Thursday, 6 February 2014

10m 500mW WSPR success

Ran up on 10m for WSPR this afternoon for a few hours, just as dusk was approaching. This time, to reasonably mimic what I want Wispy to achieve, I set up for just half a watt of output power (lord knows what the ERP is!). This was instantly spotted by a pair of stations on the US east coast! I dont know if the conditions were particularly good on 10m or not, but I was impressed by that result.

Im now running at 2W on 40m again overnight. Initially, I didnt seem to be getting many decodes, until I thought I hadnt sync'd the clock. This got me thinking - how often does Windows 7 look for an NTP (Network Time Protocol) sync? This turns out to be every 60,400s. A week! A bloody WEEK??

A quick Google (other search engines are available) and I found a guide to changing the NTP poll period. Rather than give you a simple 'how often would you like to sync?' option, you have to modify the registry. So my clock is now set to poll for NTP sync every hour. Since setting the clock, the decodes have been rolling in.

Mark G0MGX has received Wispy and run her up on his test kit. It seems I have no test equipment issues, but Wispy does indeed have a few problems, not least of which is that the low pass filter isnt cutting off early enough, so letting most of the 42MHz harmonic through. So I now know what to work on. The output power is also wayyyy low, so some work on the output level of the mixer and perhaps the driver is in order.

Ive just opened up an old Marconi RC-690 radio to start dismantling. It amazes me that so few people will strip old kit for parts. The 690, although its often a pig to remove bits from, is a VHF/UHF  Public Safety rig and furnishes some fabulous swag. As well as the common or garden parts, theres three UHF rated power transistors (these beasts gave about 30W), a 10MHz precision crystal oscillator, an SBL-1 500MHz diode ring mixer, a lovely little DPDT RF relay, and a fair bit of RG-178 miniature coax to connect it all up with! I'll start pulling bits out tomorrow. Even the case is solid die cast aluminium!

The 40m WSPR beacon has just reported that its heard LU8EX in Argentina!

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