24 April, 2014

Pulled out my dummy load tonight

Press image for a better view of the dummy load
Testing a transmitter means the use of a dummy load. Trying to be considerate, I don't want to cause unnecessary interference with my signals. So when I want to test my Ultimate 3 QRSS/WSPR kit I also pull out one of my dummy loads.

It measures just 9-10 mm across and is the size of a BNC connector. It is simply one of the many Ethernet terminations that I have lying around. Its built-in 50 ohm resistor is rated at something like 0.25 W. Considering that the kit outputs something like 200 mW that should mean that there is enough margin and no forced air cooling or liquid cooling is required.

These terminators were used with 10BASE2 or 10BASE5 ethernet. They are not so common anymore so the terminators are not that easy to find any longer. But they are still very handy for testing QRPP transmitters.

The size of these dummy loads should point out in a very vivid way how tiny the power levels of these transmitters are. Despite that, when running with the effective WSPR code, they can still be decoded on the other side of the globe.

Showing just the back of a piece of equipment is contrary to my bragging instincts, so for completeness, the front of the Ultimate 3 QRSS/WSPR kit is also shown. It is housed in the minimalistic, but beatifully crafted acrylic enclosure from M0ION.


Related posts:

06 April, 2014

Bletchley Park, Enigma, and GB3RS

Enigma (Photo: R. Holm)
Bletchley Park, northwest of London (between Oxford and Cambridge), is one of the best known British sites from WW2. Its fame goes back to the breaking of the legendary Enigma cipher machine and its successor, the Lorenz cipher machine.

In order to perform this work a large effort in the development of early computers took place here. They include the mechanical Bombe for breaking the Enigma, and the valve-based Colossus for breaking the Lorenz.

The Bombe was reconstructed through a 13 year effort that resulted in an Engineering Heritage Award in 2009.

27 March, 2014

I think we have a pile-up ...

TX6G on the Austral Islands of French Polynesia is calling for EU stations on 14026 kHz CW. I hear him well at level S7, but the pile-up stretches up to almost 14033 kHz. 


What can a small gun do to get through? 

26 March, 2014

Fantastic Conditions on 10 and 12 m

This last month has seen some of the most fantastic conditions I have ever experienced. Especially the higher bands have given world wide coverage. I haven't had that much time to operate from home, but despite this I have gotten many first. My recent verifications on the Logbook of the World testify to that.


Let's all hope it will last!

19 March, 2014

Proposal for a fourth ultimatic mode: First paddle priority

The ultimatic mode is an alternative to the iambic mode for sending Morse code from a dual lever paddle. When pressing both paddles the last one to be pressed takes control, rather than the alternating dit-dah or dah-dit of the iambic mode.

In the K1EL Winkeyers there are actually three ultimatic priority modes. This is shown in the table below that comes from page 9 in the specification for the command for setting the PINCFG Register. (K1EL CW Keyer IC for Windows Winkeyer2 v23 10/5/2010). This is a de facto standard for interfacing to and controlling a keyer, as an example it is used in the K3NG Arduino Open Source Morse keyer.


K1EL has defined bits 6 and 7 for setting this up by remote command. I propose that the last possibility, '11', presently undefined and unused, be used for a new mode. This mode is "First paddle priority" meaning that the last paddle which is pressed is ignored. It can also be interpreted as an emulation of a single-lever paddle. I and others have found that helpful in eliminating errors when keying. See for instance "Single Paddle operation with Iambic paddles" by Larry Winslow, W0NFU, in QST, October 2009 and the Iambic to Single Paddle kit from WB9KZY or my earlier blog post "Single-lever and ultimatic adapter".

My proposal is that the bits for the ultimatic mode be used like this:
  • 00 - Last paddle priority, i.e normal ultimatic
  • 01 - Dah priority
  • 10 - Dit priority
  • 11 - First paddle priority or Single Paddle Emulation (New)

Related posts:

10 March, 2014

Non-English display for the K3NG Arduino Morse keyer

German, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, and some Spanish characters in the display are now supported by the K3NG Arduino Open Source Morse keyer. I have worked with OZ1JHM, Hjalmar and K3NG, Anthony, in order to implement this using the 8 custom-designed characters of the LCD display (based on the Hitachi HD44780). This should satisfy the call I had for such support here on this blog last year: Which non-English Morse characters are the most important ones?

Here are examples using the phonetic alphabets of these languages.
  1. For Norwegians and Danes - Æ, Ø, Å:
  2. Norwegian: Ærlig Østen Åse

    Danish: Ægir Ødis Åse

25 February, 2014

Show off your project in a clear top tin

We all want to package our electronics projects in some nice enclosure. An Altoids tin is often used - and I have used that a lot myself. But for slightly larger projects, the tin shown below is a better alternative. In addition it has a clear top, so displays can be viewed and the nice layout of your electronics can be admired. 


20 February, 2014

Worst snow winter since 1958 and an indoor Yagi antenna

Norway has had its fair share of precipitation this winter. Along the coast most of it has been in the form of rain. But that is different in the mountains. Our cabin at 800 m above sea level is now about to disappear in the snow and we can hardly see out of the windows anymore. This is a result of having had to shovel the snow off the roof three times so far this winter. And there is yet more to come.

They say that one has to go back to the winter of 1958 for more snow than we have had this winter, and we are still only in February. The snow has also given us an unexpected problem. Our digital TV signal is now gone.