Ever wondered what I&Q are?

I was after a really good explanation of what the I & Q were when talking about SDR. These are better tan anything I could come up with. Thanks W2AEW!

Mini WSPR

So it works then. Mini WSPR’ing with the U3 on 20m with an indoor 1.5m whip antenna. Who said ham radio needs big stuff.

image

Echolink node update

Well the node is up and seems to be running reasonably well. The software is reporting distortion on the input but I think that is more to do with the close rf during testing. There are now some isolating transformers and a resistor in series to knock back a bit of signal and it seems to be ok when I connect through the web interface. Perhaps some other measures might help. Its still running on vox but until I can work out how to do the ptt easily I’ll stick with that.

I’ll leave it on for a while and see what I get back from the locals. Here’s a reminder of the details

Callsign – MB7IAH-L

Node number – 243350

Freq – 144.9625 Mhz

CTCSS – 103.5Hz

Power – 1.6w (hold onto your rf hats!)

Antenna – 1/2 wave dipole

All powered by a Raspberry Pi, Svxlink and a Baofeng UV-5R.

Enjoy

AutoCAD files for Ultimate 3

I’ve used AutoCAD for a while (because I had a work licence) but since being promoted I didn’t need CAD software…boooo (I also had an inventor licence but that wasn’t used as much). Anyway, back to the point.

U3 small

I made a couple of front and rear panels for the QRPLabs ultimate 3 WSPR transmitter and thought that someone else might like to make one. Well if you do the dxf files are below. You can modify them easily in Draftsight (A free 2D bit of CAD software) that accepts AutoCAD files. The file shows the parts embedded on a sheet that can be used for laser cutting and your local FabLab or similar.

Anyway enjoy

AutoCAD Files

APRS Maps

I’ve had a little play about whilst avoiding the household viewing of ‘Strictly come dancing’ aka ‘celebrity showing off’ with the APRS maps you can embed through APRS.fi

I’ve added a little map to the site here

Just a bit of fun but I do like APRS. Great for the fells.

Trouble is it seems to default to Helsinki regardless of the lat / long you put in the script

Progress on the node

There’s been a bit of positive progress on the node at g7kse headquarters.

Mucking about with Echolink software proved a time consuming affair. This and that connected but not playing with each other and some absolutely horrendous noises coming out of all sort places and some shocking audio means that there is a good chance that isolation is needed. So a couple of transformers have been ordered.

Once the software is sorted on windows and I have all the hardware playing nicely I’ll move onto the RPi. I have a lot less experience with linux and image that hours will be consumed (lost) compiling and fulfilling dependencies and other joyous things that you get just installing stuff on linux. The benefits way outweigh the drawbacks. A headless and simple set up is key to a lightweight setup.

Once the odds and sods have arrived I hope to get something up and running reasonably quickly. Daniel, M6ENL and I had a quick go with it last night and it worked well enough for us it was nowhere near robust enough to be let out in the wild.

Onwards and upwards…….

p.s. The GPS on the U3 died as well so there’s that to fix too. Bugger.

MB7IAH

Today I received a very nice email from Ofcom. It was my NoV for my echolink node.

MB7IAH

Whilst I won’t be able to get it up and running this weekend because we have guests I hope to have everything up, running and ready for use early next week.

There is a restriction of 1.6w TX output using the 1/2w dipole (vertically polarised) but I’m keen to get the thing up and running. Eventually It’ll all be on the RPi but for now it might be quicker to install onto one of the old netbooks and to use that as a way of optimising audio and tx settings before going headless. There are a few restrictions on its use but they are perfectly sensible and being able to be unattended is a real bonus.

Exciting times. Here’s hoping it’ll get used by more than just me.

Echolink Node?

Over here in G (or M or 2) land echolink nodes need to have permissions from the grown ups. So I’ve sought permission from Ofcom, with the help of the RSGB. I applied for an MB7 node, which means it is can be unattended. In order to do this I needed a minimum of 4 people who are key holders so the node can be shut down quickly. Sounds reasonable? Sounds a bit British to me. Belt and braces and some more belts just for luck.

The node will hopefully be on 2m and I have been told that if it gets granted then I could expect around 2w ERP. I don’t want to sound selfish but I have only heard 2m simplex used in this area for the local net and once in a blue moon Dent gets activated by a SOTA or WOTA chap(ess). VHF in general is scarcely used and its a shame.  UKAC evenings and the normally quiet repeaters with their occasional skeds excepting mean that both 2m and 70cms are dead.

What can be done about it?

Making it appealing to use, perhaps? A bit of activity always helps.

Internet link may give some users an opportunity not only with existing amateurs but could make it appealing to those on the periphery of the hobby. Makers for example.

Anyway, let the waiting begin and we’ll see where we get to with Ofcom

A summer outside

During the week I took a trip with 3 other members of the Workington Amateur Radio Club (MX0WRC.org) to the Furness Amateur Radio Club. A short hours drive away courtesy of Barry, G0RZI. There was a 2 pronged attack on their club, firstly Glyn M0UXH gave the low legendary power supplies presentation (legendary as it has the dubious honour of being the most postponed talk at the club) and my chat about what we do as a club with a hot soldering iron.

What struck me is what might be a common theme for clubs, not just with amateur radio, but the fact that we can all get a bit stale. What also struck me was that we have a similar demographic. Some really talented, clever people who can design and build stuff without batting an eyelid. Some (and I include myself in this) enthusiastic but short on skills and experience, and those that just like to use stuff.

I shared our experiences with building the Radio Kits digital power and SWR meter, the Ultimate 3 kit from Hans Summers and my experiences with Arduino’s. The latter included the great stuff being done by K3NG (Radio Artisan bloke) and those that support his work in producing kits and PCB’s. I was pleased to see that I wasn’t the only one who has an interest in the ‘Maker’ fraternity and that tinkering is alive and well in Cumbria.

In between all this mucking about I do occasionally operate. But owing the excellent summer we’ve had I prefer to be outside, in fact I should be out on my MTB today but I’ve got a 10k race on Tuesday and don’t fancy doing it after an ‘off’. This weekend is the Cumbria Raynet support to the SBU 35 trail race from Bassenthwaite to St Bees over Honister. First one home in about 5hrs 30mins and the last around 12 hours. A long day for us but nothing compared to the competitors. Maybe I’ll do it next year. Maybe I’ll make use of Ennerdale Brewery instead, the summer ale was great.

After that it is most definitely heading for Autumn and time to bring out the mic, soldering iron and broken PCB’s. Looking forward to it already!

All ok?

Website moved to a new server…seems all ok to me. This new server will give me more space and flexibilty as well as being far faster than the previous one.

update: A couple of issues need ironing out but these won’t be done for a bit. But things are back on the air at least.

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