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Messages - Charlie_Dont_Surf

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I'm calling it at 0107 - The theme is "Don't"

Conditions are poor, of course. Even when the signal is strong, the fading and the static make OTA listening very difficult.

General Radio Discussion / Re: Balls
« on: March 24, 2023, 2139 UTC »
This is amusing. Maybe they have a half-hour in Mandarin on Sunday mornings?  ;D

Seriously though, I (we) don't know what their range is and I also don't know where the Ecuadorian diaspora has been displaced to. On the other hand, the tri-state area has likely one of the most saturated FM bands in the US and the capture effect* of receivers may limit their range.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capture_effect

General Radio Discussion / Re: Balls
« on: March 17, 2023, 0735 UTC »
There are people that have taken on the FCC and tied them up in knots for a while (read as "decades") but they typically had the tricks of the trade in their pocket. The case of the former W6WBJ, a retired lawyer, comes to mind. This guy Barnes shows no signs of of employing any delaying tactics (or any sort of tactics, for that matter, other than trying to BS them with a handwritten note) and I just don't think he has the smarts.

I agree that this won't end well.

Yes, aiming for the 6.2 - 6.3 range.  With 21 turns for L2 it was a little high, peaking in the 6.4 region so I tried 23 turns which brought it down to 5.8, so I've settled on 22 turns for the moment which seems about right with the ability to squeeze or open the coil a little.


I did see that you had used the Wondom board, they seem to be pure unobtainium in the UK, I have accounts with Farnell and their sibling CPC and they don't have them. 

Forgive me, I was wrong and it appears that Farnell does not carry them nor does AliExpress any longer ("no longer available"). Well that's a bummer. When I started this thing in 2021 they were quite available but of course 2 years is an eternity in this industry, especially with the disruption of COVID-19.

I'll trawl AliExpress and Banggood to see what they have.
I have tried a clone 100w mono board from eBay also based on the TPA3116 but no joy at all.  I'll give it another go this weekend when I have some more time.

I have a DROK (or Bangood?) module or two and they are problematic in this application. The audio cuts out intermittently, especially at high output and I assume it to be the over-current protection circuitry doing this. The protection appears to be a bit more over-zealous than a real TPA3116-based module. (The U-LULU is something like a 3-4 Ohm load according to simulation.)

Whatever you end up going with, it needs to drive at least 5 Amps peak at 4 Ohms (100 Watts into 4 Ohms differential = ~5.3 Amps). Of course, we are using the amplifier single-ended with the U-LULU. Four Ohms differential (such as a loudspeaker) is equivalent to 2 x (2 Ohms single-ended to ground). If it can handle a 4-Ohm speaker then it should be good to go. Of course the Bangood and DROK are supposed to drive 3 or 4 Ohms too, so.....

For this weakness and a few other reasons (that I am too lazy to describe right now) I suspect Banggood and DROK modules are built around counterfeit TPA3116 chips that can't drive a 2-Ohm load like the real thing from TI. Caveat emptor.

General Radio Discussion / Re: Balls
« on: March 15, 2023, 2213 UTC »
There is zero probability that they were in La Grande, Oregon on a lark.

The NALF indicates they first gave him the knock in 2018 after "complaints". They did not mention Facebook posts in association with the first or second times they visited him.

FM Free Radio / Re: Not so doing at home sweet home
« on: March 15, 2023, 1932 UTC »
Related: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-391761A1.pdf


General Radio Discussion / Balls
« on: March 15, 2023, 1930 UTC »
7. On April 8, 2022, just over two weeks after the Agent issued the third NOUO, Barnes
uploaded a video to his public Facebook account stating that he was again operating his pirate station.22
Barnes stated in this video that he did not think the Commission could stop his unauthorized broadcasts
unless it “locked him up.” On April 14, 2022, Barnes posted yet another video stating that he was
“getting ready to go live on 100.5 FM.”23 After conducting additional research, the Agent also discovered
that, in the year prior to the start of the 2022 investigation, Barnes had uploaded over 30 videos to his
public Facebook account in which he stated that he was the “Eastern Oregon Pirate of Pirate Radio
Eastern Oregon” and that he was broadcasting live or was planning to broadcast live on 100.5 FM in La
Grande, Oregon.24


This decoder improves the stability of the reception, because it partially eliminates the effect of selective fading of the AM carrier wave.

Yes and in many cases it can dramatically improve the quality of reception of very weak AM signals as well, "pulling them out of the noise" somewhat.

Yep, I uderstand all that. But often, to escape the splashes, I have to go to USB or LSB.
I even use SAM with the sideband selection, SAU or SAL. Alas, in those modes, all too often, the sync is lost, and the audio is mashed. And when I see a carrier on the waterfall, I can't tell its exact frequency, I point on it, and the software tunes 1.5 kHz aside ! Then I have to make the panel come back, but it covers about 40 percent of the waterfall range on my small screen !

I understand the frustration.

I find that the default passband filters in SAL and SAU just barely include the carrier frequency and during fading, synchronization can be lost or come close to losing it. (This may have been improved in a recent software update.) To avoid or mitigate the possibility of sync loss when I am using SAL or SAU modes, I will usually adjust the passband filters to include the carrier and also more of the unintended sideband than is provided by default. This seems to lessen the possibility of loss of synchronization.

The way I avoid that is by tuning in AM mode then switching to the one I am going to listen in.

Yes, also general tuning around in SAM or SAS in "large" frequency steps (greater than 1 KHz, for example) will generally produce a continuous tone when you finally stop and try to listen to an AM signal. This tone comes about because the inserted carrier that is inherent in synchronous detection (SAM, SAS, etc.) comes from a phase-locked loop (PLL) action (generated in software) that is not able to "lock" onto the AM carrier that you just tuned across because its lock range is much smaller than the tuning steps you were using.

The way to fix this is to momentarily switch modes to anything other than a synchronous mode (e.g., AM, IQ, etc.) then back into SAM or SAS, at which point the PLL can lock onto the AM carrier since the receiver is likely tuned very close to the actual carrier frequency and the PLL can lock.
In any case, I try to avoid tuning while using a synchronous mode for this reason but I sometimes forget and I use the method above to get out of the continuous tone mode and lock the PLL.

When using the pointer on WF to change frequency,
if the mode is USB or LSB,
then the soft tunes aside, 1.5 kHz away from the pointed frequency, grrrrr....

Yes, I find this annoying but like many things I think that one becomes habituated to it and learn to modify my behavior.

This operation is different than, for example, WebSDR (e.g., Twente) but after many weeks of only using KiwiSDRs, I become used to it and attempting to use a WebSDR requires a few attempts to get through my stumbles as a result of the differences.

0030 UTC - Good copy on an SDR in Ohio. S9+10 on peaks. SINPO 55334. Good modulation with 5-6 KHz bandwidth.

My bet is that this is Nowhere Radio.

0205 UTC - TX off suddenly mid-song, which is (was) typical of Nowhere Radio.

Amateur Radio / Re: Real time on-the-air spotting/sharing network?
« on: March 14, 2023, 2057 UTC »
As a licensed amateur who enjoys listening to all types of communications I've often wondered if it was possible to use HF amateur bands to share real time spotting information about whatever it is we happen to be hearing. (broadcast, pirate, utility, beacons, etc.)

Many decades ago there was a net for shortwave listeners on Sunday mornings on the North American east coast. In addition to folks checking in with loggings, there would always be some gateway stations who would accept loggings from SWLs via telephone and then would read them out over the air. Not quite real time but the idea is similar. This was just as the internet was just becoming more ubiquitous and not everyone had it at home. The net was run by KW3F, whom I believe has passed away.

It says very little. ... Tell us exactly which policies and how they affected you.

I took it to mean that it tells me a lot about the people that wrote it and their proclivity to blame other people for their issues, without feeling the need to be specific.

My first build attempt at the U-LULU, with a board made by JLCPCB using CDS's gerber files.

Learning how to solder all over again with a hot-air rework pencil, great for the chip but how do I stop the tiny caps flying away  :)

On a test-jig I'm getting about 15w carrier, still more work to getting the output coil right and finding a suitable modulator.  Any ideas on something still available from China in 2023?

Very nice! I feel like a proud papa. :D I saw your DM too and you've obviously figured out posting photos on HFU and you have an additional 5 Watts since that DM so all is good. 

As for the power output, it would be good to know if you are trying to do this at 6250 KHz (as I did) or another frequency.

Using a different batch of PCBs (which is inevitable) and using a slightly different winding technique than mine (also inevitable) will introduce possibilities for variation. Your PCB manufacturer will likely have a slightly different material property (called Er, "E sub R" in the spoken lingo) than mine, meaning that you may want to adjust L2, C5 and C6 slightly to compensate. To tune L2, you can push and squeeze the wire of L2 a bit. 

One of the decisions I made during the design tuning was to sacrifice bandwidth for maximum power output and this means that the if you are trying to use this transmitter at 50-100 KHz away from 6250 KHz (approximately), you might not get the full output I claim. I think that it may make sense to also offer folks a broader bandwidth output tuning (which I have simulated in the computer but not built in real life) to make it a little less sensitive to my narrowband tuning I specified in 2021. My initial computer simulations suggest that I can get similar power output and broader bandwidth with a completely different set of L and C values. It remains to be seen if this is true in real life but when I verify I will update. I may also add a 43 meter band tuning option too.

For the modulator, perhaps you missed in the text (page 8 ) but I am recommending the Wondom AA-AB31184.
In North America, they are available here: https://www.parts-express.com/WONDOM-AA-AB31184-100W-Mono-Amp-Board-320-3341?quantity=1
In other parts of the world they seem to be available from Farnell in the UK, Audiophonics in France, AliExpress,  Ebay, Opentip, etc.

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Item image   Vintage Midland 13-801 3 Channel CB transceiver