Solar Data

Saturday, December 31, 2016

6 Metre Band report for 2016

At the beginning on 2016 I decided to concentrate on improving my Morse code, and at the same time
I set myself a challenge to work 5W QRP on the 50MHz band and to see how many IARU grid squares I could make contacts in.

To add further to my challenge on 6mtrs I stuck to using my delta loop antenna which is hung above the bathroom in a fixed position.
I was nowhere near as active as I could have been and I missed quite a number of openings on the band.
Be that as it may, I still think I did really well for a QRP station.



And out of the 89 grids worked resulted in a total of 22 Countries contacted, and while it isnt up there with the guys running full power to large yagi antennas, I am very pleased with the result.


Being a member of the UKSMG (United Kingdom Six Metre Group)
I applied for a basic certificate for working 20 European countries all with QRP .
I will have to buy a nice frame to put it in.



So for 2017 I will start over again with a target of 89 grid squares to beat and more than 22 Countries contacted. I may need to improve my antenna we shall have to see, and if you hear my weak cw signal calling CQ please answer so I can get your grid square.
Thanks for reading and hope to catch you on the band in 2017
73 good DX and Happy New Year!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Having purchased the Dual Bandwidth filter module from Sotabeams.

 


I was going to build it into a small tin enclosure.
Having started the project off by fitting an LM386 audio amp and a 
speaker,along with volume pot and 5V regulator 
I was ready to add my filter module,
but for some reason I kept putting off finishing the project 
thinking it would not look very good.

Well I no longer  have to worry about that as Richard's Company 
has now produced a Kit called  The Boxa-Dual board kit
This is a kit, that once built you plug your already purchased dsp-filter module into.

The kit contains a lovely plated through pcb along with component silk screen overlay and all the necessary components.



Along with the option of a lovely aluminium case which is pre laser etched and drilled.


The kit is easy to assemble and can be built in about an hour or so.
The beauty of this kit is it turns an excellent dsp filter module into a nice professional looking finished project

Oh and the small pack of Golden Bears didnt last 5 mins ;-)
Thanks Richard a lovely touch!


I can highly recommend Richard (G3CWI)'s Company  
who produce  a wide variety of simple ham radio antennas 
and peripherals for the discerning portable operator, 
along with kites and fibreglass poles to raise your antenna's 
and other innovative designs that his well established company produce.
 
Richard and his team are always there to offer advice and help 
should you run into problems with any of their products.
Pop along to the web site.





Saturday, June 04, 2016

          The QRP MAN by GØNMY

       The QRP man by Mark Longson (G0NMY)
       ----------------------------------
       
       The QRP man, is hard to define,
       he may not be active, all of the time.
       He sits alone, with an ear to his rig
       WHO WAS THAT?
       it sounded like SID!
       With a signal so weak, most would ignore,
       to dig that one out, is too much of a chore.
       But our QRP man, with an ear for the weak,
       Listens in silence, not daring to speak
       With QSB and QRM, he notches it tight,
       His bandwidth so thin,
       AH yes it's Sid, Victor Echo one,
       I can hear him now, the QRM has gone.
       The QSO goes much to plan,
       "That Sid you know, is a QRP fan."
 
       In the meantime its out, with the iron and bit,
       to solder up more, of his QRP kit
       A long CQ, to the best of his ability
       This rig works great and has good stability.
       Back comes the Morse, with a five seven nine,
       Yep I'm certain now, the rig's doing fine.
       
       His antenna's not long, but has a narrow 'Q'
       That he explains, makes the signals come through.
       From Germany three, even to VK9,
       This QRP man is doing just fine.
       The QRP man, has found his vocation
       Its all so so small, his QRP station
       but work it does, as the logbook will tell
       yet most misunderstand, how he does so well
       
       His goal it would seem, is to search for perfection
       using the smallest of bits, from his vast selection,
       of coils and caps, and an odd chip or two
       he joins them all up, with his lead based glue! 
       
       The QRP man, hopes that we will all see
       the reason for all his adversity
       No QRM, will he emit
       from his ultra small, QRP kit! 
       
       So when you next hear, our QRP man
       don't be an ANTI-QRP fan
       Think not of him, as a silly crackpot
       just give him some room, don't pinch his spot!
       even if QRP, gives you no appeal,
       just leave them in peace, 
       their frequency don't steal!
       ----------------------------------- 
Written and composed by Mark Longson 
G0NMY(c)1994 All Rights Reserved.....
 
Well I came across my old G-QRP membership certificate, Sadly its got water damaged. So I decided to see if I could make a Duplicate. And once I found the Template the rest was easy.

So I hope George Doesn't mind I will eventually print it out and put it in a Frame on the shack wall.
Check out the G-QRP club if you like to do more with less.


 


73 and enjoy YOUR hobby
Mark Longson
G0NMY 


Cheers Mark

Monday, August 24, 2015

MiniTiouner DATV receiver

My latest project that i decided to build is the BATC MiniTiouner MTK1 kit. It is a DVB-S tuner which
then captures the Transport Stream on a USB FT2232H and sends it to a computer using
The MiniTiouner Program written by F6DZP Jean Pierre.
The build was made easy by the British Amateur Television Club who sourced all the modules and parts along with a PCB designed by G4EWJ which are made available to members to purchase from their internet shop https://batc.org.uk/shop/hardware-and-kits

Here is a picture of the built unit tested and ready to be boxed.
















And Here is the Unit Boxed inside an old linksys router case.
The only thing I need to do is to add an external LED














And here is my first captured Transport Stream from Minitiouner Program while receiving GB3UD
ATV Repeater on 1318.5MHz.
Symbol Rate is 4160
Video PID 0162
Audio PID 0088
PCR PID 0133


video
The next part of the built project is the Digi-Thin Transmitter.
This is an add on board that plugs onto a Raspberry PI with a PI web cam creating a stream to transmit on the Ham Bands.
Note this system is purely for a low symbol rates and is for experimentation running on 4mtrs 6Mtrs 2Mtrs 70cMs and up.

This build is mainly surface mount components and is not aimed as a beginners build me kit.
Again a PCB and hard to get components are available on the BATC web site.

Here is an image of the Digi-Thin board that fits onto the Raspberry PI mini computer.
 
So More fun to be had on the Amateur radio bands. I love this hobby!

Thanks for reading 73 Mark

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Why I dont use Usenet groups (uk.radio.amateur)

Today I received an email from a Radio friend asking me if I was a member of the
uk.radio.amateur UseNet group or Google's implementation of it and requesting me to check it out.

Now to be honest I had bad experience of Usenet groups many years ago and stopped using them.
However I thought I would have a look and see what topics are being discussed in it.
From what I could make out a lot of posts were personal attacks on individuals and the arguments
that followed. So I can honestly say that my decision not to use those groups was still valid.
Now I feel sorry for the genuine Hams who try to hold discussions in such groups, and the derogatory
comments and personal attacks they then receive.

I will say now I am a member of several news groups both on Yahoo and Facebook, and I can honestly say that there is rarely any of the above kind of behavior, so why is this? Well all of the groups I am a member of are moderated and the members of such groups are genuinely friendly and social people, what you would expect on a social network really.

Its a pity I cannot say the same for uk.radio.amateur here is a link if you fancy a look, but I would not really recommend you join this group.
uk.radio.amateur Group

Maybe a new group could be set up with proper moderation as I am sure the genuine hobbyists
would join such a group so they could discuss their hobby and not have to suffer the derision of the crude keyboard warriors and Trolls who lack the basic social skills to interact with their piers.

I for one, and I am sure a lot of other radio hams, use both the radio and the internet.
I think we should be allowed to do so without attacks and derogatory comments.
Anyway that is my rant for what its worth, will this post change anything? I doubt it, as long as
members turn a blind eye to the bad behavior.
Thanks for reading Mark
73

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

New Meteor Scatter program MSHV

I have just aquired a copy of MSHV which is a slightly different version of WSJT and uses WSJT's
Software code. It is a Beta version 0.94 and so far I like the fact that it is a little bit more configurable, and I like the look and feel of the layout. Below is information on the Authors etc.

MSHV is a meteor scatter software using the following fast meteor scatter modes
  • JTMS For meteor scatter. Character transmission rate 197 cps.
  • FSK441 For meteor scatter. Character transmission rate 147 cps.
  • ISCAT Optimized for meteor and ionospheric scatter at 6 meters. Character transmission rate 16.15 or 32.3 cps.
  • JT6M Optimized for meteor and ionospheric scatter at 6 meters. Character transmission rate 14.4 cps.
  • Developed by LZ2HV - Christo
  • Tested by SP9HWY - Jurek
  • Ideas about appearance OZ2M - Bo
MSHV is Open Source software, licensed the GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE Version 3. The project page for developers and source code can be found at https://sourceforge.net/projects/mshv/ 

As you can see it is very simalar to WSJT but I like it's all in one program layout.
Anyway I am in the process of trying it out to see if it works as well as the original program.
Time will tell.
you can download it HERE from LZ2HV's web site

Cheers for now.. thanks for popping bye 73 Mark



Friday, April 10, 2015

6 Metre JT6M Meteor Scatter

Today I have been trying out MS (Meteor Scatter) on 6m.
Meteor Scatter propagation is when tiny dust particles enter into the earths atmosphere at a very high speed and burn up.
This produces very short durations of Ionisation in the E layer and can therefore act as a reflective medium for VHF Radio waves. 
Years ago the method used was very fast morse code signals that were transmitted over and over for 1min or more!
A cassette tape recorder's speed was modified to run very fast and record the bursts of fast Morse code being transmitted. The tape would then be rewound and played back at a much slower speed so the morse could be decoded by the Radio Ham.

Today however we use a program called WSJT Version 10. which uses multiple tones to represent letters and numbers and transmitted repeatedly for 1min or 30 seconds duration.
The software uses a computer soundcard and a transmit and receive interface to send and receive the tones and to decode them in real time.


Anyway having set up the program I connected my interface to my Yaesu FT290R running 2.5Watts, which then drives my R & L Electronics transverter converting the 144MHz signal to a 50MHz signal. The Transverter is quite low power and only runs 25Watts, so I have not done too much transmitting yet.


However today while I was monitoring 50.230 I copied a really good MS Burst from HB9Q who is located in Switzerland. He came through quite strong and considering I only have a lowdown Delta loop which is just a single loop of wire cut for 50MHz band, I was pleased to copy his Meteor Scattered signal.
Here is a picture from the WSJT program showing the captured signal.


You can see the Data stream in the top of the two signal traces.
While Switzerland isnt that far away I was still pleased to receive my first decodable MS Burst on 6m using JT6M Meteor Scatter mode.
So there you have it more radio fun to be had, although I do think I need a bigger antenna and a bit more transmit power for others to copy my signal, but you never know on 6Metre band surprise is the norm for the band nicknamed The Magic Band!
See ya next time
73 Mark G0NMY

Sunday, April 29, 2012

6m Sp-E opening New start on New band

Well I have began listening on 6metres 50MHz (The Magic Band) and my new set up which is a MFJ9406X dedicated low power 6m Radio running 10 watts PeP into a Tokyo HI-POWER HL66V Amplifier producing about 48-50Watts
The antenna is a homemade Delta Loop which is about 15ft off the ground and fixed in an N-S position
which gives E-W radiation pattern.

Well Today there was a Sporadic-E opening towards europe and whilst I didnt contact many stations with my limited setup I did work all new DXCC's and Locator Squares, The reason? I have never been really active on the Magic Band so I am basically starting from scratch. So of course every contact is a new one for me, which adds to the real fun of 6mtrs. So today I got 4 contacts and 4 new DXCC countries so that is great!

Below is a graphical representation of the areas who managed to contact each other.
Map courtesy of LIVE MUF 7.3 by G7RAU


Below is a small video recorded on my phones camera so the quality is quite poor but you will see just how strong a signal certain stations were.

video

As I said Above I only worked 4 stations which were
SP3OCC Ted JO92DF in Poland
S35AZH JO92UN
OZ2KEC JO66DC
LY2BAW Ted KO25KA he was a big signal! (see video)

So as you can see nothing exotic nothing rare, but all new to me on this band so I am pleased as punch.
Thanks for reading 
Blog soon 73 Mark GØNMY

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

11 Oct 432 UKAC contest

Well I followed on with another entry into the 432MHz UKAC contest this evening,
and Managed to work a few more stations than last time.
I was suffering from some heavy interference which appeared to be coming from a westerly direction, but all in all I enjoyed the contest, and think I will continue to support this activity contest.There didnt seem to be much activity from the north/east, well I didnt hear anything anyway.
Below again is a map showing the worked stations. I cant wait for some REAL Tropo enhanced ducting on this band I think it could be fun.
Thanks for reading. Blog soon.


View Larger Map

Thursday, September 15, 2011

13 sept 432 UKAC contest

On the 13th of September I decided to enter the 432MHz UKAC mainly for the fun of it
as I hadnt entered a 432 contest before, and also because I wanted to test out my system to see how it would perform.
My 432MHz system comprises of an Icom IC-490E running 10Watts of power. The feeder is westflex103 coax and a 10 element tonna yagi, actually it was just the rear section of a 21element tonna yagi.
I do not yet have a mast-head pre-amplifier which I am sure will make quite a bit of difference.

Well I managed to work a GRAND TOTAL of 20 stations, with about 7 of them actually being out portable
in horrible gale force winds. Brave souls indeed who deserve a medal for that alone.
My best ODX @246km was GM4JR in locator square IO85FB.


View Larger Map

As you can see from the above map quite a distance can be worked with low power and small antennas.
I have yet to add a mast head pre-amplifier to boost incoming signals and I also have a 150W pmr amplifier
that I fancy modifying to work on ssb.

Anyway thanks for reading blog you soon.
73 from Mark

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Worked Grids

I found a useful little program called WorkedGrids.
It is a program that produces a basic map of your zone eg europe with all the IARU grid squares marked.
It marks each square you have worked with a colour box depending on which band you worked that square.




      CLICK IMAGE FOR FULLSIZE VIEW

It is fully configurable and works by reading a computer logbook program ( I use WinLOG32 by Colin G0CUZ) adif file. It is ideal for keeping track of what squares you have worked both all time and per year.

Workgrids is written by Bertrand Zauhar VE2ZAZ and is available on Bertrand's website at

Monday, May 23, 2011

Elecraft KX3 new model

Well I just watched a youtube video announcing the the new Elecraft KX3. and for a qrp SDR transciever it looks the dogs wotsists. Can be used alone or as an SDR radio with a computer does PSK31 and RTTY without a computer.
Would Love to own one, guess I had better start saving my pennies. THEY ARE NOT CHEAP!
$1800 plus!
Sorry about the quiet audio.
Thanks for reading blog you soon 73

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

DIGITAL SSTV PICS

I have recently been receiving Digital SSTV (Slow Scan Television)
pictures on the 20mtr band 14.233MHz. 
The picture quality is excellent providing a good
constant signal level is received. It is almost like digital terestrial 
Television in that it is copy all or nothing, however if you miss 
parts of the image you can send BSR report telling the sender, 
digitally, what segments were missed from the image.
He will then send a correction transmission sending the missing 
parts until you have the full picture. 
This is all done automatically using an excellent program called
EasyPal.

EasyPal is a free program by VK4AES. and is still in 
development however it has lots of interesting features along with 
the option to upload the received pictures to the internet for 
publishing etc. that is one feature that I plan to try and configure 
for my blog page. so watch this space.
Below is a couple of pictures I received using the program and 
am testing to see if they upload ok.

So thanks for reading and blog ya soon.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Morse Code practice

Well I havent been very active for a long time now and when I have it has mainly been listening to the HF bands.
However just recently I have been watching some Video's on YouTube of hams operating
portable on top of mountains. One such Ham is Steve NØTU who along with his two loyal goats named Peanut & Rooster, they help to carry his equipment to the summit he manages to work some good dx using only 5w and CW using Morsecode. Check out Steve's Blog.
This got me interested in cw again and I decided after listening to morse on 20mtrs I was extreemly lacking in my ability to decode the code at a decent speed. So I am now practicing to try and build my brain up again.
There are a few ways to do this however, I chose two options. The first is on the Internet using the website called Learn CW Online, which is an excellent site to help the complete novice to the most ardent brass pounders and paddle strokers around.
The 2nd option I went for was to download the program called MorseRunner.
This program simulates a cw contest and prepares you for such an event. not that I think I am ready to enter such a contest I just cannot decode well enough yet.
Anyway thanks to Steve and his goats I have re-aroused my morse interest and will be practicing regularly to get back to my old capabilities.

Thanks for reading --... ...-- ... -.-

Friday, June 22, 2007

More Sp-E's on 144MHz



There was a Sporadic E opening this evening on 144Mhz, sadly, as usual, no stations were contacted here, but hey if it was easy it would become boring.

Over the last few days here in the UK we have had bad weather with flash flooding due to large amounts of rainfall over a short period, and heavy Electrical Thunder Storms making the radio a very noisy pastime. However it does appear to have triggered Sporadic E openings on the VHF bands adding fuel to the flame that Sp-e's are caused by Thunder storms. Its not a proven
trigger as yet but then again it wasn't too long ago that the boffins accepted the SP-E existed
as a mode of propagation on the vhf bands, one scientific phenonemon discovered and proven by radio hams.

Anyway Here is the picture showing the areas who managed to contact each other.
The blue lines are for 144MHz and the Red/Orange for 50MHz and 70MHz Bands.
Map captured from Live-MUF program by G7RAU (with thanks).

Sunday, May 13, 2007

First SP-E of Season on 2mtrs



Well yesterday Saturday 12th May saw the first Sporadic-E opening on 2mtrs, (as far as I am aware) for 2007 season.
The reflective area, or cloud, as some like to call it, was located over Italy, and was basically too far away from my location to bend any signals to the UK.
However it is always nice to see it happening and the anticipation that at any moment
it could all change and the band could open up to my area.

Below is a picture showing the areas who managed to contact each other.



Map captured from Live-MUF program by G7RAU (with thanks).

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Tropo Sat 5th May 2007




Well I havent managed to catch any Sporadic E openings on 2mtrs yet, So not much worked.
However on the 5th May there was a Tropo opening into europe with many of the big guns
working lots of DX. As for myself I managed to work two stations.
First was DK2MN who was located in Jo32PC he gave me a 5/3 report and I gave him a 5/1 report, he was very weak with me luckily the rigs dsp helped to dig him out of the noise.
Secondly was PA6NL in Jo21BX again the DSP of my IC7000 radio helped to make the contact.
So not much DX but Netherlands and Germany which was pleasing enough.
Here is a Map of Europe with the paths of the countries who managed to contact each other marked on it.













Map captured from Live-MUF program by G7RAU (with thanks).
Thanks for reading.. Mark

Friday, April 20, 2007

Looking forward to 2007 Sp-E

Well I've not been very active since my last entry infact ive not done much on the radio apart from local chat, The main reason was down to caring for my father who became terminally ill with cancer. Sadly he passed away in february 2007 so have also been very busy sorting out his estate etc.

Anyway onto radio now and I have aquired a new Icom IC-7000 which I am pleased with and am just about proficient at driving. So I am looking forward to the Sp-E season starting.
I have started to fire up Live MUF program to keep my eye on for any Sp-E's
I have not got around to building my DK7ZB beam for 2 mtrs but I do plan to do so when time permits.
Anyway glad to be back blogging again. thanks for reading.
Mark GØNMY

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I Need Some E's

Well yesterday the 144 MHz Band opened up via the Sporadic-E propagation mode. Alas whilst it was a good opening it did not provide any dx at this location. As can be seen from the map below most of the enhancements favoured southern european countries like Spain, Malta and some excellent double hop into Russia.




The one drawback with this kind of opening is it is very restricted as to where the signals get refracted to. Some of the Big Gun stations in the UK managed to work some of the DX but it just did not bend the signals into my antenna. Ah well maybe next time.
Thanks for reading... Mark GØNMY

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Tale Of The Troublesome 290

I am not QRV on 2mtrs at the moment due to other commitments. So I will tell the tale of a recently purchased FT290 MKII. I bought the 290 off Ebay, it was not too expensive at £70, however when it arrived and I hooked it up I found it had very little output, I contacted the seller who told me that they used it on their local repeater which is possible as they live close to it. Upon Inspection the output device 2sc1971 was duff. I did a quick search and found some brand new
devices on, you guessed it (Ebay) they were £6 which I decided was not a dear price. So I purchased one. It duly arrived and I proceeded to fit it, along with a better bias diode as the old device was a 1n4148 glass diode. I fitted a higher current device after reading an article about diode biasing and the common
mistake of using a small current diode which could break down due to high current loading in SSB mode.

Well I tried everything I just could not get any rf out of the device it was removed and metered atleast 5 times! and it checked out fine. I began to suspect that the device I had aquired had probably been mislabeled as it was drawing current but no RF on 144MHz. at this point I started to doubt my
findings and contacted Chris (G1EZJ) a long standing radio friend. He checked out the radio and also came to a conclusion that the transistor was not what it said it was. At this point I thought I would contact Yaesu to see if they could offer a source for the so called obsolete Transistor. I was very Supprised and pleased to get an email back the following day stating that the device was in stock and was £6 plus £4 postage and packing. which was more or less what I paid before. I ordered the device and prayed it was a faulty device I had fitted previously. I decided to take the device down to Chris's and let him fit it. more for my peace of mind and sanity. Lo and Behold Perfect 2.5W output.
So I came to the conclusion that the RARE devices advertised on Ebay were not what they were labelled. next time i will try Yaesu First!.

Inbetween all this Chris had spotted an FL2025 25W add on PA on you guessed it EBAY. So In like flynn I went and won it again it wasnt too dear £37 with postage. Anyway The amplifier had arrived whilst I was awaiting the 2nd 2sc1971 device for the 290.

The pa had not been connected until I knew the 290 was 100%
Upon hooking up the PA guess what? YES youve got it. NO OUTPUT!.

The FL2025 uses a Mitsubishi brick M57727. I took the system back down to Chris's as he has had a lot of experience with brick devices on 23cms.
And he comfirmed that it was indeed duff. However One thing Chris had done in the past was to repair a 23cms brick that he had zapped.
He removed the plastic cover of the device and metered the different stages and discovered a burnt out bias diode. Now my eyesight is nowhere near good enuff
to start repairing bias circuits on the modules but Chris was in his element, he removed the duff diode metered the device which then checked out fine. So he added a small diode and hooked it all up and 15W output and then with a tweak 25W I was well chuffed and impressed as I did not fancy paying out more money on a new brick.

Thanks Chris!
Since then I have managed to aquire a service manual and the next stage to to get it onto frequency as it is slightly off.
I guess Ebay is basically the same as the old bring and buy at radio rallies where you get the item home and it doesnt work.

Anyway there is the Story. My next project it to build a DK7ZB yagi for 2mtrs
and a mast head preamp. So watch this space and Ill update when I can.
Thanks for reading. Mark
GØNMY