Participating in the WSPR-challenge

wspr

WSPR-challenge

PA3FYM WSPR-challenge receiverThere is buzzing a new phenomenon at PI4RCG (our local HAM club): the WSPR-challenge. One prominent club member, Remco PA3FYM, founded this WSPR-challenge with Richard PE1ITR. Essentially they download the whole WSPR-spot-database once every night and parse it in a top 50. The result changes per day. This challenge only consist of reported spots to wsprnet.org. So you can sneak peak at wsprnet.org site to see your uniques. Since wsprnet.org only logs your reported spots, this challenge is actually a RX-only contest.
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Update 23cm trx

23cm TRXDid a lot of work the other night at the 23cm trx. Build in the speaker (drilled a lot of holes!) and did the last mod to do more filtering in the VCO voltage. Also fixed the phantom power for the electret microphone. Modulation and LF-sound are now in an acceptable range. There is always room for improvement, but at least I can leave this little puppy running in the background without scaring up every time some one opens the repeater.
Now I have my ‘reference rig’ I found out the filtering of the 23cm TRX is indeed under average. The reference rig can easily hear repeaters from miles away and doesn’t have a S6 to S7 noise without an signal. I think the UMTS-antenna that is about 50 meters away must have something to do with this. I think the next to do for this trx is building a bandpass filter.

K3NG’s Arduino CW Keyer 2nd attempt

After a second test resulting in a working display yesterday evening, my 2nd attempt to get a breadboard version of K3NG’s Arduino CW keyer up and running turns out to be a success!
This morning I soldered a female mini-jack and a speaker to the Arduino Nano and set the right pins in the Arduino IDE. After a upload/reboot the keyer came up and it works perfectly!
I really like this Arduino stuff. It is simple to figure out and the fact that it is open source (software as well as hardware) makes things easy and quick to work with. Hats off to the author of the keyer code: K3NG Radio Artisan.

I still have to try connect the keyer to a rig. The fact that you can use one paddle to key multiple rigs, I think is ideal. That way I never have to unplug my paddle from the TS-590 and plug it in the Elecraft K1 or the other way around. You can even connect as much as eight rigs! I don’t think a Arduino Nano has enough connections for it, but the software can do it.
Actually I think I will buy a Arduino Uno for this project so I have enough connections for all kind of options to activate. As controller I considering a rotary encoder. A separate power supply is needed too as you can see the display dimmed when the speaker makes sound.
And then the hardest part; find and build the whole thing in a nice case!

Arduino keyer 1st attempt

Arduino Keyer 1st attemptLast night at the radio-club I did some puzzling for my 1st attempt to build the K3NG’s Arduino CW Keyer. I want to build one especially to train Morse code keying. Therefor I need a display attached to the keyer and some training software.
I have a Hoxo 1621 4-bit 16×2 display laying around so I want to attach that to the Arduino Nano. After a breadboard session and some soldering smoke I have made the connection. Gave my first Sketch on Arduino a go, downloaded the source code of the K3NG Arduino CW Keyer from Github and walked by all settings. When I gave the compile a try, it error-ed on some libs missing. After some copy + paste the code compiled without problems (white smoke!). But when uploading to the Arduino I got again errors. The IDE did not see the Arduino although all port settings where correct. By then it was almost midnight and I wanted to go home for some sleep.
This morning I gave the compiling a second try on my Ubuntu desktop. This time compiling and uploading went without errors! Hopefully I was watching the display, but accept for the back-light nothing appeared 🙁
I don’t know if I made a mistake with this 1st attempt in pinout or if the HOXO 1621 is too much of a difference from a 1602. But some further investigation has to be done. I will be back with a 2nd attempt.

More Morse code practice

kent Morse paddleHope you all had a very pleasant Christmas! Just before the holiday started I’ve made up my mind: I’ll attend for the Morse code exam in Belgium on 28th of June 2016! After reading the announcement on HamNieuws (Dutch) I was convinced this is the right motivator to finally get my code up to speed.
Since dropping the Morse code requirement in The Netherlands it is not possible to take exams in Morse code anymore. Which is a bit weird since in some European countries (i.e. France, Luxembourg) it is still required to have passed your Morse code exam to operate CW on the HF-bands. The only way to get the official note “CW included” on your license (or registration as it’s called these days) is to follow the “Belgium route”. There are still Morse code exams in Belgium. And because Belgium and The Netherlands both have implemented CEPT recommendations TR61/01 & 02, a valid pass of a Morse exam in Belgium is also valid in The Netherlands. So if you send your Belgium certificate to Agentschap Telecom (the Dutch FCC) they will (or have to) update your license with the note “CW included”.
It’s a bit of a stretch, but it’s the only way at this moment.

So I’ve picked up Morse code training at lcwo.net again. Every night one hour of studying. Also I listen to code created with text2cw on my daily commute. I still need to create something to practice my tapping skills. Thinking of building K3NG’s Arduino CW Keyer. I understand from the web-page I can build this keyer with LCD-display and be able to see what I tap. There must be a Arduino Nano laying around and a 2×16 LCD-display is in my junk-box. I’ll try something on a breadboard first. Will post here on any progress!

Best wishes for 2016!