The static at my QTH has been absolutely horrible. Its still bad this morning,but not as bad as the past few days. I got up a little early to spend a few minutes in front of the rig, sip some latte and hear what I could hear. I worked K4M on midway on 30M this morning. He was strong here. It was a strange sensation watching Skimmer as I could see virtually no one calling him, yet his rate indicated he was hearing a nice sized pile up. I could hear K4M on 40 and 80 as well, nice signals. Here is the reason I didn't work them this morning on 160
The 160 Titanex bit the dust.
I worked TX5SPM on the Marquesas Archipelago on 40M. It is such a pleasure to work a DX station that knows how to operate. All of the operators I have worked at K4M and the two TX5 expeditions have been top notch. Unlike those morons out on Glorioso a couple weeks ago. What is the point in spending all that effort in order to do a crappy job?
I did tune down to 160 and heard 3D3KJ on Fiji. He was super weak, barely copyable, and there were a scant few calling him, people with better stations than mine!! With all this Atlantic static I have bee strongly daydreaming about putting up some kind of directional receiving array. Given where my main transmitting vertical is located it would have to be in the front yard and I don't think the wife would be too amenable to that, but we will see.
Here is a shot of the static sources this morning
Nothing across the entire nation except in my skip zone off my east coast!!!
Over the weekend I worked a guy running a home brew 6L6 rig. It brought back memories of 50 years ago when the bands were full of chirpy drifty little rigs running 20 to 50W. Not to complain about my contacts transmitter quality at all, but as I worked these stations this morning I remember my S-40B receiver that covered the entire 40M band in about 5/8 of an inch of dial space, and a Q multiplier for filtering. On that radio I ran the volume wide open and adjusted signal strength using the RF gain, much like I do now with the F5K. To make these contacts this morning I had the filter cranked down to 25hz. At that bandwidth a few hz off freq makes the difference between Q5 and no copy. If you ever wonder at the strides we've made over the past 50 years in ham radio, and you were around in those days its amazing to think of what we are able to do. All of these DX stations are rock solid and do not move. Once I get on freq I can forget about tuning. One of the K4M transmitters is consistently about 10hz low, this is how far we have come. My little 6L6 buddy made me open the filters up to a khz or he would have drifted completely out of my pass band with every transmission. 25hz filters, and being able to track a stations freq down to a hz so using a 25 hz filter is possible that is simply amazing!!
I had a recent correspondence with some one who was carping about DDS. I had written about the recent review of the F3K in QST and about how the people they choose to do the SDR reviews know basically nothing about this kind of radio. The reviewer stated that SR (spur reduction) does nothing. He then proceeded to describe that when he pushed the button that the any spur he had in his pass band moved OUT of his pass band. This is what spur reduction does it moves spurs out of the pass band. So basically the radio was performing perfectly and the reviewer was too naive to even understand what the radio was doing. In my retort I asked rhetorically what other radio allows you to move spurs out of the pass band? I got a response that the K3 does because the K3 also uses a DDS and the comment was this was somehow a backward movement in VFO development. The reason I can have 25 hz filters and talk to stations that have enough stability to use this kind of narrow bandwidth is precisely because of this kind of DDS technology. So the next time you hear some guy quacking drearily about his 75A4 and how it's "as good as" think about what it takes to make a QSO using 25hz filters.
If you're interested in writing something interesting for this blog regarding your SDR experience let me know. I would like to include things like how your SDR contest station is set up, or your VHF station that uses SDR as the system center, feats of weak signal work or how well the SDR works in various challenging situations. If you are a foreign ham and would like to comment on the growth of SDR in your particular part of the world. Bring it on!
I reserve the right to publish or not, but I'm pretty open to documenting a wide variety of honest experiences from users, for readers to explore. The understanding of SDR in our hobby is so nascent, that I want the reader to be able to see the value of SDR through the eyes of YOUR experience and enthusiasm.