The bands are dead

The bands are dead. There is not sunspot activity. I set up my kiwisdr so I could check band conditions from work. DEAD. Hopefully soon, we will start getting sunspots. I am pining for some DX contacts.

Unpacking the station

Greetings,

I have been slowly unpacking the station to operate, somewhat. The KD1IT-10 digipeater is running 10W into a J-Pole not yet at height, the RSP2Pro is being used to scope local spectrum and the Zumspot is up and running. I took the uBitX out, and it is picking up 80/40 meter stuff. Have not got everything unpacked, just yet.

73 for now,

Jeff

LightAPRS Tracker

Good day,

So I got TA2MUN and TA9OHC’s LightAPRS tracker. These guys designed it for ballooning, but it can be used for auto tracking, or anything, really.

What it is:

  •  Ready-assembled PCB: all components are SMD and already soldered
  •  Open Source: Software is open. You can easily modify the source code. The source code is shared via GitHub for different use cases (pico balloon, HAB, car, etc.)
  •  Arduino Compatible CPU: Since CPU is ATMega based, you can use Arduino IDE and libraries to program LightAPRS. (VSCode, also , with Arduino plugin)
  •  Extendable: Using I2C and SPI pins you can add extra sensors ( and their libraries) to LightAPRS..
  •  1 Watt Radio: In fact you don’t need 1 Watt radio module for balloon projects but for your other projects you definitely will
  •  High Quality GPS: The U-Blox M8 line is superb. I use them in my own designs.

What the beast looks like. I mounted an SMA connector so I can connect to standard antennas.

IMG 3223aprs.fi reading

I have really enjoyed getting this thing on the air.

If you want to learn more, visit https://www.lightaprs.com

To buy one, go to https://www.qrp-labs.com

Traveling and HotSpots

Spending time at my office in Boston for the next 11 days, so I decided to bring my PiStar ZUMSpot hot spot with me. AG7SM, David, thought it would be cool to chat with each other that way. Booted the HotSpot, and let it default to AP mode, hooked it into the Hotel WiFi, and off it went. For two nights, AG7SM and myself had a couple of brief QSOs. While I know some people think using the internet as a back bone is NOT Amateur Radio, and quite easily, we could have done FaceTime or something, I still think it is a fun thing to do. I look forward to the day when I can remote my HF rig, while I am traveling, and use an auxiliary front panel to have QSOs.

All in all, this hobby still excites me, after 45 odd years.

Really ARRL?

Really ARRL? It is 2019 and you re still using Flash on your website. How about come into the 21st Century and use HTML5, like most people do.
Screen Shot on 2019 04 05 at 15 37 23

Finally Figured Out D-Star

So, after a number of weeks failing at D-Star, I finally got it figured out, and have had point to point communications with my friend David, AG7SM on our ZUMSpots. Works great. Finally!

New Knob

I procured a tuning knob for my uBitX from the Elecraft KX3 but buying the knob and rubber band from them. I have put it on the uBitx, and the tuning in fantastic. Really a good tuning knob.

IMG 3039

Back to 1 Land

28 Years ago, I moved to the Pacific Northwest to work on an operating system that became the basis of anyone running Windows. In that time, I worked on 2 subsequent OSes (I had worked on 2 before I moved to the PNW). Also, a number of startups, some HW design, a music service, I could go on for ever. I won’t.

I have accepted a position in New England based company, as the Director of Embedded Systems and Hardware Platforms.

So, as a result, I will be relocating, along with my wife, dogs, radios, and all the other things to New England. We are looking for a place now. It has to have land as to put up good antennas. We are now starting the new solar cycle and I want to be ready to have fun.

While I will miss things about the PNW, like the ORTVRC, SeaPac, and friends, I look forward to getting back to my friends I have stayed in touch with on the radio, in New England. I look forward to the old gang. 

So there you have it. Big change. 

 

73 de Jeff 

34 years later…

I first became an Amateur Radio operator when I was 14, that was way back in the last century. I went to General class before the 2 year novice license was up. A number of years later, I upgraded to Advance, and had got my current call. Today, I finally took element 4 and passed. Until I am registered in the FCC ILS, I am  KD1IT/AE on the Extra frequency allotments.

Why did I wait this long? I do not know. The thing was, I took the exam at the same time I got my Advance Class, thirty four years ago. I passed the code test for Extra, but failed the exam. I decided not to re-take. Well, my good friend, David, AG7SM, got his extra, a couple of weeks ago,  after being out of the hobby for a number of years, and he got an Extra Class. So I decided to get one, and called the VEC yesterday to ask if I could come in today. I did a cursory brush up on the some of the theories, etc. 

I took my time with the test, and checked my work, over and over. I passed the test, and got my CSCE for element 4. I immediately sent a text to my good friend, K1LO, who lives in Hudson, NH, and David, AG7SM, saying I passed.

The examiners asked me if I wanted to be a VE. I passed on that, this go around, but I might consider doing it, and helping out. The VE test today was conducted by the Oregon Tualatin Valley Amateur Radio Club (OTVARC). Very nice people. There were a lot of people there getting their Technician class licenses. I think there was myself, and another ham upgrading to Extra, and one ham doing a General class upgrade. Good to see a lot of new people joining the ranks of Amateur Radio.

Anyway, I know to some, this is not exciting, and to be honest, it wasn’t all that exciting, other than I just wanted to have it. Now I do, I have more of the spectrum at my disposal, and I can become a VE, to asset others in becoming an Amateur Radio operator.

If you are not a ham, and you want to be one, please visit the ARRL or contact your local Amateur Radio Club. The sunspot cycle is at the bottom, and it can only go up from here. The bands will be much fun again, soon. 

 

73 de Jeff – KD1IT/AE

 

P.S. One of the VE’s said “Why are you upgrading? Advance class is unique now that it is grandfathered”. I said “I want a bit more spectrum for CW”. He smiled and said “Good luck, young man”. (Note: I was probably the same age as he was 😉 )

Moved the uBITX into a new case.

This weekend, I decided to move my uBitX to a new case, and incorporate a Nextion Screen and use KD8CEC’s updated FW for the radio. While here at the QTH, I do not have the proper tools, it did come out ok. Here is a photo of the minimal front. Tuning, Volume, and Display. On the back, There is Power, Power Switch , IF tap for SDR hookup (pan adapter), mic, key, and speaker/headphone hook up, Raduino USB extension, (bulkhead mounted). And the RF out. The only thing left is to get a new tuning knob (accomplished, will incorporate later this week!). (Also, pardon for the messy work bench.)

 

IMG 3009