Added my Mar-Apr 2018 TCA column (ATD033) & support files to the All Things
Digital section. I've started a series of Pixie 2 QRPp transceiver related articles. Just how low in price can the Chinese Pixie
kits get? Less than 3 USD for my latest online search.
03 January 2018
Got me a new old refurb (2010) Intel I7 with 16 GB RAM
for Xmas & dumped the preloaded & just horrid W10 for W7. After putting up with that monstrosity for 18 months (only
Millenium was worse, but just), I had had enough. Forgot just how good, solid, reliable & a real pleasure to use W7 was/is
& all my perfectly fine older software & hardware which W10 wouldn't support runs just fine, once again. The I7 allowed me
to take all the programs & hardware spread across 3 dual core computers & mash it all together on the one desktop
with lots of horsepower to spare. Even an old I7 can "smoke" a modern I5 in cost & performance.
UIVIEW was also dumped
& I setup an Arduino Uno based APRS I-Gate using an Ethernet shield, plus Argent Data APRS/packet radio & Adafruit LCD
shields. All the parts had been collecting dust for a few years & since I was rebuilding the main system, why not learn a bit
about networking a Duino, too? The only issue was fixing some minor source code bugs. The gadget plugs into the station router
& connects to the APRS-IS. APRS audio is received from an FT8900 (AF out) which monitors 144.390 MHz 24/7.
30 December 2017
my Jan-Feb 2018 TCA column (ATD032) & support files to the All Things Digital section.
"HAPPY NEW YEAR!"
28 October 2017
Testing MFJ Cobweb antenna & new MX-P50M RF power amplifier (see eBay) with
my Flex-1500 SDR. It's in the same shape & style, just slightly smaller. The two match nicely, esthetically speaking. Sometimes
5 watts just isn't enough (especially with FT8) so having a "boot" helps during the solar cycle doldrums & it isn't going to get
any better till well after 2020. The amp is convection cooled & 100% duty cycle modes gets it very hot
(over 50 C @ 50% power) but that's normal without an external cooling fan for such a small aluminum housing/heat sink to
dissipate heat on its own. There isn't much technical information about it online & no documentation comes with, but
it's fairly easy to figure out how to use. Included are a fused power cable plus unterminated PTT wires with the connectors needed
to hookup either an FT-817 (8-pin mini-DIN) or KX3 (2.5 mm TRS plug). Had to use a male DB9 to connect to the Flex's "FlexWire"
port (PTT out & ground, pins 3 & 5).
Worked a 93-year young Amateur on FT8. Antenna restrictions make digital modes
only real option for him to active & stay on the air. You need a spry mind to keep up with FT8 QSOs because it's like a continuous contest
or "sprint" because of the fast two-way QSOs & trying to keep up with properly logging contacts because the eQSL card request
rates are crazy high for the new mode.
16 October 2017
Added the last of year 2016 revised & reissued releases of my past
columns (ATD024, 025 and 026) plus support files to the All Things Digital section.
08 October 2017
FT8 adventures continue!
Worked Iceland station & UN World Bank Group ARC in Washington, DC (bankers gotta have fun, too!). Using the mode to test various
antenna designs due to its fast turn around rate. I can see how signals vary, in real-time, across the world in FT8 monitor mode
& use PSKReporter to show my station's results collected by its automatic logbook. Twenty metres is just crazy full
of DX & U.S. signals, but Canuck stations are rare enough that I get quite a few "double strikes" when calling "CQ" & FT8
is "smart" enough to sort things out for you on the fly. My eQSL request rate is nearly 50% of all my contacts so proper
logkeeping (electronic/paper) is a must. The much older JT modes faded away (literally overnight) from HF use because