Tuesday, November 29, 2016

VU7MS Kavaratti Island of the Lakshadweep Islands

VU7MS is on the air from the East Indian ocean.  

This took forever.  I started hearing him about 15:00 and it wasn't till 19:00 I finally worked him.  Initially I was in competition with EU, Japan, and Russia but to soldier on.  He was slowly but randomly skipping through the pileup sometimes moving, sometimes staying put.  Eventually he had pity on NA/SA and managed to tame the rest of the world and give us a chance.  Even so it took over an hour of calling and figuring out the pattern.  Eventually I got him by tailending someone but moving up about 40hz.  I had diversity going and it made all the difference on RX.  My hat's off to the op for his tenacity and good habits.  

73  W9OY

Monday, November 28, 2016

5Z4/DL7KL Kenya

Now this is the way to go on a DX pedition!  DL7KL is on from Diani Beach Kenya.  My band noise on him was -107 dBm and his signal was only -105 dBm, but I was still able to work him in 2 calls.  The band from Mims, FL is open to Africa and the Indian ocean tonight and the old trusty Flex is tearing it up!

Since I had my diversity antenna scheme hooked up, I turned it on and it turned a Q3 signal into a Q5 signal even though he was only 2 dB out of the noise.  I've been chasing this guy for a while and it's the first time I heard him well enough to make contact.  Good op and good ears.  I'm having me some radio fun!

73  W9OY

8Q7DV and Flex 6700 Diversity

Tonight I worked 8Q7DV out in the Indian ocean on 40M.  I was listening to 80M but could just tell he was in there.  He came up on 40M was quite respectable.  My 40M band noise is about -110 dBm tonight and 8Q7DV was -105dBm.  I got him simplex in 1 call, and he soon went split

It was just at sundown and the terminator was flying over my head.

I decided to make a quick video to demonstrate diversity on the 6700.  The 6700 creates a true spatial diversity between the 2 receivers.  Its intent is to reduce fading.  It is not beam forming like the F5K or the Anan.  Those systems are not true diversity but accept one signal as I and the other signal as Q and then creates a plane of points with variable intensity and phase therefore creating a cardioid pattern.  The Flex uses 2 signals which have relative independence with each other but are coherent and the signal is presented to the brain in a way that reduces fading.  

You can see the diversity slice is slice H in the above pic and it has adjustment available for AGC-T audio AGC period (fast med slow) and the DSP functions.  The bandwidth is matched on the 2 receivers and one RX is placed in the right ear and the other in the left.  My antennas are a vertical a G5RV up about 55 ft and a Wellbrook ALA-100 loop.  The dipole and the vertical are separated by about 170 ft and the vertical and loop by about 100 ft.  The 6700 antenna switch is powerful enough to  allow for up to 5 receiving antennas in a multiplicity of combinations so there are many permutations possible depending on your space.  I made a video  demonstrating.  There wasn't a huge amount of fading on this station, but the system does make station readability more stable.


73  W9OY

5T9VB Mauritania and Changes in Flex's Filtering Scheme vs APF

I was listening to 30M and heard 5T9VB in Mauritania on the west coast of Africa.  The terminator was about half way between us on a 4130 mile path

My band noise was near -117 dBm and he was peaking -114sBm or a little better with some QSB.  I managed to work him in 2 calls.  I've recently been involved in a conversation with Bjorn LI9IAA regarding the Flex 6K series vs the Anan radios in terms of feature set.  The radios share some homology but in some respects the Anan in my opinion at least when using HPSDR is more of a variant of the Flex 5K rather than something akin to the 6000 series.  To be sure the Anan/HPSDR is different than the F5K but I think it's implementation is more of a refinement of a 5K.  I own both Flex and Anan and have a 5K, a 6300, a 6500 and a 6700 as well as a Anan 10.  I had a 100D but decided to sell that radio.  

Given the strength of 5T9VB at my QTH I thought it might be an ideal way to show how Flex is doing it's filtering.  I'm using version software.  Flex has implemented a filter matrix that allows latency vs filter sharpness to be chosen depending on need and preference

Sharp filters have best S/N and QRM rejection whereas filters with less steep skirts have lower latency.  Latency becomes important to operators who demand pristine QSK, whereas sharp skirts are important to those of us that require best S/N.  The matrix allows you to tune your radio to your given or perceived needs.  My needs are best S/N.  I find QSK to be absolutely unimportant.  If I want it it is available to me and I even have full duplex available if I want it.  

I made a video of how the matrix works at various bandwidths and I added APF since Bjorn was interested in how APF works in the Flex.


73  W9OY

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

FO/K7AR Raivavae island in the Austral Is French Polynesia

K7AR is on from  Raivavae in French Polynesia from Nov 21 till the 28th.  I caught him tonight on 30M 

Nice signal.  My band noise was -117 dBm and his signal was -111 dBm.  He was alternating between all comers and EU which was nice.  Good op, easy pattern to figure out, so he was in the log in just a few calls.  

73  W9OY

Saturday, November 5, 2016

ZD8W Ascension Island

About halfway between Brazil and Africa is Ascension.  

W6NV, W6XD and N6AA are apparently there for Sweepstakes.  I heard them on 40 but they switched to 80M before I had the chance to complete a contact.  So I switched to 80 to give that new vertical a whirl.  I listened to Oliver work some stations and made my stand to call him at the top of the pileup and I guessed right as he came right back.

Nice S7 (-80 dBm) signal with a band noise down about S2 (-110 dBm).  I think it's going to be a good DX season.

73  W9OY

Thursday, November 3, 2016

RI1AND Novolazarevskaya Base Antartica

I've been hearing Mikhail RI1AND the past few days on various bands.  Tonight I heard him on 40M working simplex and decided to give him a call

I'm the blue dot at the top of the globe.  Although its only 8100 miles it still looks pretty impressive.  

This is a shot of the base camp

And the world map

He was a good S4 to 5 with polar fading and answered me in one call so I bet his noise level is nil.  Nice QSO and another notch on the new post hurricane Matthew vertical.  Tnx Mikhail

73  W9OY

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

ZL7G Chatham Islands

Down New Zeland way are the Chatham Islands

ZL7G is out there tearing it up.  17,000 Q's so far, good ops!  I've got them on 40 and 30 trying out my new verticals.  This morning was in one call, on 40M, on my way out the door to work.  30 was a little harder a couple nights ago.  Notice not much of a pileup.

The bands here are pretty quiet.  They were at least an S unit out of the noise, which was about -109 dBm this morning on the new antenna.  

73  W9OY