Wednesday, August 31, 2011

APRS weather station?

I have been looking around the web to find an inexpensive aprs capable weather station kit. It seems to me that the only options are the FD-WX1 from Fox Delta and the µWeather from RXComm. The FD-WX1 looks like a nice kit but it's not currently available and the µWeather is not a kit as they only sell the bare PCB without any parts.

Any suggestions?

Friday, August 12, 2011

More APRS and a trip to LG5LG

A couple of new gadgets has arrived my shack this summer, both of them APRS related. The first item to arrive was a Yaesu VX-8GE handheld with GPS and APRS. I have tried it on some of my SOTA activatons and except from the battery life I'm very pleased with it. I use it to send self spots to when I'm qrv from the summit. I have already ordered a FNB-102LI Li-ion 1800mAh and a rapid charger for it.

The other gadget is a Argent Data Tracker2 (OT2m) to go with my Garmin Nuvi 350 car GPS. The two makes a great pair for mobile APRS as I'm able to both send and receive APRS messages and watch other stations on the GPS. The tracker is connected to a Puxing PX-777 two meter handheld.

I'm now able to receive messages to LA1TPA, LA1TPA-7 and LA1TPA-9

Tomorrow I'll head for the ham meeting at Morokulien on the border to Sweden. There is a radio shack right on the border of this "Land of Peace" with both a Swedish and a Norwegian callsign (SJ9WL and LG5LG). You can read more about Morokulien here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS)

For the last month or so I have taken up interest in APRS. A couple of years ago I purchased some trackers, one TinyTrak3 and a two Opentracker+ units. They all worked great but just running a tracker in my car started to bore me very fast. I remember thinking that it has to be more to APRS than just tracking. Now I can tell that Bob Bruninga, the father of APRS, agrees. APRS was never intended to be a vehicle tracking service! He wanted it to be a single point of information on what's going on in ham radio in the area.

The main reason for my newly gained interest is the ability to selfspot to Sotawatch via APRS. The APRS coverage here in Norway is rapidly improving and I think I can reach a digipeater from virtually any of the LA/TM sotas these days. I'm now waiting for a Yaesu VX-8GE to arrive from Germany. This HT has built in GPS and APRS possibilities and will let me send and receive both APRS beacons and APRS text messages.

Automatic Packet Reporting system by Bob Bruninga
APRS2SOTA Spot Server
SpotAPRS Gateway

Monday, May 2, 2011

Linux or not

Hi all! I'm trying to decide whether I should install Ubuntu on my Asus Eee PC or if I should keep Win 7 on it. I have tested Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal in a VirtualBox and I'm impressed with the Unity GUI. Another option is of course to dual boot between the two operating systems. I use the mini-pc mostly at school but also sometimes to radio related tasks when away from home. I use Logger32 as my main log and I haven't found an equally good logging software for Linux yet. Any thoughts?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Emergency Communications with the Polaric system

Last night I attended training on an emergency tracking system based on APRS and the Norwegian Polaric Trackers and the Polaric portable Map Server. The intention is to give APRS trackers to voluntary search teams and emergency vehicles and provide a detailed map with tracking data to the people in charge of the operation. The system relies on both fixed digipeaters as well as a number of portable digipeaters that can be placed on any suitable hilltop to provide APRS coverage in the area of the emergency. The map server can run offline so you don't really need Internet to show maps and tracking data.

The system is tested in several real life situatons.

Links in Norwegian:
Polaric Tracker and Polaric Server

Links translated with Google Translate
Polaric Tracker and Polaric Server

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Mobile operations

Recently I have taken up mobile operations again. I use a FT-857D at 5w and an ATAS-100 antenna. My external loudspeaker is not very good so tonight I tested the Heil Traveler Single sided headset. I worked EG5CI on 17m, UR5IFB on 20m and LA1BNA on 10m. So far I have worked CT9, E7, S5, UA4, 9A, 5B, LA, I, UR and EA on SSB QRP from the car this year.

The ATAS antenna is mounted on triple magnet base but I'm not really happy with this solution. I have tried to find a SO-239 antenna mount for roof rails suitable for HF antennas. Any suggestions? I use a counterpoise magnet mat as antenna ground.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

QSLs, 10m contest and N1MM Logger

Today I have spent some time printing QSL cards and QSL labels. On my old card (to the left on the photo) I print directly on the card and for the new card I print on labels. I use the new card (to the right) for QSOs made from foreign countries. The two stacks contain 220 cards.

Tonight I planned to join the NRAU 10m Activity Contest but I guess the conditions were not right for QRP as I only managed to raise one single QSO with EA7IQQ! I could hear Argentina and the Falklands but was not able to work any of them. I have e-mailed the N1MM Logger development team and asked them to add the contest to N1MM Logger and Nick NA3M replied within minutes to let me know it was on his to-do list.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Norwegian Hammeeting and FT-817 elbow connector

This morning I picked up Aage LA1ENA and his son at 7.00 am and headed for Gardermoen just north of Oslo to attend the Norwegian Hammeeting. The trip took us 2,5 hours. Several radio suppliers were present and there was a large flea market and a number of lectures. I listened to a lecture by Roy W7EL who was talking about antenna modelling with EZNEC.

Permo is the largest radio supplier in Norway and on one of their tables I found a box of elbow PL-259/bnc connectors. I noticed the placement of the teeth inside the PL-connector where asymmetric! I guess these are specially made for the FT-817 to mount small verticals like the MFJ-1899T (ATX) straight! Using a normal elbow connector will make the antenna lean over to one side. I bought one of these connectors and a couple of chassis SO-239 connectors for a balun project.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Programming the FT-817ND with FTBasicMMO

Last night my friend Svein LA1BNA brought me an Arrow II 2m/70cm satellite cross yagi and I plan to work some QSOs via AO-51. The FT-817ND manual has information on how to setup menu channels to make doppler shifts easy. I have used the FTBasicMMO software written by Bob G4HFQ to program the memory channels on my FT-857D and now I wanted to try it on the FT-817ND as well. The only problem was that I couldn't get the software to talk to the radio! I followed instructions closely and ended up writing Bob an e-mail to ask for his help. He replied quickly and after a few e-mails back and forth I found one of the pins in the connector of the CT-62 cable was bent. After fixing the pin it all worked like a charm!

Thanks to Bob for the quick response to my call for help!

I will report back when I've tried the satellite antenna. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Analysing CQ WW WPX Contest

During the CQ WW WPX SSB contest I managed 123 QSOs running 5 watt SSB. I used my Elecraft K3/10 @ 5w and a W3DZZ trap dipole and a vertical antenna. QTH was my local radio club. You can find all the details and watch my QSO map here. Please scroll to the bottom of the page to see QSO data.

phpQW Log-Analysis  is provided by DLØQW,

Friday, March 25, 2011

CQ WW WPX Contest

I'm looking forward to the CQ WW WPX Contest this weekend. Unfortunately I'm also working Saturday morning and Sunday evening so this will be two busy days! I will be in the SOAB QRP category.

A couple of hours ago I was working a few stations from my car as LA1TPA/M. I used my Yaesu FT-857D at 5W and the ATAS-100 antenna and worked CT9 on 17m and two S5 stations and an E7 station on 20m.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ham Radio news on Kindle with Calibre

I have started to use Calibre ebook management to download Ham Radio RSS feeds and e-mail them to my Kindle after converting them to the right format. The Fetch News function does this automatically as long as Calibre is running. Currently I receive the Southgate ARC feed and the NRRL feed.

Please suggest interesting Ham RSS feeds!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Logbook of the world confirmations

I have used ARRLs Logbook of The World for some years and I think it's a good tool to get QSLs for my DXCC in addition to paper QSLs. Here the other day I found out that some of my QSOs were not confirmed even though both I and the other station have uploaded our logs. My guess is that some people log me as LA1TPA/QRP as soon as they find out that I'm running 5 watts although I never signs with the /QRP suffix.

I have sent an e-mail to some of the stations and asked them to verify my credentials but haven't got any answers yet.

Friday, January 21, 2011

MOROZ - Red Nose contest

Today I got an email from Val rw3ai who wanted to remind me about the MOROZ - Red Nose contest tomorrow. Unfortunately this is my working weekend so I don't think I will find the time to participate. The event is hosted by RU-QRP club.

You can find the rules here if you scroll a bit down the page.

Good luck to Val and the other participants!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

SSB QRP activity

After a late breakfast I brought my K3/10 to the club station again. I decided to make some calls on 15m and tuned my radio to 21.285MHz which is the QRP center of activity. There I found ZB2JK/P calling CQ with 20w and no takers! Gibraltar was a new DXCC for me and I was very happy to work him. I QSYed to 21.276MHz and started to call CQ myself and worked 11 stations (US, I, EA, 5B4 and CT1) before working another 3 stations (R7, YT and YO) on 17m. YT and YO were both new band countries for me. I also had a few contacts on 20m and 40m in the HADX contest before going QRT.

Current SSB QRP DXCC count: 81 worked /73 confirmed

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

QRP Foxhunt SSB success!

Last night I was not able to join the UBA HF QRP Foxhunt because the shack of the radio club was occupied. I felt really bad about it since I was the one to suggest adding SSB to the hunt. I checked the scoring list this morning and was happy to find out a lot of hunters were chasing the SSB fox, including my blog friend Bas PE4BAS.

I'll try to be QRV next Monday.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A good day for QRP

I had a day off today and after driving XYL to work I headed for the club station of our local radio club. I brought with me the Elecraft K3/10. The result of the day was two new DXCCs; HZ1PS Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 15m and A61R United Arab Emirates on 17m. I also worked 7 new band countries on 15m and 12m. All stations were worked with 5w SSB.

This brings my QRP SSB DXCC count to 80 countries worked and 73 confirmed.

Monday, January 3, 2011

UBA Foxhunt

The Winter 2011 UBA foxhunt started tonight and this year they have also added SSB. I did listen for one hour without finding the fox but I know the conditions were strange tonight. I will try again next Monday.