New Toy!

The weather yesterday was terrible! Monday the temperature was near 80 deg Fahrenheit, and Tuesday it dropped into the 30s and hit us with sleet and snow (no accumulation, thankfully!). Last night it was in the 20s and the doors on my truck froze shut and needed some serious muscle power this morning at 0530 am. So I was depressed and when I get depressed, I want to buy something 😀 !

RSP1A SDR

Anyway, HRO had a Social Media Special on the RSP1A Software Defined Radio … $89.95 + free shipping for the first 100 orders ($30 off regular price). Looked neat and I had always wanted to dabble, so I sprang for one. Should be here before the weekend, so I’ll have something to play with. Maybe I’ll integrate it with my IC-7300 as a higher resolution panadapter? Who knows?

73 de Dick N4BC

Catchup

It’s been a week or two since I last posted. Life got a bit chaotic. A very dear friend was killed in a tragic industrial accident, and ham radio and blogging had to take a back seat.

There’s not actually much to report about. I’ve only been on the air a couple of times during this period, and those were mostly FT4/8 contacts. I don’t think the bands have been too stellar this past week.

I did spend a bit of money on radio things. I bought a yellow reflective vest for when I assist with public service events. I know … I know. Stereotypical self-important ham prepper, right? Actually, it does help with visibility if someone needs to locate you quickly during the event.

I also ordered a new toy. It’s supposed to be here around the 9th of September. I’ve read several blog posts and seen several YouTube videos about this low-cost vector network analyzer that piqued my interest. Less than fifty bucks on eBay.

NanoVNA

It covers 50 KHz to 900 MHz … does Smith Chart and antenna analyzer functions … and more. It’s about the size of a credit card, but maybe 5/8-inch thick. I’m going to enjoy playing with it, I think.

I just signed up for my next public service event. It’s a marathon, a 50K, and a marathon/50K relay run simultaneously. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? It’ll be a bit cooler then … October 13th. The race is so long, we’ll be covering it in two shifts.

Well, that’s about all I have to report. Catch ya’ later!

73 de Dick N4BC

A New Tool

This afternoon, I downloaded the new version of WSJT-X ver. 2.1.0, and gave the new FT4 mode a try. What can I say? Fast!! Here’s an excerpt of my log …

First FT4 Contacts

Some will say, “That’s not REAL ham radio … It’s computers talkin’ to each other.” And you know, that’s partially right. BUT … it’s another tool that’s available to use where needed. And we all know you can NEVER have too many tools, right?

To each his own. It’s there … it’s available … if you like it, use it … if you don’t like it, don’t use it. I see it primarily useful as a contest or Field Day mode (and there are those that would argue with me about that). So be it!

73 de Dick N4BC

LOTW

I sat down this evening and calculated my percentage of QSOs confirmed in LOTW. It’s surprisingly high … 70.28 percent! That’s a pretty good return on investment 🙂 .

I think a lot of that can be attributed to digital confirmations. The software used for the digital modes will usually interface with logging programs to automatically upload QSOs to LOTW. I use the combo of WSJTX, JTAlert, and DxLab/DXKeeper. All seamless.

I just got in from Choir Practice, and had to drive home through a thunderstorm. So much for getting in some operating before bedtime 🙁 .

73 de Dick N4BC

Old and New

Even though the bands were a bit crappy, I worked a new one this evening … S92HP in Sao Tome and Principe, on 60 Meter FT8. Of course, it’s not confirmed yet 😀 .

I tried to find some of the spotted POTA activations, but no joy! Twenty and forty were not cooperative. Once again, I could hear hunters working them, but the activators were down in the hash. Forty had a constant S5 noise level with static crashes over S9. Rough conditions!

73 de Dick N4BC