I've spent many months, er, years messing around with keyers and keys and radios and, well, ancillary appliances and appurtenances in my shack. In all that time, I haven't done much operating. Why not? Well, because I haven't had even a marginally useful antenna. I've been building a helically-wound vertical that I intend to make multiband by feeding it through an automatic tuner, but my attempt to raise it was a pretty spectacular failure and I've been discouraged since then, although I still intend to see if I can make it work I just haven't had the time or the energy.
I got help from some SparkSDR users and some Hermes Lite 2 users, and it now works. SparkSDR integrates really well with the JTX software, and I can receive just fine, although it's kind of noisy.
Next, I need to make me an antenna. Stay tuned.
A few weeks ago, a local ham of my acquaintance told me about the Hermes Lite SDR radio. It's available from makerfabs.com fully assembled for about $300. I happened to have the money for it, so I said "why not?" and ordered it.
It took a while (makerfabs is in Taiwan, and they make them in batches so you can wait quite a while if your timing is as bad as mine) but the radio finally arrived. I've been using quisk to receive signals with it and that seems to work. Quisk is much easier to work with when you're using it for something it actually supports.
I've been busy working on hardware and working at work, but I started to do some software at home that I kind of want to talk about. At least I want to write what I've discovered down where I can find it and who knows, maybe this will get picked up by a search engine and it might help someone else. In my last blog post, I talked about buying a HackRF One a few months ago, and I've been building a power amplifier for that. The first version of that power amplifier let the magic smoke out as soon as I powered it up, even before applying a signal to it.
This year, my place of employment gave me an end of year bonus, and it was substantial. It was, in fact, the largest bonus I have ever received. So, I went a little nuts buying stuff, mostly electronics. I got a couple of things I've wanted to get for a while. An SDR receiver dongle that works for HF, and a device I've wanted to buy for a while, which is a HackRF One. A HackRF One is a software-defined transceiver that covers all the frequencies from 1 MHz (and possibly lower) up to 6000 MHz.
I've been working on this Peaberry kit for longer than a year, now. I've been tweeting updates and stuff because there's not a lot to tell. It's taken so long because it's, by far, the most complicated tangible thing I've ever built. I've written programs that are more complicated (it's what I do for a living, after all, and people never seem to want simple programs) but those aren't tangible. Of course, I have run into problems during the construction. It's part of the nature of the beast.
It's been a while since I wrote anything, so I thought I'd bring y'all up to date about what I've been doing.
It's been a while since I've put anything here, but I've been busy the whole time.
I received a Peaberry SDR V2.0 kit as a gift, and I've been assembling it. I've gotten to the point where the entire receiver is built and works, and I'm working on the transmitter. I'm building the 20, 30, 40, and 60 meter version of it, if anyone cares. At some point, I'll have to find a nice Linux SDR application I can use it with. Up to now, I've just be using the recommended Windows application because it's recommended. I want to control the uncertainties in any project I do.
I've been working on an SDR (Software Defined Radio) receiver that I can control via computer so I can use my TV receiver dongle to work linear transponder satellites. It hasn't work or, rather, has kind of worked strangely so last night I took it apart, metaphorically, and experimented with locally-generated signals so I could try to figure out what was going on. Having identified the errors, corrected those errors, and tested the correction, I can now explain how to make one of those things that works. The receiver part, anyway.
While I'm waiting for new boards to come in for the Arduino-based memory keyer and while I'm waiting for NC4L to get my money order so he can ship my FT-102 back, I'm working on getting back on the satellites. I've decided to try my hand at the linear-transponder satellites. I've watched guys like Andy (W5ACM) operate linear satellites with nothing more than an FT-847 and some well-practiced skills, but I don't have any FT-847 equivalent, and the all-mode radio that I do have is computer-controllable so I can run computer-controlled.