15m DX at night ?!

Was just playing about on my radio with FT8, having had one phone QSO on 20m to Italy, then a number of FT8 on 20m as well, thought, lets give 15 meters a try. Having never really persisted at using 15m, it was an ideal time as I could keep an eye on WSJT-X and tidy/file stuff at the same time.

The band looked completely empty when I started, but as the CQ’s keep transmiting, lo and behold I was rewarded with a contact !

FT8 15m contact

There was even some reports to see on PSKReporter !

Reaching far on 15m with 50W of power

I was really suprised, and impressed, with how well the 6BTV is doing, its such a great antenna and I’m getting more out of it every time I have time to use it on the frequencys I previously didnt really use.

Moral of the story is, if the band looks dead, still give it a go ! you never know who you might contact !

10m Telephony !

Having enjoyed a nice drive down to Poole Harbour after work I tuned around after a day of WSPR activity on the 7300. Results showed that the bands where pretty closed from the QTH, so I wasnt expecting alot of contacts.

A relaxing evening down in Poole Harbour before heading home – need to go /M from here !

I was tuning thru some of the programmed memorys in the 7300 to see if there was any activity, but it waws all quite, but then on 10m (28Mhz) a sudden group of very clear conversation, and interesting as well.

I listened in for around 30 minutes as the group discussed upcoming holidays and mobile operating along with the setups to be taken, a very interesting topic as its something I would like to do myself. It was great to hear other operators discuss band conditions as welll.

Having built up enough courage I waited for a gap to get part of my call sign in “2E0” I got out as quickly as I could as not to interrupt the flow. Thankfully on my 2nd attempt I was picked up and introduced to a friendly group of local operators, the furthest being Blandford and exceptionally clear. It was geat to hear that my setup was equally clear and we continued to discuss my Hustler setup. I was also informed of another ‘net’ on 10M lower down the bands, which I then went onto monitor, waited for an opputnity to introduce myself, and then made some contacts. Operating hear was much harder with interference and conditions making the signal barely audiable.

I did put both locations in my 7300’s memory for next Wednesday evening and it was great to have a decent QSO with local, friendly operators, furthermore it was great to see how well the hustler was doing in difficult conditions.

I will be doing further work on the 6BTV hopefully this weekend and puting the feedline underground having ordered 10ms of Extraflex bury so it can go safely underground.

Until next time, 73 !

Alan / 2E0FWE

The ‘coolest’ FT8 contact yet ?

Was one of those nights when I couldn’t get my head down after a great Easter bank holiday weekend, so had a little play on FT8 in the small hours. Having used WSJT-X for quite some time I wanted to experiment with other FT8 software, and gave JTDX a try. I followed the setup documents and was soon transmitting and receiving. Some say JTDX has better decode than WSJT-X – I think time will tell.

Tonight (Or is that very early this morning) I had what must be the coolest FT8 contact yet tho

DT8A – 8482 mi on the South Shetland Islands

I have never heard of the “South Shetland Islands” until they appeared in the JTDX log – I was quick to click and respond, then patiently wait in the hope my call got responded to. Sure enough, with a few minutes and on 20 watts of power DT8A responded and my signal report was received. What I do with all FT8 contacts is to check the QRZ page and read up to add a little more ‘this is more than just a signal report’ to the QSO, I was amazed at DT8A’s page and the fantastic photos !

In particular as my good lady is South Korean, I found it very interesting that Mr Lee was stationed in such a remote part of the world !

So glad to have reached Mr Lee and I hope his work/research in the South Shetlands goes really well !

Uni assignment takes over blog!

Hi all !

Not sure how many people read this on a regular basis, but needless to say apologies for the absence of updates in recent weeks. I’ve got loads of updates to do, with pictures and videos but my MSc has taken over my life at the moment (outside of work).

Good news one of my modules on Web Technologies i’ve embraced my course and my hobby and am using WSPR data, amongst others, as one of the components of a website I am building.

You’ll find the code over on github.

In the mean time, stay safe and keep well !

Alan, 2E0FWE

Adding a webcam to the mast

Having had a webcam available to me for some time since I now use a mac which has an in-built camera, I thought I’d put it to good use.

linux desktop now acts as a fancy router, main desktop for me ia iMac Late 2013 model !

There are a number of really good mast-webcams on the Internet/Youtube, so thought I’d give it a try myself. The webcam is a cheap-er Logitech one as I know that some of these cameras can get very expensive (4K/remote control,etc). Im not 100% this from Argos is an identical one, but its a smilar price/looking and all powered via USB.As I’m not sure of the longevity of the camera given its outside, something on the cheaper end of the webcam market is in order !

there was alot of usb cable to go up, or not as the case maybe !

The mast is approximately 10 meters tall and has my 2m/70cm J-Pole on it. It is well rigged and secured with a heavy duty mast vertical and ground stakes which are very well driven into the ground. I do take it down when the weather is predicted to get quite bad, but i can still reach Poole and of course my DRM hot-spot for chatting on Talk Groups via the Internet.

mast with camera and J Pole – one element is wavign around but after checking all is good on 2m and 70cms

The first challenge is that a regular webcam comes with around a 1 meter cable attached to it. I needed a good quality cable that would introduce as little loss as possible. Here the RS USB 2.0 Active Repeater Cable comes into play. I actually ordered 3 of these and to start with did attach all 3 to make sure the cables are not too tight or pulling, but 1 does the job nicely, and I’m left with two very high quality usb repeating cables for other projects.

For software I used free streaming software provided Open Broadcast System, namely OBS Studio which is available here It was very easy to setup and integrates easily with you-tube.

well rigged mast ensures that it will stay up until i wan it to. The USB cable doesnt interfere or go near coax until the feeder.

I entered in the required Token for streaming from YouTube and sure enough the webcam was on air !

The mast cam – for as long as the camera lasts !

I was really thankful for WY7W for checking the camera out and also sharing his amazing webcam video as well – i have to admit i was just ever so slightly envious of his amazing QTH 🙂

Well I’m hoping the camera holds out, be interesting to see how long it last

— additional 25/5

I’ve since had to remove the webcam due to QRM from the USB Cable. When i find time/have reduce all the other QRM in the shack i’ll re-introduce the camera, for now it sadly has to stay off.