tirsdag den 1. december 2015

My VHF/UHF Antenna is up again

The task of moving my antenna support to the center of my garden is progressing nicely!

The assembly is two steel tubes. The upper tube is 38 mm diameter (1½ inch) and the lower one is 50 mm diameter (2 inch). The upper tube is attached to the lower one using two steel platforms (PLS 50 from UKW-Berichte in Germany). The upper tube is turned with my Yaesu G-600 rotor, which is mounted on the lower platform. A thrust bearing (KS065) is mounted on the upper platform and supports the upper tube.

antenna system picture
How the components are assembled.
Even though the tube assembly is quite rigid, is is still easy to handle. I can "walk down" the assembly when I need to fit another antenna. When the tubes are down, they rest horizontally on the lawn, and the antenna is easy to access. The picture below shows the tubes resting on the lawn. Each tube is 6 m (20 feet) long.

The antenna tubes resting on the lawn.
Both antenna tubes are erected and support an 8-element yagi for 2 meters.
There is always something to explore. How are the surroundings affecting VHF antenna performance? Do trees obstruct the signal? How much noise is heard? And so on.

Regards from OZ1BXM Lars Petersen
Homepage: http://oz1bxm.dk

mandag den 13. juli 2015

SDR transceiver: Genesis Radio G11

July is here, and this means time for vacation! In Denmark, it's normal to have 3 weeks vacation during the summer. I spend much time with my family. But there is also time available for radio projects. I've purchased a Genesis Radio kit G11. This is a 10 W all-mode SDR transceiver, and it covers all bands between 160 meters and 6 meters with the optional filter kit. The standard version covers 5 bands.

I bought the G11 kit from a fellow ham, who did not have time for construction. The building effort on my side is expected to be reasonable, since several hundred SMD parts are factory fitted. My job is to mount and solder about 100 through-hole components including toroids, different connectors and relays. Genesis Radio estimates about 10 hours of work on this part.

Here is a picture of my G11 PCB as of today. The RX part is almost finished, except for toroids. No components are fitted on the TX part.

Genesis Radio G11 board (TX not finished).
G11 assembly has been straight forward until now. The only difficulty was the USB interface. I could not load a G11 driver for Windows 7 (64 bit). When I replaced the 64-bit PC with another PC running 32 bit Windows, the driver installed immediately.

The G11 documentation is adequate. Several hundred people have built this SDR transceiver, and their knowledge is collected in a Yahoo group: GenesisRadio which is active and helpful.

73 de OZ1BXM Lars Petersen, homepage http://oz1bxm.dk/

SMD = Surface Mounted Device
SDR = Software Defined Radio
RX = Receiver
TX = Transmitter

fredag den 5. juni 2015

WinKeyer, part 2

I wrote about the WinKeyer in a blog post last year. My WinKeyer is mounted in an alu-cabinet, which I found in my radio junkbox. USB connection, paddle connection, and the keying output is on the rear of the cabinet.

WinKeyer USB Lite.

Inside the WinKeyer cabinet.
My logging software Log4OM has a dedicated WinKeyer window, where you control the keyer, you can send CW via the keyboard, and you can run macros (10 different).

Log integration is a nice feature. When call and report are entered in the WinKeyer window, you can log the QSO by clicking the "Add QSO" button. All other data like time, frequency, and mode are already known by Log4OM. It draws this info from the computer clock and from the transceiver via the CAT interface.

Another nice feature of Log4OM is the use of macros. When a macro is executed, a script will do the hard work: sending your name, your QTH, your QSL info, and a contest exchange if in contest mode.

A am happy with my WinKeyer. It was easy to build. WinKeyer is easy to use, and with the log integration, my time with the radio has become more enjoyable!

73, OZ1BXM Lars Petersen
Homepage: oz1bxm.dk

tirsdag den 19. maj 2015

Changing from DXKeeper to Log4OM

My ham radio log has been DXKeeper for some years now. I have been quite happy with this free software, and it has run well on my Windows PC. The update function works fine (you click a button to download software updates). The upload function to Logbook of the World (LotW) and eQSL has served me well. So I cannot complain about DX Keeper.

The urge to do something new came over me this month. I decided to try another ham radio log, that is Log4OM. This application is developed by IW3HMH and his team. The user manual is written by G4POP. Log4OM is free software and the project is supported by donations. There is an active user forum.
Log4OM logo.
What made me change logging software? There are several reasons why I choose Log4OM:
  • Simple - everything is available right at my fingertips
  • Nice GUI - the user interface of Log4OM is slick and easy to customize 
  • Winkeyer integration - having ragchews and running CW contests are easy
  • Active users - you can find answers to your questions
  • Active developer - the software is being developed and maintained   

73 for now. 
OZ1BXM Lars Petersen
Homepage: oz1bxm.dk

søndag den 26. april 2015

New transceiver Yaesu FT-920

It was time for replacing my old Kenwood TS-850 transceiver. The TS-850 has served me well, but it was getting old, and a new HF transceiver was in the pipeline.

I found a fine offer on the Danish second-hand site ham.brugtgrej.dk. An Yaesu FT-920 was for sale in mint condition. The FM-unit and a 250 Hz CW crystal filter were included. I studied the FT-920 reviews on eham.net before contacting the seller. I bought the transceiver on the spot, and transferred the payment via web banking. A big parcel arrived two days later.

The FT-920 is a medium-class transceiver - it is not a contest machine. As I only participate in contests a few times a year, this transceiver will probably fill my needs.

Here are some pro & contra statements regarding the FT-920:

Pro FT-920

  • There are two VFOs with each their own display 
  • There are 2 antenna ports and one “receive only” port.  
  • The DSP works at audio frequencies and can be switched off
  • The noise blanker is excellent
  • The CW operator is spoiled with functionality
  • The RF output can be turned down to the mW level
  • The 6m band is included (100 W output)
  • The RX is pleasant for long-time listening (according to reviews)

Contra FT-920

  • No 2m/70cm band
  • No dual receiver
  • No option for SSB crystal filter
  • No dedicated transverter port 
  • No band-scope 
  • The cabinet is big and heavy

My new transceiver Yaesu FT-920.
Time will tell if my new purchase turns out to be a success. Right now, I intend to work JT65/JT9 on HF and collect countries for my future QRP DXCC award. 

OZ1BXM Lars Petersen
Homepage: oz1bxm.dk

lørdag den 4. april 2015

Moving the VHF antennas

My current VHF antenna system is positioned just between my own house and my neighbour's house. Both houses are terrace-houses, and a part of the antenna is above my neighbour's roof.

I am working to extend my VHF antenna system in order to operate EME, and more space will be needed. That is why I have decided to move the VHF antennas towards the center of my garden.

In the picture below, you can see how a 6 meter long steel tube (diameter 50 mm) will serve as the lower part of the antenna mast. The upper part (not mounted yet) will be a steel tube which is going to be rotated by a Yaesu rotor.

The new antenna mast.
The construction is to begin ASAP. I will report how the work is progressing in a later update.

73, OZ1BXM Lars Petersen
Homepage: oz1bxm.dk

fredag den 6. februar 2015

WAZ wallpaper received

I earned WAZ some time ago. Upon submitting my application, I received a message, that my application was approved and an award number was issued. About 6-8 months later, the wallpaper arrived in the mail. It was a great moment holding the real certificate in my hand!

WAZ #9053 Mixed Mode.

I have now completed my homepage on this pursuit: In pursuit of WAZ - done

The next award I will be chasing is QRP DXCC from ARRL. My currrent standing is 85 entities.  

73 from OZ1BXM Lars
Homepage: oz1bxm.dk