This evening I am doing my first "over-the-horizon" optical test this year. The main aim is to check performance with the new receiver and to see how I get on using the iPod Touch 4g running SpectrumView software as the way of seeing the QRSS3 signal. I shall also be taking the laptop running Argo or Spectran.
Latest receiver that seems more sensitive than my older RX
The receiver circuit is the one in Practical Wireless this month by Stuart Wisher G8CYW. This is simple but works well in darkness. I've added an interface to the iPod Touch 4g (a capacitor and a resistor needed to enable the external mic input) and changed the coupling caps and op-amp gain. Using just MPF102 and 2N3904 devices the results look good. The low noise op-amp may be overkill unless one uses super low noise FET and transistor stages too.