Worked the SAC!

My HamShack / Studio

Last weekend was my first big contest weekend. It was THE traditional “Finnkampen” or the Sweden -Finland HAM contest…well to be honest it wasn’t just that, but it was the Scandinavian Activity Contest. 🙂 It sure was a lot of fun and very interesting experiment as untill now I have just worked two SRAL Peruskisa (Finnish Amateur Radio League monthly contest). It feels that I’m starting to like this exiting part of the HAM radio hobby! It is kinda exiting and fun. Should work more contests…

I think I did quite OK in the contest, considering my very very limited time (remember that I’m a father of a 2 months old daughter :-)). I might have done even better with just a couple of more hours, but I’m very pleased to my results anyway. Below you can see my QSO amounts in the timeline. I worked this contest in 3 parts as can be seen from the picture. Just when I needed to end my contest there was quite a nice pile-up going, but man’s gotta do what man’s gotta do. I needed to leave the Hamshack… 

Sac-ssb

BTW. I used my trusty old MacLogger DX and it’s contest -functionality to log my contest QSO’s. It’s because I’m kinda familiar with it and messed therefore only one or two QSO’s because I pressed wrong button (and was tired during the night shift…). So it worked out really fine in the very hectic times of the contest. The MacLogger DX can’t however produce the Cabrillo log format that was required to submit the log, so I needed somekind of a conversion software from ADIF-to-CAB. Luckily I found (and purchased) a very nice Windows software called Contest Log Checker for this task. It really works like a charm and produces fully compatible Cabrillo 3.0 file and even knows the SAC-CW and SAC-SSB contests by default!! I really recommend you to check that software. No I’m not affiliated to any of these software, but I’m just a happy (paying) customer. 🙂

So I was able to submit my log and claim my score (9744). When writing this I’m in the 5th place in my Low Power – Rookie -class. Not bad 🙂 Lets see how the situation changes when all the logs are submitted. There is still some time left (by 2400 UTC on Sunday 23 October). You can follow the proceedings in the sactest.net You can also read more about SAC contest and it’s history (in Finnish) from SRAL -pages

Weather Station

The Shack

I have been thinking of having a weather station for a very long time. Finally last week I went and purchased an “el cheapo” weather station from Clas Ohlson. The generic brand / model of that station is WS-1080. There are many manufacturers of that station and I think that also Wimo sells that station with name WX-2008 (with the same price as Clas Ohlson).

I put the sensors into the roof of my Shack (pic) and the reception unit / touch screen panel is inside the shack (pic). It is very nice that transmission is wireless from sensors to control unit. It should be operating somewhere around 433 MHz so I hope it is not interfering with my 70cm HAM operations..so far so good 🙂

The control unit is hooked up to an old Sony Vaio lap-top computer running Ubuntu Linux. In that machine I installed the Weather Display -software which does the actual “number crunching” and stores the values. It also provides data for my new weather pages. Those pages are not that fancy and good looking, but they will do as they are maybe under constant development … so maybe later they would look nicer 🙂

Next thing to implement into those pages would be somekind of a weather camera. Also APRS would be nice, but that’s another story…maybe that same old laptop would work as a APRS iGate in the future..you never know hi hi.

Let me hear what do you think about those new weather pages of mine and this project. Just feel free to comment this post. It is possible both in english and in finnish as always.

Copying the ISS!!

Today it finally happened! I was able to copy 59 The Space Station transmission LIVE from Space! In the morning I noticed from my iPad Satellite Ham Radio -application that ISS will do quite a nice pass over my QTH during the day (approximately 11:30 Finnish time). I noticed also that ARISSAT-1 was about to make a close pass too. So I decided to try to listen them both. As my selfmade tape measure yagi -beam is still under construction I was forced to use just plain GP -antennas for both sats.

First I tried to copy the APRS traffic from the ARISSAT-1 with my new car setup. I was able to hear the APRS -packet traffic, but wasn’t able to copy them and decode packets. However it was interesting experiment and I would definitely try that later again. But time was running and ISS pass was closing, so I went to the shack.

I tuned the radio and waited for a while. Had a nice QSO on 80m while waiting and then… I started hearing something from the VHF frequency…and I started my phone camera… Here you go. Live transmission directly from space in my shack…!!! 🙂 First time ever!

Yaesu FTM-350 AE (AR) car installation

As you might remember from the previous unboxing video, I have a new Yaesu FTM-350 AE dualbander APRS -rig for my car. Today I finally was able to install it there. I decided to make a brief video introduction of that installation. I made a bunch of mistakes with the model names and numbers in the video, but hey…it’s unique and one-shot (no edit) real social media production, so be patient. I corrected some of those in the video with text, but if you are a HAM and interested about the rig, you know what I’m talking about with or without corrections (hi hi) but others may enjoy the corrections.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to post them as comments here. Let’s have some discussion ongoing. And yes. I managed to make a test drive also today. Rig and the APRS works like a charm. I might need to connect the external speaker though, but I will manage with the internals meanwhile (you can see what I mean, when you watch the video).

And yes, this is the AE / AR version with the latest firmware, so those old problems mentioned in several web-sites (including eHam) should be long gone. 

And now…Enjoy the video. 🙂

 

Some SOTA action with Elecraft KX3

Found this nice 'demo' video from the Goathiker Steve's (WG0AT) great YouTube feed. In this video the team K7S activates Mt Little SI for Summits on the Air with a prototype of Elecraft KX3. Man thats an interesting rig!!

Yaesu FTM-350 AE Unboxing

Yay! I Just received today my new Yaesu FTM-350AE (AR) rig with FGPS1 GPS module to run my VHF/UHF operations and especially APRS in my mobile. This radio will replace the good ol’ Yaesu FT-7900 that has been serving the voice comm’s there. That “old” 7900 would be relocated into the Shack for VHF/UHF operations.

You would most probably be seeing more videos and read more about this FTM-350 rig from this blog in the upcoming future 🙂 But first things first…let the unboxing begin… hi hi…

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.