maandag 22 juli 2019

Power problem FT4 solved

Fact : Power level of WSJT must be almost on maximum in order to have output to the TX ALC

Problem :  the WSJT-X v2.1.0 64bit windows version has a problem with controlling the sound mixer

Solution :

Step 1 : open the sound mixer in Windows (WSJT is not visible  in this mixer bar at this moment)
Step 2 : just perform 1 tranmission in WSJT.   The WSJT will appear in the Windows mixer
            There you will see the low level.

Step 3 : adjust the level to normal

Step 4 : don't forget to lower the power level in WSJT

Problem solved.

donderdag 18 juli 2019

FT4 is a real winner !

First prediction :
FT4 will change the digital ham-world.  For sure !

Second prediction :
FT4 will make FT8 obsolete. 
FT8 will be remembered as the first very popular, easy accessible digital mode.  One year later, FT4 will take over.

Speed is superb.  This is going fast.  At least when there are people on the air.
I made 150 QSO's in FT4.  With 400 W versus 200 W in FT8. 

Duty cycle is only 30% (5 seconds on a 15 seconds send/receive stream), my system is running on lower temperature compared with FT8.

My first conclusion is that stronger signals are needed, as foreseen in the protocol, but that this mode will attract still more participants compared with FT8. 

to be continued... 

Thank you TR8CA for coming back to my FT4 CQ.

woensdag 17 juli 2019

FT8 fox hound qso with OJ0C

Until now, I wasn't able to make Fox/Hound QSO's in FT8. 
Version 2.0.0 gave a (known) error and the program failed.

Today with v2.1.0 I decided to give it a new chance.  OJ0C was the fox, and there were only a few hounds from allover the world.  After some trial and error, the QSO was made.

F/H is not my favourite thing to work a pileup. 
Maybe I need more experience, maybe it will die with  the FT4 protolcol just launched.

Anyway, it works.

First FT4 qso ever

WSJT-X official v2.1.0 "FT4" release yesterday... today first test with FT4.

It works fine, but no one uses it yet.

I had to place it on the cluster and SP2GR was so friendly to come on frequency to make my first FT4 qso.
Some minutes later SM2OTU came also making a QSO.

I seems that we are the very first users, but the mode looks very, very fine.  Quick qso, nice reports, less bandwidth needed.

I detected one small problem with the new software version. No outgoing power  !
Fixed by clicking on the power tracking button on the right sight of the screen;

To be continued.

Problems with the karlock system on the NN4ZZ tiltplate

This is how it should be
 This is how it was...
The karlock hook went into security modus while tilting down the tower.
This is not the expected result.  The hook must be released from the tower.

Frustrating, it must have been a millimeter game, but each time the system went into security modus in stead of tilting horizontally.   The wind played a role and also the weight of the cabling I suppose.

I was lucky to had this system on a Steppir, so I was able to lower the system using the previous way by shorting the elements.   Nevertheless, I retried with some extra wiring in order to unterstand what was really going on and how to solve it.

It seemed that the antenna wasn't 100 percent horizontal fixed on the mounting plate, quite difficult to have this correct because the plate isn't in a 90 degree status on the vertical tower.   There was a but more weight on the left side of the antenna and so the plate wasn't stable when lowering.

I did some extra work to have it better fixed and gave more space to the locking system.
Let's hope this time it will be ok.

I do not dare to think how to solve this with a big 2 element 40m yagi installed if this happens...

FT8 DXCC achieved

DXCC digital mode confirmed.  

In fact, it is a DXCC FT8 mode only.

It took 5500 random QSO in FT8 to achieve this award, one year after the start of this popular mode.  
During the last weeks, the Carribean area was quite active on air and this part of the world is always needed for DXCC.

zondag 9 juni 2019

NN4ZZ tiltplate now installed

Never ever work on antennas while the pylone is hanging on a simple 20 years old steel cable.

I dare not to think what should happen if this cable breaks while working on my yagi.

With the tiltplate - karlock included - this will never occur. 
I least, I will not stand under the contruction.

After about 6000 QSO with the Windom wire antenna,  my Steppir starts a second life. 
I changed the 6 fixing blocks (Wimo doesn't support Steppir, so there was a sold-out of the spare parts) and the cabling.  

All works fine.

Thinking about the past,  3 levels of Yagi installation, 3 times less risc.

Level 1 : installing the KT34XA in 1999.  Highest risc level.

Level 2 : installation of the Steppir by extending the fiber parts standing on the ground, but still under the construction

Level 3 : installation of a random yagi while standing on the ground, without any risc using the NN4ZZ tiltplate.  Not cheap, but more effective than any life insurance.

Looking forward to this :    
Let the FT4 contest party begin !   I expect a total change of contesting, with as a first step making RTTY contests obsolete.