Monday, 11 May 2015

April APRS

APRS I received at home in April 2015. A few more than usual, probably because of the Blackpool radio rally, and because I left it receiving for a week while I was on holiday.


5GHz WiFi - Birkrigg

Took an Ubiquiti Nanobeam M5 up Birkrigg Common on Saturday to see what I could get on the 5GHz WiFi band.
Click the pictures of the site surveys to enlarge. Anything above channel 5.65GHz (channel 130) is also in the 5.7GHz amateur band, which is shared. See this white paper for how WiFi devices use the 5.1 - 5.8 Ghz band.



Those were site surveys with the dish pointing in different directions. I guess the DE ones are Dong Energy, who run the wind farms out at sea. There are a few with what looks like a Preston postcode in the SSID - and PR1 3RP is Sandown Court, a block of flats in Preston so it makes sense.

Belkin router working as the 2.4GHz access point, so I could connect to the Nanobeam's internal web app using my phone. Powering the Belkin off car battery.

 The view over Morecambe Bay towards Lancaster and Morecambe


 Ethernet cable down to the car
 The Nanobeam uses 12 volt POE, not the standard 48V, so here I'm using a POE injector and an 11.1V LiPo battery pack, at the dish end of the cable to reduce losses. The pole is over a microphone stand.


After that I had a walk up Hampsfell (WOTA Outlying Fell LDO-108). Took the dualbandheld up there and made 3 QSOs, the furthest being GB6AC on 145MHz, a special event station operating from Abergele Castle in north Wales.


There are steps to the top of the little tower, which gives a little bit more height for the radio.


And here is some of the Wigle WiFi scan from the top of Hampsfell on my phone. As usual there are some caravan sites, but somebody's Talk Talk home WiFi is coming through, possibly from down the hill in Grange. Somebody is also Pretty Fly for a WiFi - there's one in every town!




Monday, 6 April 2015

March APRS

APRS received at home

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Whitbarrow

I tried the Puxing PX-777 VHF handheld again on Whitbarrow (SOTA G/LD-056) today and even after being fully charged this morning, the battery lasted about 2 minutes on transmit. I won't be using that battery again for transmitting. This time I had come prepared and had a PL259-SMA adaptor so I could connect up my Alinco handheld instead.
Made 6 QSOs including a summit to summit with G0EVV who was on The Calf (G/NP-013). The weather was so bad on the way there I was thinking giving it a miss but it stopped raining by the time I set off walking.




WiFi scan from the summit. The first 3 (in the 5GHz band) look like long distance links, zone2b could be from the mast at Scout Scar near Kendal, I've picked that up on Brant Fell near Windermere before.
Lamb Howe is the name of a caravan site about 5km to the north, near Winster. lambhowe1 is probably from there as caravan site WiFi usually gets a long way.






Sunday, 22 March 2015

WiFi

WiFi received on Kirkby Moor with my Galaxy Note 3
Holker Old Park Wood is a caravan site about 9km away. Not sure where Endurance Wireless is from, but I've also picked it up on the Hoad at Ulverston, so probably somewhere round there.
There are so many WiFi access points on these days that you will probably pick something up on most hills, especially with places like caravan parks using high gain antennas to cover the whole site.
I was up at Kirkby Moor yesterday afternoon and made 2 summit-summit contacts before the battery in the Puxing PX777 handheld died - I had charged it a while ago but it must have discharged slowly (still showed full battery on the display). So no activator point but some chaser points.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Superfast Broadband

The Belkin that put out all that QRM on 145MHz has finally gone
Replaced by this "monstrosity" (as my XYL calls it - BT fixed the boxes to the wall).
The Technicolor TG582N (lower box) is actually an ADSL modem router but one of the ethernet sockets can be used as a WAN connection. It has new firmware on it, with Plusnet FTTC branding.

As the BT modem has to be next to the master socket, I bought a WiFi bridge to connect my wired network to the internet. Before I had the Belkin modem router next to my PC, and a small wired network (D-Link NAS, PC, gigabit switch) plugged into that.

The Edimax CV-7428NS bridge sat on top of my D-Link DNS-320 NAS. It doesn't come with a power supply, just a USB cable, so I've powered it from the front USB port on the NAS.
The bridge has 5 ethernet ports but they are only 100 meg so aren't good enough for a direct connection between PC and NAS. That's what the Zyxel switch is for.

Downloading an Ubuntu iso file, with the WiFi bridge. This was at 8:30am on Sunday. A 1GB file took around 3 minutes to download. The download speed is advertised at 40Mbps but the line is probably able to do a lot faster as you could choose either 40 or 80 (for an extra cost).





FT-7900

Got a brand new Yaesu FT-7900 this week, so I'm back to using a dual band radio at home, replacing the old FT-1500 single bander.

It's quite like my FT-8900 which I use in the car but a few differences:
1)The wide/narrow deviation setting only changes the deviation, not the receive filter.
2)The memory skip and bank settings are unique to each Hyper Memory (the memories themselves are common), so you can select a different set of memories to scan using the HM buttons.
3)The receiver covers 108 - 520MHz with no gaps. Even though sensitivity won't be as good outside the amateur bands, it doesn't drop off as suddenly as the FT-8900.
4)The S-meter is very sensitive on VHF, up to around S5. I get S4 of noise on 145MHz!
Because there is only a single receiver, there is a lot more room to put the controls, so the channel selector and buttons are twice the size of the other Yaesu mobiles.
I've tried uploading the memories to my PC using CHIRP and it works OK, except any airband frequencies are missed, CHIRP just says 'ERROR' for those channels.
I'd been deciding between the FT-7900 and one of the Wouxun quad band mobiles, but in the end I went for the Yaesu. With my FT-8900, I've never really used the 10m and 6m bands as I only have a dual bander on the car and when I used it at home it was with a 6m/2m/70cm antenna only. I can't even remember having a QSO on 6m or 10m with it in the last 10 years. The FT-8900 only receives 28-30MHz too, no transmit or receive on CB channels.