Category Archives: Member stories

WSJT-X and JTDX news from Dave, M0DHO; 50Mhz Meteor Scatter

“I’ve been using WSJT-X and JTDX for about a month. I many cases I could have made the QSOs with CW. However, I’ve worked many more Chinese stations, presumably because they find CW hard for non-English native speakers. There have been a few cases were JT65 or JT9 enabled a QSO that would have been too weak for CW. I’ve worked a number of VKs and one ZL on 80m like that, and a few stations on 6m that would otherwise have been marginal. It’s been very successful for working South American countries on 80m – I’m still trying for Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Suriname, Guyana on 80m, for which getting up at 05:00 seems to be required. It’s the wrong time of year to try it on 160m. There seem to be very few African stations using JT modes apart from the ZSs. Pity because ZS is easily workable using JT on 80m so the others ought to be easy as well.

I’ve tried MSK144 meteor scatter on 6m during the Perseids with good results. But you often have to be patient – it might take 10+ minutes to complete the QSO because the pings might be infrequent. Using the KST chat room helps. At some stage I want to try it on 2m but need to sort out interfacing to my FT847 first.”

ISS SSTV 2m FM transmissions this weekend

This weekend, ARISS is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a series of SSTV transmissions from the ISS – International Space Station.

Transmissions will be on 145.800 FM in PD 120 or PD180.

These should be easily receivable on a handheld tuned to 145.800 with anything better than the stock whip. Last time around they were loud! A 3 element tape measure yagi will work very well for this, and it’s not much effort to knock one together. Full quieting signal should be achievable.
Images can be decoded live during the passes on a smartphone using, for example, “SSTV Slow Scan TV” by Black Cat Systems for iPhone, or “Robot36 – SSTV Image Decoder” on Google Play for Android. A cable will help, but holding the mic up to the HT speaker should work okay. Alternatively recording the audio through whatever means will allow you to play around decoding later.
Passes for the weekend can be found on http://www.heavens-above.com as well as other sources. Be sure to set your location. Some key passes:

Thu 23:23:21
Fri 00:58:35
Fri 22:32:15
Sat 00:06:25
Sat 23:14:23
Sun 00:50:21
Sun 22:22:34
Sun 23:58:03
Mon 01:34:30

Event is scheduled to end at 18:00 UTC on Monday 24 July.

Most of the passes this weekend are visible, so assuming no cloud, antenna pointing shouldn’t be a problem 🙂
 
Most favourable pass taking into account the time looks like Sat 23:14:23 BST.
 
For those of you who have not spotted ISS in the night sky as yet, at its peak it is second only in brightness to the moon in the night sky, appearing as a solid bright white point typically low in the south-western sky from the UK, appearing to move across the sky about the same speed as an airplane at altitude. At its highest point, on a high pass, it really is hard to miss – easily brighter than Venus or Jupiter. Some passes it will fade into shadow, some it will pass across the whole sky brightly reflecting full sunlight, well into the late night down here.
 
If the same format is followed this time around as last, there will be 2.5 ish images per pass with a few tens of seconds gap in between, with no carrier.
 
Happy sat spotting…
Update
In the end I slept through most of the passes! However here’s the one image I did capture:
I put together a simple cable to connect my Wouxun handy to my iPhone based on this circuit,  used an inexpensive Nagoya NA-771 whip, and for aiming, I listened for ISS on a second handy on its stock antenna, held closely and parallel to the Wouxun, broadside to ISS. Almost perfect copy, up to at least S6 or so. Great fun!
Did you capture anything? Tell us @MX0AAA!

My venture into 4 meters

On the 11th of march I bought a Simoco SRM9000 from Mike G4CDF. (Thanks Mike!) I finally had a 4 meter rig and he also let me borrow a 4m loop to get me started until I could make my own. I was pretty much working to get it all setup as soon as I arrived back home.

First question when putting any amateur station together is of course how on earth will this all go together and where can I put it?!

The antenna itself is not small and would not be the kind of thing I can just hang in my window. It also has a pole fixed to it for mounting vertically with a horizontal spacer between it and a mast. This made things more difficult as it could therefore not just be laid down on a first floor roof ridge which is close enough to my shack. Instead I settled for persuading my parents to let me stick my military fibreglass mast up on the corner of the house. Amazingly, it blends in quite well and just looks like a piece of guttering down-pipe that is rather small…. Oh and it also has a large chuck of metal hanging off to one side!!

So I have an antenna sorted and a mast for the antenna to go on. I setup the radio connected to the power supply that I have running my other radios on the desk and it immediately sprang to life. Great… I have a radio, an antenna, a microphone and speaker and power. I knew I was missing something.

Aaaaah…. Coax!!!

Next problem – how to get coax into the shack without drilling holes in the wall or doing anything else that seems to annoy my parents! So here is my solution:

It got a little cold last night because the window is now open just a crack for the coax to come through so i enlisted the ever useful duct tape method!!

Finally I was ready to get a QSO on 4m so I then experimented with all the buttons and I think I hit scan and heard Alison G8ROG doing a test. I quickly replied and sort of knew that I would manage to contact her given we are just across the valley from each other. Perfect 5/9 signal!!!

I was given various pieces of advice including about the local nets and events throughout the week and frequencies (Thanks Alison!!)

The important ones to remember are:

  • 70.425 – Local net frequency
  • Nets are on Tuesday evening’s at 20:30 and most members are from RADARC but it is not exclusive.
  • GB2RS news is also read out on a Sunday morning with a net on the same frequency afterwards.
  • Vertical Polarisation is the norm but some use horizontal

So my next steps now are to re-program the radio and have a browse through the settings and of course join in the nets regularly.

If you are interested in getting into 4 meters then there is a wealth of knowledge within the club. Just come along to one of our meetings and ask! We will be happy to help!

There are also some great resources for the Simoco SRM9000 series of radios on the Simoco post linked here

Listen out for me on the weekly nets and I look forward to speaking to you!

73 de 2E0JPM