Sunday, March 29, 2009
One of the issues that caused me to stop and think was the fact that there's no local activity here - or at least, there aren't any D-Star repeaters within easy range of Longworth - or indeed on my regular commute. I didn't want to use one of the D-Star dongles, as I wanted to try D-Star through RF.
I decided that I'd be best off getting one of the Icom IC-E92D handhelds. For one thing, it is a lot cheaper than the mobile radios - and I don't really want to replace my FT-8900 which I use in the car - it's just such a great rig. For another thing, since there's more D-Star activity in London, I thought I could take the rig into London and maybe make some contacts during lunchtime. I'd been wanting to try it for a while, but the time was right recently to make a purchase!
So the rig arrived in mid week. First impression was of a very nice unit - solidly built, well featured both for analogue and digital modes. I quickly got the rig going on the local 145/433 analogue repeaters and made a couple of contacts. On GB3WO, which is Echolink enabled, I enjjoyed using the DTMF keypad to set up links - something I've not been able to do.
Yesterday, Julie had an OU tutorial in Reading for the morning. I decided to take the rig in to Reading, hoping that I might be able to spend a little time setting up D-Star. I also hoped that I might be able to hear the Amersham D-Star repeater, GB7AU. So, there I was, sat on a bench by the Kennet and Avon Canal with the handheld and the instruction book.
Actually, setting up the rig for D-Star isn't difficult. I quickly got the MY callsign set up as G4VXE. What wasn't immediately obvious to me was what to set the R1 and R2 parameters to and there were a couple of false starts, trying to call people through GB7AU whilst I didn't have things setup properly. But, I was quickly hearing people through the repeater from all over the UK as well as Denmark - since GB7AU was connected to the REF005 reflector.
Reading a few more pages, I discovered that I could get obtain the parameters I needed by listening to other stations and found the magic parameters to make things work was to set UR to CQCQCQCQ R1 to GB7AU B and R2 to GB7AU G
I also found that it is possible and apparently, general practice to place your name after a / in the MYC parameter, hence when I work someone - my callsign will display as G4VXE/Tim on their screen, which is clever. It also seems to be possible to have another text message scroll on their screen, so I've added my e-mail address in there which seemed like it might be useful.
Did I work anyone? Yes! My first contact on D-Star was with Ellis, GM4JLZ in Aberdeen, followed by Mike, G1ZRN and Rob, M0ZPU.
Great fun and the biggest learning experience I've had in ham radio for a while! Thanks, guys!
Monday, March 23, 2009
"A station signing EP2IA has been QRV this week on 40 mtrs CW, asking for QSL via qrz.com. This was my call in the 1970's but I know nothing about the current operation. If the call-sign had been re-issued I would expect him to give a valid QSL route. But qrz.com points at G3SXW so I must conclude that this is a pirate operation.
Please help me to spread the word: PIRATE! I will receive many QSLs that will be returned to sender (extra work for me) and very disappointing for many DXers who think that they have worked a new country. There are some very selfish people in this world. "
Greetings - 73 de Roger/G3SXW.
Monday, March 16, 2009
It's well worth a look for two segments in particular, some more AO-51 operation by Pat, WD9EWK (I hope I've got that right) and a 'tour' of a really impressive mobile installation, nicknamed 'The Pigeon Shredder' owned by AC7E (I think!).
Anyway, take a look!
Or, in my case, just making some interesting contacts by picking the best times. I took a few moments on Saturday afternoon to look on HF, but conditions were pretty horrid. I worked ZC4VJ on 15m and a number of VEs, including my friend VE3EJ on 20m.
We went out for dinner on Saturday evening, which meant that looking on 80m at sunrise on Sunday morning was 'off'! However, I was up in time to take a look on 40m and was delighted that I did, finding VE3EJ again as well as more distantly, several stations from Australia and New Zealand. VK7GK was a huge signal in particular.
Though it's not everyone's cup of tea - I think it's a wonderful contest!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
RSGB Convention – Wyboston 9th–11th October 2009. This years event, at the Wyboston Lakes Conference centre in Bedfordshire, will for the first time, see the inclusion of a full stream of VHF lectures and presentations This new stream will run alongside the usual streams of HF, DX, Technical and Beginners lectures.
Here’s a great opportunity to meet the people involved at the leading edge of the use of the spectrum, in the usual lecture environment but more importantly in a social environment. As in previous years the Convention will be hosting the full range of UK licence exams. A detailed programme will be available in due course. So remember - RSGB Convention – Wyboston 9-11th October – see you there.
You will note that the RSGB Convention now encompasses VHF and above; Reg (G8VHI) and Neil (G3RIR) have been asked to run the new stream which will have the theme of
VHF/UHF/SHF DXing and Contesting through technical excellence and development but not forgetting the beginners to these bands.
We already have a number of excellent lectures planned but we would like to receive suggestions of which topics and lecturers you would like incorporated. Also, perhaps, some of you may wish to offer to give a talk within the theme.
Please feel free to distribute this e-mail to any one you think may be interested including any relevant reflectors.Neil, G3RIR g3rir 'at' yahoo 'dot' com and Reg, G8VHI regwoolley 'at' aol 'dot' com will be pleased to hear from you
Over the last couple of weeks, I've been making most of my mobile activity on 6m FM, since finding that David, G4HZA is commuting around the same time as me in the morning and is to be found on the Farnham Repeater, GB3FX.
GB3FX has really super coverage and with the odd patchy bit, is a solid signal on my journey from Longworth down to Didcot railways station.
As well as working G4HZA, there have also been QSOs with G8ZLL and M0UHF, who was also worked simplex. So there really are some QSOs to be made on 50MHz FM if you look.
On Monday, I drove down to Southampton and found that GB3FX was a good signal for the vast majority of the journey, until just before Winchester.
If you're in range of GB3FX - I hope to hear you - and I'll be looking on 51.510MHz simplex as well.
Coverage Map courtesy of the Farnham VHF Group
The folder on my phone with 'ideas' for posts has been steadily growing! So, I'm taking advantage of a few minutes spare today and getting some posts written.