I received the SDRPlay RSP1A yesterday evening, and spent the evening getting familiar with the SDRuno software. It’s pretty complex, but allows you to interact with nearly any parameter in the receiver. So powerful!
My first hurdle to overcome was finding a USB 2.0 A-B cable. I was sure I had one in my magic tub of tangled cables, but I couldn’t find it there. I ended up “borrowing” the cable from my CW keyer. I checked Best Buy and they wanted anywhere from thirty-five to two hundred dollars for one! Must have been solid gold (including the insulation)! Amazon had one with ferrite beads for around eight dollars and it was one day delivery! Guess which one I bought?
Anyhow, using the “borrowed” cable and referring to websites and to YouTube, I got everything up and running just fine. I was listening to everything from AM broadcast to 70 centimeters. Lots of neat stuff.
It was a timely arrival, too. I had gotten on the air after work and tried to work some POTA stations and some FT4/FT8, but no luck with either. The parks stations were all down in the mud and few and far between. I think the nasty weather kept a lot of them at home. The FT stations … not sure what was going on there. I could copy them well, but they just weren’t answering. The time offset was good … I was within about 0.1 second on most of them. Just one of those things, I guess. It gave me more time to play with my new toy!
It took a while. I finally got 200 unique parks confirmed and have the paper to prove it 😀 .
Actually, I had a bonus one as well … 201 confirmed. I started chasing parks on the 18th of February 2019. I don’t do it seriously, and only intermittently, but they add up. This is a pretty popular program with lots of participants.
The most prolific activator is KB3WAV, Kerri. She has activated 402 parks, 240 of them unique, and made 16,086 contacts as of this date.
On the hunters side, W8ZST, Mike, is the leader. He has worked 2,615 unique parks and has 5,849 contacts so far.
Lots of commitment there, folks. You can see that some people really get into POTA (https://parksontheair.com/). It’s fun … it’s challenging … try it!
Been slackin’ a bit, lately. Lots of non-ham activities. Teaching classes, honey-dos … lots of mini-things. Ham radio has been shoved to the background for a bit.
I noted that my progress in unique parks worked has been static at 189 for a while, but I did work a couple yesterday afternoon … one in Wisconsin and one in Michigan.
Lots of noise, though. I tried to hear a couple of others, but they were just too weak and under the noise floor on 40 meters. To add to that, there was some sort of periodic pulse interference and the usual Broadcast Interference that pops up in the afternoon.
The station in Wisconsin was down in the noise when I started listening to him, but over the course of time, his signal increased to a 59. If I recall correctly, he was on 20 meters. That pulse noise was there intermittently also.
This coming Sunday, I’m helping the club provide communications for a combined Marathon/50K/Relay at the Mariner’s Museum Noland Trail. I’ve got to be at the race venue at 5:45 am … no sleeping in at all on Sunday!
To say that propagation has been poor lately would be an understatement. I tuned around and checked out some POTA spots after work yesterday, and nothing heard at all. I thought about checking to make sure my antenna was still up 😀 .
There was quite a bit of activity down on 40 Meter CW. Two events … the SKCC Sprint and the CW ops Mini-CWT Test were going on and there were some nice signals there. It’s frustrating when you see nine or ten spots listed for parks and you hear crickets … . If it’s as bad on the other end, I know it’s equally frustrating.
So, we all wait and hope. Please Mr. Sun, perk up!
I was doing my usual thing yesterday afternoon after work, looking for POTA activators, just tuning around and checking the spots from the parks website. I worked a few, and then just left the tuning on the last one I checked, where I could just barely make out a signal … no copy though.
I went on to do some paperwork, just listening to the subdued noise from the receiver. After about ten minutes, the signal caught my attention … I could actually make out a few words here and there. Another ten minutes, and the signal had improved to the point where I could copy.
I gave him a quick call … he answered me … 5 by 7s were exchanged … good QSO in the log! Ten or fifteen minutes later, he was gone again … hidden by the vagaries of QSB 🙁 .
So … the moral of this story? Sometimes, patience is indicated, Grasshopper … (my apologies to the old TV show, Kung Fu). Take your time and listen … take time to let things develop.