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Messages - RobRich

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Pretty good DX opening tonight. Been listening to ops from Europe including France, Serbia, etc. on 3793LSB for a few minutes now. Even caught a mobile op.

General Radio Discussion / Re: AirSpy 25% Black Friday Sale
« on: November 25, 2021, 1553 UTC »
Thanks for the reminder, Chris! :)

I certainly like and often recommend the Airspy HF+ Discovery. It has performance rivaling and even exceeding many popular desktop-class receivers, yet it is priced scarcely more than many portables.

I might order a SpyVerter R2 as a small upgrade to one my RTL-SDR v3 dongles currently using inexpensive eBay NE602 convertors for HF.

10/11 meters / Re: 11M Band conditions
« on: November 25, 2021, 0214 UTC »
I do not plan on talking tonight but I do a quick 11m band skim. Activity on various usual 11m DX hotspots at 0215z. 8)

You might have gotten lucky with a decently filtered switching wall wart power supply. 8)

For those note so lucky, a good quick read on improving wall wart regulation and filtering:


Amateur Radio / Re: PSK31 activity
« on: November 15, 2021, 1925 UTC »
Having a list of available pre-generated replies sets a relatively common initial QSO format and makes digital contacts ever quicker; which is nice if dealing with rough band conditions, rare propagation, etc.

Going to the extrema, you can even automate some digimodes like FT-8. A "full auto" feature has been done and would allow a station to handle traffic without even an operator present; otherwise known as a regulatory violation in the US for amateur bands.

About my early comments, I was thinking more about an actual keyboard ragchew QSO after the initial contact, at least for those not solely interested in chasing paper for DXCC or similar.

Amateur Radio / Re: PSK31 activity
« on: November 14, 2021, 2200 UTC »
^ 8)

I suspect a small part of the patience and welcoming on PSK and many other digital modes is typing out a message and rereading it (even if subconsciously) before clicking send. There is also the factor that these days many ops first foray into the HF bands are digital modes, especially among the younger crowds.

If feeling a little adventurous for trying other modes, consider taking a look into RTTY. Admittedly it is ancient, but AFAIK, there still is a dedicated following among amateurs circles.

General Radio Discussion / Re: US CB to get FM
« on: November 13, 2021, 2030 UTC »
Posted there before seeing the thread here. A somewhat long comment about getting an 11m FM handheld to market for the mode to gain traction.

Back to the President radio, the overall design looks like one of the brand's more affordable models, thus probably why it lacks SSB support. Oh well.

10/11 meters / Re: 11m Activity 13 Nov 2021
« on: November 13, 2021, 1743 UTC »
Hearing Italy also on 27.385 LSB. No luck getting back.

I remember you talking about getting family feedback regarding your antenna farm, but have you considering deploying say a stealth half-wave dipole or even an end-fed vertical cut for 11m? The reason is your 80m OCF likely has multiple significant lobes as frequency increases. If a contact falls outside one of the large lobes, your signal could be many dB down on upper-HF bands.

Take a look at the 10m pattern here:


Unless one wants to spend money on a retail antenna, a homebrew EFHW vertical can be built for a few dollars. Wind or obtain a basic 49:1 or 64:1 transformer placed near ground level, then add 18' of wire for the vertical along with four or so ~9' radials on the ground. Now with the OCF and vertical antennas you would have both horizontal and vertical polarization options available.

Feed it with inexpensive RG-58 or RG-8x if within 50' of the radio IMO, though even RG-6* is workable; again IMO. Not that I would recommend QRO power and any actual loses aside, I have seen even cheap big-box-store RG-6 readily handle 100w with horrid mismatches.

BTW, want a portable 11m solution? Build the same EFHW, but skip the ground radials instead winding the coax feedline as a 1:1 choke on a mix 43 toroid around 1.8' feet from the transformer. It could be deployed as a vertical, horizontal, sloper, etc. I suspect even an integrated autotuner should tune such an antenna for 12m and 10m, too.

*RG-6, RG-59, and most other non-50-ohm coaxes cut as a multiple of 1/2 wavelength times the coax velocity factor will ideally present approximately the same input and output impedance, which makes for a neat low-cost coax hack for 50-ohm systems. Preferably you want coax with a listed VF spec, but RG-6 VF tends to be around .78 to .83, so one can ballpark the length then add or trim after measuring SWR, impedance, etc. Initial length also could be computed with NanoVNA readings and an online velocity factor calc.

Amateur Radio / Re: Japan on 17M
« on: November 13, 2021, 1635 UTC »
So when is the hexbeam going to be deployed? ;)


I know the feeling anyway, at least for my lowly 11m activity.  I can work lots of great DX with my vertical, but I feel like some interesting contacts are missed due to having an omnidirectional antenna. Seeing as I do not feel like building a homebrew yagi, plus preferring a lightweight compact solution, I have been looking more at the basic Maco V-Quad. It could be retuned eventually for 10m if desired, too.

Amateur Radio / 2021 Winter Sporadic E Propagation
« on: November 13, 2021, 1609 UTC »
Just a quick FYI. The winter session of Sporadic E propagation is approaching. Usually around mid to late December into early January. It is rarely up to summer Es levels, but some of ya'll 10m and 6m ops might find DX opportunities. Consider keeping a radio slightly squelched and parked on 28400, 50125, etc. during the upcoming weeks.

Equipment / Re: Radio Plus Quantum Phaser Schematics
« on: November 13, 2021, 1602 UTC »
Considered adding a basic RF limiting protection circuit? You could build one for like $2 to $3. Lots of designs online using cross diodes plus maybe a cap, resistors, and/or choke. Either build it in the phaser, or place it on a board backwards between apparently your antenna switch and phaser so it can be easily serviced or just outright replaced.

General Radio Discussion / Re: Radio Station WWV Test Signal
« on: November 13, 2021, 1546 UTC »
Think about the *vast* amount of data analyzed by the SETI@home distributed computing project. Such an effort on a smaller scale could be undertaken with ionospheric research using mostly off-the-shelf hardware and likely open source software. Even just an affordable RTL-SDR in direct sampling mode and a simple wire antenna should suffice for receiving WWV/H broadcasts, then use a small app or even like a Python script to process and upload the data.

Amateur Radio / Re: Xiegu G90
« on: November 09, 2021, 2216 UTC »
One positive of the G90 is supposed to be a decent integrated autotuner.

Equipment / Re: NanoVNA SWR reading made simple
« on: November 06, 2021, 1950 UTC »
Good stuff for those not familiar with the NanoVNA user interface. :) I have read about professional VNA users even being puzzled initially by some of the NanoVNA menus and options. UI quirks aside, it is quite the neat device for the price.

Taking the next step beyond SWR, I like to use my NanoVNA-H4 to check complex impedance in addition to SWR.

Even just simple resistance (R) will tell ya' more about the SWR reading. Say one has a typical 50-ohm transceiver. The measured antenna SWR is 4:1. Is the resistance closer to 200 ohms or 12.5 ohms? ;) Kind of makes for a considerable difference if using to a matching transformer for example by at least telling ya' which way to position the ratio.

Reactance (X) is also nice to have IMO. An antenna often is "resonant" at the frequency where X is zero, which can make a routine task like lengthening or shortening an antenna's length a little easier to determine.

Also, yeah, I agree about Smith Charts. I might learn to use them if building complex circuits, but admittedly, I have never bothered seriously with them even despite having a degree in math. I am not sure if seeing Smith Charts makes me think about my old HP-49g graphic calc.... or a slide rule.

Amateur Radio / Re: Xiegu G90
« on: November 05, 2021, 0002 UTC »
Personal opinion.... I would be hard pressed to sell a Yaesu whatever to get a Xiegu G90 in return for a primary QTH transceiver. Features aside, there are build quality and serviceability aspects to consider IMO.

If thinking about mobile and/or portable ops, Xiegu does offer another potentially interesting model for around $250 or sometimes even less. The Xiegu G1M is a quad-band 5w transceiver for 80, 40, 20, and 15. Also does general receive. AFAIK, the biggest problem with it is a delicate microphone jack, though someone might have a fix for it by now.

If you are brave person, there is the "uSDR uSDX" variants that can be found for $130 or less via eBay and similar. A few watts and 8 bands from 80m to 10m. There is also a newer "uSDR uSDX+" (or plus, v2, etc.) model with an integrated li-ion battery and other changes for around $160 to $175. The newer model even claims PC connectivity for various digital modes. YMMV. I have seen reviews for these radios range from decent to horrid; seemingly based largely upon the radio actually working properly.

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