SJ7SOP 2017 Activation

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The first of July is coming closer and the preparations for the 2017 activation is under way. Antennas are checked, the rigs are prepared but sadly the shack computer conveniently crashed during the preparations. 😦  However my laptop will fill in as a replacement for the time being. 🙂

The activation plan this year is to cover as much bands possible with as many modes as possible. Please have a look at the SJ7SOP page here on the blog or the SJ7SOP QRZ.com page for more information. I normally do prefer digital modes but this year I will try to make an effort to work more SSB.

Maybe I`ll be seeing you on the bands? 🙂

73 de SM7VRZ/SJ7SOP

 

SJ7SOP lives on!

As I blogged in November last year, it seemed like the 2017 SOP-activity would be the last with the SJ7SOP callsign due to new regulations from the Swedish telecom authorities, PTS.

The Swedish Amature Radio society, SSA, has been delegated the exercise of authority over certain amature radio related questions for a number of years (along with military organisations). During the end of 2016 the delegation expired why the PTS sent out a new proposal for delegation to the SSA which contained a number of changes in the management of callsigns. To make a long story short, the new proposal hindered the SSA from issuing and prolonging any callsign i the SJ-prefix series which meant that the call would be invalid after July 2017. The prefix series was to be reserved for future use by the PTS. This limitation in the new delegation, together with other matters was addressed by the SSA to the authorities and a negotiation was made.

Last week, the SSA announced that they had accepted the delegation which now had been modified in certain areas, among others the management of callsigns. To my joy the already registered callsigns in the SJ-series was accepted to remain and now also able to be prolonged. No new callsigns in this series is to be given out why the SJ7SOP call is now a rare call!  😀

So, this means that the annual SOP-activation with the SJ7SOP call is secured for at least a number of years ahead! 🙂

73 de SM7VRZ

80M Antenna experiments..

As the prognosis for the higher bands looks quite sad now when the eleven year cycle is heading for a low, I decided last summer to try to build an antenna for the 80M band and eventually also 160M. These bands have not been that much activated in my home QTH yet and why not get more active? 🙂

As a general rule, I prefer to have dipole antennas, mainly to keep a balance in my antenna system but with a rather small garden and the fact that a dipole for 80M is rather long I had to leave my principles and look for alternative solutions, balanced or not.

I started my experiment in July with trying to fit a full length dipole, in some way, in the backyard. Since I knew from the beginning it wouldn’t be an easy task as the whole garden itself is far from enough space to put it up in a conventional way, I started to look at alternative ways to get it up. My final solution, far from the most effective one, was to elevate the feedpoint of the dipole and leaving one leg a about 3m above ground and the other straight vertical down to ground level, using the leg more as a counterpoise. A half dipole so to speak. 🙂 The result, well I did get it to resonate but the effectiveness is probably not that good and radiation diagram should be more or less high angles. I managed to work some European stations with the antenna in the SOP-activity and after that as well. The coverage seemed to be mainly Europe and no DX-stations either heard or worked so i guessed the antenna could use more elevation.

The only way to elevate the antenna about 1/4 wavelength at my QTH is to use the house to mount the center of a full length dipole in a Inverted-V configuration. The backside is that only one leg of the antenna would be able to go the full stretch without needing a “bend”. The conclusion was to look for other alternatives.

I wanted to reduce the length of the antenna itself to make it possible to fit, both in the garden and possibly mounted on the house. I stumbled upon an antenna construction consisting of a 80m dipole made shorter with inductances which made the total length only about 17m. I decided to give it try!

The antenna is made up of four segments of FK1,5mm2 wire and two 30uH coils, spooled with the same type of wire. The antenna is feed through a 1:1 balun, which I disregarded for the time being. The segment are two 3000mm and two 5600mm wires connected as shown below. The final length of the outer wires was not consistent with the drawing as it depends on where in the 80m band you will tune it to as well on other factors.

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80m shorted dipole

The coils are made of the same wire as used for the antenna segments. For my part using 40mm diameter pipes, it took about 55 turns to achieve the correct values. The inductances was winded up on the PVC-pipes and, with the help of my Rigexpert AA30, carefully adjusted to about 30uH. I also had a small home brew center isolator with a fitted 50ohm cable which was used for the antenna. The build itself took about 8h, including the purchase of 40mm PVC-pipes on the local hardware store. To get the wires I needed I used parts of an old 3×1,5mm2 cable I have laying around looking for suitable project. After the build, it was ready to be tested.

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One of the antennas coils

I erected the antenna in a inverted-V position using my 5m fishing rod in the garden and measured the antenna. The end wires needed some extensions since the antenna was to short. A quick fix with some spare wire and the soldering iron solved the problem extending the antenna about 1m on each end. Since it is a shorted antenna, the bandwidth is no more than 20-30 kHz why it not suitable for use in the complete 80m band. I focused mainly on tuning the antenna to the lower segment of the band, aiming for 3576 kHz primarily (JT65/JT9). After some tuning in the rain and +2C (cold day) I was satisfied with the result and went in to the warm shack to do some on the air testing. After a few hours I decided to mount it more properly and moved the antenna to the back garden, removing the fishing rod. It is now mounted about 3m above ground as a conventional dipole with one end from the house and the other end in a tree, just at the edge of the garden.

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The 80m shorted dipole in the garden

When moving the antenna, the tuning made earlier of course changed why it need some more fine tuning, however the change was acceptable and I left it as it was. Further testing during the evening showed that, although mounted quite low, it still seemed to have a more favourable radiation diagram than my first experimental antenna. I actually got more heard stations outside Europe than ever before. Even a few VK-stations (VK6 and VK5) was decoded with acceptable levels. Since it’s now colder outside, I´ll leave the antenna as it is for more evaluation. Iplan to look for a mounting point on the roof of the house when the weather gets a bit warmer. 🙂

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The home brew center insulator and feeding point.

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The 80m short dipole viewed from the side with the coils to the left and right.

73 de SM7VRZ

 

 

Addition to the portable kit..

Last spring I completed my portable kit for digimodes on HF to be used during the summer of 2016. Unfortunately I didn’t got to use the kit as much as I wanted due to family activities and work, so the kit was mostly just in standby. However, I´ve promised myself to be more active this spring and summer. This because both me and the rest of the family need to get out more. That´s why I’m about to try to plan a number of outdoor activities together with the family this spring and summer and work some QSO:s with the portable kit. 🙂

Regarding the portable kit, the small Intel Atom computer I´m using for the kit is pretty slow when using it with WSJT-X 1.7. Also, the battery is not good to last more than 10 min and one hour the most on the battery bank for the radio. This made me thinking about a replacement of some kind that´s small, light and ultra portable. By accident my partner stumbled up tablet which seemed interesting.

The tablet was an Trekstor Wintron 7.0 tablet which seem to use Windows 10 Home instead of Android. This was particularly interesting as the chance that it would be able to recognize both the signalink and the CAT-adapter was quite higher than an android or Windows 10 Mobile tablet. The specs also seemed to match what I was looking for, 1.8GHz CPU and 1GB of RAM (WSJT-X requires 1.5GHz CPU as a recommendation).  The cost was only 60 Euros why I gave it a try! I ordered one online and a few days later I got the package.

dsc_1864The same night I got the package I started to experiment with the tablet. As the OS of the tablet was Windows 10 and the limited disc space of 16GB, I was afraid that it might not be able to support any of my external USB-devices. I was wrong! I also expected the Windows version to be a “sneak” version adapted for tablet use, but it turns out it really was a full Win 10 Home that was installed. It was able to handle the signalink directly to the USB port via the USB-adapter cable that came with the tablet. Since I wanted to connect more devices to the USB-port I then tried to connect a USB-hub with the signalink, CAT-adapter and a wireless mouse. This didn’t work good at first but after som tweaking in the device manager (energy saving properties) I was able to get it to work!

I then installed WSJT-X 1.7 and tried to run it monitoring the 40m band that normally has a lot of traffic during the evenings. My intention was to try to put some stress on the tablet as the decoding is the most critical point in running the JT modes. This regarding both time and processing power. It actually decode OK and the tablet could handle the extra CPU-load during the multipass decoding without any problems at all!

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Monitoring the 40m band.

No need to say I was very pleased this had worked! Now it was time to give it a trial run before officially giving it a place in the portable kit! 🙂

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The Wintron tablet with USB-hub and external devices connected.

I left it running, from fully charged, and managed to get about two hours of running time before the internal battery was depleted. An OK time! 🙂 I also made a couple of QSO:s on JT65 and JT9 and I’m more than satisfied with the solution! I also discovered that my protection case with integrated bluetooth keyboard for one of my older tablets also worked with the new one. This made the setup even more complete. 🙂

So now I have an updated portable kit, ready for this spring and summer adventures! 😀

73 de SM7VRZ

Presentationer och föredrag, WSJT-X och digitala trafiksätt..

Från och med 2017 har jag beslutat mig för att öppet erbjuda olika föreläsningar, presentationer eller kurser gällande digitala trafiksätt. Målgruppen är främst amatörradioföreningar eller klubbar och sker helt ideellt utan kostnad.

Som start erbjuder jag förevisningar, kurser eller presentationer av WSJT-X för JT65 och JT9. Se sidan “Föredrag” för mer information. 🙂

73 de SM7VRZ

Release of WSJT-X V1.7.0

wsjtx170Just a few minutes ago the new release of WSJT-X, V1.7.0, was released by K1JT, Joe on the WSJT-homepage. The new version contains a lot of new functions an modes but the most useful update for us using the software on the HF-bands is the new Franke-Taylor decoder. This decoder replaces the Koetter-Vardy decoder used in previous WSJT-X versions. The KVASD is no longer necessary to install. In addition to this there is now multi-pass decoding which is very helpful in the crowded JT65-frequencies. The function uses two decoding passes instead of one, increasing the possibility to decode overlapping transmissions or weaker stations buried in a crowded passband.

Download the installation package for windows now from the WSJT-X website or click here to start the download.

Installation packages for Mac and Linux is also available on the WSJT-X website.

The Swedish translation of the user guide is not yet ready for release but will be finished in the first quarter of 2017.
Have fun! 😀

73 de SM7VRZ

Svensk manual, WSJT-X

Under en längre tid har jag haft som projekt att översätta den engelska manualen till WSJT-X V1.6.0 för att underlätta för dem som vill ha en handledning av programmet på svenska. Översättningen blev idag färdigställd och har nu även publicerats på WSJT-X officiella hemsida.

För den som vill ladda ner manualen direkt finns här en länk där du kommer direkt till manualen:

text_to_speech_app_icon wsjtx-main-1.6.0.se.html

Vill du spara manualen på din dator, högerklicka då på länken och välj “spara länk som”.

Manualen är mer eller mindre en direkt översättning med kompletteringar i vissa avsnitt. Detta för att förtydliga vissa funktioner och möjliga inställningar.

Jag mottar gärna kommentarer om förbättringar som jag kan ta med mig in i arbetet med manualen för den kommande V1.7.0. Ni finner kontaktinformation här på min blogg.

73 de SM7VRZ