getting worse. One day soon I expect the picture may not stabilize at all.

It is a 19 inch (48cm) monitor and must be about 8 years old, bought at a time when 19 inch monitors were quite a pricey item. So I can't complain that I haven't had good use out of it. I must have had three different system units in all that time. I should take this as an opportunity to replace it with a newer, larger screen. Except for the fact that I don't really have the room for a larger monitor as my shack is so small.

I do have a laptop that I could use. It is a nice wide-screen Dell running Windows 7, purchased for work about 3 years ago but now little used as I have given up most of the things I used to do. The trouble with that idea is that the laptop doesn't have the 4 real serial ports and 6 USB ports that the shack PC has, all of which are used.

So I guess I'll be shopping for a new PC monitor some time soon. The thing that always puts me off buying new computer hardware is the fear that it will be RF-noisy and add to the already high noise levels I experience here. This old monitor actually causes some hash on the 2m band, which went unnoticed when it was new as I didn't use VHF at the time. I think I'll ignore cheap Chinese products for once and stick with one of the well-known European brands that have actually passed emissions tests instead of just sporting a CE sticker like I suspect many imports do.
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