Last Weekend

Well, the best laid plans … . I had planned to participate in the NC QSO Party, but circumstances changed that. I just had too many honey-dos to finish.

I did get my Tytera MD-380 codeplug programmed, but can’t hit my local DMR repeater from my house (maybe improved antenna?). I drove a few miles closer and did hit the repeater OK. Checking, I see that his antenna is only at 30 feet, but he does have plans to raise it, I believe.

So, my solution is to add a hotspot to the mix. I have a Raspberry pi lying around, and ordered a dvMega to link into the network from the DMR portable. It should be here on Tuesday, so I’ll let you know how it works. Yes, I know some people say it’s not “real” ham radio if it uses the internet, but I want it for communications, not for awards. I’ve already created a SD card ready to plug into the pi with the Pi-Star image on it.

Well, that should do it for now. I’ve done a lot of research on this DMR stuff, and actually think I’m beginning to understand what’s going on. Oh, I knew a lot, due to working with Motorola radios and systems for years, but this is a new realm for ham radio.

73 de Dick N4BC

WSPR-X

Well, I did a bit of fiddlin’ with WSPR-X this evening. Here’s the results …

Stations that heard me …
Graphic representation of stations hearing me …

 

I was transmitting 5 watts, using a 31-ft vertical. If you’re more interested in how WSPR-X works, it’s one of the modes included in W1JT’s WSJT-X ver. 1.8.0 software. WSPR is explained at http://wsprnet.org.

73 de Dick N4BC

Neat trick

2-inch speaker mod

I saw this somewhere (can’t remember where) and said to myself, “That can’t work very well.” Today I was in Lowes and picked up a 2-inch elbow to give it a try. Place it right above the speaker. Hey, it makes a big difference, especially on CW. It redirects the speaker audio towards the front. Well worth the $1.88 (+ tax) I paid for it.

73 de Dick N4BC

Propagation blues

You know times are bad when 20 Meters doesn’t have a single CW signal  audible during a major contest weekend. I just tuned up there and couldn’t hear ANYTHING! NADA! Forty and eighty are really active … lots of contest activity.

I haven’t done any contesting this weekend. I just worked about 15 stations on FT8 with the new rig, and I did make a couple of QSOs to check out how it handles on CW. As far as SSB, I haven’t even taken the mic out of the box yet!

The IC-7300 is a SWEET rig to operate, but I’m still stumbling a bit with the  controls. It’ll get better with familiarity.

73 de Dick N4BC

A Few Contacts, but …

I did a bit of FT8 yesterday evening. I managed one contact on 80M and three on 15M. The other bands were sounding good, but I just couldn’t seem to connect. Not a real dense map either … nothing showing anywhere except North America, and one reception report in Venezuela.

I did have an equipment problem surface, though. My USB hub kept dropping out or resetting. Wiggling the USB-A connector at the laptop duplicated the problem. Over time, with connecting and disconnecting, the plug has gotten worn and is loose. At least, I hope it’s the plug and not the laptop socket that’s worn. I looked for a replacement cord, but the hub end is a USB-B connector … like you find on most printers … sort of a square plug, rather than a rectangular one. Ah well, Amazon Basics … should be here Friday. Love Amazon Prime! The old one is still usable … I just have to make sure I don’t wiggle the cord, though.

I’m looking forward to the loooong Thanksgiving holiday. Hopefully, conditions will improve a bit. I’ve been reading a bit about Olivia and want to give that a try. Maybe I’ll also have a chance to do some antenna experimenting, too. We’ll see.

Right now, I need to find a plumber. The kitchen sink decided to plug up on Thanksgiving eve, when the kitchen is a beehive of activity. Figures …

Have a great holiday if you’re celebrating it!

73 de Dick N4BC
November Four Big Cheese