Adding counterpoise

Counterpoise on Icom AH-4For a while now I have changed my ZS6BKW antenna with an Icom AH-4 as coupler into a single wire antenna (still attached to the AH-4). The ZS6BKW is symmetrical antenna so not much need for a counterpoise. But a single wire does need a counterpoise. As a temporary solution I didn’t attache anything, but that is quite noticeable due to a lot of static in receiving signals. But creating a counterpoise on the roof is a bit of a challenge. After a few months Continue reading “Adding counterpoise”

Phase Shift Keying (PSK) and other digimodes

psk31waterfall.jpg~originalWhile on our holiday in Belgium propagation forced me to use digimode (PSK). It’s funny when you are in a relaxing mood like on holiday and you spend some time setting up PSK again, it’s actually a great way making QSO’s. I really enjoy watching the waterfall for signals and looking how other ham’s programmed their macro’s. Many inspire me to fine tune my macro’s a little more. Of course I plug this blog in my long-reply-macro 😉 Great way to propagate the formula.

I read my fellow ham’s are also busy in digimode: PE4BAS in WSJT-X (which is on my to-do-list too) and VE3WDM.

It sure is fun doing some PSK or other digimode when propagation is low. Morse code is a mode which is also very suitable for low propagation. A little harder to learn though. We are heading for another low in the 11 year sun-spot-cycle. I guess that means we have to wait at least for 5 or 6 years for new really good propagation on the bands. Looks like we have to use CW and digimodes for a while.

The definitive guide to WSPR

wsprWeak Signal Propagation Reporter (WSPR, pronounced:” whisper”) is a protocol developed by John Taylor, K1JT in 2008. It’s one of the many protocols used by radio amateurs but WSPR is a special one. The “Weak Signal”-part refers to signals being transmitted with a maximum power of 5 Watt (37 dBm), what still is regarded as QRP. But you can use much less then 5 Watt. Use more power is pointless, because it removes the accuracy of the “Propagation Continue reading “The definitive guide to WSPR”

WSPR on 80m

Screen-Shot-2011-09-02-at-07.18.07Last night I leave WSPR on for the whole night to see what happen. According to propagation rules, the best opportunities on 80m should be around the greyline. In the evening that means in western Europe I should get signals out of the east and in the morning I should get signals out of the west. A little disappointed I was this morning when the only thing I saw is stations from Europe. Could it be my antenna? Bad propagation on 80m? Not enough WSPR-station on the air? I guess my S9 noise level on 80m don’t help much.

WSPR 2.0 up and running

WSPRnetAfter reading about WSPR 2.0 getting out, it did grab my attention. I still like the whole WSPR idea so I looked around in the shack to give it a try. The idea was to set-up my blown-final FT-817 and connect it to my Antron 99 vertical for 10m. It wouldn’t be possible to tx with the Yaesu, but at least the WSPRnet would have another listen station on 10m. I already picked up a nice signal from Asia one time, but on average it is really quiet on 10m.

I think I leave the setup running for a few weeks. See what happen when the propagation will be better on 10.

My mind is spinning off, wouldn’t it be nice to have more ‘beacon’-like WSPR kit? Something very small, no interface required, just a little box with an antenna and UTP connection. Dedicated to WSPR 24/7 and just sitting in the corner of the shack. Hmmm, interesting idea. Let me know if someones already come up with this idea!