9 May 2021
At 0900z, I went on 10m FT8 RX with the IC-705 and the tiny indoor loop. Even with ferrite chokes on the USB lead I was still getting RF feedback from the loop to the rig on 10m, so I am RX only on that band until I get the outside antenna up. 2 French stations spotted after 10 minutes.
UPDATE 1104z: 14 stations spotted on 10m FT8 RX today so far. All Es.
Just before 0700z I turned on my 2m FT8 gear with 5W from the IC-705 and the big-wheel omni antenna. No QSOs yet, but spots by 5 G stations so far. It is now 0710z.
UPDATE 0832z: One QSO with G4IVV (18km) who offered plenty of help when I had problems with the IC-705 yesterday (many thanks - true ham spirit) and I have been spotted by 9 Gs so far. At the moment I am RX only. Probably going on 10m FT8 RX shortly with the tiny indoor loop. Once again the grabber at G0LRD has been useful. See http://220.127.116.11:8080/cap/ . David also offered me some suggestions - thank you too.
8 May 2021
My new USB leads have come and I still can't TX FT8 with the IC-705. This is most probably finger trouble. It is just possible it is a rig issue. When less tired I shall investigate. CAT control seems fine and RX.
UPDATE 1604z: I am still struggling! I have had two offers of help, but so far no luck. One person has offered help over Zoom, and I may have to avail myself of his help if all else fails. I have reloaded the drivers, swapped leads to make sure they are carrying data, rechecked settings in the IC-705 and WSJT-X. At the moment, I just cannot understand why it does not work. RX works fine. Darn my muddled brain! Years ago this would have been so easy to fix, or at least understand why it is not working.
UPDATE 2045z: Solved!! My problem was RF getting back into the rig. When I tried 2m on the external antenna all was well. It seems that 10m on the internal loop is not acceptable. Now I know what the problem was, I can try chokes on the USB lead. It seemed odd that despite everything I was doing seeming OK things still would not function. First 2m QSO on FT8. Now QRT.
7 May 2021
Some years ago we had a holiday in South Africa with Saga. It was one of the best holidays we have ever been on.
Hotels and food were excellent and we were quite unprepared for the huge variety of scenery. In some parts it was like Scotland, others like the Med and others scrub.
We saw "the big five" wild animals and many more. I still can't get over seeing monkeys and ostriches on the beach on the way to the Cape.
I expected to see lots of insects, but we see far more in our garden!
All being well, I shall swap my website to the new format in the next few days. It is mostly done, although I need to find a way of attaching some files and making some schematics clearer. On the old pages, clicking a schematic usually brought up a "pin-sharp" image. There must be a way to do this, but I have still not found out how yet, HI.
At some point I shall swap over, but some pages may not be complete yet. As time goes by I hope to iron out any omissions or errors.
Please give me feedback on the site when it "goes live". When the new site is ready I shall say so on this blog.
In the end, it should be at least as good as the old site and, I hope, better. Converting the pages appears to have been easier and faster than I expected.
You should still be able to go to www.g3xbm.co.uk as before. It is just that the pages you see will look different.
This morning, we went shopping at one of the larger UK supermarkets beginning with T. It wasn't too busy. We stocked up on the wine I like, which was very inexpensive. I do not have great tastes!
My wife drove as I was too giddy.
Also she was unable to find a certain yeast extract at the shop beginning with W. There were huge stocks at this shop today so we bought a jar!
Since breakfast, I have been on 10m FT8 RX with the indoor loop and IC-705. 2 stations spotted so far by 1002z.
UPDATE 1532z: So far today, 53 stations have been spotted on RX. My new leads (USB to USBmicro) are due before 1900z. I hope this solves my FT8 TX issue. Otherwise it is finger trouble or even rig trouble.
UPDATE 1732z: 111 stations so far spotted today on 10m FT8 RX.
6 May 2021
It works on RX, but not (yet!) on TX. The drivers have been correctly installed on the PC and appear in the device manager. The audio CODECs appear too. Yet it still says the TX does not work as it cannot see the TX audio CODEC.
Perhaps the lead does not have the TX audio connection? I have a new lead (USBmicro to USB) coming and will try this tomorrow.
It could be finger trouble!
5 May 2021
As it was a nice sunny morning we decided on a walk about about 1.5km from home. I put my 137kHz CW beacon on at home into the earth-electrode antenna and took my E-field probe and FT817ND with me. I put the EFP on the car roof. I listened without success for my signal. Not a squeek. I was expecting this to work.
This was my first field test on LF since 2013.
Once again, I am monitoring 10m FT8 RX with the 10FT8R and the tiny indoor loop antenna. No spots yet at 0759z.
UPDATE 1119z: Just one LA spotted so far today. An EA7 did not get uploaded to PSKreporter for some reason.
UPDATE 1230z: Just 3 spots so far today.
4 May 2021
I saw one swallow in early April and none since. I have not seen a single house martin or swift.
At one time these were common, but not any more. This may in part be the wind direction, but I suspect global warming: their food supplies on their long journey north may have reduced as deserts grow.
To me, seeing screaming swifts overhead is an English spring and summer. Perhaps for not much longer?
I have the USB drivers and audio CODECs set up now on the rig, but have not got FT8 working yet.
Years ago this would have been a trivial task, but with my "brain fog" this is like doing it blindfold: tasks that would have been easy in 2012 are now really hard, taxing and exhausting. I also thought a USB-C was the same as a micro-USB!! It isn't! Luckily I had one around.
I think for FT8 on the IC-705 I shall need a lead with isolation as the PC introduces noise I think.
This afternoon, using the very slightly revised circuit (thanks for the circuit simulation Jay) I have been receiving yet more Es signals on the 10FT8R receiver with the tiny indoor loop. 22 stations just copied in southern Europe.
UPDATE 1604z: 67 stations spotted this afternoon.
Attached is a revised circuit. Just 1 part has changed value (470n on the input to the first audio stage). For clarification, the caps feeding the PC mic input are 100n. Just for clarity I have made it clear this is my design G3XBM R.Lapthorn following the comment below by John Desmond EI7GL.
A proper CAD schematic will follow shortly.
3 May 2021
As mentioned yesterday, I am working on a new Googles Sites website. All being well, it will "go live" later this week. You will still point to www.g3xbm.co.uk and it will automatically take you to the new pages when they are ready. Most pages have been done, but some remain to be done.
The main difference is pages will be accessed via drop-down menus at the top of the home page rather than the index on the left. It allows some new features including embedding, so my 10m FT8 grabber will be there too. I may be able to use this feature for other things as well.
All being well, there will be some new pages too.
It is now 0948z. I have been on RX for about 25 minutes using the 10m 10FT8R receiver with the tiny indoor loop antenna. So far, just OM0ALE (1431km) spotted.
UPDATE 1014z: Now more stations being received by Es.
UPDATE 1129z: 10 stations received today so far using the 10FT8R RX and the tiny indoor loop antenna.
UPDATE 1547z: 20 stations spotted so far today. The 10FT8R seems to work well, even with the tiny indoor loop.
Some years ago we went to coastal Albania on a day trip from Corfu. We had a total surprise. We went by coach down the coast to one of their very ancient sites. After lunch we went to a place with the purest, clearest, water I have ever seen.
The main town where our boat landed was filled with empty beaches, awaiting visitors. Prices were far lower than on Corfu. They accepted Euros.
Other parts may still be backward. All I can say is do not let your old views get in the way. Albania is trying to change. We were very pleasantly surprised.
If you are like me you will be keen to see the latest solar data. My favourite site (solan) for solar data has been updated. Numbers have been increased yet again. Hopeful signs. I have no idea what the latest peak will look like.
See https://www.solen.info/solar/ .
UPDATE 0834z: At the moment this solar cycle looks very similar to the last one.
2 May 2021
As mentioned in an earlier post, I am working on a new website. Things are progressing well so the new pages could be up soon. All the old stuff should be there plus some new stuff.
For creating "all new" sites Google Sites is very user friendly. It is a pity that just migrating classic sites is appallingly bad.
This morning I turned on my 10FT8R 10m FT8 RX with the tiny indoor loop.
UPDATE 1258z: So far just G3YMW (19km) spotted. I can't wait to get my "proper" antenna up.
As mentioned yesterday, my website has to move to the new Google sites by September. A simple migration did not work! It insisted on being 2018.
Instead, I have decided to create an all new site, hopefully with all the old stuff retained and possibly new stuff added too. I am sticking with Google sites. As soon as the new site is ready, I shall swap over.
As the date is some way off, this gives me time. It was time for a refresh anyway! 😁
Someone in the USA has suggested a small improvement to the audio stages of the 10FT8R following CAD analysis. I shall try this later.
1 May 2021
In September old classic Google Sites have to convert to the New Sites or they close. So, I attempted to convert my old site, but this attempt failed. This may be finger trouble and I shall try again. Why is it that things get worse? When I tried to convert it insisted in showing me my website from 2018 - why?!!
"If it ain't broke don't fix it".
Oh yes!! Like Picasa going and so much else. Why is it that so many things get worse over time and not better?
If all else fails I may revert to my Virgin Media webspace under www.g3xbm.co.uk .
Also, some time ago, Google tried to get all bloggers to use their new editing tool for blogs. This was fine on my PC, but it was sooooo SLOW on a phone it was unusable. They have since fixed it.
The "attempt" at site conversion was dreadful!!
UPDATE 1525z: It appears I am not alone having issues. I may just create a totally new site in New Google Sites as I have several months.