Shack at 02/05/14

Shack at 02/05/14

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Made my mind up to get an SDR radio for main shortwave listening so tried a different arrangement for existing kit so as to find space for the required lap top while I accumulate the readies. The shelf on the left will be so assigned, but in the meantime I've set up my old FRG-7700 with a recently aquired NES10-2 MK3 Noise Cancellation Speaker on top. Radio works very well, but has a tendency to drift a bit. Fine tuning only works in memory mode, which is a bit weird. Just have to be a bit light on the main tuning that's all. All good fun, and something to play with when the main computer tied up with data modes and can't use the PCR-1000.

Not a bad trip morning so far. Three VK's (Australia) receiving my signal (10 watts into the Pro Whip)

Here's a comparison of WSPR and OPERA (top) usage at this time (09.00)
Woke up at 01:50 this morning. Wide awake so got a cuppa and piece of toast and fired up the Roberts, see what's about.

4840 Khz got WWCR in Nashville 5/8. Talking about animal dialects, namely killer wales during the 'Creation' spot of 'Worldwide Christian Radio'.

02:05 found another US Christian station on 5920. Checking Primetime Shortwave, this appears to be WHRI. Sig 5/8

02:08 and ABC news was found on 693 Khz at about 5/6

Had a listen to Gander (Air) on 5649 usb for a while then called it a night.

Up at 07:00 again and fired up Opera. Not much doing at the moment, so checked out WSPR map and found that mode very busy. Now tx'ing on 14.0956 (wspr), with NA4U (US) along with a few Europeans coming in already.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Tried some PropNET this afternoon on 10 metres, but didn't register any beacons. Only live psk31 qso's noted. This evening switched to jt65-hf. Just look how busy this mode is on 20 at 18:00 +.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Had a little play with Navtex this evening. Rogaland Norway and Netherlands Coastguard came in quite strong at one point. Niton is huge being on my doorstep of course, with Cullercoats a reasonable signal from Scotland.

Here's a screen showing the locations (Blue icons) relevant to the messages I received using 'YAND' and 'Frisnit' decoders.

Monday, 20 February 2012

20 metreis alive with wspr tonight. Only just tuned in and already been received by WZ4Z (States) and VE3DMU (Canada)

Been experimenting with witha couple of modes over the last few days. Namely Propnet and APRS Messenger. No real joy with either of them though. The only action I could register using Propnet was straight psk qso's on 10 metres. No actual propnet beacons seen.

As to APRS Messenger, all I could pick up was packets forwarded by the internet. I didn't decode any signals on any of the frequencies I could find on the internet, so evetually gave up and went back to Opera.

The top screen shot is of Opera on 20 just now, which shows WSPR has the edge on popularity.

Monday, 13 February 2012

First from the States today. 12:12 14065 G0HDI de K4RKM Op2 4011 mi -27 dB in w. NC USA
Been trying to decide for ages whether the MFJ 1025 noise reducer is worth going for. Some 'You Tube' tests seem impressive, while others are not so. It obviously need to be set up right, and with the right antennas to make a significant difference.

The dsp facility on HRD seems to help a lot with the PCR-1000 re Broadcast listening, so I decided to dig out my old MFJ-784B dsp filter to put in line with the DX-394 before the mixer. I use this radio mainly for ssb monitoring, and find the MFJ very helpfull in reducing the qrn. This machine also takes a bit of setting up, but once done it's fine. I think I'll give the 1025 a miss anyway.

SV8QG (Greece), a regular, is my furthest capture today so far on Opera. 1568 miles @ 11:05

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Latest desk configuration. Using the mixer (Tapco MIX120) in combination with receivers, phones, Speakers and recorder (Tascam DR-40). Now I can listen/record something else while the 'Opera' is running on the computer and FT-897. In the evening when Opera dies on 20 metres I can use the serial switch box to direct Ham Radio Deluxe to drive the PCR-1000.

Soon as I get some serious money, I'll change it all again by adding a lap top/sdr receiver combo. Torn between the RF Space SDR-IQ and the Flex 1500, but either one is but a dream at the moment Hi!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

State of play at 15:31 ie stations having received my Opera beacon today.
Opera has picked up today, WA3USG (Pennsylvania) receiving me up at the moment.

New addition to the well over crowded bench. Been hearing on the 'Shortwave-Radio' Yahoo group about this guy on 14.3125 from Canada who spends hour at a time winding just about everyone up who cares to stick around on the frequency. To those not sure of the rigs under the printer, but are curious as to their id's. A Uniden UBC9000XLT is on top an Icom-718, which is only capable of receiving due to my blowing the finals way back in history Hi!

Up until now I have not been able to monitor the shortwaves whilst the computer sound card is tied up with Opera and the 897, as opposed to the PCR-1000. The Satellit is covering SSTV of course. Only way round it was to set up the DX-394, which I have done. As recording with computer is out too, I decided to add an extension shelf that allows me to use the digital recorder. This records the 394's audio to either disc, pen drive or SD card. The Heil phones being connected to the recorder.

Been listening for a couple of hours now and no sign of anyone on 14.3125 however. 15:23 Strong tuning up signal now, maybe some life appearing then Hi!.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Brrrrr, another cold one this morning. Oh dear!, looks like the Opera server is off line again. If it's still so by lunch time I might have a go at ROS mode for a change.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Very quiet day Opera wise, with only one two way contact recorded. SSTV was an average day I guess.

The latest version of Opera seems to insist on displaying pop-ups from station unrelated to those being actually received, nor shown on the cluster list at the time. Had a nice chat with F1ABL, Michel, who although seemingly instigating a pop up/chat box on several occasions this morning (immediately following my transmission), was not doing so however. Further, he was out of the shack at the time apparently. Interesting!.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Just made an interesting two way contact, and new country for me. South Aftrica ZS6AF. Thanks Johan. 73 Brian

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Apparently the reason why there were no two way logs recorded yesterday is because the server in Spain was off line. Ok today though, with 926 miles being the limit at 17:55

Give it another hour I guess, then I'll try a bit of Navtex.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Nice spot at 12:20 ZL9BAF -24 Aukland Campbell Islands
Well I decided to brave the cold and replace the Arno Cobra with a white stick from the reserves bench (the shed) Had it for at least 20 years I suppose.

Anyway, after checking the swr was still valid with the MFJ analyzer, I set up the IC 2820 on the bench. I'm now open for business, either digital or analogue fm.

SSTV's abit slow today. Still sunny, but warnings of snow this afternoon. Think we'll miss the worst of it here though.

That's a nice new one for me (4X1DA Israel). Probably the weekend bringing more guys out to play Hi!.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Thought I'd have a look at Navtex this evening. Here's three faces of Radiocom 6 receiving Niton. I just love eye candy Hi!
Been wondering what to concentrate on when 20 metres fades in the evenings.

Can't seem to get decent Navtex reception, and Wefax is pretty iffy most times too. I see some guys are into very low frequency Opera, ie 136 and 500 khz. I know I have too much qrn on 5oo, but I might have a go at monitoring 136 this evening. Don't hold out much hope with the modest long wire I have.

I noticed today, that digital repeater GB7MM at Westbourne (between Poole and Bournemouth) has been ok'd, but is not yet operational. Thinks!..I wonder if I should get my D-Star rig and white stick set up ready for some possible action. Bought the IC-E2820 spacifically for digital operation, but never had a nibble in over five years in the periods I've had it running.

Looking at the coverage map, I am on the extremes. However, if we have a lift I could be in with a chance. Then again, once the repeater became known to be active it might entice others to take the plunge, therefore increasing the chances of direct contacts.

Made the States again today.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Just about to close Opera for the day when up pop's a report from Winnipeg. That's it now though. 19:49 QRT
Another cold start to the day. Mind you, it's a lot warmer tham Russia . Bugger that for a game of soldiers Hi!.

Thought I might make it to Sidney this morning so I could get a map screen shot, I forgot to get one last visit *sigh*. Unfortunately the path is closed this morning so that's that idea out the window.

The mouse (Kensington trackball) froze a few minutes ago. That's the third time it's happened last couple of days. Bit of a pain as I have to kill the computer, then restart of course. This means the current QSO list is wiped from Opera. I did have the mouse connected to the keyboard usb port, so I've now moved it to a pc usb port direct. Hope that fixes the problem.