Weekend Hamradio..

Sometimes you do get amazed by in what mysterious ways that nature works. This weekend has been on of those times when I get that “wow”-feeling while at the rig. One of my fascinations about this hobby is just the “nature” part of communicating with distance stations, the way we use nature and natural phenomenons to reach distance places. Combined with transmitting with low output power the fascination is, at least for me, complete.

As a preparation for the SSMS, Swedish Lakes activity, I have been working some JT9 with my FT-817 this weekend, letting the  IC-7410 rest in the shack. I just LOVE working the WSJT-modes with the FT-817 and QRP which makes it bit more of a challenge sometimes, especially when working JT65 on the more popular bands. While making some sporadic CQ:s on the 20m JT9 section I got a respons, and I did have to look twice to be sure,  from a YF3-station (Indonesia)! That is some 11200 km distance and with a nice reception report aswell! My setup was only 4-5 W into a (for the 20m-band tuned) GP-1500 vertical. Well, this was really a “Wow” for me! 🙂

As I am using the PSKreporter service quite frequently during my activity it’s even more intriguing to see this response for just airing your call for a couple of hours… 🙂

20m jt9Ham radio  really is a “World wide Hobby” in a sense..  😉

This weekend seems to have good propagations, especially towards the east of the US and east of Canada. For some reason the Canadian stations are generally hard to come by unless they are located in the eastern part, near the US.

73 de SM7VRZ, Anders

SJ7SOP/6

The activity for SJ7SOP in the SM6 area is slowly coming to it’s end as me and the family are leaving the summer QTH tomorrow. So far I’ve managed to get about 50 worked stations during my stay. I’t could have been more but the family activities comes first. However I’m satisfied with my activity and especially as I’m working QRP.

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Station setup with FT-817ND, Signalink USB and Acer Aspire One notebook

I’ve mostly activated 40m and 20m PSK31/63 as I didn’t realy find out a good way to work JT65/9 with the /6 suffix in WSJTX. When calling CQ in WSJTX with the /6, the locator is missing in my transmission. This problem will not be an issue back home why i’ll wait activating the JT modes until I get home again.

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The portable antenna, linked dipole for 20m and 40m setup in the garden.

The antenna setup is the same as my portable kit, the linked 20 and 40m dipole. In the garden, next to the house I’ve set it up in a inverted V configuration with good results. I could have set it up in the surrounding trees but I figured that it would be a perfect field testing for the antenna kit so I put it up as it was intended for.

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The house in Tösse, JO68HX.

I’m glad to see that some of the stations I worked are qualified for the SOP award. Hopefully I will manage to get a diploma this year myself, not only helping others to earn theirs 😉

 

73 de SM7VRZ / SJ7SOP/6

 

 

 

Evening pleasures..

Today, Monday, has been a day of from work for me. The day of was much needed because I’ve been struck by the flue, as the last one in my family. The worst is over but the constant headache isn’t  really helping my creative side for the article I’m about to publish here on the blog. All that fact finding requires a somewhat clear head to work. I decided however to fight the pain and try to work some JT9 QRP style with my portable setup.

To work QRP with digimodes is one of my favorite activities as it gives you a disadvantage towards all the QRO (read 30W +) stations. The fact is that even if I’m not working with my FT-817ND and using the 100W station, I often rarely go over 20W in output power. There is also a great satisfaction and thrill that you get when knowing you worked a far away station with a low output power. 🙂

DSC_0798Another reason to work with the portable kit was to trim the use of the software’s and arrange the different program windows for optimum use.  The evenings activity on the 20 m band resulted in mostly European stations but my signals was heard in the US as far away as Michigan, New Jersey and even Iowa. Not bad for 5W.. 🙂

73 de SM7VRZ

Project progression..

The portable QRP project is moving forward and I’ve started to look at putting it all together.

I have started to focus on the power supply for the portable kit. The battery of choice is a cheap lead type battery with a nominal voltage of 12VDSC_0730 and has 7.2Ah capacity. The battery and a suitable AC charger was purchased a while ago with battery backup functionality in mind but may be found useful also in this portable kit.  I have two main consumers to the battery, the computer and the transceiver. The transceiver is operational on 12V DC why it shouldn’t be any problem connecting it directly to the battery.

The computer on the other hand is operating on 19V DC which makes it a bit complicated. To connect the computer to the same power supply as the transceiver, I need a DC/DC converter to supply the correct voltage.

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I’d remembered noticing a sales add at a well known Swedish electronics accessories dealer having a sale on car accessories for laptop computers. A suitable converter along with a wide range of connectors was purchased for about 10€. Now I have the voltage conversion problem solved. The converter may come in handy in other applications as well.

Now when all the unit have the correct voltage and is ready for 12V operation I started to look at the expected operational time for the solution. To make an estimation on how long the operational time will be, I have to make some measurements on the current drain on both of the computer and transceiver. The transceiver was hooked up to a power supply with a ampere meter in serial with battery calcthe positive lead and was measured at RX and 5W TX @ CW. The transceiver showed a drain of appr. 2A in TX and 0.4A in RX. The same thing was done with the computer connected with the DC/DC converter and the Signalink USB plus a CAT-cable. The result was that It had a drain of ca 1.2A constantly. To do the calculation I made a quick Excel document with a formula specifying the typical operation. I calculated a TX cycle of 50% which means that half the time the transceiver will be in TX and half in RX.  Now, this may vary depending of which digital mode i wish to operate as well as the number of QSO:s being made. For JT-modes the cycle is close to 50% as you transmit and receiver half the time. When the calculation was done the result showed an estimated operation time of 2.25h. The calculation is however not exact enough as there are some factors that I haven’t included. An estimation gives that in reality I only should have about 1 to 1,5h of operation with the TX cycle above. This may require me to adjust my operational techniques to prolong the operational time.

Now, to connect it all together to the battery I had some thoughts about how to do this. As the DC/DC converter comes with a cigarette lighter DSC_0733connector, it seems stupid to cut this of. The converter Is also useful  in the car when using the computer mobile. One of my findings in the junk box was a power connector divider for cigarette lighter connectors. The use of this allows me to retain the connector on the converter and add one to the transceivers DC-cable, making the kit also useful for mobile operation as well.

I now feel that I have the power supply solution ready for testing. All I have to do is set the battery on charge and set it all up after it´s ready…

73 de SM7VRZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Project digimode QRP portable, the first steps…

Today it’s saturday and I have actually nothing planned this weekend. Therefore I decided to startup one of this years projects, my QRP Portable digimode project. The goal with this project is to have a working solution for working digimodes (JT65/9 and PSK31/63) portable with my FT-817ND.  I’ve been giving this project some thought earlier and the other day I got some more inspiration when I got a new follower on the blog. VK1NAM, Andrew is a Australian Ham with an interest in SOTA, Summit on the air, which I think is something that I also would enjoy doing.  Not only is the project a reason to utilize my FT-817, it´s also a good excuse for getting out more! 🙂

Do check out Andrews blog here on WordPress with interesting posts and beautiful photos from his SOTA activations. I do hope to visit “down under” some day as both me and my fianceé would like to explore Australia. 🙂

So, back to the project. I started to collect some useful gear from the hidings in the basement. Through the years I’ve collected some stuff that may come in handy one day. When the search was over I got the following idea on how my “portable kit” could look like:

  • Portable HF antenna for 30m or 40m, 20m and maybe 10m. Andrews portable gear have given me some inspiration for a linked dipole construction.
  • An MFJ-901B manual tuner, if necessary.
  • The FT-817ND (naturally)
  • An old Acer Aspire One, lite notebook computer which I’ve been using before with my “traveling kit” setup. This computer already have the necessary software installed but is maybe a little slow for JT65/9 with WSJTX. The upside is that it´s small and light.
  • The Signalink USB interface for use with the computer and transceiver.
  • A small 12V 7,2Ah lead battery which should supply enough power to the FT-817ND and the computer ( both the transceivers and the notebooks internal batteries is depleted). The power solution should give at least some hours of operation.

That seems like a good starting point for creating a kit!

Now it´s time to build it all together and try it out!  🙂

73

de SM7VRZ

2015 Projects

As it is the beginning of the new year I’ve started to think about future projects and activities. During the autumn of 2014 I.ve collected both som ideas and material to start som inteteresting builds and projects. My goals for this year is:

  • Renovate and improve my Inverted-V multiband antenna.Some renovation is required on the wire connection to the center isolator as i ignored to solder the wire to the cable shoes and weather protect them.DSC_0379
  • Try to find a better place for the GP-1500 vertical, which is now located to close to the kids swing set in the garden. You don’t want them to go to near it when the antenna is in use. Also, it have to be “masked” as much as possible due to demands from the mrs.
  • Move the UHF/VHF antenna to the top of the roof. Well, now it´s located on my balcony and have the house screening the signals from the east. Also, I would like to have the three element yagi for 2m plus a rotator up. That´s a later story.
  • Find a battery and case for QRP portable work with my FT-817. This have been on my mind for a while as I would like to work more QRP portable with my FT-817ND. The antenna part is already worked out with dipole antennas for selected bands. It´s more of a question of finding a battery pack and a carrying case with suitable space for antennas, radio and battery.wpid-IMAG1392-picsay.jpg
  • Try to activate the SJ7SOP signal on more modes and bands during July. I will try to make a third attempt to break the number of QSO made the first year with this call.

Now, that´s what´s planned. Lets see what will actually get done? 🙂

73 de SM7VRZ