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.

FT8, my new favorite mode

The weekend before Christmas, I built an audio isolation box (Jeff’s home made RigBlaster, if you will). It allowed me to hook the mic and headphone jacks to the uBitX, to my MacBook Pro.

What was cool,  using WSJT-X on MacOS (Yes, there is a native WSJT-X version, none of that Windows stuff 😉 ), I made a number of contacts over the weekend. Was pretty good, because I was pushing only 4W on 30 Meters (10.136 Mhz), and into a make shift loaded vertical tuned to 30M. Very impressed with the results, let alone that uBitX was flawless through this whole thing.

 

Screen Shot on 2018 12 23 at 15 46 03

SDRs and Tuning knobs

I am going to get an Elad Tmate-2 tuning accessory for my SDRPlay RSP2Pro. This device is a bit pricy, but it will make using the RSP2Pro much easier. Couple that with a good desktop running SDRUno, and I thing I will have a great receiver, when coupled to the mag loop set up I am designing (Mounted high, with a rotor for nulling and remote control).

 

When I get it, I will let everyone know how it works out.

 

73 de KD1IT

ZUMSpot

Yesterday, I received a ZUMSPot modem that plugs into a RaspberryPI. I opened to have it in a Raspberry PI3 B+, with integrated WiFi. After setting up PIStar on the unit, I started having conversations with people in England, Canada and the East coast of the United States. Basically, the ZUMSpot is a hotspot for Data/DMR/etc digital voice modes. It can connect to reflectors to allow you to see other people listed and make a call to them. Very cool. I am trying to get a friend in NH to get one, and get on it, so we can chat while the solar flux is at its lowest. HF hasn’t been too good lately.

 

Will say more on the ZUMSpot and MMVDM as I get more and more used to using it.

 

73

MMDVM

So, I am interested in building a MMDVM (Multimode Digital Voice Modem) for hooking into DSTAR. So, I spent 8 hours working on a PI-Hat similar to the ZumSpot Pi Zero. Since ZumSpot seems to be dead, I decided to build my own. I finally have the schematic done, board placed and routed. Now, to get them built.

FWIW, I love the ST Micro STM32 MCUs. I use them in our professional work, through I am using a less powerful one on this design.

Here are photos of top and bottom:

 

MMDVM HS top

 

MMDVM HS bottom

The QRPLabs QCX 5W CW transceiver.

I ordered back in October of 2017, a QRPLabs QCX 30 meter transceiver. As most of you know, I am a QRPer (in addition to an SDR enthusiast), so this was a great opportunity to build a single band, 5W QRP rig that has amazing features like a CW Beacon, WSPR beacon, a CW keyed and a really nice receiver. In addition, all the settings do not require external equipment to tune up the radio. In addition, the radio offers built int east equipment to test other things. Quite a handy little package.

 

Anyways, I was thrilled to build it. It took about 10 hours, total, due to the winding of a transformer and 4 toroids, but it was fun to build.

Go over to QRPLabs and look at the QCX transceiver for yourself.

Here is the completed rig:

IMG 2312