using the newest, fastest growing & hottest Amateur
Radio digital mode FT8 with my FT-857 & old XP laptop. In just a few hours, worked 25 U.S. stations & 1 Italian
& spotted 252 others (total 278) from over 9 different countries. For some reason, there was a "pipeline" to the
U.S. southwest where my 25 watt signal was peaking between +5 to +7 dB (SNR) with my homemade multiband vertical. The PSKReporter site supports
the new mode (plus other data modes) & collects data from stations worldwide. I could graphically display FT8 data automatically
streamed to the site from my station & others & downloaded a custom logbook it created for me. It's a fast &
furious & fun mode being profiled in the October & next November's issues of QST. There are a few cool features provided by
the WSJT-X software to go with a plethora of data modes it supports (described in this month's issue).
06 September 2017
an old WRT-54G router left over from a BBHN mesh project & reflashed it with awesome DD-WRT Linux firmware & reprogrammed it
as a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi repeater & access point (AP). A way was needed to get the signal from my basement radio shack to
the far backyard where a new Bloomsky 5-in-1 Wi-Fi weather station could connect for remote access to its UV sensor
& wide-angle sky shot camera. This method was used because current consumer Wi-Fi "plug-in wall socket" repeaters &
APs can't be reflashed or connected to hidden networks & I didn't want to make my network visible to the public,
but you can with a DD-WRT reflashed router & security settings customized, as required. You can also remove &
replace the WRT-54's two stock antennas with high gain 2.4 GHz verticals (which I did) or use high gain beams to really
extend the range. I love it! The DD-WRT website was a bit confusing to me, but a Google search found the information for
the WRT series and explained things in simple, small steps for non-networking/server people like myself (still took me three tries
to get it right).
The only caveat is that you must read the instructions
carefully & then follow them exactly. If it says to wait 5 minutes or go for a walk, it means wait 5 minutes or go for a
17 August 2017
Added my next Sep-Oct TCA column (ATD030) support files to the All Things Digital section.
v3 RTL-SDR USB dongle with improvements from earlier versions, including HF receive ability which is very good & better than
using a separate upconverter. The ability to turn its built-in 5 VDC bias-T circuit on/off under software control is a major plus
over the older v2's.
Added a power splitter to my external horizontal delta loop & feeding my KiwiSDR & RTL-SDR
v3 dongle separately with it. Can now receive & live stream four separate WSPR bands (usually 160, 80, 40 and 30 m), one
QRSS band (30 m) plus one SSTV band (20 m).
The KiwiSDR is one smoking hot four channel receiver & putting it
inside a $3 plastic container prevents frequency jitter caused by ambient air & humidity changes & also
offers protection for Kiwi from falling objects, which seem to be "attracted" it! Plans are in the works to release an optional
housing for it in the near future. I can see why the Kiwi is selling like hotcakes & nearing 2000 units sold in one
year with its hardware & software performance vs. price.
04 August 2017
New page added just for the upcoming Great
American Solar Eclipse on 21 August 2017 geared towards radio hobbyists. Most of us in the Americans will see some portion of the
face of Sol covered by Luna & experience various measurable atmospheric, ionopsheric & meteological effects albeit with different intensities.
Got my new Kiwisdr 4-channel SDR receiver kit up & running. It's one piece of amazing electronics & software.Massdrop usually has price discounts several times a year. Almost plug 'n play installation; the only real issue was routing the Kiwi's
GPS patch antenna outside the basement shack so it could "see" the sky.
It's setup so my large horizontal delta loop
antenna feeds the Kiwi; two receiver channels run on two separate dual-core computers: 80/40 & 30/20 metres data modes
are monitored, decoded & streamed to their various web servers, but these combinations can be changed (the Kiwi tunes down
to down to 10 kHz!) An i7 class quad core processor could easily handle & process all 4 receiver channels
& decoding software simultaneously.
You can also check out the KiwiSDR by connecting to the SDR.hu which is
a network of KiwiSDR's shared across cyberspace. Awesome, just awesome!