GM4ULS ham radio station

a QRM-free zone!

Posts Tagged ‘radio’

Eclipse

Posted by gm4uls on March 20, 2015

 

Folk gather around 'Aslan's Table' on Kinnoull Hill, to watch the Eclipse.

Folk gather around ‘Aslan’s Table’ on Kinnoull Hill, to watch the Eclipse.

Today, rather than observe the effect of a 95% eclipse on the D-layer, MM3YVQ and I decided to climb up Kinnoull Hill and see what it looked like. We were badly-prepared. My couple of pieces of card with a hole poked in one of them didn’t give much of an idea of how the eclipse was progressing, and neither of my cameras had any sort of filtering. There were crowds of people (and dogs) coming and going, armed with an assortment of posh photographic gear or ingenious cardboard lash-ups. But the eclipse itself was rather disappointing. We kept waiting for it to get dark, but although the light dimmed a little, our shadows still remained sharp and the sun bright. Only when some light cloud passed very briefly by could we see, for a split second, the moon’s disk against the sun. We’ll be better prepared next time. We only have to wait until 2090.

MM3YVQ at Kinnoull trig point today.

MM3YVQ at Kinnoull trig point today.

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Quick eyeballs with G3YIB, G8XVV, and G6YMP

Posted by gm4uls on March 2, 2015

Just mentioning that on 1st March I met up with my old friend Mike Knowler, G3YIB, long-standing amateur and legendary House DJ at Quadrant Park, Liverpool, back in the day. We met up for fish & chips at The Swan in Southport. Mike was instrumental in getting me to apply for my amateur license, lo these many years, while I was living down in England.

Southport 28 Feb 6a G3YIB for blog

Mike, G3YIB

 

Previously, on the 28th Feb, I had a lovely evening with Phil and Diane Hutchinson, G8XVV & G6YMP, who – also back in the day – introduced me to my wife! The occasion was a reunion of some of my wife’s old school-friends, at Mama Mia Italian restaurant, also in Southport.

Phil, G8XVV

Phil, G8XVV

Diane, G6YMP

Diane, G6YMP

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K1N – Navassa Island

Posted by gm4uls on February 10, 2015

Well, I worked K1N!

Yep, 16:55 on 9th Feb. on 28.305/28.330 split at 59 each way. “See you in Stirling!” said Glenn W0GJ who was on the mic at the time, meaning at the GMDX Convention. Glenn’s method of dealing with the massive pile-up was to transmit on 28.305 and listen from 28.350 down to the tx frequency, asking callers to spread out and not move. That way he managed to work stations in the clear at an astonishing rate. Of course the ‘Split Police’ were out in force on .305, but K1N was well over 59 most of the time here. I had better sign up for LoTW now, because that’s the only way I’ll get confirmation.

Meanwhile, according to DX-Summit, there was a K1N CW presence at the bottom of the band, and people were spotting it triumphantly. But it wasn’t – it was a 6Y station, and for every spot crowing about having worked Navassa there were two others putting them straight in no uncertain terms. Nevertheless there will be some mystified ops when their LoTW claim is turned down!

Having worked the rarest DXCC entity in the world – a tiny island off Haiti, claimed by Haiti and the USA – I can now sell my equipment, as there is nothing left to do! Oh wait… there are the other bands…

Pictures below are from the excellent navassadx.com.

Glenn W0GJ at the mic.

Glenn W0GJ at the mic.

The SSB shack

The SSB shack

The K1N team at the Navassa lighthouse.

The K1N team at the Navassa lighthouse.

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MM3YVQ

Posted by gm4uls on July 2, 2014

My daughter Ruth, MM3YVQ, may now append BSc (Hons) to her name. Click here.

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GM6MEN-L back on the air

Posted by gm4uls on March 9, 2014

After almost a year off the air with equipment problems, the Perth Echolink radio/internet Gateway, GM6MEN-L, is operational again. The G3VFP interface is up and running, after lots of trial-and-error and a few curses, although a West Mountain Radio Rigblaster Pro is also available and may be brought into operation (also providing AX25 and PSK31 for this station).

What else? Oh, talk to me nicely and I might describe the day my Watson W-20AM power supply blew up. I’m good at blowing stuff up!

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CQ EA on 60 metres

Posted by gm4uls on January 18, 2014

As Spanish amateurs now have a temporary allocation on 5MHz, I have re-set the memories on my Ten-Tec Jupiter so that I can work ‘split’ on the following frequencies, using USB:

RX 5.2665 – TX 5.2760
RX 5.2935 – TX 5.2980
RX 5.3115 – TX 5.2980
RX 5.4285 – TX 5.4035
RX 5.4375 – TX 5.4035

I hope some of our Spanish colleagues will listen on ‘my’ TX frequencies. As I type this it’s 08:00UTC and I am beginning to hear Spanish signals on 5.2935 and 5.3115, although the skip distance is still quite long, as I can hear WWCR booming in on 4.840MHz AM from Nashville TN.

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Shack snapshot

Posted by gm4uls on November 27, 2013

Shack Nov 2013

Just a snapshot of the current/temporary shack set-up, including a stray post-it note. Part of it looks like a ‘freebander stack’, but I assure you there is space between the FT-847 and the AT-5555, and a fan may be located behind them. On top of the MFJ autotuner is my old Realistic DX-394; I had been using it to monitor the audio of the Ten-Tec Jupiter, but I left it there because it’s actually rather a good little receiver.

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Chilly, isn’t it!

Posted by gm4uls on October 25, 2013

John, GI0HWO, on Svalbard

John, GI0HWO, on Svalbard – he knows a thing or two about ‘chilly’.

Nights are drawing in – just the right time to consider a trip to Iceland, eh? That’s what MM3YVQ and I will be doing soon. Well we’ll be booking it soon, but not actually going there until July next year. What? What?

60m continues to keep my attention. It’s actually a fascinating portion of the spectrum. Unfortunately it suffers from two contradictory myths. No.1: Propagation is rubbish during daylight hours. No.2: Propagation is rubbish after dark. Hence it is often deserted when both 80m and 40m are packed. This topic of conversation has cropped up when I have spoken to GI0HWO (pictured above) during our usual encounter shortly after 8am on 5.3985MHz USB. We both wonder why more stations don’t appear in our allocated slots. Maybe the myths, maybe the knowledge that only a handful of countries have an allocation, maybe the scarcity of people with rigs adapted for 60m, maybe confusion about what frequencies to use, we don’t know. Nevertheless, the band is worth a visit.

A GB2RS broadcast of unspecified date advised that US stations often appear between 0100 and 0200 UTC. I’ve heard a signal CW from the USA at 0400. I know not many of us are awake at any of these times. The news broadcast suggested that USA amateurs should listen out for Shannon Volmet on 5.505MHz and RAF Volmet on 5.450MHz, and that UK amateurs should listen out for the evangelical stations WWCR and WWRB, although a frequency was specified for the former that I don’t think they still occupy. WWCR’s operating schedule is here, and WWRB’s is here. Unfortunately they don’t say whether their times are UTC or local.

There are all kinds of other signals around 60m. I regularly hear a bloke I’ve come to know as ‘Pedro the Fisherman’ on 5.400MHz USB at 0600 clock time ± 10 minutes…

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It’s Friday, and there’s a contest tomorrow…

Posted by gm4uls on October 25, 2013

… and it’s a big one, the CQ WW DX SSB, pronounced ‘Squdksb’! 10 metres has been lively all week – I kid you not, signals coming in from Patagonia, Saipan, St Helena, you name it. Cue for propagation to nose-dive tomorrow! I can hear the contesters cursing me and telling me not to hex it for them.

Actually, I hope it doesn’t nose-dive. Love them or loathe them, you can’t ignore the fact that contests really do show how open the propagation is. I’m ambivalent to them. For me it’s an opportunity to notch up some rubber-stamp DX without the concentrated hassle of an almighty pile-up.

Propagation on 10m brings the possibility of working some AM, or maybe FM into the KQ2H repeater. I’m looking forward to catching Greg KA2UAY (shown below with his new wheels).

Greg KA2UAY and wheels

Something rather puzzling occurred whilst I was operating on 10m this past week. A couple of DX contacts reported that my audio was distorted. Naturally I checked it, firstly by using the ‘MON’ facility on the FT-847, which is usually very faithful at letting me know if there is a problem, and secondly by listening to myself on my little Realistic DX-394 receiver. The DX-394, despite being ‘cheap and cheerful’ and rather outmoded technologically, is nevertheless a good receiver*. There was no distortion whatsoever. My desk mic is sensitive, and there is ambient noise, but that is a truck-load of dBs below my voice. Also I know for a fact that both the ‘MON’ facility on the FT-847 and the DX-394 can detect stray RF on my audio – I have used them both before to test other rig/antenna combinations. So I am fairly confident that there is no actual distortion. However, sometimes DX stations perceive distortion, and I wonder why. Let me see whether any contest stations report it tomorrow.
*How good? Well it can hear Shannon Volmet on 5.505MHz with just a whip antenna.

Oh wait. I forgot. Propagation’s going to nose-dive tomorrow.

“Shut up!!!”

Sorry.

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The contesting ethos

Posted by gm4uls on September 20, 2013

RFB Marines

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