Thursday, 12 January 2017

2 metre rig and WSJT-X roundup.

Thanks all for the various postings and e-mails lately.

Firstly, regarding the 2 metre rig saga in my last posting (link here)

Gav, GM0WDD, you are quite right, plus you have hit upon the dark secret I have here. I used to own a TS590 and a 2 metre transverter. Thus I have an issue about facing up to what looks like a crazy reversal of direction on my part. That was 3 years ago and the TS-590 has had two revisions since then. Can you see me trying to justify buying another one? Was I hiding a past mistake?

I have been "outed" now and I can come clean. Yes, I sold my TS-590 and, yes, I regret it now. If I still had it, this conundrum would have been solved by now.

My experience of the TS-590? I thought it was brilliant. Maybe not quite competition grade performance, but then not competition grade price either. How come the rigs I used to own always look better in the rear view mirror than they did when they were on the bench?

The way I used it with the transverter and an SDR depended on the transverter. Either I put a T-piece on the receive line (on 2 metres), or when I used the M&E transverter I could access two rx outputs from it (on 4 metres). Either way there was plenty of gain on both rx paths to share the receive output of the transverter.

You are correct that the option of adding an SDR to the TS-590 can only be done if you are not receiving on the same socket. So if I wanted a spectrum scope for 6m I could (I think at 3dB loss), and for 2 metres it is easy to do with a transverter, but to do them one after the other without plugging and unplugging is tricky.

David, GM4JJJ, thanks. I feel sure that 2m SSB and Data can manage without me for a while. Coming off 2m has really cleared the air here. Simply by re-organising the rigs and antennas I can see more clearly what needs to be done.

I am interested in your point about a poor setup being better than nothing. I think you have put your finger on it being about ergonomics and personal taste. I am now more focused on the problem - what does 2 metres mean to me and to what extent am I committed to solving this problem. I have gone to some length to re-instate everything else, HF, WSPR, 6m (4m is unchanged), yagis refettled, verticals swapped about ... but 2m just fell off the end of the plan.

Much as I would like to be the MSK champion on 2m, I do find 2m meteor scatter operations to be dominated by FSK441 and pre-arranged QSOs. Calling CQ on MSK was pretty unrewarding (entirely unrewarding in fact).

So I have taken the chance to go "cold turkey". No 2m SSB or Data. If I had left things as they were I would never have fixed any of it. I suspect that once I come to rebuild things they will involve new ideas. Starting again from scratch looks like the best plan for me. I might still be using the IC-7100, but mainly for the lack of a really compelling 2m rig to replace it.

Yes, it was pretty windy. Was it the same gust which blew over the HGV (semi-trailer) on the Forth Bridge which wreaked havoc here? Probably not, but I will never know as the cups on my wind speed gauge have been carried off in the gales and are now in Heligoland, no doubt. The antennas survived with much flapping and bending. Our greenhouse door blew open and six panes of glass got blown out. I managed to reuse one, but replacing the others involved Mrs FVM and I working in a freezing environment in the middle of the gale. If we had not acted the rest of the panes would have gone too. Terrific fun.

Officially it was max 110km/h gusts here. Only 102 is expected tonight, so we should be fine now(!)

Secondly, thanks to Bill, G4WJS, for his comments here on WSJT-X.

I now have multiple instances of WSJT-X running. However, I still cannot have two running MSK very well together. I suspect this is due to lack of processor power here. What happens is that the Fast Graph trace gets shorter and shorter, sometimes showing just 10 seconds of signals even though they appear to contain the full 15 seconds of data. I can correct this by reducing FTol or decoding depth, or by simply turning off one instance. Running one on WSPR and one on MSK is fine, or some other combination including JT65 or JT9, but of course WSPR and the other modes do not use real time decoding.

This is not a big issue as it is easy enough for me to run MSHV for one of the MSK monitors. Sometimes that still leaves the trace about half a second short.

I can see that the way WSJT-X handles split is fine. I was just not used to it, and I got confused at one stage. I suppose that using another program at the same time which works the other way round is asking for problems. Still, I keep doing it.

So thanks for all the contributions and if you live in this part of the world, enjoy the wind and snow on the way.




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