Shack at 02/05/14

Shack at 02/05/14

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Yayyyyyyyy!, at last. Percy Verance pay's off. I finally managed to install qsstv.
This is he previous version to last ie V8.1.17.  Got it running in parallel with EasyPal on seperate notebooks. Over an hour and no sign of sigs yet. Murphies! no-one about and low pressure probably meaning lousy prop. See how it goes this evening anyway....

Jt65-hf-hb9hqx-edition running on XP, but won't apparently do the business with Windowa 8?.   Anyway here's as screenshot of last 24 hours. (With a break for for sleep hi)..

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Gordon Bennett!, I'm really up to there with Linux today. Been trying to get Wine to run.....anything.  Why is it that a demo install on You Tube looks so straight forward, yet trying it myself doesn't.. On you tube...Click here to download...It downloads.  When I try the same I get told to something completely different resulting in achieving nothing.  The package downloaded from the Ubuntu repository appears to have loaded, but how do I get the described Windows emulation so I can run something?... I've tried so many things now as a result of searches in forums etc, I've finally given up. I know I want to elbow Windows, but it's nowhere near as bloody complicated to use.

I guess I should have expected the rest of the day to go bad, as this morning the Linux geek I'm friendly with in the local electronics outlet wrote a load of instructions down for me re using the terminal to download a particular program and it's dependencies.  When I came to read them this afternoon I realised they were in my shirt pocket.....Which was having it's final spin in the washing machine.  Bugger!. What a dipstick!.  Tomorrows another day lol.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Decided, whilst nosing the mag's in Smiths, that I would buy the Linux mag that included a disc for the new Ubuntu (14) It had both 32 and 64 bit versions onboard so reckoned I'd be in with a reasonable chance of getting  the 32 bit running on my notebook that had 'Ultimate Edition' installed.

It did indeed install ok, so I proceeded to try and find some ham stuff to run on it.  First wsjtx.  Ah!, first snag.  I have to use a usb to serial converter and I only have Windows drivers.  Search of the forums comes up with how to install Linux drivers from the command console.Managed to do that, as everything appeared as instructed in the console box. My serial converter was recognised and ready to use. Unfortunately wsjtx didn't agree, so couldn't trigger ptt.

On to qsstv. Commanded an install ie 'sudo apt install qsstv' and we're in business after starting from the console ie 'qsstv'.  Ran an audio lead from the DX-394 and waited......and waited. Fired up the dongle/HDSDR and MMSSTV.  Eventually got a pic trigger  appear but qsstv would not trigger ie VIS. Went to manual and hit 'start receive'. A pic, or the remaining part of one did appear.  Tried a few time to get qsstv to run in parallel with mmsstv, but no dice.  I haven't had a really strong VIS to see if that's the problem, so called it a day and switched to installing fldigi.  That appears to work judging by the waterfall.

As I though  might try again with qsstv on the Linux job, I installed HB9HQX's version of jt65-hf on the XP notebook.  I'll work jt65 from there I thought. Wrong again!..The program works great.  Unfortunately I forgot I can't get the time to synchronise on that machine any more.  I get errors with when attempting  on line time updating, and manually setting it goes t*ts up within minutes. Therefore Jt65 and wspr, which both need accurate time running, are out of the question.  That machine, and apparently my Linux machine are only good for receiving data it seems.

The new lappy will not run HB9QX's jt65-hf. (the waterfall freezes half way down) presumably Win 8 compatibility problem, so all in all I'm not having a lot of success.  The old version of jt65 and wspr are about my only options tx wise.  Another crap day at the office lol...

That's a better start to the day. Seems the norm is the States first thing, same cluster of EU stations during the day and the Far East late evening.   Probably worth switching to jt65-hf during the day. Could try sstv I suppose, but I don't think 10 watts will get me very far.  Colouring my wife's hair this morning. Must pick up some Dulux on the way lol. Just kidding, it's Henna I'm using.  I'll stick to the grey myself....What's left of it. hi..

Monday, 19 May 2014

Been playing with jt65-hf today. Managed to get the original program running, but can'y seem to get the one I prefer to complete a waterfall sweep. Keeps freezing half way. Blast!. I liked the version by HB9HQX which did run on the XP machine for 120 qso's at least, but the 64 bit Win 8 lappy just won't entertain it.

Anyway I've had enough jt65 for today, time to see if I can get some dx with wspr this evening.

What's happened to the prop' this morning?. I've been wspr'ing  for the last hour and received, or been received, by no one.  Oh well, try later. I'm off to the office..

Friday, 16 May 2014

Two new one's for me today. New Zealand and Phucket, Thailand. Nice!

Looks like Jose has been hitting the computer keys again. Come up with a new mode he calls FHSS mode. (16 different CDMA codes randomly chosen with 1.8 seconds per hop). Apparently 3g uses a similar concept.  It's an optional mode included with hiss ROS program (V 7.2.7), but I downloaded it and found the relevant frequencies to be used greyed out. I think it is only operable to testers at the moment. Watch this space.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Think that will do for today.  Of course while I'm tx'ing not only can't I use the dongle/swl'ing, but  pictures received on the DX-394 are also scrambled.  Can't have one's cake and eat it hi!.

Here's who received me on the indoor loop today anyway.
Ah that's better. Nothing like a bit of VK to prove one's system is doing the business hi!. JA next?..
Only meant to get the gear together before going out, but found myself strapping it all together and firing it up. Here are the stations that have received me. (G0PEB is right on top of me on the map..Isle Of Wight station). Closed down until return from town, then fired up again. Seems the best times to tx are early morning and evening. During the day all I get is the same small group of EU stations over and over.

Problem that has cropped up. When transmitting (using lap top and IC-718) I screw up reception on the desk top using HDSDR via the dongle.  Obviously the tx'd rf from the loop is hitting the long wire and the dongle is chilled. Everything freezes on the desk top.  Understandably.  Oh well, looks like I'll have to allocate times to each.  First and last thing I'll fire up the wspr, then during the day I'll use the dongle for general listening.
Eye's down, look in. A new day!...Thinks!. What shall I do today?. Call in at the office as usual, then I'll rig up the lappy/interface/rig and loop to try a bit of wsp when I return.  Just tried running jt65-hf receieve, but the waterfall gets half way then freezes?.  Loaded ROS up instead and the layout is all screwed.  Bugger! running out of options here.  Just tried wspr receive and seems to be ok. Decoding ok anyway.  That's it then, wspr it is when I get back from my constitutional..Practical wireless is out I noticed yesterday in Smiths, But like Radio User, I wait all month for it to appear, have a squint through it in the shop and decide there's nothing new to interest me enough to buy it...The internet is going to kill off all mags I think.

Had a nose around 15 megs and found Radio Australia.  Heavy qsb but heard what sounds like a rock concert. Didn't recognise the group. Sig 4/3-5-7.   Also found Overcomer Ministry on 15.190. Southern drawl. Usual brain washing to the masses hi..Makes the orator feel important anyway.  Nice little number!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Picked up a cute little usb soundcard from Maplin the other day. It's built in to an enclosure that looks like a valve. Got a right angled fitting so it stands up. Lights up like a valve too.  Love it.  Anyway it solves the problem of no mic socket on the lap top and has allowed me to use data mode decoding software in parallel with the PCR-1000.

This Windows 8 is not as friendly to my software as XP I notice. Neither SDR Console or HDSDR are happy (Both lose audio contact with the dongle for some reason) and even  Ham Radio Deluxe crashes quite often.  The original Icom software works fine though.  Maybe the computer spec is not up to it. Haven't bothered setting up the IC-718 and Rigblaster to try tx'ng with the lappy yet.  Waiting for the right mood hi..

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Been playing with Train Sim, now I have 'Steam' running again. Never dawned on me to use the lap top for games when I bought it, but really chuffed to find it's capable of running some of my old games, which include Train Sim and Flight Sim.

Anyway, back to radio. I compared the Mag Loop with the long wire re receiving sstv this morning, and the loop won hands down. Therefore I've made the loop/DX-394 my permanent sstv set up. Put the IC-718 away as I'm not bothering to try tx'ing with the lap top. Would have to buy another usb card for it if I did as it doesn't have a mic input socket.

Using the lap top to drivee my PCR-1000 with Ham Radio Deluxe (V5.2). Audio is straight to speaker system.  HDSDR is driving the dongle on the old desk top, with decoding done on same computer  via the Akai usb sound card.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

All change again hi..Strange goings on with my sdr set up on the lap-top. Firtsly the SDR Console sound gave up so I switched to HDSDR. That ran ok for a bit, then I began to lose sound on the higher frequencies ie 27 mhz up.  Pretty soon after I lost all sound and got an error message on Windows (8) sound card out of reach?.. 

At first I thought my dongle was going boobs up, but reverting to the original set up on the old XP machine proved it was still working ok.  I left the dongle/HDSDR set up as it was and wondered what to do about the lap-top.  I ended up digging out my old PCR-1000 and loaded up ham Radio Deluxe 4.1, which I had on disc.  This version would not run on Windows 8, though the original PCR-1000 software from Icom did.  Found HRD version  5.2 on line and installed that and It runs perfectly (using a usb/serial converter by the way). So I'm now listening to CRI on the PCR-1000 at this time (see screenshot).  Unfortunately I failed to check that the lap top had a mic socket. It does not *sigh*, so I've taken the radio audio direct to my hi fi speaakers. This means I can't decode onboard, or record the sound. The Akai usb sound card is being used by the XP set up where I can run decoder software in tandem with the dongle. That's the state of play at the moment. Maybe I'll get another usb card for this lappy. Thinks!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

New lap top is brilliant. Been playing with the Windows 8 tile desk top, but not sure I like it much. Maybe it will grow on me.  Can't seem to get the on board web cam to work, which did in the shop. Something happened after being re set to factory reset in the shop I guess. Been on line, downloaded user manual, but there's no mention of how to activate it. According to device manager it's working ok. Strange!. Still I wouldn't use it anyway. If I wanted a web cam/shack cam, I'd use an external usb job.

Only use the lap-top to drive the dongle, using HDSDR.  SDR-Console also works, but I prefer the former.  One thing I've noticed when using HDSDR, is that guys don't appear to follow convention re usb/lsb. That is to say most stations appear to be using usb on 14 mhz say, but the odd one is using lsb.  Same goes for 7 mhz, but the opposite way round.  Is this normal I ask myself, or is it some anomaly with this I/Q business. I'm settled on Receive left channel only, but now sure if it's the best thing to do.

Haven't decided whether to use the lap-top to drive the IC-718 yet ie get back to transmitting. Still playing with it receive wise. Thought of trying the old PCR-1000 with Ham Radio Deluxe. Might try that after shops.  Also thought of trying my old Bonito software. That was ideal to decode wefax and navtex on the desk-top  (When the latter worked properly lo)

Friday, 2 May 2014

I bottled out with the antenna in the end. Worried too much, not finding any reviews on line and the fact that most of it's construction is loaded coils, that it would not be as efficient, or out perform the 60 long wire I'm currently using.

Had a better idea. Seing as my old XP machine is basically held together by shear luck and persistance, I remembered Staples quite often have reduced end of lines computers going. Sure enough I picked up an Acer Aspire V5-122P 11.6" AMD quad core 6 gig memory 500 HDD with Windows 8 (Touch screen) for 207 quid.  This included another 10% off of of sale price due to the guy not being able to find the box. Last one..Display model. Had to wait 25 minutes for assistant to take it back to factory out of demo mode.  Another 10 minutes trying to find a key to fit the anti theft lock.  I'll have a play after lunch. Going to use it to drive the radio with, then send the data audio to the original computer for decoding (Well as long as the latter holds up this time hi). Never had Windows 8 before, so got a guide book to read.
Ok, I have the page sorted out again. Blogger works and Word Press doesn't, so Blogger it is.  Not Word Press fault I may add, as this computer is well past it's sell by date resulting in all sorts of anomolies. Inability to get sound from SDR-Console being one.  Oh well, at least HDSDR works, and I can still decode data modes via the Akai usb sound card.

Waiting 'till 09:00 before going out. Want to give ML&S a bell, see if they have a Diamond D303 swl'ing antenna in before making a trip up there. Pretty sure it must be more efficient than my wire slung over a small tree. Just don't have the room for proper wire antenna's.. Sometimes lately, when I see the lack of sstv pics coming in, I think my antenna is off line. Yet psk and jt65 seems to be just a strong as ever. Another bench mark I use is Shannon Volmet on 5.505 mhz. That seems ok too. Must just be a quiet spell for sstv that's all. Can't find any reviews of the Diamond, so guess I'll have to take a chance..

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Trying a bit of BC listening. 17:38 'Mail Bag' on Radio Romania Int'l. Sig 5/9+
Initially I wanted to use SDR-Console/Funcube dongle pro+ as my shortwave listening station. However, even though I had it running last night, I'm unable to get audio from this set up. I've switched to HDSDR, as shown as header image Here monitoring C.R.I China Drive). This seems to be running ok.  I've tried older versions of SDR Console with no luck with audio. Strange!..