Monday, 6 February 2017
And while I'm taking photos in the kitchen, here's Friday's tea
One button, one LED. Press the button once at 2 seconds past an even minute to begin the first transmission. I use the Clock Sync app on my phone to get an accurate time via the internet.
I've no permanent HF antennas at home so I tried it in the car, with a Watson Multi Ranger antenna. The mag mount is a bit small for the HF bands but I found it worked OK on 14MHz, with 20 reports in the first hour of use. I powered it from a TP-Link power bank, and at 180mA on transmit and under 50mA waiting, it will last for days on that. My USB power monitor won't measure below 50mA so read zero except when transmitting.
At that low power, most SWR meters won't let you calibrate to full scale, but as long as they have a separate reverse power reading, you can see when the SWR is OK (3:1 would be 25% reflected power, 2:1 9% etc.).
The next time I tried it in the car on 14MHz, I got 2 reports from the USA.
Compared to the usual 5 watts I'd been using for years on WSPR when I had a proper HF radio, 200mW (14dB down) needs a bit more effort - 5 watts will work into just about anything with WSPR, especially with an auto tuner. At 200mW an auto tuner might not even start to tune on transmit. I think the mobile whip is just as efficient as a random length of wire.
On Saturday I made my first SOTA chaser contact on DMR (or any digital voice mode). I've made QSOs from summits on both D-Star and DMR before though. When I was scanning round, I heard some activity on 438.6125, so quickly changed over to the DMR radio and spoke to 2W0SEY/P on Moel Famau (G/NW-044).
For tea on Saturday we went out to One Restaurant in Barrow. The last time I'd been there was 3 years ago for my birthday and tried The Challenge of eating a massive burger, hotdog and fries in 45 minutes (and failed). This time I settled for the normal menu
Wednesday, 1 February 2017
I've had the RF Explorer for over 5 years but only just tried the PC software for it.
930 - 935MHz: O2 (3G) base stations
390 - 395MHz: Airwave TETRA base stations
950 - 955 MHz: Vodafone (2G) base stations - a lot lower than O2's sites here
I've ordered a WSPRlite to get myself back on HF, if only at very low power.
Monday, 30 January 2017
Post title randomly generated
145.500 activity from this weekend recorded at home -
Saturday 28th January
CQ call early on but couldn't get callsign properly - possibly M0CQE?
GW7HEM/P - Foel Fenlli SOTA GW/NW-051
GW4TJC/P on Foel Fennli and later on Moel Famau GW/NW-044
2E0LBI/P on Birkrigg Common
Sunday 29th January
2E0KUK/P Great Whernside SOTA G/NP-008
G4RQJ/P Gummer's How SOTA G/LD-050
Monday, 23 January 2017
All I had to use were two handhelds, both with their own antennas. As one of them had DMR, I tried putting some calls out on 438.6125 and posting a spot on the Sotawatch web page. This was a weekday afternoon so not the best time for any activity and got a total of 0 DMR contacts.
On 70cm I got a few more contacts and there was a lot less interference, but it wasn't 100% noise free - the strongest UHF signal up there would be Airwave, with no UHF business users there any more. I wonder how that would have affected DMR - it's easier to tell on FM if there is interference because you can hear it, with digital voice there would be drop outs or just silence.
I parked at around SD524021 on the road north of the summit which is just below the activation area (unlike every other time I've been up there) and walked past the buildings before crossing the fields. As it was an unexpected activation, the white trainers I had on weren't the most suitable footwear for crossing the muddy fields.
Saturday 21st January
Didn't do the usual 145.500 recording, instead I left the FT-7900 scanning 4 digital voice channels
(.5875 is the most popular DMR frequency near me)
with the squelch turned down and decoding the 9k6 packet output with DSD+. This checked each channel for about 5 seconds before moving on.
Total activity during the daytime was one station - 2E0LBI
Sunday 22nd January
Recorded 145.500 as normal.
CQ calls heard from
G6PJZ/P CQ SOTA. No summit given but was spotted from G/NP-022 Calf Top so probably there.
M0HQO/P CQ SOTA. I wish people would say the summit name on the calling frequency and save me having to look it up! Spotted on G/NP-008 Great Whernside.
G4RQJ/P CQ SOTA from G/LD-052 Hutton Roof Crags.
G7PAJ/M calling from Kirkstone Pass. Didn't seem to have any replies.
Someone else mobile might have called CQ in the afternoon but their audio was very low, someone did reply to them though.
Also been using the Last Heard feature of the Retevis/Tytera modified firmware and leaving the DMR radio scanning simplex channels.
Sunday, 15 January 2017
Saturday 14th wasn't much better, between 9am and about 3:30pm there was one single station - G6ZET in the Lancaster area.
Not long ago I was in the local Poundland and spotted some rechargeable USB power banks.