2019 A Years Projects

Its new years ever and I have been thinking about the things I have achieved in 2018 and its been quite a lot, but at the same time, there has been a lot that I have not completed or even made a dent in and others that I have failed at.

So this list is the list of projects I plan to complete in 2019. Some of these I have had for sometime, some are not even in existence yet but are coming soon and some might be absolute dismal failures. Some of these can be competed in an afternoon and others are going to take some time, but here we go with the list.

1. Bebek Radio

First on the list is to finish the bebek, at least to receiver level. I do not think i am brave enough to tackle the transmit side of it. Its been an interesting and frustrating project so far, the sooner its over the better.

The Radio Bebek

2. Pixie Transceiver

The Pixie Tranceiver

Ok, so i have build one or two of these before, but I have this one in the draw still and I should build it and attempt to make a contact with it, or at least get spotted on the Reverse Beacon Network calling CQ with it.

3. 49’r Transceiver

The 49r Transceiver

There is a similar kit on ebay called the Frog Sounds that I built ages ago. The receiver in it actually worked quite ok, but i never ever transmitted with it, let alone made a single contact with it.

So what I plan to do with this kit is modify it to use a DDS VFO and make it frequency agile. To achieve that i will add a bandpass filter to the front end and use a AD9850 DDS to inject a signal where the Xtal oscillator currently is.

4. WSPR

QRP Labs WSPR Kit

I was given this maybe 2 years ago from a friend, Simon VK6MSC. Its been sitting in my draw waiting and waiting to see the light of day and get built. Now that I can actually use digital modes, I am itching to get this happening and on the air every other moment I am not using my radio and antenna.

5. Super Rockmite

The Super Rockmite Kit

Another ebay kit i have has sitting around for a long time. I am not sure weather to build as standard to modify it to make it frequency agile. At this stage it might just be an afternoon build and see if I can make a contact with it. The built in keyer is a nice touch.

6. QCX

QRP Labs QCX Kit

Now we are getting into serious build territory. The QCX is more than a toy kit, it is a quality transceiver kit that I will take my time building and will enjoy using.

7. VK4FFAB 4 Band Receiver

PCB Board for the VK4FFAB Receiver Project

This has been an eternal project that has no end in site. I would like to have completed the board above built and connected together to see how it actually works as a receiver. Each of the boards has been built and modified in isolation and what is pictured above are 2nd and 3rd iterations of some boards. Along with just stuffing the boards there is a whole lot of software to write to control the whole thing. While its mostly done, there is still a lot of work to go.

8. QRP Labs QSX

QRP Labs 10w PA for QSX

Not a lot i can write about this, other than I will be dropping everything and building one once the kit is fully released. All i have at the moment is the 10w PA. This kit i am excited to get my hands on.

9. ZOI-40 Tranceiver

ZOI-40 Tranceiver

This is one of those projects that I may or may not get to. Its another board laid out by YD1JJJ from Indonesia. I have not taken a close look at things, but i kind of expect this to be a nightmare like the Bebek and something that I will have to buzz out and compare between board and schematic to complete.

10. Bitx 20

Bitx 20 PCB Boards

Where the BITX craze kind of went viral, the Bitx 20m will be something I tackle when i get time.

11. Other Notable Thoughts and Ideas

There are really only 3 other ideas floating around at the moment and that i would like to get to this year and they are all transmitters. A CW transmitter, a RTTY transmitter and a PSK transmitter. 3 individual or potentially combine into a single unit to pair with my receiver project. These will take precedence over some of the projects above and will make nice additions the the lineups.

To be honest, I have certainly listed out more stuff than I will probably get to, but these are the things I have in the pipeline and are my immediate list of goals. The hardest part with all this is not getting sidetracked and going off on a tangent.

Wish me luck.

Happy New Year to you.

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My Thoughts On FT8

If you have not been living under a rock and look now and again at internet forums or other social media, you will have come across many discussions about how FT8 is going to be the death of Amateur Radio and that DXCC is now worthless because someone can do it automatically with a bot and get dxcc in a week.

Now having played with the mode for a few weeks and sat here at the desk for a few hours watching paint dry while i click the buttons to make WSJT work, I have come to the conclusion that this easy mode dxcc in a week is not only kind of bullshit, it is actually bullshit. Let me explain.

Most of us have very modest stations. A couple of dipoles and run low power. The above map is where I was being heard last night on 40m running 10w into a dipole. Yes, 10w. The max power my license allows in digital modes is 30w. The main thing you will notice about that map is that there are not 100 countries that are hearing me. More like 15. And then you have to get passed the wall of Japan.

I was being heard by equal numbers of US and JA stations, but that does not mean I am going to work WAS in a week either. I made 4 contacts with the USA and 30 with Japan. I am fresh meat and the JA’s are big on working everyone and sending out QSL cards. The same goes for Indonesia.

So maybe if you are in the EU or North America and have a Kw station, FT8 might be an easier path to DCXX, its not like that for everyone. In fact, most people are not running high power or have big antennas and for those of us like that means that we can work some DX during the bottom of the cycle which keeps us interested.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

OK So What Have I Been Doing

Well its good that you asked this LMAO. Well i have not been posting here much that is for sure, but i have been very busy with things. I have sat and passed a license upgrade and I have been working on fixing the uBitx lack of audio on the V4 boards, have been working on designing and prototyping stages for a receiver/transmitter/transceiver, it keeps evolving and have had a bunch of boards made in China and they are sitting on my desk AM waiting for me to populate and test them.

So there has been lots going on, more on all that to come and more over the next couple of weeks as i start to pull all these disparate threads together into something cohesive. Oh and I started to discuss with a mate the possibility of together designing and building a rig for SOTA etc that is cheep and simple. And in 6 weeks or so when I have the new call sign and I can use homebrew on air and just into a dummy load, I will be certainly looking to get some homebrew transmitting capability happening here at home.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

Measurements Are Only As Good As Your Tools

Today I got a mic connected to the uBitx and a key and was able to test that its making RF and doing its thing. My home antenna is resonant on 40m, so i do not need to check the swr or anything, but i thought i would use the power meter in the swr meter to check what the power output of the uBitx is. Trouble was, it was making about 5w cw and 3w ssb.

So i got to scratching my head and wondering about the radio itself. I was about to put it in the cannot be bothered for today pile when i grabbed down the scope probe, put it across the antenna port and keyed up cw, 22v rms or 10 watts out, so i grabbed the mic and spoke in my normal voice, 21v rms or about 10w out.

Obviously the power side of this swr meter is kind of crap and not giving an accurate measure of power out. Anyway, i know the uBitx is working now and making enough power to be useful, now all i gotta do is get out portable and use it.

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LED Bezels

So months ago i bought 100 LED Bezels, it seemed like a good idea at the time and something i would later find use for. So today when i actually need one for a project, i go looking for them and cannot find them. It is not like my shit is a mess, its rather neat and tidy and somewhat organised with like things with like things. But can i find the LED Bezels, nope. No fucking idea at all and I have been through each and every tray looking for them.

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TX On 40m Takes Out NBN

So, for no apparent reason, lately transmitting on 40m has been causing the NBN to disconnect. It never done this before, nothing has changed with settings, the radio is in the same spot, using the same antenna and all that. So tonight while listening to the 7.130 dx net, i decided to do something about it. I got into the settings and changed the channel that the WIFI is operating on just in case that was the vector for RF overload, no change, so for stage 2, i grabbed a couple of 12mm clip on ferrites and wound as many turns of the power and telephone cable i could around them, problem solved. I can talk and internet again at the same time. For now 🙂Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

When Your Opinions Do Not Matter

In a discussion of ideas, a range of opinions is probably a good thing to have, to find common ground see the pro’s and con’s of various idea and hopefully get the best outcome possible for the greatest amount of people. And this is a good thing, if you are talking about social issues or how to spend money etc. However, when it comes to scientific debate, like on climate change, your opinion is worth SHIT and what matters is the scientific evidence. And here is why:

When you get into an aeroplane you expect that the boffins at Boeing have used their slide rules, tape measures and calculators and Science’d the living shit out of the design, don’t you. If the CEO of Boeing came out and made an announcement like; This is Bill, Bill designed the wing on our new mega jet using his opinions, emotions and feelings, you would shit and never get into one of their planes ever again. Because that giant flying turd is more than likely going to kill someone.

The same going with Climate Change, your opinions, feelings and emotions mean absolutely nothing at all and if you think your opinion matters you are being wilfully ignorant to the extreme. Get the Actual Factual, you know, Science. And if you are too stupid, inbred or dumb to find and read the science, do what you do with everything else in your life you do not understand, defer to the bloody experts. And those experts are not the retards on Fox News or The Guardian, they are the actual scientists doing the work.

Every aspect of our modern society is built on science and you don’t impose your stupid opinions on those things do you. Its not like you have an opinion on how NASA should get get a rocket into space, or your doctor when he gives you antibiotics, and try putting opinions in your car rather than petrol and see how bloody far that gets you. Science, gives you all the things you take for granted in our modern society like that phone, tablet or computer you are reading this post on, your opinions did not build the internet or create the computer science did and yet you think you know so much more than actual scientists doing climate science, through experimentation and observation that you think it is your right to question and impose your opinions on Climate Change. That is wilful ignorance, arrogance and extreme stupidity.

Try shitting in your fridge and see how long that works for you. You know, before you get food poisoning or cholera and die because guess what, your opinions did not create our modern sanitation systems science did. Well, ignoring the science of climate change is exactly the same as that, shitting in your fridge. All because your ignorance and arrogance led you to believe that you know more than science does. And here is the place where you can exercise your opinions, what do we do about climate change? because the science is clear and real and has been that way for over 30 years.

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When The Image Matters

Sometimes you find out what you thought to knew about a subject is just utterly wrong. When it comes to image frequency for a long time I have believed that the Image_F = Desired_F + or – 2 * LO_F. Which is essentially true, the image can be plus or minus but I was ignoring one critical piece of information and that is the position of the Local Oscillator in respect to the desired frequency.

So there is only 1 image frequency, not 2, if the LO is below the Desired frequency then the image frequency is Image_F = Desired_F – 2 * LO_F and if the LO is above the Desired frequency then Image_F = Desired_F + 2 * LO_F. Which now means that using a 455Khz IF for AM Broadcast Receiver actually makes sense if using a high side LO to do the mixing in a superhet design.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin