Welcome to my amateur radio and electronics Blog. My name is Carl and I live between Northwood and Rickmansworth on the Greater London / Hertfordshire border. This new blog was started 26th December 2020 although I am in the process of transferring some of the more interesting posts from my old Blogspot pages. My main radio interests are:
* VHF to SHF DXing and contesting * HF Dxing, digital modes and contesting (particularly RTTY contesting) * Equipment and antenna construction, including homebrew and kits
I am proud to be a founding member of the Drowned Rats Radio Group, if you want to know more about the Rats check out our webpage at About Us | Drowned Rats Radio Group (g3rat.com). We are VHF and above enthusiasts (although we also do some HF!), we do contesting and more.
We are always looking for new members to join the team
We welcome newcomers and old-hands alike, full training is given and we have a lot of fun! If you are in the UK and would like more information including how to get involved in the weekly VHF-SHF activity contests and/or to come out with us on one of our field events please contact us on the link above or feel free to email me direct. If you’re new to VHF and above contesting in the UK check out my beginners guide here.
Look for us on air with our club calls M0HRF, G3RAT and our contest call G2D.
Attached the QRP Labs QLG2 GPS unit to the QCX Mini 20m this morning (see additional post).
A nice set of signal report for the first WSPR transmission, 105 spots from one burst with the top ten (by distance) listed below. Best DX was KL7L in QRA Square BP51IP (Alaska) – just NW of Anchorage:
There are about half a dozen Digital Modes club offering colourful awards for simply uploading your log and it being compared against their database. The awards are off course completely useless as far as DXCC as so on is concerned but they are at least colourful! I’ve printed a couple out to add some colour to the shack alongside DXCC and various ‘proper’ contest certificates.
For uploading my log and applying for awards I use the excellent Ultimate AAC application available here:
Delighted by QRP Labs QLG2 GPS module and patch antenna arrived this morning. Especially pleased because the item is has gone of of stock in the last few days as Hans is having supply problems with the microcontroller due to the current global semiconductor chip shortage. The microcontroller is based on a 32-bit STM32 ARM processor.
With optional 16×02 LCD diplay:
Features of the QLG2:
Supply voltage range 3.3 to 6V.
Board 80 x 37mm (Same as Ultimate3S, VFO and Clock kits).
Multi GNSS satellite constellation receiver supports GPS (US), Galileo (Europe),
GLONASS (Russia) and Beidou (Chinese) – (default GPS + Beidou) – giving a faster
more accurate position fix – Module is E108-GN01 (GK9501 GNSS chip set)
• Serial to USB converter, using onboard USB B connector, for convenient interface to
PC software if required – no drivers required. Jumpers select either the GPS serial
data, or your own externally connected serial data, for example you could use this as
a USB to Serial data converter for CAT control of QCX, QCX+ and QCX-mini
• Can optionally be connected to a standard 1602 LCD, in the same style as the
Ultimate3S, VFO and Clock kits, to GPS date, time and satellite information using
the onboard microcontroller.
• Supplied with included magnetic-mount active antenna, approx 2m coax and SMA
• Supply voltage range 3.3 to 6V.
• Board 80 x 37mm (Same as, and compatible with, Ultimate3S, VFO and Clock kits).
• Onboard LEDs for status indication: Red (Power), Yellow (Serial data) and Green
• 2.8 to 5V logic level conversion to provide 5V serial data for full compatibility with all
QRP Labs kits.
• Supports 2.8/3.3V logic OR 5V logic (jumper wire selected)
• SMD assembly already undertaken by factory facility – only SMA connector, and
optional USB B connector to solder.
• Space provided for optional ultra-capacitor for faster hot-start
The QLG2 will be used to provide the GPS controlled time synch signal for both my QCX range of QRP Labs transceivers and also my Ultimate 3 WSPR beacon. I’ll post ‘build and boxing’ images here soon. I am considering adding the device to a clock module using a 20×4 LCD display for more information including Maidenhead locator, Lat and Lon and altitude.
This is a guide for those who do not send CW by hand or decode CW by ‘brain’. It is targeted at getting you going on the monthly 80m Club Contests run by the RSGB but the basic principles will apply to other CW contests. This guide assumes you are using Mixw2 version 3.2 or better (but not version 4).M0ICR
Setting up Mixw2 for CW using a modulated SSB signal
Make sure you are in menu Layout 2:
2. Tick CW from the Mode Tab:
3. Many operators will use letters as shortcuts for certain numbers, personally I only do this for 0 (to letter T) but that’s a personal choice. I don’t select 9 as N because whilst I prefer to send 5NN for signal report (which I will hardcode in the macros) I don’t like a 9 in a serial number to appear as an N. You can set the default transmit WPM here for contests also (but you can adjust that later using another breakout windows as I will explain later). I tend to use 25wpm as my default (this is the maximum I have any change of decoding by ear!). For this basic set up there is no need to adjust any of the other settings.
4. Setting up the hardware connection between your PC and your radio (in my case an Icom 7300 on COM Port 5 at 38400 bps).
5. Basic Macros. These are the basic Macros I use:
Finally, a couple of other tips for using Mixw2 in contests:
6. Setting your TX speed.
When you select the CW mode Mixw2 will automatically bring up a little CW window, you can adjust your CW transmit speed here:
If you want to set your TX speed to the speed you are decoding your current QSO station you can see that at the bottom right of the main Mixw2 window here:
73, de Carl M0ICR
I also find it helpful to have CWGet running as a second means of decoding: https://www.dxsoft.com/en/products/cwget/