it finally happend…. After a decade of reliable service, my Alpha91b amplifier broke. Most likely on it’s way to Spain one of the tubes broke. During the comissioning at ED1R contest station, fire & smoke shot out of a chimney. The first shock was big, but a few measurements confirmed that just the tubes were broken. In this blog post I will share the knowledge I gained during during debugging, comissioning and breathing new life into the amplifier.
During CQWW CW we had a shootout from ED1R with our friends from the Bavarian Contest Club. The group around DQ4W organized a Contest-Expedition to Corsica (TK) to get on the air as TK4W. Considering the available antennas, (two A3S, and three verticals) they generated a great score. For details comparisons between ED1R and TK4W click here.
Fortunately nobody was injured and the A3S still worked, even being a bit deformed.
This year we wanted to seriously compete in CQWW CW from ED1R contest station. While the station is equipped reasonably on all bands with Yagis and verticals, there were no dedicated receiving antennas available – yet. Out of my former contest participations from other stations I know that when it come down to winning a CQWW, dedicated receiving antennas are a must have. Beverages provide great directivity and reduce the EU clutter significantly.
At the end of last year I announced the “proof” that Software Defined Radios also can have buttons and knobs. At that stage the software was still a prototype and not ready for a public release. In the meantime I was working hard to eliminate bugs and implement further improvements. By today I’m happy to announce the release of PowerSDR-UI beta. This is a call for beta testing. Please feel free to download the software and participate in the beta testing phase!
Security Now! is one of my favorite podcasts and a weekly “must listen”. The heart and soul of this podcast is Steve Gibson. Steve is a true “builder”. Ever since he loved to build stuff. Beside of his “geekiness” he is an excellent writer and story teller. Most of the topics he has already covered (like all flavors of encryption) are still up to date, but there is one episode which deserves special attention: Episode 281 – The portable dog killer. Its a story of Steves youth. Back in these early days, when transistors were still something exciting and new, he built a special kind of (non-lethal) weapon to educate the neighbours dog…. with unforeseen consequences.
The reason why I recommend this particular episode, because it is to entertaining to listen, but also so educating at the same time. He explains in such a great way how much fun it is to actually “build something” instead of playing video games in front of your TV. Gather your friends, your kids or your grandkids around your stereo and let yourself inspire!
While the average users mainly use the PC to surf the web and to order every now and a book on Amazon, we, the Amateur Radio community are using PCs much more intensively. Especially in Software Defined Radio appliances, the PC is a central part of the system. So are you aware what DMA, ASM and ROM are? Do You know the difference between L1 and L2 cache? If not, I’ll show you a great way how you can gain a deep understanding without going to college again.
In this article we will investigate how various Contest programms (Win-Test, N1MM and CW-Skimmer) communicate with the FT1000MP shortwave transceiver over the serial port. We will see what happens when multiple programs try to talk to the transceiver at the same time, what problems appear and how we can successfully monitor and debug them.