Monday, March 28, 2016

A Cool Thing

Tonight I was fooling around with DXLab SpotCollector's SQL tabs.  SpotCollector has 32 buttons in 4 banks of 8 that can be programmed to filter the SpotCollector database on specific field criteria, like Band, Mode, etc.  The filter can be quite complicated for example
  • only Spot Database Entries for SV2ASP/A
  • only Spot Database Entries for stations on 6m working CW
  • only Spot Database Entries for stations from Mongolia on 80m spotted from Europe
  • only Spot Database Entries for stations whose DXCC entities you haven't confirmed on CW
  • only Spot Database Entries for for African, European, or Asian stations on 160m that were spotted from the North American East coast.
  • only Spot Database Entries known to QSL via the ARRL's Logbook of the World
See the link above for a complete description.  

I presently have only 8 Filters programmed.  Above is a shot of un-programmed SQL buttons

To Program a button hover your mouse over a button and hit CTL before you click and the following panel will open up

(to get a clearer view of the pics click the pick and it will open a viewer)

My interest is primarily low band DXing 160M-30M CW.  I have exactly 1 SSB DX QSO confirmed, but sometimes I want to see what is happening on other bands.  The SQL language is not super intuitive so a couple examples 

 All          Band in ('160m','80m','40m','30m','20m','17m','15m','12m','10m','6m')

This expression is contained in the field connected to the button called "All"   This expression filters all modes and bands 160M-6M 

 160-30C       Band in ('160m','80m','40m','30m') and (Mode= 'CW')

This button 160-30C    turns on only 160 80 40 and 30 CW

160-10C      Band in ('160m','80m','40m','30m','20m','17m','15m','12m','10m') and (Mode= 'CW')

This one 106-10C   turns on 160-10 CW only  

20-10C  Band in ('20m','17m','15m','12m','10m') and (Mode= "CW")  turns on 20M-10M CW

and I have a few single band choices as well

160 CW  Band in ('160m') and (Mode= "CW")  turns on 160M CW spots and I have one of thesae for 80, 40, and 30M as well.  

That should be enough to get something going!  

This is a shot of All  note CW SSB RTTY JT65  are all listed from 160-6M 

This is 40 CW only, though some SSB and Digital stuff sometime leaks through because it is mis-labeled in the database.  NBD.

Happy programming !

73  W9OY

Friday, March 25, 2016

VK0EK Just Heard Heard Is.

VK0EK is on the air.  I tuned in on 30M and was amazed I could hear them as they are about 7 or more hours into their daylight as you can see on the map below, but they were very workable allowing for QSB

I studied the pileup and was able to determine where to call, in other words I made a lucky guess.

The pileup was down instead of up.  VK0EK was on 10.116MHZ 

I called him once and he came right back and we completed the QSO.  VK0EK had specific instructions about how to work them on their web page and it always pays off to check the instructions.  They wanted you to send your callsign and 5NN for the exchange, and so I didand was rewarded with a TU.

They have some kind of fancy realtime logging/propagation software

So I stopped by and popped in my callsign and this popped back!

All told maybe 10 seconds of transmit time.  This Flex stuff is amazing as is their logging lash up!  Great DX experience.  

73  W9OY

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

C5GCJ The Gambia

I watched the Falcon 9 launch this evening out of my window. an absolutely gorgeous launch.  I was trying to get some election results on the TV and happened to glance out the windows of my sun room and caught the rocket just as it rose above the tree line.  The time it takes between when the rocket lights up and when the sound reaches my porch is about 68 seconds. 

I was headed off to bed and stopped by the shack to see what was on.  Always a bad idea when I need some sleep.  Tonight C5GCJ was pounding in on 40M.  My noise on 40M tonight was about -112 dBm

But Zenon was peaking -86 dBm, a full 26 dBm out of the noise

The pileup wasn't huge but he was skipping around working stations in the pile making anticipation of where he was listening difficult.

I caught him near the top of the pileup and we were in each others logs

There are some Europeans and Ukrainians advertised in the cluster on 160M but I best toddle off to bed.  Checking the bands while rewarding can be quite dangerous to sleep.

73  W9OY

Monday, March 21, 2016

Mayoette FH/F2DX

F2DX decided to stop off at Mayoette on his way to operate Jaun de Niva FT4JA at the end of the month.  I caught him on 40M 

And logged him thus

He had a good signal but variable.  I caugth him close to his morning terminator as the grayline was passing Madagascar.  Should give a good clue to Jaun de Nova propagation

Pat is an excellent op and had the pileup stand by to pull me out of the mud  for which I am very grateful.  His comment was QRN.

73  W9OY

Saturday, March 12, 2016

3 Contests at Once

So I was fooling around and noticed there is a contest for every band tonight.  160M has the Stew Perry, 80M has the Tesla Memorial, and 80-10 has the RSGB Commonwealth commonly called the BERU.

The exchange for the SP is 4 character grid square, for the TM its RST serial # and grid square. and for the BERU RST + serial#  I loaded the BERU log up in Write log and found I could enter all of this in a way that would allow me to differentiate contests.  I set up the 6500 for SO2R/V

The skimmer/bandmap on the left is 80M/Tesla-BERU contest.  The skimmer/bandmap on the right is 160M/Stew Perry.  I have the audio pan set for 20 toward the left, and 80 toward the right.  I have 2 knobs attached.  The latest version of SDR-Bridge by W2RF allows for Flex controls to act as SO2R/SO2V knobs.  One knob tunes the 80M pan, and the other the 160M pan.  The buttons on the knob allow for each knob to control RIT, XIT, AGC-T and Vol as well as freq for each connected slice.  It's my poor man's Maestro.  Here is a shot of the knob setup screen in Bridge. 

Other configs can be set up for a single knob which can be used across more than one slice.  As many as 4 knobs can be accommodated for those with ADD more severe than mine.  

Here is the left radio for 80M/Tesla-BERU contest

And here the right for 160M/SP

My amp and antenna switch are set up such that a band change in the radio forces a corresponding band change on the amp and switches antennas to a resonant vertical on each band.  There is enough signal on each antenna that the alternative antenna has plenty of signal for SO2R/V.  The 80M is a full size vertical and the 160 is a high inv-L both resonant to 1.2:1 or less on their respective bands, so no tuner involved.  

Write log uses the up down buttons to switch bands.  I can also switch bands by clicking on either pan.  In addition the skimmers populate the writelog Band maps with stations.  By clicking a station on a band map the callsign is entered into the correct field in writelog.  Or I can click a station in skimmer and that is entered into writelog ready to complete the contact.  I tend to run narrow filters (100hz) so the knbs are handy for fine tuning.  If I was truly contesting I would use wider filters, but I'm just goofing around.  

So there you have it a 6500 running SO2R/V running 3 independent contests on 2 different bands all at once.  Maximum efficiency!!  I programmed the correct memory exchanges into my keyer so now all I have to do is keep the damn buttons strait!

I actually didn't make any contacts in the SP because the rules recommend no assist and skimmers etc constitute an assist but I did want to set this up and see how she flew.  I also have a wellbrook active loop antenna in RX-1 which would allow me to add more slices and switch between more bands, like 40M to run the BERU, but that's getting to be too confusing.  That ant gives good output on all bands to 20M (actually higher).  With the FullDuplex active this thing rocks!

73  W9OY