Well, I did a bit of fiddlin’ with WSPR-X this evening. Here’s the results …
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.
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.
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.
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 …
I tried a new mode last night … WSPR. Essentially a way of checking propagation. “WSPR implements a protocol designed for probing potential propagation paths with low-power transmissions. Normal transmissions carry a station’s callsign, Maidenhead grid locator, and transmitter power in dBm. The program can decode signals with S/N as low as -28 dB in a 2500 Hz bandwidth. Stations with internet access can automatically upload their reception reports to a central database called WSPRnet, which includes a mapping facility. To see a live version of the map pictured at top right, click here.”
Above you can see the results of my efforts. I was transmitting 5 watts with my 31-foot vertical on 20 meters and 40 meters (mostly 20 meters). It does give you a good idea where you’re being heard.