At this time I suffer from hay fever. The crop in the field this year is oilseed rape (canola), which cannot be the problem as it has "gone over". The oil seed is now long past its bright yellow flowering stage and it now forming its "pea pod" style seeds from which the oil will be pressed. It is now about 2 metres tall and obstructing the view from FVM Towers.
|Behind the fence at GM4FVM, the oilseed rape is blocking the view.|
This has been pretty good.
|4m contacts at GM4FVM 1 to 19 June 2019|
I managed to work a new square in Spain - IN93 - in the Basque Country and on the French Border. If I can work JN02 (not sure if there is anyone active from there on 4m as it is pretty mountainous), that would give me another "French" square on 4m. Thanks to OMs in Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy and Spain I have a few squares covering the borders of France. I wish all the rest of French squares would be operational. In the meantime, there are still a few in Spain to collect.
|6m contacts at GM4FVM 1 to 19 June 2019|
I heard WU1ITU, which cannot be a bad result for the half-wave vertical. I also added a few new squares in peninsular Spain on 6m to add to the 4m ones. I still have a few to get on 6m too.
There was even DX to report on 2m where I worked ON4POO again and, more remarkably, Gavin GM0WDD. It is generally easier to work "Winnie" in Belgium at 718km than anyone in Gavin's direction. WDD is only 57km from me. It isn't so much how high the hills are, it is how close they are to you. In Gavin's case we have the Lammermuirs and the Pentland Hills standing between us. A tricky path is as much fun for me to work as grand DX, though of course they all count.
I have been interfering with myself again.
Computers and amateur radio do not mix well when it comes to Radio Frequency Interference. I can get most problems with USB-type connections sorted out. Ferrites usually do the trick. However, display connections cause me more difficult issues. Lately I have had problems on 432MHz, especially since I improved the antenna. This takes the form of parallel lines on the waterfall and a dull tone in the loudspeaker.
I now have three display screens on my computer. One is fed using an SVGA cable, the second uses a DVI cable, and the third has a HDMI cable. It is the HDMI one which caused the original problem, despite me having tried to buy a high quality cable. In theory, the ones designed to prevent the data being corrupted by incoming RF are better screened, and should resist signals coming out the other way. Not so, I read that there is not much to chose and random selection of cables is the only effective way to find a good one.
After a suggestion from Tim, G4VXE, I wrapped the HDMI cable in aluminium foil. Perhaps surprisingly given the wonky look of this method, it worked quite well.
|Computer display cable wrapped in foil - in this case an SVGA one.|
I then tried ferrites on the other two leads, and changed the SVGA cable. Those two changes resulted in the lines on 50 and 70MHz disappearing. Wrapping the other two leads in foil did not make much difference.
So that seemed to remove all this interference. however, it seems to be lurking in the background, albeit at a low level. Unplugging the HDMI cable and plugging it back in clears a very weak set of traces. Next I might try changing the display board in the computer, and making sure it has a good ground connection.
Frustrating. I seem to be chasing myself around.
I have said before in this blog that I have no problem with network radio. I have an Inrico TM-7, though I can also access network radio using an old mobile phone or a laptop computer.
Someone said network radio is not real radio. In my view is isn't amateur radio, but it is "a thing". Who cares how to define it? It is good way for amateurs to communicate, especially as local FM has gone quiet and, anyway, network radio lets you communicate with "locals" all over the world. It is like the KST chat site without the keyboard nerds who cause me such grief (or they would if I used KST).
Speaking of Tim, G4VXE, it was he who let me know that he has started a VHF/UHF FT8 forum on Zello - Zello is the "PTT" (push to talk) software used by millions worldwide. I have joined this group. It is early days and only a few of us are one it, but it has potential to provide a talk-back channel which could be useful.
More from the SK sale
I spoke before about "Roland" and his equipment disposal turning into an unseemly clearance/ destruction operation. Well, a couple more things have turned up for me to buy. One was a spare microphone for an IC-7100. I am not sure why Roland needed one, but I can use one for my own IC-7100. Mine was one of the first shipment which had the basic microphone, now I have bought a keyboard mike.
Secondly, and separately, came an MFJ "Intellituner". MFJ-929. This is an HF auto ATU, which might not sound like the obvious thing for me to have. A useful feature it has is that it can select between two SO-239 output sockets, depending on the band in use. As this item also left Roland's shack minus power cable, minus the rig cable and minus a handbook, I did not immediately recognise what it could do.
As it stands, in addition to being an auto-ATU, it detects and displays the frequency of the transmitted signal plus it provides SWR and power output data. It also selects the appropriate antenna based on information stored in its memory. However, it needs an RF signal to do this. Once I make a rig cable for it, it should be able to detect the band based on the band data coming via the ATU socket on almost any commercial rig. I do not know if this one works, but in theory this should be able to select between my indoor 10m dipole and my long wire, and thus it may well become a handy addition to my shack.
I think that is it from Roland. Things have kept turning up, without boxes or leads. Hopefully, when it comes to some other individual picking over my radio left-overs they will find all the boxes and manuals (and certainly the leads).
Some Youth Work
No, not me. DH8BDA writes a good blog, much more to the point than this one. There is a link on the sidebar of this site.
A while ago he wrote a posting about his step-daughter's electronics project. I will put a link to it below. Sure, Olli strayed from the core radio topic here, but I thought it was a lovely piece.
It is well over 50 years since I started radio construction with my Philips and Sinclair Radionics kits. I was not trusted with soldering, so I had to put up with the Philips ineffective spring joints, or Sinclair's bolt-together components with colour-coded bases. These things got me going. I remember the joy of it. Even more joyful was the experience, as a 10 year-old, of being excused the woodwork examination at Primary School so that I could build a crystal set for the teacher to listen to. Wow! I rose in the teacher's estimation and became class nerd, and both at the same time.
I would like say that these things are "character building". Maybe we do not know how that character will develop. Perhaps Annie will never build another electronics project, or she may become obsessed with it. Who knows? I do not think it matters. The joy is in the achievement of the project.
The key phrase is that Annie is "interested in how things work". With that curious approach she should go far.
By being creative we grow. That might be creating a radio, or a garden, or a model of the Titanic made with match sticks. The point is that during this voluntary task we allow our imagination to run free, we show ourselves that we can work through a project, and eventually we can appreciate it. Saying "I did that" is a great reward.
She didn't have to build it it; she chose to build it it.
Thanks to Olli and Annie for cheering me up, and for reinforcing my confidence in the young people of today.
If you have a minute it is worth reading. You can find it here...