Propagation tools – UK Ionogram

Ionogram Information from the UK Solar System Data Centre at Chilton (RAL). Critical frequency is currently 3.1MHz (ie. foF2) and Maximum Usable Frequency MUF(D) is 8.13MHz. https://www.ukssdc.ac.uk/ionosondes/view_latest.html. Registration is required to access the data after which login just requires an email address (leave the password blank.

The RAL is the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory: https://stfc.ukri.org/about-us/where-we-work/rutherford-appleton-laboratory/

(tr)uSDX working! – first day tests!

Having messed up slightly by installing a turned pin SIL socket on one PCB and then realising I didnt have a turned pin SIL header the trUSDX project has been on hold whilst I waited for some of the correct header pins to arrive. The header pins actually arrived a couple of days ago but I have been too busy to return to playing with the radio.

Saturday morning came and at last I have had the time to complete the build (well, apart from putting it into a nice enclosure – that will come later). So, a strong cup of cofffee with BBC Radio 4 in the background, and I wound the last couple of toroids (actually it was the FT37 transformers which I had left as a ‘treat’ until the end!) and then fitted the RF amplifier devices (3 x BS170 FETs).

First tests to check the receiver (HF wire antennas) and I was pleasd to find that the bands were alive with strong CW and SSB signals from 80m through to 20m (helped of course, as is customary on a weekend, with lots of Contest QSOs). So, I made a quick YouTube video of the radio on receive (see YouTube clip below). A couple of CW calls on 20m were quickly answered (HA, HB9 and IT9) and some decent reports on the Reverse Beacon including VE2WU in Quebec, Canda) I’ve also shown below the results of later CW tests on 40m and 80m

Next, it was time to wire up a microphone (I am not using the onboard electret – I used a spare (and larger) module left-over from an old BiTX project. A quick tune through 40m looked promising with lots of PA stations working away in the PA contest. I promptly worked over 10 stations and made a clip of SSB QSO #1 on this radio with PI4CC, again see below.

So what next? I need to wire up a proper microphone and then fit the radio into an enclosure. As far the the enclosure goes I am not inclined to put it in one of the 3D-printed organge cases (ie. the DL2MAN original), time to have another look in the junk box I think!

I’ll probably have a go on FT8 and RTTY also because, er … why not!

Running at just 5V (0.45W out) on 20m.

CW at 4W on 40m
CW at 80m

and later in the evening…


SSB Audio quality

RX

TX

and testing transmit, 40m QSO with PI4CC



(tr)uSDX kit – UK group buy #1

My (tr)uSDX kit by DL2MAN has just arrived 🙂 This kit is derived from DL2MAN’s kit and obtained from a UK Group buy kindly arranged by Ian MM0GYX. Here are the two PCBs, part assembled and as received from Ian this morning.

Main Board
RF Board

Time to watch DL2MAN’s Youtube assembly video a couple of time and then warm up the soldering iron!

(tr)uSDX assembly by DL2MAN

This video shows DL1DN operating his (tr)uSDX



A little contesting

There were two contests I wanted to take part in this weekend but other commitments prevented a serious entry into either, consequently I didn’t use my special contest call G2k but my normal callsign M0ICR.

The first was the BARTG RTTY Sprint, I’m sad not to have managed a proper entry this year as it’s a contest I’ve enjoyed in the mast. In the end I managed a few minutes here and there with a total of just 50 QSO, mostly on 15m. Highlights were India, Chile and Brazil with most of the rest being QSO with USA stations.

Likewise, I couldn’t manage a full entry for the RSGB 80m/40m AFS, just 40mins operating (all on 80m) so I was pleased to rack up 110 QSO (actually 111 in the log but one is a duplicate) in the short time.

Designing a new ‘piggyback’ PCB for the Nano

Learning to use EasyEDA and designing a PCB that I am calling the piggyback.

Fig 1

A Hitachi 44780 LCD module (1602 or 2004) will be mounted in front of he board (the 16 pins at the top), I2C connection(s) will also be possible. The Arduino Nano (U1) is mounted on the left of the board with breakout fins for each of the pins (I am not entirely happy with the design yet as, on reflection) I really want to add the possibility of breaking out ALL of the Nano pins (including the digital ones not yet connected). Finally there is a matrix board for prototyping on the right of the board and also a contrast preset (R1) (for the 44780) and a DC connector jack (J1).

Here is an idea of what it looks like in 3D with the 44780 fitted (the PCB was an earlier iteration).

Fig 2

Playing around with JS8 Call

Having fun playing around with JS8 Call in the last day or so. Slowly getting the hang of it and had a couple of QSO’s with Hans (TA4/G0UPL) yesterday whilst setting it up. After a bit of trial and error (and watching a couple of videos on YouTube) I managed a handful of QSO including a couple into USA.

The image below shows the results of a ‘Heartbeat’ message I sent this morning confirming 40m reception in Switzerland (2 x HB( stations) and Germany – good signal strengths all of them.