Monday, January 30, 2012

Who broke it this time?

I have just finished the heavy dose of chemo for my fourth cycle so for the last week and for several more days it will be more than usually difficult to concentrate or even get motivated to do anything. Mostly over the last week I have just been tinkering with the Parallax Propeller WSPR and Opera beacon code and running the beacon barefoot on the air.

Stupidity seems to dog my programming efforts as much as my attempts at electronics construction. I wasted a couple of hours trying to understand why the Propeller was not doing what I wanted before eventually realizing that it was doing exactly what I had told it. I was nearly at the point of splashing out on ViewPort, an interactive debugger for Spin code that would allow me to step through my programs a line at a time. That would quickly have revealed the error, but it would have been a high price to pay to show me what was staring me in the face.

I had been pleasantly surprised at the reach of my barefoot 20mW Propeller beacon, receiving a number of reports of both Opera and WSPR signals. Today I modified my beacon program to transmit both a WSPR and then an Opera beacon, but frustratingly I have not received a single report of either of them on 30 metres. Have I broken the program again or did someone break the ionosphere? I really need to get motivated enough to build a small PA and boost the signal to at least the hundred milliwatt level.
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