Radio-quiet notebook computers

Contesting, Field Days, Activity Days, Portable operating, JOTA, SOTA

Radio-quiet notebook computers

Postby VK4ADC » Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:47 pm

Hi All

My recent experiences with 'noisy' notebook computers on various field days has led me to ask others what make/model they use in the field day or Dxpedition environment.

I have started a page on my website that I hope will be a pseudo-reference list, developed over time, of notebooks to look for - and those to avoid - for those contemplating using one in a portable environment.

The page is at http://www.vk4adc.com/radio-quiet-notebooks.php and I would appreciate feedback on your experiences with specific makes and models.
Doug VK4ADC, QG62lg51
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Re: Radio-quiet notebook computers

Postby VK2GOM » Mon Jul 05, 2010 2:57 pm

Hi Doug,

Just a thought when comparing machines, a lot of the time it's not the PC itself, but the PSU. My Dell Inspiron 9400 is very quiet when running on batteries, but noise is seen on Spectrum Lab once the switched mode PSU is plugged in.

I have ferrite all over the PSU leads, and it helps a bit, but hasn't entirely solved the issue.

On a different switched mode PSU it might be great :wink: So it might be a case of publishing results on a) mains PSU and b) on battery.

73 - Rob VK2GOM / G0MOH
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Re: Radio-quiet notebook computers

Postby VK3AIF » Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:34 pm

G'day Doug,

I have a notebook that I have found to be as quiet as a mouse, I have not heard a murmur from it from 1.8 to 450 MHz either battery or mains powered though I have not specifically looked for spurious signals.

When I plug it into the ethernet cable, well that is another story altogether, it radiates rubbish across the 2M and 70cm bands and I have not cheched H.F. or 6 but suspect it would be the same.

The machine is an 'emachine' by acer, a '250' I think and it has been a great little gadjet so far.

Cheers

Dave
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Re: Radio-quiet notebook computers

Postby VK4ADC » Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:47 pm

vk3aif wrote:The machine is an 'emachine' by acer, a '250' I think and it has been a great little gadjet so far.

Dave VK3AIF : It would be good if you could confirm the actual model code off the case of the unit (usually on a ID plate underneath) so that I can put that detail on the web page.

Rob VK2GOM : I have tried ferrites and filtering on the IBMs but it doesn't make much difference & much the same whether on internal battery or with the external SWM P/S attached and charging.

The aim of the web page is to make it easy for others to find a notebook that is at least workable in the FD or DXPedition environment, regardless of battery vs mains power - the main criteria is easy. . I have already updated the details Bob ZL1RS has supplied by email onto the web page and will do others as they arrive here.
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Re: Radio-quiet notebook computers

Postby VK3ALB » Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:40 pm

vk3aif wrote:When I plug it into the ethernet cable, well that is another story altogether, it radiates rubbish across the 2M and 70cm bands and I have not cheched H.F. or 6 but suspect it would be the same.
VK3AIF


It has been mentioned previously that locking your PC ethernet port to 10mb/s rather than 100mb/s generally results in a significant reduction in interference. I've tried it on a few computers around the home and it certainly does help.
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Re: Radio-quiet notebook computers

Postby VK5AKH » Mon Jul 05, 2010 8:37 pm

Hi

I run an "Asus Eee PC 900A" for field days and occasionally on psk31 from the mobile situation. The good thing about this little netbook is it rated for 12VDC :D so no noisy switchmodes just run it straight of the battery. The netbook actually sit directly on top of my TS-2000 with no noticeable RFI on any of the HF bands or V/UHF (yet) with an external keyboard (as it has small keys). It is a few years old now and has done a few JMFDs and V/UHF Field Days for logging with VKCL. another good thing about the netbook is they are stupidly cheep.

Another thing I picked up from a fellow contester at the club JMFD attempt is that some laptops (ASUS i think) will run of 12V. The battery goes flat but the machine keeps running. and in the past Toshiba Laptops tend to be reasonably quiet.

Good luck with the noise
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Re: Radio-quiet notebook computers

Postby VK3AIF » Mon Jul 05, 2010 9:30 pm

It is an 'e250' Doug, I was reasonable certain it was but I was at work and it was at home so I could not check at the time.

Good luck with the project

VK4ADC wrote:Dave VK3AIF : It would be good if you could confirm the actual model code off the case of the unit.....
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Re: Radio-quiet notebook computers

Postby VK5LA » Mon Jul 05, 2010 10:06 pm

Hi Doug,
I can say that the 2 laptops that I use, a HP6730S and an eeePC 900 are both very quiet on VHF/UHF.

Get yourself an eeePC. They are just the ticket for field day logging...12 volts, very quiet and will happily
run VKCL and Omni-rig all day.
Very cheap on *that* auction site, I paid less than $200 for mine 2 years ago and it's been a good investment.

Cheers!
Andy - VK5LA
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Re: Radio-quiet notebook computers

Postby VK4ADC » Tue Jul 06, 2010 7:52 am

Andy

The eeePC 900, or even the larger 1000 series, might be a good device with its 12V power input but the eyes here are getting older and the larger the screen the better. A 9" screen is just a tad too small for me.

I have had a few direct emails too and have added those details to the web page. Keep them coming !
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