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Topics - Ed H

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The RF Workbench / Inexpensive frequency counter Modules
« on: August 25, 2020, 2358 UTC »
Hi Folks,

I am sure  a few of you have seen the inexpensive frequency counters available on-line. I bought a couple out of curiosity, featuring an 8 digit LED display. They are quite useful, e.g. for adding to an old signal generator, but beware using them for more precise work.

A case in point - I acquired a Yaesu FRG8800 a couple of years ago, and decided it could benefit from a tune-up. I used one of the counter modules in the course of this, and alignment generally seemed to go OK. Except there was a constant offset either USB and LSB modes, around 300 Hz. That seemed odd, but since the radio was in spec according to book values, and the small error could be corrected with the "Fine" tuning control, I didn't think much of it, and put it down to drift during warm up etc. Recently, I had another reason to bring the set back to the bench, and since I now have a better frequency counter, decided to look at alignment again. Lo and behold, the local oscillator settings for both USB and LSB final detection were incorrect by practically the same amount, and consistent with the error in tuning the radio. Using the new counter, and following the alignment procedure again has put the radio spot on frequency. Lesson learned!



22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / Beacon PVC running QRSS3
« on: April 08, 2020, 0341 UTC »
As the thread title says, I have adjusted beacon PVC to QRSS3 mode, sending the ident PVC. Frequency is unchanged at 13,555.55~



22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / Beacon PVC temporarily off
« on: December 13, 2019, 0054 UTC »
Hi Folks,

Beacon PVC, 13,555.55~ is temporarily off air until storm damage to the antenna can be repaired. I'll update accordingly.



22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / PVC reaches Kansas!
« on: April 09, 2019, 1641 UTC »
Hi folks,

I received word that my beacon, PVC (13,555.5~~) was picked up by a LWCA member on 2nd and again on 3rd April, late in the afternoon in Kansas. That is a record distance of approximately 1400 miles for this station :)

Apparently there has been an indistinct trace visible several times at the same frequency, but this was the first occasion on which a positive ID could be made. You can read more at the LWCA website  https://www.lwca.net/mb/index.html, and if you are a member, there is a screenshot from Argo and a recording available.

I was just about to abandon the sloping dipole in favour of constructing a new 1/4 wave vertical antenna, but think I'll leave things as they are for a while longer.



22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / AZ heard Sunday 8:20 am (PST)
« on: February 04, 2019, 2156 UTC »
I had an unexpected early session at the listening desk yesterday(Sunday Feb 3rd). AZ (13,554.0~~ kHz) was making it to California quite audibly during the half hour after 8 am (PST). Inaudible, but detected via spectrogram, were NC and E H, operating in slow FSK mode as usual. One other feint trace may have been USC, but could not be read clearly.

Beacon PVC was temporarily disabled by a couple of power outages, but is currently in operation.


22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / PVC off temporarily
« on: November 29, 2018, 2121 UTC »
Hi Folks,

Had to remove connections to PVC's antenna today when thunder and lightning jolted me awake!

I'll restore operation ASAP.

The storms also dragged my long-wire aerial down again. That is the second time this week...



Hi Folks,
It occurred to me that it would be a good idea to share the quietest listening spots in the 13553-13567 ISM allocation we know and love as the HiFER band.

My reasoning for this is more or less obvious - Where is a good spot to put one's beacon, if trying to reach a particular area?

For my QTH in the SF bay area, the only spot with consistent interference is 13560 - 13562 (as tuned in USB with a typical 2.2 kHz filter). Ergo, I can easily listen from the lower portion of the band, up to about 13,559 before whistles and bleeps interfere with hearing, or the AGC kicks into action. Using a Spectrum Lab, this can be pushed a little further. On the high side, 13,562 kHz up is all quiet.

I would be interested to hear from other beaconeers on their local conditions.



Hi Folks,

One thing I have been attempting to pursue is finding a predictor/barometer for propagation at 22 m. Helpfully, there is a broadcast band nearby, and SW.info indicates that there are some potentially helpful signals:

13,840 - Radio New Zealand International
13,845 - WWCR University Network, based in Nashville USA

Ideally, schedules should line up with beacon listening, so that reception of beacons and broadcast can be compared. Has anyone else tried this approach?



22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / 2nd June HiFER report
« on: June 08, 2018, 1842 UTC »
I found time to switch on and listen for a while on 2nd June (Around 030 UTC) and was rewarded with quite good conditions. Observations were aided by the use of Spectrum Lab.

In the higher portion of the band, EPA provided a strong trace, along with a hint of BUH (or perhaps BUZ) Both are new to the log here. A trace corresponded to RF, another to KC7MMI, and GNK appeared for a while.

Lower down, I Caught PBJ, TON and a hint of trace from a possible PLM.

Below this, EH was plainly audible, and an easy trace to read. Neighbor SIW was visible below, and USC above.

Quite the best conditions we have had here for some time.


22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / PVC Antenna change
« on: April 09, 2018, 2201 UTC »
Hi Folks,

Just for a change, I tuned up PVC on the garden longwire: approx 80ft span between trees at ~20ft above ground. There is a balun and a ground rod at the feed-point. I think the usual dipole might benefit from a little attention in the mean time.

No opportunity for listening of late, so just antenna experiments for now. Longer term, I also want to test a small tuned loop on 22m operation.



22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / Loud Data station Sunday 18 March
« on: March 21, 2018, 1427 UTC »
Hi Folks,

Wonder if anyone else heard this around 4 to 5 PM on Sunday (circa 1100UTC)? Classic RTTY type data signal, strength around S7 on the random dipole here in the CA Bay Area. It ceased as I was monitoring.

No beacons recorded during or after.


22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / 3rd & 4th Feb listening
« on: February 05, 2018, 1737 UTC »
Just a quick report

Saturday's listening, at around 15:15 PST/23:15UTC. At the 13,555 kHz spot, I noted a trace of NC and SIW using Spectrum Lab, but no other signals were detectable. Further up the band there was a big lift for PCO, and it was plain copy by ear - a lovely clean signal, with some slow fading minute to minute. No sign of any of the other beacons in that region.

Sunday listening around 16:00 PST, often a fair time, revealed a quiet band - even the constant drones around 13,560 were subdued.

22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / Beacons Sunday 28 Jan
« on: February 01, 2018, 1744 UTC »
Finally had some time to listen, early on Sunday Morning (~0300 UTC)

Alas things were rather flat. By ear, I heard traces of RF, and with software, a few of the cluster around 13,555+ including EH, SIW and USC. The latter were very weak traces, and conditions only degraded during the remainder of the day.

It is great, however, to see new beacons coming on air, and this section of the forum growing. I shall be watching and listening with interest :)

22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / PCO loud and clear 13563.55 Khz
« on: December 10, 2017, 0400 UTC »
There seemed to be good conditions today for reception here in Calif. PCO faded up to easy readibility a few times around 1520 PST.. GNK was in the mix, and a few signals around the 13.555 zone including USC and WM

22 Meter Band HiFER Beacons / RQ, RF, GNK heard Sunday 3rd
« on: December 04, 2017, 1827 UTC »
Monitoring yesterday, I heard solid copy from RQ, RF and GNK, around 2100 UTC (Afternoon Pacific Time). No need for Spectrum Lab :)

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