Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Best night ever on 2m UKAC from home?

December 2016 UKAC on 2m,
83 QSO, 8 countries, 35 multipliers of which 16 UK locators and 3 overseas (EI and F).
Very rare to work anything south of IO90 so GU6EFB in IN89 was a treat.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

I wonder what the record is for rx reports from a single WSPR ping?

I wonder what the record is for one WSPR Ping?
This shows 45 unique reception reports for one ping at 1426 today on 40m.
That's 8 countries if I count correctly.
- England
- Scotland
- Northern Ireland
- France
- Belgium
- Germany
- Netherlands
- Denmark

Amazing things these little mW beacons!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Appeals to my sense of humour

In the long traditions of humours comments to greet us on the depressing journet on the Tube, this is one of the funniest I have seen in a while.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

6m UKAC RSGB - 24 May 16

6m UKAC last night. 26 Mults, ODX GI4SNA set up by KST Sked. Total 58 QSO, difficult to North. Rats worked G4RUL/P, G3WCB/P, G4SSX, G3WJG, G8LZE (on 2 QSO - 6m and 6cm), G4LHT, M0SAT, G8XTJ, G8FKH.

Digital compass ready for mast mounting

The Compass module ready for mast mounting when /P (the plan is to supply the DC voltage up the compass serial cable not the PP3 as shown in this image for testing

The 'base station' end:

Wednesday, 18 May 2016


Best yet - 23cm May 2016

Delighted with my overall second place in the QRP (10W) section of the May 23cm UKAC.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

6m Addict: http://www.sixaddict.co.uk/

Taking the new 23cm setup /P

Tuesday evening was my first time out with the unit was returned from Bulgaria with the RX and TX lines split (tiny SMD link!) new configuration since Anthony's help with the mast top box. 
This meant an increase from the 2W used previously to a whopping 10W and hopefully an increase in RX NF with the removal of the superfluous diode from the RX line. The results were not to be disappointing. As a reminder the image below is the summary of my three previous attempts on 23cm UKAC. Note that I was not on air on 23cm in March 2016 as the transverter was on an extended routing through Eastern Europe making its way to and from SG Lab in Bulgaria! The squares show Red - December 2015, Green January 2016 and Blue February 2016.

The Map below shows the results with the new setup in April 2016. FT991, SG Lab 23cm Transverter. PE1RKI amp at 10W. 25 Ele yagi. . 6 Countries: England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Guernsey and Netherlands. 23 Mults, 51 QSO, total score 140,000. Best DX GI6ATZ.Rats worked: LZE, LRQ, SAT, WJG, JRY, sorry didn't hear ZRG:
Stop Press: The results are out and I was placed 10th out 70 AL stations in April

UPDATE MAY 2016 - 23cm UKAC IO01OQ again
Keeps getting better from the high perch in IO91OQ. A few mast support issues tonight but rectified with a rope and a handy fence post - the drive on mast plate is a write-off though (which is a pain as I was going to use it on Sunday!). Best night for me on 23cm, Good signals from up 'North and delighted to work PE1EWR in the Netherlands.Rats worked: RUL/P, WCB/P, SAT, LRQ, LZE, JRY, WJG, DFL. ODX was G8PNN in IO95. Final tally was IO71,74,80,81,82,83,84,90,91,92,93,94,95,00,01,02 and JO11. Sorry to have missed both 70 and 03 which I could see were on from KST messages. Only the odd squeak from GM but never workable - not through want of trying.smile emoticonI had AirScout running but It's too much for one screen with Minos, KST and AirScout all running.Total of 63 QSO and 33 Mults (16 UK and one in the Netherlands). FT991 driving the SG Lab transverter, PE1RKI amp at circa .5W in for 10W out. Delighted it stayed dry - looked like rain all night and wind surprisingly calm given reports of gusts in the 'Watford lowlands'.Thanks to SAT and LRQ for keeping me company on HR for the drive home.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Improving the 23cm station

The 23cm mast top box is now almost completed with many thanks to Anthony for help putting it together. The unit now comprises an SG Labs transverter (2W output( and a PE1RKI amplifier. With 2W input the amp gives 40W output, with a 6dB pad on the transverter output the 28V amplifier gives 10W output for 500mW in. This configuration will give me 10W for the RSGB UKAC AL section and by removing the pad I can have 40W for UK Microwave Group contests.

The RF relay is a little Swedish made GHz SMA relay (branded Philips) whilst DC voltage is sequenced to the relay, amplifier bias (12V) and the the transverter PTT using a W6PQL sequencer and a band of 12V miniature relays. The 28V main voltage is supplied to the amplifier contentiously.

At the base of the mast is a small control box containing the PTT interface, 28V PSU (DC to DC up convertor from 12V) and the 12V supply. The control cable provides: 28V, 12V, PTT, Ground, and a Serial connector for arduino (not yet connected). In due course there will be an Arduino Nano in the mast top box and another in the control box. The Arduino will provide the following information from the mast top box to an LCD screen on the control box; 28V and 12V voltage monitor, current drawn by amp on peaks, Transverter Fwd Power, Reflected Power, SWR, Amplifier Power Output.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

All Australia (and New Zealand in a day!)

Nice to see that my 5W WSPR signal has been received in all Australian States (including Tasmania) and both North and South Island New Zealand in a single day!

5W WSPR Band-hopping with the FT991

Whilst in the shack working on other projects I left the FT991 to band-hop (using WSJT-X) software with 5W on WSPR across 4 bands - 40m, 30m, 20m and 10m. I was quite surprised by the results. 6 continents including:

--North America-
USA (West Coast) on 20m

-South America-
Chile on 10m
Argentina on 10m
The Cayman Islands 30m (ZF1)

Thailand on 40m
China on 30m
Japan on 20m

South Africa  on 30m
Namibia on 30m

New Zealand on 40m, 30m and 20m.
Australia on 40m, 30m and 20m

Tons in Europe!

Here's my map for about 8 hours of beaconing :)

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

The Rats are 2nd in UKAC!

Outstanding effort by all the Drowned Rats team on both February 6m and March 2m to get us to a current second place on the overall UKAC league tables.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Nice surprise - I won the Low Power section on 70cm AFS

Not sure how that happened but my 20W from the FT991 and 19 Ele Tonna at 4m managed to net me first place in the 70cm AFS contest held in February. Here's the certificate!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

70cm UKAC - March 2016

Conditions seemed down and the score was dire tonight. Great to work GD and GI but on the whole a rotten evening of weak signals, crashes and few stations worked - just 40 in total. Disappointed not to work Dave G3WCB/P although I note I didnt work him last month either - when I had a much better night. I just think that the home QTH is much really much use when the trees are full of moisture.

Interesting comparison, top map tonight, bottom is last month:

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

New 12m masts for DRRG

Up goes the new 12m mast with the 12 ele OWL. So much easier and safer than our previous method. Click on the link below for a video posted by Anthony, G7LRQ. March 144/432 Contest from IO91OQ,

Saturday, 20 February 2016

G7RAU/P worked in 3 modes from IO91SO to IN79JX (The Lizard, Cornwall) on 2m

Working G7RAU/P from the Lizard, Cornwall, using 50W and just 4 element Tonna in the garden this morning. Digital mode is ISCAT-A and the application is WSJT by K1JT. -8dB / -9dB each way ... good copy of Dave's digital signal. The image below shows the full QSO exchange.Distance = 380Km.

Subsequent QSO's with Dave followed on CW and USB

Friday, 19 February 2016

Harwell Purchases

Update on the Harwell purchases: Both the 2m amplifier and 70cm transverter are working well ... not bad for £20 the pair. The little amp will work well with my FT817 when doing some SOTA summits this summer in DL/OE.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Comparing my first three 23cm UKAC outings

This map compares my first three outings on 23cm UKAC. The first (from IO91SO) is shown with the red rectangle (December 2015) - 2 locators, the green shows January 2016 from IO91OQ - 7 locators and the blue shows February 2016 also from IO91OQ - 9 loctaors.

23cm UKAC - 16 February 2016

Hard work with 2W but did a little better than last month ... worked the same number of stations (29) but two additional UK locators (total 9 = 18 mults): IO81, 82, 83, IO90, 91, 92, 92, JO01, 2. Looking forward to having the full 10W next month! Thanks to G8FKH for keeping me company, working a couple of mults and jumping out of the car to turn the beam as and when needed!

Monday, 15 February 2016

Harwell Rally

Pleased to attend the Harwell Rally (near Didcot) on 14th February. DRRG took a table for the event and managed to sell off some surplus gear kindly donated by members of the Drowned Rats team. Team members present for some or all of the day included: David (G8LZE), David (G0CAG), Gordon (G3WJG), Chris (G4CLB) and myself M0ICR.

So ... we sold some surplus and junk for club profits (including an old CR100 and Air Ministry Key donated by Don G0ACK) and I also managed to come away with a few bits a pieces - including a Tohyo HL37V 2m amplifier (which is small and lightweight giving 35W out on 2m for 5W in - it will be perfect for use when backpacking with the FT817 if I need a bit more power to make 'the numbers' on SOTA), another (yes glutten for punishment) MM 28 to 432MHz transverter (it was super cheap and looks  in good condition - I will publish a report in due course).

Other purchases includes some bits and pieces for Microwaves: Some high quality (Rosenberger and Radiall) semi-hard SMA to SMA patch lead and a 500-2500MHz bias T.

It was good to meet a number of people from other group including G8NVI (Anne), G8CUL (Mike), G0GJV (Mike), G5BBL (Jan).

The image below is David G8LZE at our Rats table:

Thursday, 11 February 2016

9 Feb 2016 - 70cm UKAC

70cm UKAC 9 Feb 2016 Better than expected considering I thought I would miss tonight. 10W FT991 19 Ele Tonna. 5 countries, 51 QSO, 25 mults, just under 130,000 pts. ODX GI4SNA also pleased to work GI6ATZ. Disappointing not to hear G3WCB/P at all despite spending a good deal of time pointing that way in a failed attempt to bag IO80 and IO70 (BCG). F8BRK very strong with aircaft reflection.

Compare to last months score which was 2 countries, 14 mults and score 27,000 I am sure much of this improvement, and 70cm AFS at the weekend, was down to Anthony G7LRQ's help rebuilding the 19 Ele Tonna by replacing the driven element and making a new mast bracket to ensure the booms stays straight! I think this score is about the best I can hope to achieve with 10W from the home QTH in flat conditions. Wish I had more time on a weekday to get out /P

Sunday, 7 February 2016

70cm AFS - Feb 2016

70cm AFS .... not too many Rats worked.  LRQ and SAT popped on for a few points and LZE stayed on the course. CLB and ACK also worked and I think that was it for my log. Total was 47 QSO, 4 countries. 20W FT991 / 19 Ele Tonna (lower than usual due to wind). No continentals worked. GD8EXI was an easy copy, also happy to net GI6ATZ in Northern Ireland but sadly no GI4SNA although he was on for at least part of the contest. GW0IRW was a nice one to work in IO72.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

2m UKAC - 2 Feb 2016

Best night ever for me from home. 2m AL, FT991 9 Ele Tonna (with mast head pre-amp finally fitted on the mast!). KST was massively helpful. In fact the following were all set up via KST: GI4SNA, GI6ATZ, EI3KD, GM4JR, GW0GEI Total was 71 QSOs, 38 locators (in old money that's 18+2), 7 countries = 318658 pts. Thankfully the wind was nowhere near as vicious as it had been earlier in the day.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Interesting courses

I have recently bought a couple of online courses from a company called Udemy - one on the Arduino and the other on the Raspberry Pi. I know we are a technical bunch so thought this posting might be useful to some of you? The quality of the courses is pretty good and you can follow them at your own pace. I think the price does vary quite a bit but they are particularly cheap on sale at the moment (I paid £9 for each course - less than the cost of one low price technical book). You can review the courses before you decide and they offer a money back guarantee if you are unhappy.
What has impressed me is that the guy who runs the two courses I have signed up to is very active - he has a Facebook site and answers emails or chat with any questions very promptly. New modules are also added frequently.
The full catalogue is here: https://www.udemy.com/courses/
(Mostly a mix of IT, electronics and mircocontrollers)

6m UKAC 26th Jan 2016

Not a bad effort considering the really rotten weather conditions. The antenna was fairly low to the deck (just a wire moxon) but I did crank up the power a bit to have a go in the AR section. Nice to work SNA again but no GMs and no GD. Great to work 10 Rats including G3WCB/P out there in Totnes in IO80 - good on you for braving the high winds and torrential rain Dave!

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Comparing my first 2 UKAC attempts on 23cm

The first map represent my effort in December from the home QTH. The equipment was identical in each: FT817 driving an SG-Labs transverter in a 25 Ele Yagi, power output on 23cm

December 2015 - 9 QSO, 2 UK locator squares
From IO91SO, antenna 100m ASL and 4m AGL, trasverter 20m from antenna feedpoint

January 2016 - 29 QSO, 7 UK Locators

From IO91OQ, antenna 235m ASL and 5m ASL, transverter 1m from antenna feedoint
(thanks to G4CLB for joining me and helping with station engineering and operating:

This is a summary image where I show the extent of QSO in January in a transparent
red rectangle and the extended range on February around the edge: