Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Digital Ramblings

Just had my first foray into Digimodes. I thought it was about time that I made use of my ZLP Minipro data interface and after experimenting with SSTV I decided to give PSK31 a try.

Using Ham Radio Deluxe digital software,  I found it quite difficult to configure the radio and sound card and as such it was nigh on impossible to work with. After a few test transmissions with Stewart (M0SDM) it soon became clear that I wasn't making it work. I installed Digipan software and with a little trial and error I managed to find ideal settings and soon found myself operating PSK31 with some success. I'm hooked now, it's still a bit of a learning curve as I need to create a set of macros to speed up my replies but that will come, I'm sure.

I have had some minor problems with my QRP set up. The Platinum X1M was suffering from low receive audio levels. A delve into the innards uncovered the problem. There are two pcb's which are connected via a socket and plug, which had become dislodged. I separated the boards and gave the connections a good clean with switch cleaner then reassembled the radio. Problem sorted. I have a 40m mobile vertical aerial and that constitutes my mobile QRP arrangement. I intend to find some high ground and operate from the car during what remains of the summer. For portable use, I will build a mono band dipole and sling that in a tree, with power coming from a SLA battery or my old 3 amp PSU and the trusty little generator. I have looked into Photovoltaic panels for charging the battery but that seems a little bit like overkill for a radio with such a low operating requirement. I haven't quite made my mind up but for contests etc the generator is a no - no so a little more thought will be required.

I have acquired a VHF linear amplifier/preamplifier for use with the two Standard radios. With a 1W input I get 35W out and with 8W that goes up to 40W, which is a big jump from the 8W that the C8800 gives. The C5800 gives 16W on full power so the increase is useful. Speaking of the C5800, I will be looking at increasing the full power output to its original 25W and I will post another blog outlining the project. For some reason the output was decreased by a previous owner - quite why is a mystery to me so we will have to see if it works. The next project will be to add CTCSS capability as well - I have seen some boards that can be fitted with only three wires to connect.  A little time to study the schematic will be required and I will also report on that.

In September SKARS will be operating from St. Anne's Church in Grantham for Churches and Chapels on the Air weekend. GB2SAG will operate from the church. SKARS has a connection with the church as we use the Church Hall for our meetings, so there will be a mutual benefit to be had. October sees Jamboree on the Air weekend and we will also be operating from the Grantham area in association with the Scouting Organisation. We operated JOTA for the first time last year and it is hoped that we will operate from a proper tent next to the Scout Hut - last year we operated from within the Scout Hut and noise levels with lots of youngsters having fun affected operation. The tent idea is apt for the Scouts and we will all have a really fun time.


73 de 2E0ENN

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