donderdag 31 juli 2014

acitivities on 30m

Yesterday, big visit : ON5ZO & Co in the house with hints and tricks and a lot of "not-again-this-kind-of-Murphial-troubles-when-we-are-together".

Lesson 1 : never try to use an analyser with the antenna connected to an MFJ relay switch.  Strange results will happen, and there is no explanation...

Lesson 2 : trust (but verify) the Steppir, it stays a good antenna.

Lesson 3 : paper calculations are ok, but the practical in nature situation is not the theory.  After measuring my home-made 30m dipole (calculated on paper without analyser) it seemed that the dip was on 9600 Khz.  We had to cut 2x 0,5m to have it resonant on 10115 Khz.

At this moment I can use the antenna without tuner, so I can use full power in stead of 750 W.

This results of course in much better reverse-beacon reports.

W3LPL before:  26 dB snr, now (at 2:00 local time in the middle of the night) 35 dB
K1TTT before : 19 dB snr, now 34 dB
KM3T before : 25 dB snr, now 38 dB
DF7GB from 13 to 36 dB

But there is a negative side on the story : the antenna is mounted as a sloper and as a consequence it takes up much more QRM than a horizontal antenna.
High power reaches more people but I have much more problems to copy low-power stations. 

So dear (mainly US) stations on the other side,  I'm very sorry and I'm not deaf (not yet at least I may hope) but it is very hard to copy a 100W station if I'm only 559 at your side with 1500 W and no special receiving antenna.

DXCC worked counter on 30m is now on 45...  still a lot of work to do.

Yesterday I was able to add HK, HS0 and EW.

DXCC #305 worked

C21 is in the log.

This is a special one for me.  No, no secret banking account on this financial paradise, unfortunately...

In my beginning years 1996-1997, playing with a butternut vertical (without radial system) and only 100W, there was an DXpedition to Nauru.  At that time the use of call-lists was used very often.  "last two letters pse ?"  Charlie Papa, I've you.

I was at the almost end of such a list and when it was my turn to play, the conditions were changed and I could't make the QSO. 

It took until yesterday to make a new contact with Nauru.  I really hope (there are some negative rumours) that our Japanese friend will confirm with a QSL card !

donderdag 17 juli 2014

RTTY stress

Finally, after 2 days filled with troubles and problems, I seem to be able to play in RTTY with my FT1000 MKV.

I started on Monday.  I decided to prepare my station for some rtty activities and maybe the CQWW contest  in September.  A long story very short : my laptop's internal soundcard seemed deaf for the incoming signal from the microham microkeyer.

27 € and (only !) one day later, this little soundblaster stick is the correct workaround and works super.

Incoming signal ok.

Second problem : how to get RTTY out of the tx.  AFSK or FSK ?  Rookie as I am in digital modes, I couldn't find the word FSK on my TX, so I decided to go for AFSK.  Wrong !

More than two hours of changing settings on the microham router + N1MM + MMTTY.  But no good signal.  I had a signal, but I seemed random and not repeatable.

The motivation decreased with the increase of the temperature (it was a hot day in Belgium). However, a phone call with ON5ZO is always the start for a solution.  No plug and play solution as Franki is not a rtty-lover, but at least the hint to go for FSK and not AFSK.

Googling on the net, I seems that Yaesu uses the RTTY buttom for FSK operations and the Packet buttom for AFSK.  Rookie ² !!

But too much time on google is also bad : I took a totally wrong path with the extfsk.dll feature in MMTTY.   Another loss of some hours.

Finally I decided to restart from scratch (without extfsk) and at this moment it seems to work.  With a few Watt and no more motivation to go on, I couldn't make a contact, but this is just a question of time.  Anyway a Russian station answered my 'ot1a ot1a ot1a' with QRZ?  so it means at least a part of my call was in the air. 
With more time and good macros, I'll come back after a qsy to DL.

 RTTY : what a complex mode and setup system...

CW rules !