Thursday, January 12, 2012

New 70MHz beacon from Skye (IO67)

Speaking to Ken, G3LVP he told me that GM8RBR is running a 'personal' 70MHz beacon from the Isle of Skye (IO67UF) on 70.100. The beacon was supplied by HG1YA and runs 10W to a 5element dual band 50/70MHz antenna beaming south.

The beacon has been heard by a number of 70MHz enthusiasts in the south by meteor reflections - Ken, G3LVP and John, G4ZTR both report hearing a number of meteor pings via the 70MHz website

Sunday, January 08, 2012

28MHz mobile

After getting the Sirio 10m antenna on the car last autumn, I've been switching the FT8900 over from the VHF/UHF aerial to use 10m, particularly at weekends as I've been driving around. On the FT8900 I'm restricted to FM of course, so I'd been thinking about getting the Anytone AT-5555 in the car to give me SSB capability.

It was just a case of getting the bits together to do it, which in reality was just sorting out the power. I assumed that fixing would be easy, but actually as ever, there's less room in small cars than you think. And the Anytone is actually quite a big rig! In the end, I managed to fix it securely to the left hand side of the centre console. It seems quite easy to operate and doesn't impede driving.

On a test drive across to the next village, I listened and heard some activity; UA9XL and an EA8 on SSB as well as a UN9 down on CW. SWR of the antenna seems fine in the lower portion of the band.

Hopefully I shall be able to make some contacts in the coming weeks. 12W or so is quite low power for SSB but I am sure something will be possible and in any case, it's always interesting to listen.

One thing I have already tried - whilst parked - is tuning the rig to 28.120 to receive PSK and decoding it on my iPhone with the 'Multimode' application. In theory, a QSO may be possible by 'miking' the output of the iPhone to the rig.

I'm looking forward to seeing what can be done

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Listening to the International Space Station

It's always exciting to hear an astronaut from the International Space Station active on 145MHz. Over the last few days I've heard activity a couple of times and the second time, I had my iPhone handy and I shot a quick video, which I hope you might find interesting.

Friday, January 06, 2012

What I love about PSK Reporter and the RBN Network

This morning, because I had to pop into the garage on the way to the station, I left the house a little later than normal on a work day. To fill the time (!), I popped onto 3.5MHz JT65 at greyline - just as the sun was rising. To my slight disappointment, although I heard several stations, I didn't make any contacts.

However, this evening, I checked the PSK Reporter website to see where I was heard. I was delighted that although I didn't make any contacts, my 25W JT65A signal was getting quite a long way into the USA


My amateur radio aims for 2012

1. VHF JT65

As you know by now, I have become a great fan of JT65 on HF. I want to start using the mode on VHF. In particular the JT6M mode for 50MHz looks interesting. Would it be viable with 100W and a vertical? Maybe! I have to try it. If not, no doubt a simple low dipole would work for meteor scatter.

The challenge is the interface with the FT847 which I have struggled with in the past. Looks like I have various options which I hope to pursue soon.

2. 70MHz

Need to improve the performance of the 70MHz receiver and probably up the power a bit. I have a plan .... Not too worried about tropo on the band but would like to be more competitive for Es and meteor scatter.

3. 1.8MHz JT65

I wonder what could be done on 160m from a 'small garden' using JT65?

4. 144MHz EME

I would love to try and work some EME. Probably my old 13el on a stepladder in the back garden then. Need that interface for the FT847!

5. 28MHz mobile

I'm planning to install the Anytone AT-5555 in the car now I have the more efficient 10m antenna.

Hope I can do at least some of these.

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