Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Panoramic displays, waterfalls - and a sea story

Submarine sonar room
SDR technology and panoramic displays are relatively new to the hobby and their benefits are immediately obvious to anyone who's operated a radio so equipped.

An entire band - or several bands - can be seen at once. CW activity, digital, SSB - it's all there. Click on any signal and you hear it in the headphones or can zoom in on it. Zooming in, its sidebands and their characteristics can be discerned.

When such radios came to market (and became affordable!) I knew I had to have one. Even before
BQQ-5 sonar display
brand new companies like Flex explained it to me in their marketing descriptions, I knew what these displays and the unique way of tuning the band would allow. I'd known for over 20 years.

KI7UBD/mm on 30m WSPR

I received my RSPduo yesterday and wasted no time downloading the appropriate software and taking a stroll around the RF spectrum, from VLF to the GHz region.

Much-needed rain arrived, with a few gigawatt's worth of lightning, so I disconnected the antenna and used the time to configure FLDIGI and WSJT-X.

After the light show, I parked the receiver on 30m WSPR overnight and was happy at the global reception reports obtained while I slept.

Of particular interest to me was the reception of KI7UBD/mm. Dan KI7UBD is currently in transit from New Zealand to his home in Washington in a 35-foot sailboat named My Dream.

Friday, May 18, 2018

New "RSPduo" from SDRPlay

A more detailed description:

Announced moments ago in Dayton:

"Today at the Dayton Hamvention, SDRplay is announcing the launch of a new Software Defined Radio product – the RSPduo.

The RSPduo is a radical new addition to the RSP line of SDR receivers from SDRplay. Architecturally, it is different from any previous RSP in that it features dual independent tuners, both piped through a single high-speed USB 2.0 interface.

The SDRplay RSPduo is a dual-tuner wideband full featured 14-bit SDR which covers the entire RF spectrum from 1kHz to 2GHz giving 10MHz of spectrum visibility. Initially using Windows based ‘SDRuno’ supplied by SDRplay, you can simultaneously monitor two completely separate 2MHz bands of spectrum anywhere between 1kHz and 2GHz.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

FT8 now filling WSPR's role?

I received my RSP2 five days ago and have been putting it through its paces up and down the spectrum. I am surprised at its performance - happily surprised, and I'll write more about exactly why that is later (read the ARRL's review here).

Much of my use of the receiver has involved using it to decode FT8 signals from 6 to 80 meters. During that time I've realized that FT8 is now so popular (on all the HF bands) that it is, in large part, accomplishing the same goals that WSPR was designed for.

Over two nights, while I slept, the little $200 receiver and my tiny laptop decoded and reported to the web all that it heard. With coffee in hand the next morning, I was able to see who I'd heard, with what signal strength I copied them and where they were.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

FT8 activation of KFF-3496

My activation of Davis Hill State Park (TX) two days ago was an exercise in frustration - nothing went as planned and making contacts was quite difficult. Actually, it was easy to make them - CQ's were answered each time I called - but completing them was another story.

When I arrived at the site, a group of birdwatchers were there with binoculars, huge telephoto lenses and funny hats. So no flying of the new quadcopter like I'd been hoping. They were interesting to talk to though and we laughed about each other's hobbies when I explained what I was doing there.