Yet another ATNO – Palestine

After a quiet March they seem to be rolling in now.  I spent half an hour calling Elvira E44YL on 15m SSB but my 100w didn’t seem to get to Palestine athough I could hear her reasonably well on a noisy band (the loudest I’ve heard any Palestinian station recently).  Then she went QRT after no-one working her for a few minutes.  Propagation must have been fairly poor with no pile-up.  Then a HB9 spotted her on 15m RTTY.  The frequency was wrong but I eventually found a weak signal that I could decode intermittently.  10 minutes of trying and bingo – up popped my callsign and report on the screen.  My work on modifying my rigblaster was quickly reaping rewards.

Another ATNO – Saint Pierre & Miquelon

As mentioned in previous posts I use a Rigblaster Nomic for the digi modes.  I had often glanced at the cluster and have seen various dxpeditions and activations using just CW and/or RTTY.  Yes I am practicing my dits and dahs but its going to be a while before I try my hand at it in a pile-up!!  RTTY using AFSK has never appealed to me using fldigi etc as you just click on a waterfall and hope it works.  The IC-746 that I use for HF does support FSK which is cleaner with no risk of splatter by overdriving the audio (as can happen with AFSK) but the Nomic does not have such luxury.  However a scour of the web shows that such devices can be enhanced by a simple switching circuit (just 1 resistor & 1 npn transistor).  It all fits neatly inside the Nomic.  I did have to make a new cable to go into the back of the IC-746 to carry the FSK signal.  Another issue I had was that I could not operate using my usb-serial adapter so I had to switch over to a desktop PC with a real COM port.  No audio goes back to the rig (FSK is pure digital) so I could use the soundcard audio output to listen in (and tune the radio like the old days).  On the first evening of operation I worked J69DS on 20m for a new country on digital.  Today I  worked FP/KV1J also on 20m for an ATNO (and confirmed already on LOTW).  I have not heard this entity on SSB before so I was pleased to get it.  It took a while to work as propagation was poor today and my 100W is not a match for the big guns but I got there in the end which is what counts.  RTTY may be an old mode but its still widely used in dxpeditions as qsos can be had quite quickly and high power can be used unlike PSK31 and JT65 modes etc.

 

Good weather

Its great to get a bit of fine weather to do a few things outside.  HF conditions have not been good the past few days so I finally got outside to mow the lawns.  I also at long last moved my 2m vertical up a bit.  It was over the shack door at about 7ft and now is on a pole about 18 feet agl.  And what a difference it made too.  The Cork repeater is now almost fully quitening as is Kippure and I can open both with 10W.  The news on Sunday night on S18 will tell the tale.

Tipperary ARG Meeting

The next meeting of the Tipperary Amateur Radio Group will be held at Cahir House Hotel, Cahir, County Tipperary on Tuesday 22nd March 2016 at 8pm. There will be a presentation made at this meeting by Olivier ON4EI/EI8GQB on the use of green energy to power his contest station EI1A.

IRTS President Ger EI8CC will also attend this meeting which is open to all and Short Wave Listeners are in particular very welcome.

A number of radio related topics are up for discussion along with the Groups participation in upcoming events.

For more information about Tipperary Amateur Radio Group go to the group website www.ei7trg.ie