G3ZJO's blog

I am listening on 4m WSPR again today, RX only. Using my old Yaesu Converter and home brew Vertical Dipole antenna.

Results in the evenings last week were encouraging with Spots of G6AVK, 127km, 5Watts to his Vertical only 2.5m off the ground.

On a magic night, January 20th 2010 propagation conditions were just a little better than normal and the QRP stations on 500KHz WSPR were Spotted in the Czech Republic. First G3XBM with 1mW ERP then G3ZJO with 20uW ERP were logged by OK2BVG.
For me this is a distance of 1310Km or 814miles, just out of interest I worked out the Km and Miles per Watt of ERP - 6.55 Million Km or 4.07 Million Miles.

This prompted a comment from someone that his 1924 Admiralty Radio Handbook stated that, using 1KW on 500KHz the maximum range over an ideal salt water path is 1500Km. Well then, I told you WSPR is useful.

Over the next couple of days, something must have bugged us both, without consultation, G3XBM and me went into ERP checking mode, re-calibrating our Antenna Current meters, recalculating, and computer modelling our antennas. We both use small less 'gain' yet efficient antennas.
Exact figures are difficult but we both consider we are accurate to + or - 3dB.

Here is my WSPR Countries List on 500KHz 200 micro-watts or less. England, Scotland, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Norway.

Most QRPp'ers will know of my method of timing in my PC-less WSPR Keyers. (look at that I am being PC and saying PC-less).
I had query the other day regarding the XORgan 'have I considered adding GPS timing as a facility on my system'.
Well it has the facility, however my concept back in March 2008 was to abolish such things. Here were my thoughts:-
I smile at the huge power used by PC generated WSPR and a Transceiver to produce the few mW needed to span the globe. Why in a PC-less system then, add GPS timing to put the current consumption back up? Not to mention the complexity, QRPp'ers like to KISS.
Just because a Windows computer is a lousy time keeper why should we consider it impossible to keep time as accurate as the needs of WSPR. Heavens I had a fully mechanical wrist watch 40 odd years ago which kept perfectly adequate time for the purpose. Does the Quartz watch on your wrist deviate more than a second in a Month? We QRPp'ers have got to be able to do better than resorting to GPS, MSF etc.

My KISS approach:-

Many of us have a Multiband TX/RX which can run QRP but for WSPR a computer is needed in TX only mode which makes a mockery of the term QRP as applied to Station power consumption.

We have produced PIC based MEPT’s for Multi Modes and WSPR.

Some have recorded WSPR audio on MP3 and re-played that for Computer-less operation.

I think Computerless is a well understood term in all walks of life. Well this uses a lot less Computer than most. This uses a small PIC processor with no external memory, sound card, hard drive, video card, monitor, keyboard or mouse and has never had relations with Microsoft or Monica Lewinsky.
For the purists I shall say PCless in future, if I remember.

I have now produced the KISS WSPR Organ.

The name stems from my original idea of using a musical tone generator to produce the WSPR tone frequencies. Talking to an Organ engineer yesterday morning soon proved that approach to be far too complex and my simpler KISS idea was implemented.

The Output can be applied to any HF/VHF SSB Transceiver or better, a simple home brew SSB TX.

I have set up my DDS MEPT with WSPR Ident on 50.294395MHz and it is running on test ready for tomorrows 6m activity day.
Despite running just 100mW this MEPT has been copied at C.150Km in the past. It will be interesting to see how it does with the added activity.
Note:- as it runs continuously and with several modes it is just outside (at the bottom) the WSPR slot.

Back at the Home QTH, my MEPT is on 28.125995MHz. Hopefully near enough to the WSPR slot to produce some Spots.

Power out is 350mW Antenna 6m Vertical at ground level with radials.

In the last few weeks I have operated from some places in France using my call and giving the QRA Locator of the spot.
So no I haven't lost my marbles and been giving wrong Locs.
Unfortunately WSPR does not send the full Locator or accept F/G3ZJO so often it appears that I did not move.

Some recent comments have been made regarding false info, I tend to agree that the whole system could be improved, as it is being slowly. At least reports of spots into the future are no longer accepted.

For reference operation was from.

June - Normandy JN091a

The results from my Home Brew DDS Multimode test on 28MHz using 300mW have been truly amazing. The time has come for it to be switched off shortly. Many thanks for all those who looked just below the WSPR band for my signal and particularly for the Visual Mode Screen Grabs.

Next test in the future may be with approximately 50mW as 28MHz opens up.

In addition to my MEPT on 10.140073MHz which has 8 Unit, QRSS, Hell and WSPR modulation and a Power Out of 37mW. I have been running a DDS controlled MEPT which can virtually go anywhere, 1.8 to 50MHz.

Currently this TX is just below the 28MHz WSPR Window on 28.125995MHz, Power Out 300mW. It uses 5 Unit modulation to produce QRSS, Hell and WSPR. Even the better commercial rigs can easily be almost 100Hz out on the dial reading, consequently I am decoded by some stations as I appear in their passband and missed by others who are out in the other direction.

I am currently testing on 1.843130MHz with a 2 transistor transmitter and PIC modulator, QRSS signal with WSPR every 10 minutes. Power levels from 1mW to 750mW. ** The indicated Power Level will always show 50mW **

Looking at the Activity page on here I see I am listed as active together with G8JNJ. How does the site know that I thought as I have had no Spot reports or reported any. Of course, I am checking my own signal and WSPR is uploading, no magic involved at all.

'Beacon' ON 24/7 18 March 18.00 Reports welcome.

My MEPT with WSPR is off air from 11.00GMT today. My current MEPT on the frequency uses a simple 'G' ident.

Has anyone tried Debian 5.0 I wonder.

I find :-

WSJT from the repository does not run - complains of python numpy errors.

WSJT / WSPR previous compiles on Debian 4.0 do not run on Debian 5.0.

WSPR does not run when compiled on Debian 5.0 - a whole catalogue of errors not previously seen.

Just prior to 11.00Z my Multimode MEPT was off air for a few minutes for an Antenna change from the 6m Vertical whip to the low, sloping 10MHz 1/2Wave Dipole.

With apologies to DG0OPK if you were doing any tests.

I have changed my current set up for WSPR (other than my Multimode on 10.140073 MHz) in order to reduce power consumption, noise and to utilise Solar Power as much as possible. This will of course help considerably with Portable operation.

The Radio in use is the Yaesu FT-897. The computer the Samsung NC10 Netbook.