An Interesting Meteor Capture

Last night I spotted an unusual trace on my Meteor Grabber and was quick enough to capture both 2D and 3D views.

I have had thoughts about the phenomena, I add a possible explanation after the Captures.

I think the meteor at Aprox 22:9.30 vaporized between me and Graves and was ideally sited to produce Sporadic E which lasted for several minutes enhancing the Graves direct signal which also reflected from an aircraft.

My Grabber is here VHF Grabber

it is not always live but if off I try and leave some Meteor Bursts on display.


We have cracked the path between us no mode has ever done it, I often hear Roger, only once has he seen my signal before tonight.

A prearranged sked plus what ever Roger has done at his end and it was EAZY PEAZY

Digi Modes

The criticisms from those who don’t like Digi Modes is usually the same old phrase from many years ago. It is just 2 computers talking to each other. It just shows how little they understand about what is involved.

Even for me, (I enjoy trying new modes and the challenge of software testing) WSJT-X has been a trial. I have often thought of ‘doing a Hillary’ (is that one in the Urban Dictionary yet?) Saying in a big gruff voice “I’m out” and coming back when the program works.

Yet some of us are gluttons for punishment WSJT-X is a test bed for better things to come, to quote from the user guide.

In addition to presenting a new operating mode with uniquely desirable characteristics, WSJT-X also serves as test vehicle for a new WSJT programming framework. The graphical user interface in earlier versions was written in the programming language Python and used the Tcl/Tk toolkit. For these tasks WSJT-X uses C++ and the Qt framework. Most users will hardly notice these differences

Well yes I hardly noticed that the PTT didn’t work, there was a Ghost signal appearing on the waterfall, 21 false de-codes per received signal and no good ones, ridiculously high input level sensitivity, etc, etc.:)

I am encountering problems which I am sure are related to Windows XP, all I can do is report them, and here I am writing this now with the urge to go and fire up WSJTX and try to see some sense or reason in JT9-2 giving me only 5 – 6 proper decode-able signals then it ceases. Glutton for punishment, but then the Morse key is plugged in it works every time I hit it, (not so my arthritic wrists), I could go work all the same folks I have worked before on MF, give them all the same old report, there’s not a lot of challenge there.

50 Ohm Load now with Power Measurement

A big picture Right Click and select View Image to View.

Yes complete and calibrated, 1.26Volts forward diode drop to be added to the Voltage for Power measurement. I put 2 X 1N4148 in series. This will be quite satisfactory for anything but real QRP measurements I have other QRP loads for that.

Yesterday I was destroying Diodes, some beautiful,old,rare high VF Germanium Diodes and some 1N4148’s too. Logic had left the room so being tired anyway I did the best thing and left it alone.
Today it dawned on me and I changed yesterdays blog and added a theory.

I was right it was the Icom IC706 MK Zero that was blowing the Diodes, the flick of the needle when the PTT is pressed added to the clues. I have never driven a Transverter with this and it doesn’t bode well for anyone who may want to, it could destroy the mixer. Another sin added to this confounded nearly fit for purpose black junk box.

Dummy Load by Royal Appointment

This project has been delayed due to lack of a tin, then viola I searched the XLY’s store cupboard, demanded Pear and Ginger Upside Down Tart and Ginger Parkin and the tin was empty.

So there we have it, the Lyles Load, Black Treacle Load, Sweet SWR Baby Load, Johnson and Johnson Soft Smelly Load, By Royal Appointment Load, Sampson’s Strong Dummy Load.

The other problem I encountered was the Liquid Paraffin. Medicinal is only available in small quantities expensive and restricted. I had the XYL out searching the town for own brand Baby Oil, then in Leicester, she reported that even Johnson’s was not around.
Yesterday I took the search to Leicester myself and found J&J 500ml in an Indian shop, the last bottle, has there been a rush on Dummy Load building.

So today with all the bits ready did the hole cutting and assembly.

I left the bottle open on a radiator overnight to drive off the perfume. Baby oil also contains an Alcohol / Palm Oil Emollient, not soluble in water so I judged it should be OK.
I added the usual diode and capacitor to measure power and assembled with the oil, so far so good. I applied fairly low power at 3.5MHz. Good SWR, then bad, and no power reading, the diode had popped. Out came the load dripping with oil and I replaced the diode with a 1n4148, more robust and cheaper, and tested it dry on the bench, the diode went short as soon as I measured the voltage, so did another 1n4148. I have no idea what is going on I have assembled these so many times before with no problems.

So I changed the diode for a sense loop to attach the scope. I will go back and try a BAV21 diode some time I should have put them on my last on line order, I have always used Germanium Diodes. An odd thought now, I was using my Icom IC706 as the test signal source. When I used that for testing the 84 Resistor Loads the IC706 blew the diode in one of my QRP Loads I was comparing with (at QRP levels). Does the IC706 (MK0 what a farce model) put out a spike of full power before the ALC drops it to the set power level. I would not be surprised.

WSJT-X JT9-1 Day 6

Six days and 4 revisions on, WSJT-X is looking stable and far more useful. The best thing to happen for XP users was the addition of a slider for audio input level control. I still don’t understand why, or even if, only XP suffers from the over audio problem. If the computers that Joe uses to test on do not have the problem then I would have gone for equalizing the levels for each system rather than adding a slider.

As soon as I installed Ver 02r2713 and adjusted the levels I was able to find OR7T with who’m I had been struggling to make a contact with using the previous version and we completed a text book QSO with JT9-1 both station QRP levels OR7T 10mW and G3ZJO 5mW ERP.

G6AVK had his eagle eye on the 500KHz band, unscheduled this time, he watched and recorded the complete QSO.

The Screen Shot shows the SpectrumLab view of both signals, and the decoded QSO, you can’t get better than that.

Inevitably digital mode QSO’s being reported on MF brought out the trolls, welcome to the fellowship of like minded radio experimenters. Some of the trolls are far too old for this behavior and should certainly know better, what ever happened to the gentlemen Amateurs, G5UM would never behave like this.

Edit January 2018 The major too old troll is now a regular user of digi modes on MF even posting on the groups for contacts using newly released modes.