Blog

Yaesu Digital HT 08/26/2011 (??)

I bumped into an interesting video on YouTube this morning. This is supposed to be a new digital Yaesu HT, but no model numer yet available. Looks much like my VX-8D though 🙂 Just take a look.

Finnish HamFest / Sappee 2011

Last weekend I visited the Finnish HamFest called SRAL Kesäleiri at Sappee. It was my first visit in that happening ever. It sure was interesting and it was nice meet lots of Finnish hams there. I also encountered the mobile bicycle HF-station (in the picture above). It was very interesting to see, especially as I have been interested on bicycle mobile for a while now. In addition to hams there were also many interesting lectures about various items in the Ham radio. I managed to participate one, which was about APRS and aprs.fi new features. They also demoed a very nice pocsag -messaging system there. I definitely need to look more into that.

Yes..there were also some HAM shops present (together with an interesting flee market)… and  I bought a new Windom antenna from the fest to my summer QTH among some other necessities…like duplexer for my HamShack (for my Mobira modified 2m and 70cm rigs)…etc.

It sure was a nice trip. I’m looking forward of making this a tradition for each summer in the years to come.

QRP in the sun

Yesterday I finally got my self in the shop and purchased couple of used 7Ah batteries from the local army surplus store. I built a parallel connected double battery from those and tested my self made 20meters dipole in our back yard. There sure was some pile-up ongoing in 20 meters, and as I was just running 20w in SSB, I didn’t have much to say there 🙂 Wish I know the morse code better… Maybe I need to try the PSK-31 with iPad in QRP, while training my Morse.

 

CW Training

Phew. I have started the CW training (morse). I really feel that it is something that is definitely needed for serious DXing and especially in the interesting world of QRP working. I ran trough few applications for Windows, Mac and iOS devices together with Android, but find no good apps for my training…untill I found the marvellous multiplatform capable Learn CW Online -web site! It sure works nicely and enables the Koch Method and all. Very interesting and nice way to practice the code. The morse player there is Flash based, but one can change the player from the prefecences to be HTML5 … so it works with iOS devices also. Really cool. The service also has some community features to compare your progress to others and discuss about some morse issues on-site.

If you are interested on learning morse code, just log on to lcwo.net and start training. You can find me there as OH6FXL (my profile). Hope my motivation lasts long enough…learning morse is not easy, but it opens a whole new world in HAM bands when mastered. Looking forward on that. 🙂

Beautiful antenna, ugly balun #hamr

I finally made it. I raised the HF antenna of mine to new heights. Or atleast a bit higher than the previous installation. I managed to get the antenna high up to the top of the tree with my new (EVO3) version of the antenna launcher. It sure is more powerful than the old slingshot (picture below)

    

New (EVO3 version)                                                                               Old (EVO2) version

The first picture in this post is a picture of my Ugly Balun – an air wound choke, that I made for my Windom (OCF) dipole to eliminate the RF in the shack (actually I converted my antenna to “Carolina Windom” -like antenna”. As the antenna project is still ongoing I haven’t been able to test that balun yet. I let you know how it works. The antenna project is still ongoing because I encountered new tree branches in our yard when rising the antenna higher. Yep, they weren’t there before… 🙂 as the antenna was couple of meters lower.. Anyway, I hope to test the antenna and the balun soon. I’m looking forward to get rid of the annoying RF interference by this. The other thing I need to do is to shovel up few meters (abt. 50m) of ditch for my grounding cable, but that’s another story..but it affects to that RF too, so that needs to be done.

QSL Cards and Shack Update

I finally got my QSL cards from the printing house few days (week) ago. QSO’s have been “piling up” meanwhile waiting the cards, so I have approximately 200 QSL’s to send out… So you will have yours after a while. As I’m the member of the Finnish radio amateur league (SRAL) I will be posting the QSL’s via the bureau. Hopefully that method will reach you all. 

I have also been switching between computer platforms in the Shack. As you might remember I started out with my Mac and MacLogger DX together with CocoaModem for digimodes. After a while I changed the CocoaModem to fldigi. Not long ago I completely transferred my Shack computer to Linux platform and started using CQRLOG instead of MacLogger DX. After all that platform hassle I managed to keep my log up-to-date… at least almost. I think I lost one QSO from the log, but that was user error, not related to platform change. I try to figure out what QSO is missing. It was a G something, so from England. Hopefully I will find it somewhere. But all in all I’m quite happy with CQRLOG together with fldigi. I managed to get all CAT and digi interface features working too. The only hassle I have at the moment is related to dual monitors in my computer…but that is not HAM related, it is Ubuntu / Linux X-window ‘feature’…

Flu, 1st of May and painting

It is the 1st of May (Wappu in Finnish). I’m still recovering from the flu, but quite ok now. I’ve been working some PSK31 in the Shack and painting some serious wood! Yep. We are about to build a new terrace for our house within next weekend, so I just need to get all the wood painted before that…what a rush! There is couple of hundred meters of it, but it is good excercise 🙂

During the “drying time” when waiting the next painting turn I have been working with some other issues…like PSK31 on 20 meters again, what a joy it is..and then playing some drums. I also managed to get my shack WLAN antenna finally working (see picture below). I actually needed to lower it a bit in the mast to get it working better for the wlan from the house. It is a directional antenna pointing towards our house to get the wlan signal from there. The antenna is then conected to a acces point which is acting just as a wlan client and bridge to provide the TCP/IP connection for the shack computer(s). It’s working ok at the moment. Hope it will continue working also tomorrow 🙂 It has been a bit flacky recently..

Summer is coming finally. It just is great. Hope to hear you in the bands. I’m currently working quite a bit the PSK31 on 20 meters as I have also been building my remote setup for that lately. Just to mention.. It is nice to work around the world from the couch, with iPad for example 🙂 Yep. Need to post you a video abt that setup later… I always keep on promising those videos, but just wait…I will. When the worst rush of work has passed by and I have some time 🙂

Building a mic adapter…

I’m currently building a microphone adapter for my Yaesu FT-450 and for my studio mic. Adapter is based on the original one made by a fellow ham OH6HZH. I have been testing his adapter for couple of days now and it just works like a charm with my rig and mic. I’m using my AKG C2000B condencer microphone together with ART Tube MP microphone amplifier in this setup.

As I was buying some components for the adapter project yesterday, I also found the nice foot pedal (black box in the picture) from the local electronic shop. I installed it as foot PTT for this setup and it works like a charm. I have been running it with the “6HZH adapter”. It just is a simple micro controller with nice plastic pedal… 🙂 Looking forward of having my own adapter ready in the upcoming days. More about it later…

Nice APRS Tracker project

Just stumbled on this very interesting APRS tracker project one day when thinking about the APRS setup in my own car. At the moment I only have one real APRS device. It is my Yaesu VX-8D. I call it real APRS  because it transmit on real radio frequency (144.800MHz in EU). In addition to that I have also some “fake” ones… like those in my phone and in my iPad. I call them fake, because they are not transmitting on that real radio frequency, but they are just talking to APRS-IS in internet via GPRS data link.

BTW: I have also been working on my HF microphone setup lately, which I will tell you later. Maybe with a video … hi hi…