Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

More Proof Your Toy Isn't Broken

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If you feel the Digital age (FT8) stole your (ssb, cw) "Toy".  You're not looking.

49 Mhz Notes

Anybody know what this is?  I see if when band is open to EU sometimes.  If you know please email me (email address is post on the right of this >>> column .. scroll for it).  OR leave a comment below.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


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JA Opening

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Notice ONCE AGAIN *K4SOG* smack in the middle of a HUGE DX opening.  WTF?!

FX4SIX/b (French Beacon)

Today while the band was open to Europe on 50 Mhz I noticed a large spike up in the EU "R1" Beacon band, and upon tuning it in I discovered it was FX4SIX beacon located in Neuville, France.  

Maidenhead Locator of: JN06cq is about 5300km from FN54om.

This beacon outputs 5 watts apparently, via a 7 ELE Yagi, and I think it may be pointed at 90 degrees.  Which would be opposite of where I'm located!  Which if true is even more impressive (to me anyway).

I haven't heard an EU beacon since around 2003 (via F2).

I took this video well after the beacon had peaked around 539-549.  It was in really solid at first, and I was so shocked I forgot to try to record it properly.

I found a URL which describes it

Anyway here's a video of what I did capture of it.

9K2GS, 9K2MU, A45XR - HEARD Not worked

Kuwait & Oman

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K4SOG calling me :(

WU1ITU - Audio

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Spotting - Effective Communication

DX Spotting

I feel like there are a few vocal Crusty-Ole-Curmudgeon's who just want to control how all things in OUR hobby function.  Obviously this is a loosing battle, yet THEY DO TRY.  Some to the detriment of others.

Our Amateur Radio Hobby is built on, and centered around "The Art of Communication".  It stands to reason that not everyone in our hobby communicates well.  And that flows out into the realm of Chat sites and other forums beyond the Radio all of this is built upon.

Not everyone has internet access for things like chat sites.  So how else can we disseminate information on what we're hearing, that MIGHT BE interesting to THOSE folks?  Ah...that's right DX Clusters.  Ham's created a method of almost instantly informing each other where the DX is.  We "Spot" what we hear, on a local server, and that server shares that information with a global network, which then make it available ONLINE, or via our radio's and something called a Packet Cluster....which deliver the "Spotted" information to whomever has the ability to monitor these Clusters.

So some folks 'share' more than others.  Some folks like to control their Radio Environment by NOT "Spotting" so that then ONLY THEY know of some DX that they're hearing.  Some similarly prefer to ONLY share in online Chat sites.  And others (Like ME) prefer to share this information EVERYWHERE at ONE TIME to maximize the potential for EVERYONE.

For myself, I don't mind bumping elbows with others to 'bag' a rare DXCC.  That's part of the hobby by nature.  It's gonna happen even if you don't share any information anyway.  So you're only fooling yourself if you think 'holding tight' to your little scrap of information is going to accomplish anything meaningful aside from making it harder for your fellow hams to get ahead.  (which in my opinion IS NO WAY TO BE!  But to each their own.)

I get that.  I just don't agree with it at all.

Don't fear the spot humpers.  A 'Spot humper' is someone who closely monitors DX Clusters in order to try to pounce on any rare DX that gets posted.  Nothing really wrong with that.  THAT IS THE POINT of the whole system.  What is wrong, is when you aren't hearing that Spotted DX and you still call on that frequency regardless of what you hear going on or don't here.  So yeah...that's wrong, and you shouldn't do it.  

Again.  We can't control what others do.  And frankly there really just isn't that much of that type of behavior happening not like some folks try to make it out anyway.  Not in the grand scheme of things.  Sure it happens, we've all seen/heard it.

But is THAT the reason we decide to stop effectively communicating?  Seriously?  We're beaten that easily?  I don't think so, and I won't let that sort of behavior change how I operate.

Recently a local ham commented in a public forum "Guess t[h]e spots attracting attention and now the locals are firing up on 1st seq." to which I responded "Those pesky spots screw it all up for everyone" and "Hey kid get off my grass" sound about the same to me.  YOU CAN NOT CONTROL OTHERS.  Yes, you have the right to whine about it, and try to make your point heard.  Just as I have the right to share EVERYTHING I hear with EVERYONE.  Including with the Crusty-Ole-Curmudgeon I just spoke of. That's right, even without admitting it, he reaps the benefits of MY spotted information just as much as the Spot Humpers, and the Newbie who TX's on the wrong sequence and the VAST VAST MASSES of folks who actually just use the information to be informed.

Incidentally, I messaged that newbie on JTAlertX informing him on how we mostly CQ in the 2nd Sequence on the East Coast when we're hunting for DX to the east of us.  And not 30 seconds later, he stopped.

That's called EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION folks.  Well, I'm not bragging about it.  But it WAS effective, right?  Was it effective to WHINE-BAG about it on a Chat site where the Newbie wasn't even logged in on?  NO.  But I'm sure it made the Crusty-Ole-Curmudgeon 'feel' like he was DOING something that might magically through osmosis seep into the ether and into that poor Newbie's mind to stop transmitting in the 1st Seq?  I don't know.  I don't think it's effective to bemoan this and that on a stupid chat site, instead of ACTING to make a change, or help others.  Spotting helps WAY WAY MORE people than it has ever harmed. Effective Spotting INFORMS the masses.  Which might even keep more of them from doing the 'wrong thing' whatever that may be.

I have had more thank you comments about spotting DX than I have whiner-comments.  I will continue to Spot what I hear, when I hear it, without delay, for as long as I am in this hobby.  Because it's one of the most effective ways of communication on the DX that I'm hearing.  NOT Constrained to a few hundred (at most) who are signed into some random chat site.

Another reason I am an avid "Spotter" of DX is that this is the only data that actually feeds our various Mapping applications, and websites.  Without spotting there's no mapping.  When I define spotting here I'm talking all forms of spotting to include those which are routed to PSKReporter, and HamSpots Websites. (these circumvent the old school DX Cluster spotting networks).  Again, not everyone has access to the internet.  Some folks ONLY have (for example) Packet Cluster access.  Which is via Ham radio.

Mapping what we all hear is crucial!  It visually informs us where the hot spots are that we need to direct our attention antenna's to.  In fact, this is really the primary reason I'm an avid supporter of spotting.  We can learn so much about propagation by paying attention to these types of maps.

For example today there was a massive opening from S. EU to the Caribbean, I was aimed at S. EU and seeing both EU and Caribbean stations working each other.  When suddenly I see at -13 FT8 (which is fairly strong) a 9K2 (Kuwait) calling CQ CA ("Caribbean").  We would both have been aiming at S. EU at this point.  The map clearly showed the scatter point this occurred at.  We both rotated our beams direct, and the link was gone.  

MAPPING may be one of the more important guides to learning what propagation is doing.

What feeds Mapping?  Spotting, in all of it's forms.

PSKReporter doesn't show us EVERYTHING that's happening, so those maps are VERY one-sided, and almost not useful.  HamSpots doesn't do maps.  So that only leaves a few websites and apps that DO map DX Cluster Spots.  Where do those get their data from?


The very same spotting that the Crusty-Ole-Curmudgeon was condemning because IN HIS TWISTED THINKING Spotting was causing that poor Newbie to do the wrong thing.  Spotting somehow MADE that poor newbie transmit his "CQ DX" in the 1st sequence?  I really don't understand how that's possible.

I think it's more likely that the newbie just doesn't know any better, and simply needed some guidance.  But in no way was his action to transmit in the 1st Sequence prompted by spotting of DX.  Except perhaps to entice him to try to call CQ when the band was open!  Which...IS when we should be calling CQ AFTER ALL!  He just didn't know any better as to which sequence to call.  

Spotting isn't causing anyone's bad behavior.  They're either bad actors to start with, and would do bad no matter what, or they're just misinformed, in which case, we hams SHOULD COMMUNICATE MORE EFFECTIVELY.

Right?  Well I think so.

Monday, June 11, 2018

DXVideo App

I've always struggled with Audio DSP and FFT software development.  But recently I came across some code libraries that help simplify this process.  IT's still not simple tho.

Currently my "DXFunnel" app can monitor all WSJT modes which output data via UDP from up to 8 WSJT's (including JTDX).   I use this presently to monitor 50.276 JT65, and 50.313 FT8, and 50.323 FT8.

"DXFunnel" can also monitor the output from my Skimmer Server which is based on Anan "Hermes" SDR.  It pushes spots of CW signals from 50.0 to 50.130 into DXfunnel.

The last area (aside from SSB :-) ) to monitor is TV Video Carriers.  I started creating an application named "DXVideo" which can monitor a 22 kHz Audio Spectrum, and map it to RF frequency.  

So for example I set a VFO or VRX (virtual RX) to 'digital' mode this presents 24 kHz of Audio via a Virtual Audio Cable (virtual sound card).    Actually I'm seeing about 22 kHz usable.  The software uses the 11 kHz point as the 'center frequency' and deviations +/- map in a graph and small datatable with their SNR (signal to noise ratio).

Since I didn't have a REAL video carrier I used a local baby monitor carrier to test, and I changed the VFO up and down to simulate a new video carrier just showing up.  This video demo's how it currently works.  

This is ONLY A TEST JIG to proof of concept the idea.  IT WORKS.  Now I have to clean up the app, add some nice options like CAT control/update of the RF freq, and things like controls to alter the graph size and such.

This application will then feed 'spots' of TV carriers between 49.739.0 and 49.761.0 to "DXFunnel" for human monitoring, and spotting to clusters.

GRANTED I'm fully aware that these TV Carriers will probably fade into history soon as the rest of the world migrates to HD TV.  But for now at least until they're all gone, I think it's a useful endeavor.

(Click on "Youtube" to watch larger version)

Sunday, June 10, 2018

For All Those Whine-Bags Out there

OK for all you whine-bags (wine-bags maybe?) who say that "FT8 is killing our hobby"...GET FREAKING REAL Please.  Stop your whine-bag-baby-drama and get on with whatever you actually DO enjoy.

FT8  shown at 50313 on the display below, the vast majority of the rest SSB and CW with a few beacons in there.

Nobody actually believes the drivel coming out of your friggin mouths when you say crap like that.

If it wasn't so awesome, nobody would be using FT8.  REAL DXERS want to dig into the noise.  This allows for that.  So stop your whine-bagging, and get on with whatever makes you happy on Ham Bands.  Some REAL DXERS prefer to use their own two ears to work the DX.  That's fine, and good.  Nobody should be complaining about anyone else's method of enjoying the hobby, as long as it's not harmful.

OH Yeah, and if you never see stuff like this...then you aren't looking right, or you live in a dead zone (which I guess is possible).  And you should probably either upgrade your gear or quit the hobby or try something that DOES work for you.

This was done with a simple antenna up 20 ft, and a $192 SDR Receiver.  If I can see it with that, then YOU should be able to with whatever you run.

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Stop the whine-bagging and get on with the hobby will you?  Damn

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My CW SPOTS for this moment....

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

N4WW - Audio

What is going on with N4WW's Audio? (scroll down to compare 50.323 where he is to 50.313 where others are at the same time) - same radio used here.  Same settings on both here.

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TK5MH - Corsica # 153

Logged Both TK5MH (#153) and HV0A (#152) today 

HV0A - Vatican #152

Worked Vatican today finally after 18 years the last time I heard them...and missed them.

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