G3ZJO Grabbers are Updated

The web is so useful but can also be a nightmare. Service providers give us a useful (App) I don’t like that term but I will use it, then they notify us of ‘improvements’ in their service and terms and conditions. “Oh and by the way it’s no longer free” / “We are withdrawing the exact thing you use the system for on the 15th of March”.

The last message was the gist of what Dropbox are doing, I have used Dropbox exclusively for my Grabbers. When the Public Folder I have used for years goes Private my Grabs would no longer be displayed, all a visitor would see is a link with an invitation to download the Grab and you have to be a Dropbox user to do it.

I have the html for my QRSS Grabber running on Dropbox, after 15th March this will not be allowed either.

Thankfully I don’t link any photo’s in my blogs to Dropbox, that would be a pain to sort out, SugarSync did that one to me, it took ages to sort out. All I needed to do with my Grabbers was to use FTP upload for the Grabs, hang on my ISP does not allow FTP uploads.

Then I thought of QSL.net I have a dormant web site and e-mail address with them. I couldn’t remember my password and the e-mail address I used with the account years ago was @clara.net so I couldn’t organise a ‘change password’. The ‘Help’ page was very helpful, unusual I find, of course I couldn’t use the self-help so I send a help request explaining the situation. Wow, I had a reply, same day, with all the required information for me to get going again.

Some users have said goodbye to Dropbox completely. I decided to exploit it by using folders for my Grabs and uploading from those to QSL.net, I am going to have the full set of Grabbers available there. The original Grabbers can link to the stored Folders there. Using Dropbox I can see the folders on the shack computer from anywhere and very simply take Captures for mailing lists etc. Like this one taken at this moment from my VLF 8.2kHz monitor. The two lines at 8270.05Hz are two transmissions from DK7FC  nearly 750kM away.

vlf1

My old Website is on QSL.net I have been a little embarrassed about it, I used nested Frames at the time, these days it is advised not to use frames on your websites because it may not display properly, it doesn’t, you see lines at all the boundaries to the frames. I was going to renovate it or scrap it one day, but when I looked at it  found it interesting. Back then you didn’t have video on a website, I have several home-made animations, one in ‘high’, well higher, definition, I talk about 5 mins download time for that. So this old site is going to stay as a historical relic.

My Antique Web Site :- G3ZJO qsl

My Gabbers – Site 1 :-  VLF LF HF VHF/UHF

Site 2 :- VLF QRSS

In time I will duplicate all Grabbers in case of outages or “improvements” in terms and conditions.

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VLF 8.2KHz Dreamers Band

I recently returned to doing some VLF monitoring. DK7FC has been improving his loading coils on his fixed TX antenna and testing on 2.7KHz. I tried receiving his test to no avail although he was received in Cumnia North Italy by IK1QFK 3 wavelengths distant, another Amateur Radio first ! The UK at 5 wavelengths seems to be impossible at the power levels available.

Attention was focussed back on 8.2KHz. I had never seen DK7FC on his fixed antenna. I improved my chances by using 1PPS GPS to Calibrate my soundcard. My first line resulted even copyable in 424uHz FFT.

dk7fc_8.2khz_424uhz.jpg

DK7FC was also testing Data messages using EbNaut and RN3AUS managed to get a 2 symbol decode, yet another first, data at 0ver 900kM distance, this was also received by SQ5BPF and of course Paul Nicholson. By the time I got the necessary set up initialised the outrageous step of attempting a 7 symbol message was the next step.

Next morning my first file was ready to attempt a decode (I had practiced on the files from RN3AUS but this was at another level), I concentrated my attention on decoder, in just 7 Seconds, flash, the 7 symbol message :-

DREAMER

I was expecting a dry radio identity, what an apropriate word DK7FC had chosed for the first real text message on the band where we are “all dreamers who will never get a signal further than our own garden fence”.

RN3AUS also copied the message as well, as did Paul, there has been no news of a decode from SQ5BPF yet and apart from DF6NM who was transmitting at the same time, so not receiving, that is the full complement of those able to receive and decode EbNaut at the present time.

Oh yes ! In the excitement of the 7 symbol decode I had almost forgotten DF6NM was also transmitting EbNaut on 8.27KHz and I had my file. Was there any chance that I could decode his 2 symbol message, considering the greater distance, over 900kM and the fact that I have never detected his signal on my spectogram. Well we are out to attempt the impossible, we are Dreamers, so I went ahead. This time in 9 Seconds came the decode, an ident, NM.

ebnaut_df6nm

What else can be achieved at VLF using what is after all QRP, what more firsts, DK7FC said of TX’ing on 2.7kHz “it is like walking on the moon”. No no, that has been done several times before.

ZEVS 82Hz is Off Air

Someone the other side of the world asked on a group if the ZEVS 82Hz transmission was still active, thinking there would be a flood of replies I left it to the others. After a couple of days it seemed everyone else was doing the same, so I fired up my VLF set up and took a look, a carrier of the usual strength was there. Its operational I replied.

There were some queries, ZEVS shows on G3ZJO’s Grabber from June 2016 but not elsewhere. I looked again live there was the line, on frequency. I then thought back to June 2016 when the Capture was left on screen. I went over to Windows7 at that time because K1JT’s latest WSJTX was not just crashing and failing to upload but locking up XP totally every time it was shut down. Naturally I did a test of the VLF set up on Win7 all looked normal. The Grabber screen had recorded the results.

This is what the capture looks like now (no carrier at 82Hz)

zevs_off

I investigated the line at 82Hz it was so convincing as the ZEVS carrier it showed changes as if from propagation, but there was no usual DATA ever, there were tones of several seconds length at times which I suspected coud be a new keying scheme. I went back to Windows XP the phantom ZEVS was not present.

So it seems my sound card when used on Win7 produces a weak carrier, where, bang on 82Hz. Cunningly produced to mislead the world.

From some research it seems that although there are Win7 drivers for the Delta44 sound card it will never perform correctly on Win7 and up. Increasingly software won’t work on XP anymore, so another expensive piece of kit bites the dust.

23cm – WSPR – OPERA – ISCAT

Tests of WSPR2 and Opera on 23cm indicate that excessive Aircraft Scatter and Rain cause decode fails, despite this, long periods of decodes are there to be had under normal Tropo conditions with QRP.

Beams being sharp and QRP has, as expected, meant usable Aircraft Reflections are super rare. Aircraft trails are strong though and it was decided that ISCAT may give some results.

Once again WSJTX-dev brought disappointments and non operative features. First tests brought almost one way results, just one decode of G6AVK at G3ZJO.

Then I found MSHV.
We both knew each other would be about today but my CQ was rather to look for MS signals, not seriously expecting reflections from my 2W, but then we can live in hope.

A 2way QSO resulted from my CQ.

The QSO was more despite Aircraft Scatter than via AS because there is a Tropo path.

Previously we had tested turning the G6AVK beam off the direct path and so display just Scattered signals, WSPR and OPERA can do nothing under these conditions. We had many successful contacts using Aircraft Scatter and ISCAT today including passing beam heading/elevation and comments.

There is no need for Air Scout or other software for this. I have been asking for some 20 years for skeds with those who know that they do not hear me on the VHF / UHF bands. Beam direct Tropo path or toward an Air Corridor between the two stations and wait for an Aircraft.

Once again I must say thank goodness for G6AVK the one station who can and will with enthusiasm try what may not work.

I expressed my attitude to experimentation this afternoon with “I will try reflecting 23cm off next doors plastic dustbin if you like”.

 

Not Quite the Answer for WSPR on 23cm WSJTx dev

WSJTx dev has WSPR (only 2 not 15) on it, I suppose no one on the development team has a use for 15 so it is being forgotten. During my tests on MF I had my doubts about the advantage of WSPR15 over WSPR2 but by no means is the case proven.

“WSJTx 1.6 dev handles 1296MHz fine”. Now that will be nice, I installed it. But I run XP, do the developers test on XP ? During set up Test PTT locks in TX mode the only way out is to kill the program..

Despite a few foibles the thing works nicely on on 1296MHz displaying the reports correctly and producing an ALL WSPR log that works. Next day is when the problems start WSJTX.bin does not work. Other WSPR and WSJT software works OK still. Ah well shut down the computer, it wont, part way through close down the computer  locks up and you have to crash it. Wanting to use WSJTX dev for tests I uninstalled the program WSJTX.bin does not get removed, after much struggling you can remove it and re install. Running the Program produces an error message ‘A File is Locked would you like to remove it’, say yes and nothing happens.

At computer close down after the first or re-install there is an odd period of blank screen, suspicious behavior.

So we have no version from the JT stable that runs 1296MHz WSPR on XP and sends usable reports to the Database.

Want to run WSPRx dev. on XP ? Here is how to do it.

Install at the beginning of the session, after use before you close the computer, uninstall WSJT dev.

Tomorrow re install.

As I say my activity on air is plagued by flaky software. I lost faith in JT stuff working properly years ago waiting for a few moths before gong to the next release. I found it a thankless task reporting the problems, things have not changed.

WSPR 2.11 and 1296MHz

I am sure at some time I have had sensible results on 23cm WSPR. The problem of wrong tabulation of data I seem to remember was with WSPR2.

I have tried WSPR2.11 and that is the same as WSPRx.

151104 2244 1296.500000 Transmitting G3ZJO IO92 7
151105 1120 36 3 -1.01296.501503 G3ZJO IO92 33 0 1 0
151105 1128 36 3 -1.01296.501503 G3ZJO IO92 33 0 1 0
151105 1138 36 3 -1.11296.501503 G3ZJO IO92 33 0 1 0

Needless to say these Spots are not acceptable for the Database.

There were no responses on this subject.

There are an awful lot of Amateurs setting themselves up as programmers these days, my life on air and off is plagued with poorly written and buggy software.

Come on guys if you can’t do it, admit it and give up writing the stuff. Otherwise its not Rocket Science, it might be Amateur but that’s no excuse for amateurish.

WSPR on 23cm and WSPRx 8 v.xxxx

It was only a matter of time before G6AVK got set up for 1296MHz again and he won the challenge to get some signals 2 way outside the county on 23cm.

2015-11-04 13:08  G3ZJO  1296.501599  -18  0 	 IO92ng   2 	G6AVK 	 JO01ho

I was amazed to find that WSPRx does not cope with 1296MHz. I told JT years ago that in the WSPR display field the data is Nomadic. That is it wanders about the display and is not aligned with the Labels above. I even gave him the code to cure it which I was using when I compiled WSPR for Linux, the advice was not appreciated.

Well not only has the 1296.501xxx wandered across into the DT column making the display look horrific, it does the same in ALL WSPR.txt so the  Spots are not uploaded. I have to manually edit all reports by adding a [SPACE] between DT and Freq.