At least it seemed fast to me. I'm a cw noob and I've made a handful of contacts at 5-7wpm. I just made one the other night at about 20 wpm. My heart is still beating fast from the rush.
So how does that work? A lot patience, and working up the nerve! Gary, N5PHT was activating a park for WWFF. Becasue I saw the spot I knew the frequency and call to listen for. As he called CQ and others answered I just picked away at what I could copy, until after several go-rounds I pieced together that he was calling "CQ POTA DE N5PHT."
And then the baby woke up, so I had to go help him get back to sleep. When he was settled back down, I went back to the radio, and Gary had moved to 20 meters, where I could copy him very well - awesome!
I knew from experience and from other cw pros that you can always send faster than you can receive because of how the brain works. I never actually tried, so while I listened to some of Gary's QSO's I put my rig in CW practice mode, and tried my call and exchange at about 20 wpm. At that point it dawned on me that I just might be able to do this...
So, at the next opportunity, I threw out my call. FAST (or so it felt.). Then I heard him answer! I missed a good portion of his answer, but I got the important bits, so when he ended his transmission I sent back his signal report and closed out. Boom.
I think for myself though, the lesson here is to keep listening faster then I'm comfortable. Even though it took me several rounds to copy his CQ, once I did, and knew what to expect, it felt easy!
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...she was so much suprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English...
-Alice in Wonderland
I can't really say I was surprised this week, but I have found myself being "curiouser and curiouser" about ham radio satellites!
It seems like everyone is talking sats and amsat at the moment. I follow several folks on Twitter who are into satellites, the crew at ICQ Podcast keeps mentioning them, and I just read through the Winter Field Day rules again, and was looking at those satellite bonus points...
To see if this was an itch I wanted to scratch I downloaded GoSatWatch at the recommendation of NJ4Y and KX9X. They were right- this is a great app! Using it I went and stood in the field behind my house (in the mud...) And listened for the first time to a satellite pass as SO-50 went overhead. Think about it - signals from space! How is that not freekin' awesome! I know, most people aren't impressed because they think of satellites as a way to get their TV, but none of them can talk back to the satellite, so I still think it's awesome!
In addition to listening to SO-50 passes, I also listened to the ISS pass a couple times during last several days. For one of those passes I actually hooked my HT up to my AnnaLink Interface (Remember when I made that? Whodathunk it would be useful for satellite stuff too!) I then used the audio modem in the PocketPacket app to snag a packet sent through the digipeater on the ISS. Fun stuff!
Anyway, I think I have a new project in the queue, to add to all the other ones - building an antenna for satellite work (you should know me by now - I wouldn't be happy just buying one!) So, once I have the time to tackle it, I'll share here. I suspect however, that I'll end up using scraps from my garage, and maybe some of the stuff from this section of Lowe's:
Bye for now!
If you're anything like me you may have missed the fact that the Winter Field Day 2017 results were posted a while back. The website breaks down the entrants into the 3 main categories for posting results: Indoor, Home, and Outdoors. To see those results check out the Winter Field Day 2017 Results Page.
Based on those categories, I was in the "Outdoor" group, and I ended up in spot 77 out of 182. Last year the categories were done slightly differently, and in the group I was in, I was about 33 out of 40. I'd say I improved, considering that in the new groupings my score was up against all the multi-ops etc! I was curious though, how I fared compared to the same group I was in last year (Single Operator, Outdoor) so I grabbed the data and worked some pivot magic with Excel. In just the 1O group I was 41 out of 118 - a great improvement if you ask me!
Anyway, enough about me - it dawned on me that others might be interested in some more detailed groupings, results, and data evaluation. With that in mind, here are the results in some of the breakdowns that people might be interested in. At the end of this post you can also find the Excel file that I used to generate these results, in case you are data nerd too and want to play around with it. Lastly, I do have a typo on some of these, but it is just that - a typo, it doesn't actually change the scores or rankings, so I'm not going to bother fixing it, since it would take forever (I'm not even going to tell you what it is - we'll see if you catch it ;-) Enjoy!
Presentation - This first document is an overview PowerPoint that I used when presenting my final project. The presentation itself doesn't have a lot of information, because most of the demonstration was hands-on with the hardware and software. (just a tip - If someone can understand your whole message just by looking at the PowerPoint, you probably included too much in the PowerPoint.)
Project Proposal - Before we actually started the project, we had to write a proposal, and get approval from our professor to begin. In this proposal I explained the software I was proposing to write (the yeasuControl Class), and gave an example of it's potential use, by explaining what ARES, RACES, etc. are, and how those organization could use something like this. This is where I detailed that the core of the project was the yeasuControl software, and that the scope of the project would revolve around this software - any actual interface software (radioInterface3) and hardware was just to support demonstrating yeasuControl's functionality.
Project Plan - This is the fully fleshed out project and scope. This included details on the management of the project, it's schedule (5 weeks from start to finish), and the scope. For highlights, the main purpose was to write the Class, and to include in that class all of the functionality that Yeasu CAT control can support. Secondary to the scope was writing a minimally viable user interface (radioInterface3), to demonstrate the functionality of the class. Since it's text base, you could technically use this rig control software on a computer that doesn't have a GUI installed - for single board computers this is sometimes a benefit, because you don't lose processing power running a pretty window manager. The scope also includes details on the types of hardware that the software should be able to run on, etc. Because this was something that needed to be done rapidly, I had to keep the scope pretty tight.
Class Documentation - This is the documentation that explains each class object attribute, what it does, and how to use it. For the non-IT minded, this document doesn't explain how an end-user uses a piece of software - it explains how a software developer would use this within the software they are making. You can think of it like the manual that an engine manufacture would prepare for the auto-maker. It's documenting a specific part, not a whole program.
radioInterface3 Documentation - This is the document that reads like a user manual for the the program that could be considered the user-interface. This program was written to be the most basic possible program (minimally viable) that would demonstrate the functions of the yeasuControl Class. It is text based, but if you have a very low-power computer, that might be just the ticket you need.
Python Files - Here they are, the actual .py files containing the code I wrote. If you like to tinker around with Python programming, I hope these help. If you're a pro, be nice when you critique my work (I am an amateur after all!) I don't have room for an entire Python lesson here, but if you do a Google search for "Python Basics" you'll find all sorts of information, including information on how to compile these and use them if you want to just take what I wrote and use it as-is.
Its a miracle! I started and finished a project in the same week!
I shouldn't be too rough on myself - quite a few of my ongoing projects are rather large, so progress tends to be slow, doing small amounts of work as time allows. This project however, was one that was a complete workshop tangent.
There it is - a "homebrew" speaker for ham radio use! The day I started this, I didn't even know I was going to do it. It all came about becasue I was working on another radio project (the "secret project" that I allude to from time to time) in the garage, and I wanted to be able to hear my rig over all the noise I was making. I started to look at powered speakers online, when suddenly it dawned on me that I probably had everything I needed to make one, primarily becasue the key components (a speaker and a small amplifier) I had left over from tearing this thing apart in order to work on version 2 (which still isn't done....sigh.)
So realizing that I had those parts, I started to dig in the piles in the garage and presto, within a couple days I had a small powered speaker! If you follow me on twitter you saw these pictures as I did each step, but here they are again with a few more details. Enjoy!
Pretty much any 4" speaker would work if you want to duplicate this. You can pick up a really cheap one like I did at any auto-parts store, or you can check out Amazon - you can find options from cheap and good-enough sounding, to expensive and impressive sounding, and everything in between.
As I built the box, I didn't design it to any specific size. Technically, speakers usually perform best with an optimized air space behind them, but for communications quality SSB, and even basic CW, I wasn't too worried. During the banter on Twitter with KR6ZY, KD9EAS, K4CDN, and some others, Mark mentioned the enclosure designs that are specifically resonant for CW frequencies. If you're a big CW person, you might want to do a Google search for "resonant CW speaker." Another option if you want a more size-specific air space would be to get one of the rubber baffles designed to go into the hole before the speaker. I'm cheap (err... I mean frugal) so I didn't go that route.
If you have a hardware store near you, that is probably the best place to get MDF and aluminum, but you can order both of these things online. Shipping rates can get strange with sheets of plywood or 4' lengths of aluminum, but there are places like online metals that will cut things to size for you.
Most Radio power stuff is standardizing on PowerPoles for power connections, but I used a coaxial connection for 2 reasons - I had run out of power poles, and it's easier to make a round hole in a panel then a square one. I figured I can always make a pigtail to go from this to PowerPoles the next time I order some parts.
The 3.5mm jack on the small amp turned out to have a "bonus" functionality! It was really meant (I think) to be an alternative input from the ones on the board itself. It is just wired in parallel with the other inputs, so by plugging a mono to stereo adapter (remember that I was only using the left channel). I can use traditional stero headphones to monitor the input source for the amp.
Why is that a bonus? In field-day like situations, the speaker can be plugged into the rig, and the operator can plug headphones into the speaker. The operator can then use the rig's AF gain (volume) control to set a comfortable audio level for the headphones, and then anyone who wants to listen in on the action can adjust the speaker volume until their heart is content, without impacting what the operator hears in their headphones. I think thats a slick, unplanned for feature! You could always get the same effect by plugging both a speaker and headphones into a "Y" cable, but this has a more polished feel to it.
- N3VEM -
Welcome to my Ham Radio Blog! This blog was started primarily to share my two concurrent shack builds - my mobile station and my home station. Over time, this has grown to include sharing about my operations, and general radio-related thoughts that I have as a newer operator.