Monday, April 27, 2009

A few quick thoughts; HF JT65A, WSJT and 6m mobile

I know when I don't update the blog for a while, people think I'm losing interest. I'm not, it's just a time thing! So, I wanted to take a few moments to tell you the various radio projects that I'm thinking about at the moment.

JT65A on HF

Don, G3XTT made a casual reference to JT65A (one of the WSJT modes) being used on HF, last week. I thought about it quickly and realised that it could be a great way of making some contacts in the poor HF conditions. I did a quick google and came up with this useful document by Andy, K3UK on getting started with HF JT65A. Happened to mention it to Paul, 2E0BHA on Saturday and he was trying it out in an hour! Paul tells me he's heard his first JA on any band using the mode as well as copying many other DX stations. So it sounds really interesting. I'll check it out shortly.

And whilst we're on WSJT

I was tinkering with WSJT on my laptop and hooked it up to the FT847, listening on 144MHz. As I was monitoring, I heard an number of bursts which the program decoded. Nothing spectacular, but maybe worth investigation.

I was thinking that I could leave the 2m rig monitoring during the day and watch the decoding from work, by remote control. And in fact, I have some embryonic thoughts on remote control, following an interesting chat with Dave, G4FRE/WW2R in a car park at Harwell yesterday morning.

More on 50MHz mobile

Using the FT8900 on 6m FM is working out really well, especially on the Farnham repeater, GB3FX which seems to have enormous coverage. With the Es season approaching, I was thinking I might add the FT817 (probably) and a 50MHz whip to the mobile setup so that I can keep an eye on the CW and SSB part of the band.

Getting power to the rig may be the biggest challenge as I'm already using the cigar lighter plug for the FT8900. So I think I'll pop a battery under the seat and a solar panel in the back window and do it that way. With a maximum of 5w RF out, it should work just fine. I need to find somewhere to put the rig too!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Marconi Day: GB6MD

The team from G6PZ are manning the GB6MD station in celebration of Marconi Day on 25th April. The plan is to run 3 stations simultaneously - with a target of 1000 QSOs per station in the 24 hours.

Listen out for them and give them a call!

GB3UK 70cms repeater

I was chatting to Richard, G4ERP the other day on the GB3WH repeater and he mentioned the GB3UK repeater on 70cms. I tune around a fair bit on the VHF bands and I was conscious that I hadn't heard it.

So I did a little research and found that GB3UK is located on Cleeve Hill near Cheltenham (at around 1000 ft asl). It uses, to my mind, some unusual frequencies which is why I'd not come across it! Anyway, the output is on 430.8625 with the input on 438.4625.

Once I'd worked out how to make my rig do the split, I've had the repeater running on one of the VFOs in the car and also on a HT around the house. It's a great signal with good coverage. I can use it all the way down to Didcot - which must be a good 50 miles from the repeater site. It's nice to be able to work down into the Severn Valley too.

So, if you're in range - have a look - maybe we can have a QSO? Since the repeater is well located, you may find that you can hear it from considerable distance if you have a good site.

Friday, April 03, 2009

D-Star from Central London

Armed with my new D-STAR handheld, I've managed a little portable operation this week, when London hasn't been revolting!

Yesterday, I made a couple of contacts through the Bromley 2m D-STAR repeater, GB7OK. Signals were excellent down at Tower Pier, near Tower Bridge. I did also get some garbled copy of the Amersham 70cms box, GB7AU.

Thunderbox Down Under

Nice to hear from my friends over at Team Thunderbox today, in an e-mail from Jon, 2E0DBD. Callsigns to be used will be 2E0KGV/P, 2EODBD/P, 2E0RJP/P, M3XGE/P and M6USB/P with operation between 9th and 14th of April.

Here's what he has to say about their latest project

We have been extremely busy on several projects, mainly the second tower, and a truly superb mobile power supply unit.

The second tower has been finished, and will be used in our next outing "Thunder Down Under"

The idea behind "Thunder Down Under" is to work as many stations as possible in the Southern Hemisphere during the 6 days we are operating portable.

The equipment we are planning to use is as follows.

For 160/80 metres we plan to use our doublet antenna installed at 60'

For 40 meters we will be using a 2 Element Cubical Quad @ 60'

For 20 metres we shall use a 3 Element Cubical Quad @ 60' on the new tower.

For local 2/70 work, we will assemble a Diamond X700H @ 35'

We plan to operate as greenly as possible, and the power will be supplied by a 30 amp wind turbine, and 12 solar panels supplying approx 10 amps fed into a distrubution system.

Hope to work some of you.

Kind regards.



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