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  • Solar Eclipse 20 March 2015

    I set up VLF and MF Grabbers for the solar eclipse, initial results are, nothing really observable.

    At the last minute I remembered an idea I had for a visual observation, my antique camera. Here it is sitting on a cushion on my neighbors car roof.

    Photography of the image was not easy with the modern digital auto exposure camera, they just don't understand what we want to do. In the end I quite like this shot which actually shows the sky and clouds passing over the sun.

  • PI4 Mode QRSS and WSPR

    The addition of PI4 to the U3 TX by Hans Summers suite of modes has lead to my testing it on 28MHz.

    PI4 is not really a suitable mode for QRP but some users asked for it and Hans is always up for a challenge. Where those that asked for it are I don't know, but myself and EA2KV are using it on 28.303MHz time shared on the same frequency.

    I have now been running the mode for over a month and there has been one solicited report from Greece. I always disregard solicited reports on established modes from any results but this is different the frequency has to be publicised.

    I have also been running other tests concurrently awaiting unsolicited reports. These are possible because the signals are in a window where hundreds of highly skilled expensively equipped Hams are monitoring worldwide. WSPR remains the mode for propagation tests. It knocked QRSS off its perch when it was introduced. I have been running a comparison test on 28MHz for over 5 years and the report numbers are in excess of 100,000 WSPR to 1 QRSS.

    For the test to be fair I TX each mode from the same transmitter and for the same period of time. WSPR carries Callsign, Locator and Power in 2 minutes, DFCW5 takes slightly over 2 minutes to send my Callsign only.

    I have recently added FSKCW7 to the list, in just under 2 minutes it manages just a 'G'. That's fine, many years ago I grabbed a 'G' as my international identifier on QRSS, to keep it legal I also ident with the full Callsign. That has been running for over a month with the PI4 with no reports despite the fact I often see it on Grabbers.
    Now I have just gone and publicised it so reports no longer count :D

    Above. My little signal holding its own among signals into VE, some running 10 times more power. It took nearly 2 minutes to convey a not very readable 'G', in the same 10 minute time frame full WSPR decodes were made in the USA.

    2014-12-07 14:48 G3ZJO 28.126190 -26 0 IO92ng +20 0.100 KB9AMG EN52tx

    In order for QRSS to perform a useful service in the digital age it needs to be several times slower and the Grabbers need to have matching FFT times. The message time then gets to be so long that as a communication mode it is boring. However with an MEPT and Grabber set up it is ideal, after the first frame you can view and admire your own signal when ever you like.

  • New Digi Phone Mode SHOUT

    Following in the footsteps of WHISPER and OPERA I like the idea of the new mode SHOUT.

    SHOUT removes overcrowding on the HF bands and the obliterating of QRP stations by the High Power guys, it even brings order to Contesting and rare DXpeditions.

    A 20KHz wide window 10 x 2KHz channels is used on each HF Band in accordance with the RSGB Bandplan. The Mode is not suitable for LF / MF.
    Like most modern modes SHOUT needs a computer and internet connection.


    Operation

    The first step is to log in on your band in use with you Callsign, Name, Locator, Power and Antenna details, Standard Greeting and 73 using the Active Stations Window.

    You are then assigned one of the 10 one minute Time slots for your transmission and allocated a Frequency slot to use in the next screen.

    At the current stage of development some of the data is misaligned this will no doubt be corrected.

    At the allocated time (accurate internet time syncing is needed) the Green TX button lights and and you can announce your call (SHOUT) using a Microphone as many times as you wish during this period. This is where SHOUT differs from other modern modes,its digi and its voice, most rigs are offered with a matching microphone so there is nothing extra to buy.

    Permissible Words

    Only Callsign is allowed which can be using the NATO Phonetic Alphabet.

    Forbidden Words
    There is no need for any other exchange all information including the Report (see later) is via the Internet, just like OPERA.
    Outlawed totally are:
    Waaalow
    Khaarntest
    Taresting
    QRPStation
    Mowbeel

    During your TX time 90% of the active stations will be listening, those hearing you type in your report, the Software automatically sorts those stations to appear alongside yours in the list so making QSO's easier. During your listening period, (90% of the time) you listen for stations and type in their reports.
    For Contest use the procedure is expedited, the 5 x 9 report is automatically filled in so saving time and allowing bigger scores.


    Completing the QSO

    Once the software receives reports from both stations the QSO is complete, both stations have all the station information and the salutations are added from each station, if the e-qsl box is checked QSL's will be sent.

    Additionally the World map is updated with all contacts made.

    As can be seen already worldwide contacts are being made using SHOUT.

    To download and install this interesting development visit the Yahoo Shout Radio Group.

  • Finland on 630m QRP OH8HTG plus 10Meters Also

    Using my Home Brew 10W PA and 6m x 6m Inverted L on 630m, ERP certainly no more than the indicated 10mW I got a new distance record last night.

    OH8HTG is 2051Km away.

    2014-10-25 00:20 G3ZJO 0.475771 -33 0 IO92ng 0.01 OH8HTG KP34di 2051 39

    OH8HTG is also active on 28MHz WSPR and doing a test with Horizontal and Vertical Antennas it seems. My 100mW WSPR on 28MHz uses a 5/8 Vertical antenna mounted on a ground post. Reception reports from OH8THG are consistently 3 to 4dB (sometimes more) up when he uses a Vertical antenna.

    2014-10-25 12:42 G3ZJO 28.126171 -15 0 IO92ng 0.1 OH8HTG/V KP34di 2051 39
    2014-10-25 12:32 G3ZJO 28.126173 -12 0 IO92ng 0.1 OH8HTG/V KP34di 2051 39
    2014-10-25 12:02 G3ZJO 28.126172 -15 0 IO92ng 0.1 OH8HTG/V KP34di 2051 39

    2014-10-25 11:22 G3ZJO 28.126172 -18 0 IO92ng 0.1 OH8HTG/H KP34di 2051 39
    2014-10-25 11:12 G3ZJO 28.126170 -26 0 IO92ng 0.1 OH8HTG/H KP34di 2051 39
    2014-10-25 10:12 G3ZJO 28.126172 -19 0 IO92ng 0.1 OH8HTG/H KP34di 2051 39

    It is nice to see such tests being carried out.

  • VLF Solar Activity Monitor - Correlation of Cause and Effect

    Today I spotted a smaller SID at around 09:45 UTC on my VLF SID Monitor it was possibly too small to trigger any e-mail alerts.

    In this instance it is interesting too take a look at the Goes Satellite Data, this shows us the cause.

    The plot from my VLF Monitor shows the effect.

    From the bottom :-
    Red Pen - Band Noise Increased.
    Black Pen - NAA USA Sharp Signal Strength Enhancement.
    Green Pen - 16.4KHz Noise Increased.
    Dark Blue Pen - GBZ UK Sharp Signal Strength Enhancement.
    Mauve Pen - FTA France 2dB Drop in Signal Strength.
    Light Blue Pen - DHO38 2dB Drop in Signal Strength.
    Orange Pen - GQD UK - Sharp 7dB Drop in Signal Strength.

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