Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Careless WSPRs

After a decent lie in this morning, I finally dragged myself out of bed at about 11 and started with my list of jobs. I know what your thinking - 11??? but to be fair im on nights! Anyways, since my jobs list would keep me mostly away from the wireless for the afternoon, I set up for WSPR on 20m, then cracked on with dismantling the drains...

After spending quite a while unblocking the drain from the washing machine, for which I found the only thing I had flexible enough to get in there was my 6m whip antenna, I got around to another task on the list - testing the dual band mini-magmount antenna. Well, with the MFJ-259 attached, I put the antenna on a conveniently located groundplane and swept it, resonant at 135MHz. This seems bad, but my convenient groundplane was the top of the fridge! So, I zipped up the neck of my jumper and went and tried it on an actual car. The results were very good. Apart from an odd spot near the drivers door where the 2m SWR came out as 1.7:1, almost everywhere else on the roof was 1.5:1 or better, often 1.1:1. This doesnt mean the antenna is efficient, but it does present a usable match. When I next get time i'll connect one of my little dual band handies to it and try to fire a few repeaters, see just what it will work. You may recall that the original magmount base for this had water ingress in the coax, something that the person I got it from roundly denied when I berated him for it this evening!

By this time it was starting to get late and 20m was dying. After picking Sam up from school, I retuned for 40m WSPR operation. Again running just 2W, and getting a few good spots from the US and Canada, plus Isreal, as well as Europe.

Mark G0MGX has kindly offered to give my 10m Wispy transceivers Tx chain the once over. His test kit is somewhat more modern and advanced than mine, so he will check to see that the mixer is indeed producing clean DSB, that the carrier suppression is adequate, and also check to see if the PA is performing and what output power its providing. Ive also asked if he'd check the harmonic suppression is acceptable. So Wispy is boxed and addressed ready to send tomorrow. I have plenty of other projects to work on whilst its away, the 4m transverter for one! Or the ARDF 80m beacons ATU, Or the Cobwebb, Or the 4m Moxon...

Just before leaving for work, I put a big notice on the computer saying not to turn it off, and instructed Julie that I was running the 40m WSPR beacon and to leave the PC on when she went to bed. Of course she forgot, turned the PC off, then back on again and emailed me to ask what to do to put things back on. So I talked her through it by email, all seemed well and good. Until a little while later, after she'd gone to bed, when the map on WSPRnet went blank with the notice 'no activity'. I started to think what could have gone wrong. Tx failure? No, theres no received spots. Not uploading? No, theres no 'heard by' spots either... later it dawned on me. I'd asked her to ensure the 'Idle' box was ticked. Which she did. Of course, I should have said UNticked! So, the radio and PC are sat all night, calmly running the WSPR software, in idle mode, just waiting to be told to start working!  Bugger.

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