Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Portable WSPR beacon?

On the 22nd this month, its the G-QRP club Rishworth Convention, and as I understand it QRP Labs will be in attendance.

Now, Ive been wanting a stand alone WSPR beacon for some time. So, with Rishworth coming up, I have my beady eye on this

Ultimate 3S Beacon

Based on an ATMega microcontroller (essentially a special to task Arduino!) and a Si5351A DDS module, this little machine is capable of putting out a few hundred mW on a selected band (decided by which plug in LPF is chosen) in many digital modes, such as WSPR, QRSS, JT65, CW etc etc. There is a GPS module for it as well, which not only disciplines the clock for accurate timing and frequency, but also automatically sets the locator!

If I go for the uncased beacon, with GPS, and an extra LPF for another band (perhaps 40m and 10m?) then its likely to set me back about £60, around half my Rishworth budget!

Tonight, whilst running WSPR on 40m, I decided to take a short break to test the HSR (Hand Set Remote) and D-10 link to the PRC-351. As I had Speclab running on the PC, I put WSPR to Idle, set the DX-70TH to 6m FM, tuned it and the -351 to 50.500MHz, and had a little play watching my modulation 'off-air' on the spectrograph! 

About half an hour later, I started getting concerned at how my WSPR reception had fallen off! Then I realised i'd left it in Idle! D'oh!

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