quarta-feira, 11 de abril de 2012

20 years after


In May ’91 I was still a class B licenced as PY1LJA I made my first QSO to the St. Peter and St. Paul Rocks (PY0S). I remember being very excited about it, with my old FT-757 running 100W to my trusty R-7 vertical.

Now, almost exact 20 years after, I had access to the original paper log of the DXpedition. Since I still have my own paper logbook, I had the chance to make this photo, showing both logs side by side on the page of the QSO.


This is something that would never be possible in the era of digital logbooks.

segunda-feira, 19 de março de 2012

Triple Play Completed

I´ve just completed a QSO with Dwayne, WY7FD, #150 on my Triple Play Award. That means working and confirming in LOTW all the 50 US states on all 3 modes.

WY on RTTY was pretty ellusive, but Dwayne was kind enough to set up a sked tonight.

The cradits are already in the system, and the award is requested.

Dx is so good!

sexta-feira, 18 de novembro de 2011

Remote Fun

Here is a photo taken during the last CQWW SSB. I operated remote, running Win-test. The remoting is done with a pair of Remoterig boxes, a superb solution for remote stations! On these photos you can see the control point (top) and at bottom a detail of the remote station. The CW Key does not appear. CW and SSB QSOs are perfect with this setup.

Everything worked perfectly, and I had a lot of fun. There were no delay issues, and I had to remind myself I was actually more than 100km away from the radio!


The station inludes the TS480HX (left), an LDG AT200PC antenna tuner, a remoterig unit ( on the top of the radio) and all power supplies. There is a PC at the remote site, that is being used less and less since I switched to the remoterig. I plan to replace it completly by using a serial device server to connect all serial port controlled accessories directly to the internet. I'll write about that in the future.

The whole station is built inside a computer rack:


Now the time has come to upgrade the antenna system. I am currently using an 80m dipole with the LDG tuner to get out on all bands.

domingo, 9 de outubro de 2011

Sleepless

I woke-up this night at 03 am local time. Feelink sleepless I decided to check T32C on 40m, a band I still need them. I fire my remote station, and there they are, weak but workable, but working only EU. I decide to check the other bands and work, in a row, 3D2CG and H40KJ on 25m CW and 5W1SA on 17m CW. Feeling happy I return to the T32C pileup, but still EU only. I return to bed.

domingo, 4 de setembro de 2011

Remote setup finally working


Last friday I finally had everything working on my remote control station.

First QSOs were:

MD0CCE 15m CW
LX/PA3EWP 40m CW
LY37R 40m CW
VE7IG 30m CW
OH5JJL 30m CW

Next step is to make CAT with DX4WIN work on the control (operator) end.

terça-feira, 30 de agosto de 2011

From Wi-fi to wired at the station end

After more than a year trying to make it work, usually with marginal results, I finally gave up the Wi-fi link to the remote station. Armed with 60m of white UTP cable, short and tall ladders and some helping hands, I changed the internet connection of the remote station to a wired link.

The results were immediate, and now I can access, control and hear the remote radio with much more reliability.

I definitely do not recommend a lengthy Wi-fi connection at the station end for remote operation use.

Another tip from the learned lessons book is that you have to use first class workmanship on all items of the station. Both good material and careful execution are essential. For a few weeks I could not access the radio, and when inspecting it on site I found a bad Powerpole connection on my RigRunner (my fault, Rigrunners and Powerpoles are great). This knocked off my Microkeyer, killing the link between the PC and the transceiver.

Now everything is online again, with decent response speed.

segunda-feira, 21 de fevereiro de 2011

Using CW Skimmer and PowerSDR-IF with K3

This last weekend was the ARRL DX CW, an old favorite for me. I couldn't travel to my station, so I decided to make just a few contacts from home and test some new ideas.

My goal was to have CW-Skimmer decoding the band I was working, generating spots to win-test.

For that, I connected my K3 to the LP-Pan panadapter and an E-MU 0202 USB Soundcard. The K3 was also connected to a Microham Microkeyer II.

This is the basic setup:



The interface to the transceiver is through the MKII. The Microham USB Router software allows for two CAT virtual COM ports, and I routed one directly to the logging software (Win-test) and the other to LP-Bridge, a piece of software by Larry, N8LP, that further splits the CAT chain. LP-Bridge provides CAT virtual COM ports for the PowerSDR-IF (panoramic display), and for the CW Skimmer.

The CW Skimmer has a built in telnet server, which is accessed by the Win-test DX-Telnet application (part of the Win-test suite) as a local host. After logging-in the spots from Skimmer start flowing into Win-test and are plotted in the bandmap.

The important thing is to keep track of all configurations used. There are several virtual COM ports involved, and the settings must be identical at both sides of the communication link. I took printscreens of all configuration windows, for future reference.

When I first started using PowerSDR and LP-Pan, a few months ago, I had some problems with spur images along the spectrum display. That was solved by replacing the cables between the LP-PAN and the soundcard with some better quality ones (Radio Shack part #42-2433).

As I said, this was not a major contest effort, I just made a bunch of QSOs to check the setup. I still don't know how it will perform during a major effort, but the results look promising. From my little operating, I noticed I almost never checked the Pan display at PowerSDR-IF. Maybe it can be dropped to save computer resources. By the way, my not-so-new Sony Vaio FE (dual core, 1.66MHz) did handle all the simultaneous tasks quite well.

Of course the use of Skimmer makes this a Single Operator - Assisted entry.

Some links:

LP-PAN
PowerSDR-IF

And a nice video in Youtube (not mine)

I'll post some photos and videos in the future.

73 de PY1KN