Digital Dive

So … I’ve taken the plunge into DMR radio. I had an unused gift card on Amazon and sprung for a Tytera MD-380 hand-held radio. A ham just a few miles from me has put a UHF DMR repeater on the air. I ordered the radio today and Amazon says that it’ll be here tomorrow. Can’t wait!! (but I’ll have to!)

I keep reading online about how difficult the programming software is, so I checked it out. Maybe if you’re not used to it, but I’ve been building codeplugs for Motorola radios for more years than I care to think. Looks like a piece of cake to me.

I’ve been interested in DMR for a while now, but there was no local repeater within a reasonable range of my QTH. Lots of them to the north, south, east, and west, but none here at ground zero.

There are DStar repeaters near me, but I just couldn’t justify the cost. This little Chinese gem cost less than ninety bucks. Can’t beat that. And … it got pretty good reviews in the November 2017 QST.

I’ve still been keeping up with CW and FT-8 contacts on HF, and the NC QSO Party is this coming Sunday. I’ll be there on HF!

73 de Dick N4BC

Good evening …

Last night was pretty good for propagation:

2/2/2018

The one I didn’t get though was Z60C, in Kosovo. I had pretty good copy on both 40 and 80 CW, but the pileups were brutal. Of course, there were the clueless lids calling incessantly on his transmitting frequency, as usual, but there were also a LOT of stations correctly calling on his listening frequency, too. And … a lot of them were packing some serious power, by the sound of them!

Oh well, if I don’t get them today, I’ll get them tomorrow … I DID make another contact on 60 meters!

73 de Dick N4BC … keep the faith, guys!

New Territory

I spent a bit of time on 80 meters last night … most contacts were North America. Forty meters was pretty sparse. Just not good conditions. As a matter of fact, later, I actually was wondering if my antenna had fallen down again, signals dropped so much.

So, to catch up with a task I hadn’t gotten around to yet, I decided to enter frequencies into memory for the 60 meter (5 MHz) band on the new IC-7300. I have never operated on this band before, so moving between the five “channels” revealed not too much activity last night. I did hear one CW station, and they were pretty strong; I also heard a couple of FT8 signals on one channel as well.

The CW station was right on the center frequency of the channel. Neither digital station was. The rules state that digital signals must be zero-beat with the center frequency of the channel; they also state that only one station can transmit on a channel at one time. Either the operators were in error, or I need to read some more. I didn’t do any transmitting on that band, other than to send a couple of test signals (VVV de N4BC). I’ll try more later.

Most of the snow and ice is gone now … supposed to get up to 62 today and 71 tomorrow. Saturday, the temperatures drop again, and Sunday they’re in the 30s again. I’m ready though … got a new pair of hunting boots from Amazon yesterday. Probably won’t snow again all winter!

73 de Dick N4BC

Poor Prop

Last night was sort of a bust on 30 meter CW. I tuned up on that band and lo and behold … only ONE station was heard. PY2ZEA, Ville, was booming in at a solid 599. Nobody else … anywhere on the band. we had a quick QSO. I could tell he wasn’t copying me as well as I copied him. He had to ask me to repeat my callsign several times. He gave me a 599, though. Maybe there was some QRM/QRN. The other bands were noisy and I didn’t hear anything interesting, so I shut down the rig and moved to YouTube and watched some Ham Radio oriented videos.

Seven to ten inches of snow predicted tonight, and 40 MPH winds … temperatures well below freezing. Not looking forward to tomorrow. If work is cancelled, though, I’ll try again.

73 de Dick N4BC

ARRL Ten Meter Contest

Well, I hope you had better luck than I did! Just before bedtime on Friday night, I listened a bit on 10-meter CW and I heard a beacon and two stations within 20 miles of me … nothing else, and I went on to bed. Saturday and Sunday, I tuned around several times during the day and evening, and … nothing. Just a couple of unreadable maybe signals down in the mud on CW.

So, it looks like it was not to be for me. I think ten meters had a dagger through its heart this past weekend. But, I’ll see you on the lower bands!

73 de Dick N4BC