I have been Kit Building

When it comes to QRP, QRSS and WSPR TX’s I usually experiment, program and build units and run them for ages as modules which can be added to and new ideas tried, many never get boxed up, they go in the archives and new projects take their place.

I do however enjoy building kits, and some projects are much easier to build from a kit. The recent introduction from QRPLabs the Ultimate2 caught my eye as a tiny feature loaded, build it box it use it project. With a GPS Module added the thing knows the Precise Time, Where It Is, so it enters its own Locator for WSPR and sets its Frequency Calibration with GPS timing accuracy too. Ideal for my touring trips I bought one. It goes anywhere frequency wise too by courtesy of a Chinese 9850 DDS. The kit is produced and dispatched Worldwide on a low cost basis and comes at a great price.
Unfortunately some bugs have slipped through in the software, somehow my particular unit seems to be among the worst effected, I would not like to use it on air, further reports on it will have to wait until a new updated AVR chip is installed.

Here is a Photo of my assembled unit, it really is tiny, the individual LPF’s plug in alongside the DDS, here I have it rigged up for external my LPF’s, I thought I made mine small the U2 ones are half the size.

RIGHT CLICK ans select View Image for larger size Photo’s

Another kit dropped through the door today, the very best sort, a free one. Back in 2009 I developed an idea and published it here In my Blog.
At least one person in this big old world liked the idea and said so, it has taken some time but he, W5OLF of Comcast asked if I would mind him producing a kit based on it, I said no problem, hence my gift.

Jay has added an Xtal timing circuit to my design I do the timing in the PIC but my system is not market reproduce able. He uses a PICAXE PIC so the unit becomes the WSPR-AXE Organ The kit uses a quality well spaced out PCB and a good 3 bag system for components and parts which should make construction foolproof even for a beginner.
It comes in a plastic box which can serve as the housing for the completed unit, or if you wish it will fit in an Altoids tin.

Setting up was easy the timing looks pretty good from my first calibration, after a good soak to age the Xtal I will do the fine adjustment. Xtal aging shouldn’t apply to the audio calibration due to the use of matched Xtals from the same batch, they should drift both for age and temperature in the same direction and the spacing just stay constant.

The Box, PCB and three bags of components.

The completed unit on test.

The results. The advantage of the XORgan system, clean spike less WSPR with no sidebands, produced from a frequency and time stable low power circuit and no Computer, OK, OK no PC, if I have got to tiptoe round the pedantic.

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G3ZJO HF QRSS Grabber

I am often running a Grabber on some Band and Mode or other. My interests are too varied to dedicate my efforts to Meteors, 8.27KHz, 474KHz, ZEVS, Sferics, LF, MF, HF the list goes on.
What I could do when monitoring VLF is use the same Computer to provide a QRSS Grabber on any HF band, something I haven’t done up to yet.

I have also given a Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600 Laptop its last escape from the grave. The thing has hardly been used, looks brand new but is so ancient it is as slow as a snail. I tried to palm it off on the XYL, installed the first ever release of Ubuntu and Puppy Linux but the thing just can’t cope.
So I have installed a minimised version of XP with Argo, WSPR2 and the necessary peripherals this can run as a Grabber or WSPR RX 24/7 on request, its much quieter than a desktop with the fans raging and less current consuming. Last night it survived an overnight run.
It’s not perfect, it likes to generate its own little descending pulse on the trace every so often but its adequate.
One last thing that enables reliable Grabber operation is my new, never drop out, Wifi Router, it was hardly worth leaving a Grabber on overnight when most likely the Web would disconnect 3 seconds after I went to bed.

Here is the G3ZJO HF QRSS Grabber location. QRSS GRABBER

It won’t be one of those wonderful full time Grabbers for the reasons stated but a I will fire it up in response to a Message to Knights QRSS or QRPlabs Groups, there are many new QRP / QRSS stations coming via the latter efforts.

RaspberryPi Python Ham Radio Modes

The RaspberryPi has re introduced the desire to do a bit of programming here. Whether I shall actually replace my PIC controllers with a Pi set up I am not sure, there are some advantages but the PIC is lower current consumption for sure.
I had never programmed in Python so we have been having a bit of fun.

I used a Humble board to build a self powered buffer to the outside world.