Friday, September 21, 2018

A "mock FT8 Roundup contest" to test WSJT-X (v2)

From Joe Taylor K1JT:

A one-hour "practice contest" will be held next week using the FT8 mode
and the ARRL RTTY Roundup rules.

Thursday, 27 September 0200-0259 UTC (Wednesday evening, NA time)

Dial frequencies 7.078 and 14.078, everyone works everyone.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Evaluating APRS coverage

The Texas QSO Party is coming up soon (29-30 Sept) and I have plans to be a rover (CW only), activating several counties in eastern part of the state.

Those plans include broadcasting my location via APRS in one of two ways that I'm currently testing.

An Android app, APRSDroid, will be enabled on my phone and will probably provide the most consistent coverage. There aren't many places, even in Texas, without cellular coverage. An easily accessible comment field will allow me to broadcast which of five planned counties I'm in at any given time.

Along for the ride (but with what I believe will be limited coverage) is a Byonics MicroTracker. Their RTG (ready to go) tracker is a complete package consisting of GPS receiver, 2-meter 8-watt transmitter and the encoder which modulates the GPS positional data. The only other ingredients needed are a 2m antenna and a 12V power source.

In addition to the limited coverage, this method does not easily allow comments to be entered. Any config changes require connection to a PC with changes made via a utility program - a cumbersome chore not conducive to portable operation.

Results of the two tracking methods are posted here:

APRSDroid (cellular)
Byonic MicroTracker

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


Significant changes have been made in the latest "release candidate" of WSJT-X.

Most noticeable is the new color coding assigned to decoded stations which now takes into account whether or not that station's entity or grid has been worked on the current band. JTAlert is now no longer necessary to make this determination.

Color coding also allows users to see if a decoded station has uploaded their logs to LoTW within the past year.

Exchange capability for several popular contests has also been added - unfortunately, the next contest for which FT8 exchanges are possible is not until January.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Video: Outdoor QRP with the KX2, Mavic Air

Mavic Air, folded and unfolded, compared to KX2

 A few weeks ago I composed a "for sale" blog posting for my KX2. All that was left to do was take the photos and then publish the posting. The small Apache Labs Anan-10e is nothing short of magnificent in bringing together all the modes I care to operate in a simple, clean set-up with a minimum of interconnections.

But, even though small, it's not portable-friendly.

This past Saturday's poorly attended QRP Afield event inspired me to go outdoors and participate in all the offerings the ether presented - they included the NJ QSO Party, a few SOTA ops and the park chasers from the WWFF/KFF program.

In case the bands were in as poor shape as the QRP Afield event itself, I brought along a couple of "consolation prizes" (What's behind Door #3, Johnny?!) in the form of my Nikon and a new drone.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

MiniKit 630m transverter completed

I've finished construction of my MiniKits 80-630m transverter and will be aligning it tonight and checking its operation on the oscope and wattmeter with dummy load. Unfortunately, I won't have an antenna for 630m until late October.

The kit went together easily although careful attention must be paid when installing TF2.

Uli DK6DV completed his MiniKits transverter a few days ago and, despite not having a transmit antenna and only an indoor loop on receive, he is decoding WSPR stations around Europe.

Completed with exception of soldering G and D leads of T3


Aligned now as best I can without a working 630m antenna.

Using the Anan-10e as the transceiver and a long wire antenna it was easy to tweak L12 and L13 (lower left of photo above) for a peak in the noise.