Saturday, August 16, 2014

Wouxun KG-UV8D memory management

I have had this radio for about three months now. I have not found out how to program any of the memory channels.  If anyone learned the secret please post a comment here.

Monday, August 11, 2014

11 August Beacons of hope

Unenthralled by the prospect of  a life lived in bed, hoisted from pillow to pot, I have allowed myself to believe that I'm not going to "beat the bugger", in other words survive the tumour with sufficient faculties intackt to lead a normal life. I have decided to leave my whissper beacons running for as long  as I'm capable to supervise them.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

HFI gates QRT

I have taken down my HFAPRS gates. The reason is they all use my MFJ magnetic loop antenna. At this time of the year it needs constant retuning due to temperature variations in the loft. So it is not practical to use it when I can not be in the shack to tweak the turning .

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ultimate U3 beacon

It is here already.
Thank you very much, Konstantinos .
Now, all I have to do to find the yahoo group and sutable power suply.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Sporadic E

2014 Es is gettig ander way. I will be keeping an eye on 6m and 10m bands. Now is the time for WSPR. This requires a computer. I've  managed to get the WSPR software running on the shack computer using Windows remote desctop which allow me to see whole screen on the laptop. This is more useful than I expexted. Olga discovered the shack computer keyboard is broken. It prints one letter from the next column. The funny thing is I sought it was my brain broken not the computer.
I had hoped to be using one of Hans Summers Ultimate kits I purchased several weeks ago. But I think it is beyond my ability to buibd this. Shame there isn't a bild and tested version.  

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Shack in a bed

The Elekraft KX3 has become my shack in the bed. It is connected to the antenna using 10 m cable from eBay. Olga takes radio upstairs to charge batteries. I wish the charger had a tricle charge so we could leave radio connected to power continuously.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Better buy local

My WOUXAN KGUV8D handheld radio with faulty keypad  just returned from a quick trip to ML&S. Which expierience convinsed me of the wisdom of buying chinese radios from UK dealer. Whithin couple of hours of calling them ML&S had arranged UPS carrier to collect the radio to take it for exchange. No making costomer pay return postage (other dealers please note). Next day the radio was on its way back to us. Next day it has arrived. Imagine the trouble I would have returning it to seller in Hong Kong. No more buying radios on eBay for me!

Monday, March 03, 2014

Events in Ukraine

I have just got off the air after making several  contactsintoRussia and Ukraine on 10m PSK31. Ham radio transcends political boundaries and engenders friendships betweenpeople of all nations. All politicians could learn from it. My thoughts today are particularly with my radio friends living in Ukraine I hope that peace and normality are restored soon

до свидания!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

SSN data file goes AWOL

I've not updated the VOAProp file ssn.txt for a while as some irritating health issues kept on getting in the way. I thought I would have a try today butit seems the NOAA data file Iused to update it from  has moved to a new address. Does anyone know where it has gone to?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tracking wildlife

I watching a wildlife programme on TV the other day which had a feature about urban foxes. The naturalists  had fitted radio collars to some of the foxes and were able to track them over a wide area.One fox went off on a trek that lasted a couple of weeks and covered a distance of several kilometres.

In another programme radios have been attached to larger birds such as geese and ospreys to track their migration paths.
I wonder what frequency is used? One of the maturalists in the urban fox project seemed to be trying to DF a fox using what looked auspiciouslylike a 3 element 2m Yagi. I've seen similar antennas used o locate larger animals in Africa.

I would love to know what technology they use. My Kenwood TH-D7E APRS radio - despite being too big to use as a tracker for anythimg much smaller than an elephant -  can run for only a few hours with the GPS enbled and the power set to a sufficient level to enable tracking over a reasonable distance.using a less than optimal transmitting ntenna.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Across the pond on 10m with 200mW

WSPR never loses its ability to astound. Today I've been WSPRing on 10m, still with 0.2W. My signal was decoded by 5 different Stateside stations.

 2014-01-18 14:26  G4ILO  28.126105  -25  0  IO84hp  0.02  KZ8C  EM88pm  5973  287 
 2014-01-18 14:36  G4ILO  28.126145  -22  1  IO84hp  0.02  KB9PVH  EN53oi  5959  296 
 2014-01-18 14:44  G4ILO  28.126131  -16  0  IO84hp  0.02  VE3SWS  FN06ge  5201  293 
 2014-01-18 15:18  G4ILO  28.126107  -9  0  IO84hp  0.02  N2NOM  FN22bg  5267  286 
 2014-01-18 15:38  G4ILO  28.126104  -23  0  IO84hp  0.02  K9AN  EN50wc  6175  293

Monday, January 13, 2014

More WSPR with 20mW

I've been WSPRing on 30m today, still with a power of 0.2W. I think WSPR is more interesting when you use low power: it's always interesting to see how far you can get.

20mW is not the lowest power you can use, though, it's just the lowest power the K3 will comfortably produce. (You can set the output power to 0.0W but I'm not sure how accurately the rig will maintain the power at such a low level - something to check.

Today my 0,02W into the MFJ magnetic loop in my attic was received by 30 different stations. Here's the list:

 2014-01-13 11:52  G4ILO  10.140243  -11  0  IO84hp  0.02  ON7KO  JO21ce  637  124 
 2014-01-13 11:52  G4ILO  10.140209  -23  0  IO84hp  0.02  DL8HAF/P  JO53dm  899  92 
 2014-01-13 12:32  G4ILO  10.140206  -26  0  IO84hp  0.02  DK6UG  JN49cm  973  121 
 2014-01-13 12:54  G4ILO  10.140217  -22  0  IO84hp  0.02  DC5EO  JO31ed  760  117 
 2014-01-13 12:54  G4ILO  10.140210  -18  0  IO84hp  0.02  G8CRB  JO02bf  355  138 
 2014-01-13 13:18  G4ILO  10.140195  -19  1  IO84hp  0.02  G0GSJ  IO84jc  61  170 
 2014-01-13 14:20  G4ILO  10.140199  -19  0  IO84hp  0.02  G4ILR  JO02pp  379  124 
 2014-01-13 14:20  G4ILO  10.140224  -29  0  IO84hp  0.02  M0BLP  JO02ad  359  139 
 2014-01-13 14:30  G4ILO  10.140210  -20  0  IO84hp  0.02  OH8GKP  KP24rt  1945  43 
 2014-01-13 14:30  G4ILO  10.140203  -19  0  IO84hp  0.02  GM4SFW  IO77sn  331  349 
 2014-01-13 14:30  G4ILO  10.140199  -11  2  IO84hp  0.02  OH3HTI  KP21ag  1760  54 
 2014-01-13 14:30  G4ILO  10.140182  -13  0  IO84hp  0.02  LA5GOA  JO29oi  737  41 
 2014-01-13 14:38  G4ILO  10.140197  -23  0  IO84hp  0.02  OZ7IT  JO65df  1001  80 
 2014-01-13 14:38  G4ILO  10.140194  -13  0  IO84hp  0.02  SA6BSS  JO68  1084  60 
 2014-01-13 14:48  G4ILO  10.140189  -21  0  IO84hp  0.02  SM6WZI  JO67mp  1067  65 
 2014-01-13 14:56  G4ILO  10.140208  -21  0  IO84hp  0.02  DC8SE  JN48xi  1155  122 
 2014-01-13 14:56  G4ILO  10.140180  -7  0  IO84hp  0.02  ON7KB  JO21ei  634  122 
 2014-01-13 15:04  G4ILO  10.140204  -11  0  IO84hp  0.02  DK4TJ  JO31fc  768  117 
 2014-01-13 15:04  G4ILO  10.140236  -25  0  IO84hp  0.02  PA1GSJ  JO22da  586  117 
 2014-01-13 15:14  G4ILO  10.140238  -21  0  IO84hp  0.02  DL1WER  JN58dd  1189  122 
 2014-01-13 15:24  G4ILO  10.140195  -13  0  IO84hp  0.02  DL1KCQ  JO33uc  746  99 
 2014-01-13 15:36  G4ILO  10.140188  -25  -1  IO84hp  0.02  M5LMY  IO91oi  405  154 
 2014-01-13 15:36  G4ILO  10.140197  -12  0  IO84hp  0.02  PI4THT  JO32kf  729  107 
 2014-01-13 15:36  G4ILO  10.140196  -15  0  IO84hp  0.02  LA9JO  JP99gb  1949  26 
 2014-01-13 15:36  G4ILO  10.140191  -20  0  IO84hp  0.02  SM0FGT  JO89xg  1384  60 
 2014-01-13 15:36  G4ILO  10.140182  -12  0  IO84hp  0.02  LA5GOA/RX2  JO29oi  737  41 
 2014-01-13 15:46  G4ILO  10.140222  -12  0  IO84hp  0.02  DC0DX  JO31lk  776  113 
 2014-01-13 15:46  G4ILO  10.140215  -17  0  IO84hp  0.02  DC4LC  JN48np  1088  123 
 2014-01-13 16:22  G4ILO  10.140208  -17  0  IO84hp  0.02  DK4LA  JO54ae  868  88 
 2014-01-13 16:48  G4ILO  10.140196  -23  0  IO84hp  0.02  HB9FGQ  JN36kk  1163  137

A new batch of QSLs

A batch of QSL cards arrived from the bureau today (thanks, Ian.) Here are just a few of them.

News for kit builders

Javier Solans, EA2GCY, maker of the Iler 20 and 40 kits is now selling a range of kits from YouKits. The new kits are already listed on his very impressive-looking web site. If this means that the Chinese-made kits will now have building instructions to the same high standard as Javier's own kitsit is very good news for kit-builders.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Whispering with 20mW

Many people who operate the weak signal mode WSPR use too much power. If you don't use very low power (QRPp) you'll never find out what this mode is capable of. So to remind myself I thought I'd do some whispering on 10m using 20mW of power. It's easy to use low power with the Elecraft K3 as the power level is adjustable in 0.01 watt increments.
10m stations hearing or heard by G4ILO on 8 Jan 2015
It's a pity that the WSPRwebsite can't display a map showing only spots of one callsign. The map shows spots involving one callsign. sent or received. So the map shows WSPR signals I decoded, not only those who heard me. Some of those stations were using as much as 37dBm - whatever that is in watts. Here are the stations that decoded my tiny signal. My 20mW into an attic diopole made it across the pond on several occasions

 2014-01-08 15:44  G4ILO  28.126104  -24  0  IO84hp  0.02  W9HLY  EN70mt  5930  291 
 2014-01-08 15:24  G4ILO  28.126112  -21  0  IO84hp  0.02  KZ8C  EM88pm  5973  287 
 2014-01-08 15:24  G4ILO  28.126104  -27  0  IO84hp  0.02  K4RCG  FM08xl  5688  284 
 2014-01-08 15:06  G4ILO  28.126103  -24  0  IO84hp  0.02  W8AC  EN91jm  5649  289 
 2014-01-08 15:06  G4ILO  28.126110  -18  0  IO84hp  0.02  KB9VLR  EN54vj  5845  296 
 2014-01-08 15:06  G4ILO  28.126144  -19  0  IO84hp  0.02  ND6M  EM55se  6594  289 
 2014-01-08 14:56  G4ILO  28.126106  -21  0  IO84hp  0.02  KB9AMG  EN52tx  5964  295 
 2014-01-08 14:46  G4ILO  28.126167  -22  -1  IO84hp  0.02  KC9YSR  EM69il  6175  291 
 2014-01-08 14:38  G4ILO  28.126106  -18  0  IO84hp  0.02  VE3SWS  FN06ge  5201  293 
 2014-01-08 14:18  G4ILO  28.126098  -26  0  IO84hp  0.02  K9AN  EN50wc  6175  293 
 2014-01-08 14:00  G4ILO  28.126101  -28  0  IO84hp  0.02  ZR6LU  KG43av  9468  152 
2014-01-08 13:40  G4ILO  28.126015  -7  0  IO84hp  0.02  LZ1OI  KN22id  2470  113

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Watts conversion

The original version of K1JT's WSPR software had pop-up "tip" windows that showed the power in watts when you hovered the mouse over the dBm setting. Very useful for duffers like me that can't do a watts to dBm conversion in my head. The new version WSPR-X doesn't, however.

I found (or more truthfully Google did) an online watts to dBm converter on the web which I have duly bookmarked.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Struck by lightning

The night before last Olga and I nearly jumped out of our skins after a tremendous thunderclap which sounded as if it was just a few feet away. I wasn't concerned for the radios as I didn't think attic antennas would suffer from a lightning strike unless the house itself was struck  but in any case  both antenna switches were in the grounded position after I had heard thunder a few days earlier.

I checked both the K3 and the FUNcube Dongle which was the only other radio connected to an antenna and both seemed to be OK so I thought I had got off scot free.

That afternoon Olga noticed that the Netgear DECT Skype phones were not displaying the amount of money in the account. Later I tried to make a Skype call and was informed that Skype was offline We could still make landline calls from the phones but only if we dialled manually. Any attempt to call a number in the Contacts list  using the landline received the message "The number you have dialled  has not been recognised."

Poking the Netgear base unit's Reset button with a sharp stick didn't solve the problem. It looks as if the SPH200D base unit is broken. I'm rather sorry about that because it's an obsolete product and new ones are unobtainable - although eBay has a used one on offer for  several times what it cost when new.

Olga uses Skype a lot to talk to relatives in Ukraine so it was very useful to have Skype connected all the time and not just when she was using the computer, but it's looking as if we will have to live without that facility.

That evening we turned on the Humax Freetime box to watch some TV  and there was no picture. We checked the voltage from the power supply, which is a small 12V 4A  "brick rather than internal switched mode supply. Zero volts. We checked the fuse and that was intact. Unfortunately the Humax power supply has an unusual type of plug so I can't use one of the collection 0f wall warts that I have in a box in the garage to test if the satellite receiver itself is working or whether it's just the power supply that has failed.

There is no proof that lightning really did cause these items of equipment to fail - everything else including the broadband router are still working - but it's quite a coincidence it it isn't.. SoNow all I can do is wait until next week and order a new power supply from Humax. Oh happy days! At least we can still watch TV as I kept the old Freesat box as a backup.

Postscript. According to a neighbour a house a few streets away was damaged by the lightning bolt. Doesn't seem near enough to have blown up two items of equipment though.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

WebProp is broken

Many of you will have seen these propagation banners on many ham web sites. They are generated by a script on the G4ILO's Shack website.
WebProp propagation banner

It appears that NOAA changed the format of the wwv.txt solar data file with effect from I January . When I turned on the computer I was greeted by a pile of "bad data" messages from the PHP script that processes wwv.txt and turns it into an intermediate data file which is used by WebProp (and also VOAProp) to display the current solar data.

Unfortumately I cannot fix iy. My vision is too confused to read  type very well and my brain is too befuddled to deal with technical compouter stuffany more. Even typing a blog post is a trial for me at the moment. I have hade to make dozens of corrections even to get this far (one reason for the dearth if blog postings recently.

Is there anyone who knows PHP who would be willing to take a look at the script and fix it so tyhat it will work with the current bersion if the wwvntxt file?

I foolishly thought that if I just left erything as it is then it would juat carry on running without any work from me. Unfortunately things get updated and require changes to be made. Maintaining this website has become  burden I could do without right now It causes me a lot of stress and upset that I can't manage to do things i could easily do before. The easiest solution might be just shut down for good.