DU1 – Tagaytay – Jan 2017

During this visit I had more time to setup my station in Tagytay and test the antennas. I was very impressed by the performance of the spider beam  and even the good propagation on the lower bands.

IC-718 with AT-130 manual tuner, external speaker and Yaesu rotator controller. Using my Macbook for loggin and digital modes

Spider beam for 20, 17 and 15 m and trap dipole for 40 and 80 m

View from our terasse to the south. Ideal propagation in direction of Australia VK

On 1st of Feb I went to NTC and PARA office to take the exam for class A Philippine Amateur radio license. Hopefully I will receive my DU1 callsign soon.

Visit at PARA office in the NTC building in Manila

Fiberglass Balcony Stealth Antenna for 40 m

In Singapore space is limited, and in our appartment it is difficult to setup any HF antenna. Our balcony is the only place where I have a space to mount something. Even there, officially nothing is allowed to extend out from the building.

I decided to setup a simple vertical, using a telescopic fiberglass pole, which I can pull out temporarly, when it is getting dark.  The pole has a total length of 10 m, approx. 1 m (the lowest segment) safely mounted to the balcony railing and sidewall.

vertical410 m fiberglass pole mounted to the balcony railing in the 17th floor.

holder1holder2Mounting

vertical1The actual antenna wire is fixed to the pole using Velcro strips. The horizontal wires on the picture are part of my short linear loaded dipole for 15 m and 17 m.

vertical2Antenna extended to 10 m

pipeclampsRubber protected pipe clamps to secure the segments and Velcro strips to attach the antenna wire to my telescope fiberglass pole. Allows quick extension and retracting of the antenna.

verk__00VSWR of 1.2 at resonance frequency 7.050 MHz, using only one radial around the outer wall of our appartment

Weak Signal Digital Modes on HF-Bands

Many open source programs are available for Windows, OS-X and Linux, if you want to become active on the amateur radio HF bands using digital modes. Modern coding and modulation schemes allow for long distance contacts with low power.

Below you can  download my presentation about PSK 31 (Phase shift keying) and JT-65/JT9 modes as presented in our monthly SARTS meeting August 2016 in Singapore.

Presentation (pdf): WeakSignalModes

 

DU1- Dasmariñas – Aug 2016

This time we stay longer than a week in our second home, and I set up a 12 m fibreglass pole with a G5RV multi-band dipole antenna for 40 m to 10 m. The pole is located at on corner of our area, the dipole endings are fixed at two other corners, so the antenna has a form of a 90 degree inverted vee.

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fibre glass pole

The antenna analyser shows clearly 3 resonant frequency points: around 40 m, 20 m and 10 m. All resonances seem to be below the amateur radio frequency bands, probably because of the inverted vee form.

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Using my “old” AT-130 antenna tuner, I can operate on all bands from 40 m to 10 m including the WARC bands.

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Assembling the antenna:

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Operation in digital modes using my home-brew interface:

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Time to disassemble, as we are going back to Singapore. Heavy duty 40 ft fiber glass pole and G5RV dipole:

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IC-7300 and Fldigi

For digital modes I am using fldigi on a MacBook and the IC-7300 built-in USB interface. This is my running configuration:

IC-7300

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On the IC-7300 press Menu -> Set -> Connectors

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ACC/USB AF Output Level to 75%

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USB MOD Level to 25%

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DATA MOD: USB
Under CI-V CI-V Baud Rate is set to Auto.

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CI-V USB Port: Unling from [REMOTE] and
CI-V USB Echo Back: ON

Fldigi

You need to get the IC-7300.xml file written by W1HJK to use the CAT.
After Installation start fldigi and go to
Configure -> Rig ->RigCat
Select the downloaded xml file. Under Device select “SLAB_USBtoUART” (driver name).
Set Baud rate to 19200.
Tick CAT command for PTT
Audio Port: Audio USB Audio CODEC
The “sweet spot” for the IC-7300 in data mode is 1500 Hz.
Configure -> Misc -> Sweet Spot PSK et al.: 1500

Operation

Reduce the output power to 20% … 35%. When you click on “Tune”, ALC should be at zero. In my station setup I can “hear” the computer on 15 m. Levels vary depending on the USB connection cable. I still need to experiment with some ferrite to reduce interference.
The same configuration can be used for JT-65 (WSJT-X). I changed the IC-7300 CI-V address to  88h and select IC-7100 as transceiver.

ICOM IC-7300 – SDR radio in a box

Finally the new IC-7300 arrived, and I am still in the process to get familiar with it. I could not resist, as my IC-718, though reliable, is quite “outdated” in its technology, developed more than a decade ago.

Unfortunately, the first IC-7300 unit I picked up from the retailer in Singapore, had a DOA (defect on arrival): the CW keyer always sending dashes. Luckily, there was a second unit available, and it was exchanged without any problems.

Now the new unit is in operation for a week and doing its job without any problems. Size and weight are the same as my IC-718, but the features are not comparable, and it is a real advance in technology. The menus are intuitive and signal reception is excellent, as I can adjust all parameters – gain, filter bandwidth and response, audio processing etc. – according to the actual band conditions.

IC-7300

Two days ago, I setup the configuration for digital modes, connecting my Apple MacBook via USB, using fldigi and the IC-7300 built-in USB sound interface and serial control. So there is no need for any additional interface box, just one USB connection between computer and radio. It works fine, and I was able to make my first contacts in PSK-31.

Minami-Tori-shima JD/M and Ogasawara JD/O

Minami-Tori-shima, also known as Marcus Island belong to the easternmost territory of Japan on the pacific plate past the Japan trench. It is an isolated Japanese coral atoll in the northwestern Pacific Ocean, located some 1,848 km southeast of Tokyo and 1,267 km east of the closest Japanese island, South Iwo Jima of the Ogasawara Islands, and nearly on a straight line between mainland Tokyo and the United States’ Wake Island, 1,415 km further to the east-southeast. (Source: Wikipedia)

Before my first radio contacts with JD1BOW and JG8NQJ/JD1, I even didn’t know that Japan has a couple of small island so remote from the main island.

MinamitoriDistance from Singapore approx 6000 km.