Another lunch time ES

Today i was lucky again. During lunch i worked LZ1AG and OK1VBN. Heard the beacons SV2JAO/B and 4O0BCG/B. Also 9A/S51DI/P came back to my CQ, but i did not manage to copy the complete call. Sorry! Unfortunately i did not have a 2m rig available since the band was also open on 144MHz.

My first QSO on 4m

Now finally i have my 4m rig ready. It consists of a DF2FQ transverter with some modification to power module mounting and RX amplifier stage.
Currently i use my FT-817 to drive it. I also added a separate drive input which i need for the SDR. With 1mW input on 29MHz it can achieve about 25W output on 70MHz.
So far i did not benefit from ES conditions. Seems it missed all the nice propagation from last weeks. Hopefully there will be another opening until end of August, when the permission ends here.
As antenna i use a Hentenna Quad with direct 50Ohm assymetric feed point. The antenna has some significant Null in the radiation pattern but is a good compomise for the fibre mast at the balcony.
My fist contact was with DK2EA in JO50UF in CW. Meanwhile i also worked DD1VD and DL2VPO locally.

4m band rig on the balcony

4m Hentenna Quad

[Edit 2017/07/23] meanwhile i worked EA1BFZ in IN81SS and today SV2JAO in KN10DN. ES propagation seems to be very short and spotty. You really need to look to the cluster and search the frequencies all the time. 5 minutes later all could be gone. 100km away the conditions can be significantly different.

IC-E92 spectrum

Triggered by some forum discussion about interference risk of operating repeaters in neighbor channels in 6.125kHz channels I was curious about the TX spectrum of my IC-E92. The measurement was done radiated. I checked for neighbor channel interference. You can see the delta values bottom right.

FM wide:

IC-E92 FM wide 1750Hz

IC-E92 FM wide 1750Hz

FM narrow:

IC-E92 FM narrow 1750Hz

IC-E92 FM narrow 1750Hz

D-Star (only half span screenshot):

IC-E92 D-Star

IC-E92 D-Star

You can see that D-Star is really the most narrow band mode. Using neighbor frequencies at close QTH still cannot be suggested but at least the interference will be less than for narrow band FM.

March 16 V-/U-/SHF contest JO61VB

This time i had to stay home. I used the little time to check the equipment for 2m.
In the end i had 37 QSO in about 3 hours of operation time. Not a lot. Given that i just use a omni antenna i am still fine.

March 16 - stations reached

March 16 – stations reached


I used my HiQSDR + ME2HT setup. This time i used a Odroid board with cwdaemon for keying. With that the rig can be placed anywhere in the house and the SDR/Log PC can be connected via wireless LAN. This enables contest operation from the couch without annoying the family by loud fans or clicking of RX/TX relais.

MMC2015@JO60TR

Last weekend i was able to participate in the Marconi Memorial VHF Contest. First of all many thanks to DL4DTU and DL3DTS for giving the possibility to use their great QTH in JO60TR together with the antenna group 4x9ele + the amplifier !

I used my HiQSDR already few contests before. Now i wanted to try on 2m as well. I decided to purchase a ME2HT-Pro transverter which perfectly fits the transverter input/output of the transverter. You can see the setup on the picture below.

HiQSDR + ME2HT-Pro

HiQSDR + ME2HT-Pro

The SDR is controlled from the Quisk software. I usually use 196kHz bandwidth setting. This time i tried the CWSkimmer software. Quisk can forward the received baseband samples to a audio loopback device which is fed into the skimmer running under Wine.

The first time i used the very powerful Tucnak log from OK1ZIA. The log got the skimmer spots. In addition also Quisk connects to the skimmer. If the center frequency shifts Quisk tells the skimmer the new center frequency. This is required to always get correct spots. From the bandmap and the cluster window of Tucnak its directly possible to control Quisk like a hardware transceiver. In addition Quisk has a 2nd RX that can be used  to listen to other frequencies in between the CQ loops. The picture shows the SDR PC on the right side and log PC on the left side. On request of some OM i also fed the skimmer spots into the reversebeacon network. Sometimes i had the impression that this caused sometimes other stations beeing faster than me ;)

Log and SDR PC in JO60TR

Log and SDR PC in JO60TR

The big advantage of the skimmer connected to the local system was that i immediately noticed when DX stations were heading their antennas in my direction. Looking through the skimmer spots i noticed that i still missed quite some station from DX.

To avoid turning the antenna array all the time i decided to use a second antenna system. In addition to the 4x9ele of Norbert i mounted my DK7ZB-Oblong to one of the other masts at the QTH. The array ran with about 400wtts and the omni antenna with about 200wtts. Reception was selectable from either the one or the other antenna.

Overall the setup was working quite well. The only part that really caused a lot of trouble was the sequencer required to switch the various relais in the correct order. The microcontroller in the setup had problems to keep the PTT. Impulses from the switching relais caused the PTT input of the sequencer to raise for a short moment and afterwards the PTT was not detected anymore. Sporadically my transmissions got interrupted by that effect. Sorry for that. In addition i had some minor trouble configuring all the software correctly since the IP network setup was quite different than at home. I also had to extend my wireless internet access 2 times. One time because the Windows VM with the aggregator software wanted to download a Windows10 update ;)

In the next picture you see the map of the worked stations. The result was about 250QSO and a bit over 80000 points raw score with a average of about 300km per QSO.

QSO map mmc2015 from JO60TR

QSO map mmc2015 from JO60TR

Last but not least i want to show some spectrum screenshots from the contest.

The Erzgebirge is known to have a high density of VHF contest stations from OK and DL. Therefore the band is very full.

waterfall mmc15

waterfall mmc15

Within the waterfall history its a lot easier to find a free frequency than with a normal transceiver. You also see in which direction you need to move if one of the other close high power stations comes too close. For the close high power stations you can also see the problems of the different transmitters that can cause wideband interference.

Example 1: Phasenoise of the transmitter

poor TX phasenoise

poor TX phasenoise

This is really a poor example since the noise is less than 70dB below the carrier.

Example 2: Keying clicks causing splatters

keying clicks

keying clicks

In that example the spectrum of the oscillator is a lot better. But the hard keying of the TX causes leakage to other frequencies about 85dB below the carrier. The level was rather low but remember the proximity and the high antenna gain and TX power.

I wonder if someone can give me honest feedback about my own TX signal…?

73 de Mario, DH5YM

IARU Reg1 VHF (qrp)

Only a few QSO just for fun from Hirtstein JO60OM. I just wanted to try the DK7ZB Oblong at this location in parallel to our fieldday operation. Therefore i just had my FT-817 with me and annoyed a few people with my QRP signal. Because of the stormy weather it was not possible to use the full length of the mast most of the time.

IMG_1225

DK7ZB Oblong in stormy weather at JO60OM

IMG_1224

DH5YM in operation ;)

Odroid U3 WebSDR

I want to run a temporary 4m WebSDR. The software comes from PA3FWM and there is a binary for raspberry pie computers. The binary can run on any ARM CPU. I purchased a Odroid U3 which has a lot more CPU power. The picture shows the Odroid as well as the rtlsdr connected and a wifi stick used for connecting to my network. Running the WebSDR with 1MHz bandwith gives about 50% CPU load.

The board runs Lubuntu 14.04.2. I did not measure the current consumption on the 5V supply.

My aim is to put it in a box to the balkony.

IMG_20150704_181942

Today i heard my first station on 4m with that setup. SV2JAO.

sv2jao-Screenshot

Marconi Memorial Contest 2014

Another contest from my home location in the Elbe valley this year. Again i used the 2m DK7ZB Quadlong antenna. Its doing surprisingly well. But this time i had 200W of output. Direction southeast was pretty good again. Now ODX was 9A4V. Thanks for the good ears down there ! Also other directions (except east) were working okay. That was mainly due to the fact that i used the reversebeacon network to gather spots generated by DJ3AK. Many thanks for that as well. Also DJ5AM (very close to my location) ran a skimmer which generated a few useful spots for me. My original plan was to run my own skimmer but that was not working due to setup issues. But the receiver of DJ3AK was really useful. Getting spot into the log-window, click to the call which tunes the TRX to the frequency and takes the call over. The macro and keyboard keyer functionality did the rest ;) East direction does not work because i am located at the east side of the Elbe valley and the hill is going up too high to get over there.

Marconi_2014_JO61VB

Marconi_2014_JO61VB

The map nicely shows the directions of the valley i can operate through with some exceptions of other stations from different directions.
A nice one was F8KID and HB9FAB, HB9TYU as well as PA4VHF and OZ6OL.