Tuesday 20 July 2021

Ciro Mazzoni Baby Loop now in place

 A few weeks ago I routed the 3 cables that run to the Baby Loop from the shack. This comprises the 4 core rotator cable for the Yaesu G-450C rotator, the 3 core tuner cable (only 2 cores used of course) and the antenna cable itself.

These all pass through a hole drilled in the wall which have junction boxes on either side. The cables all run in passthrough so there are no connections inside of the junction boxes. The boxes purely keep the elements out. 

Then the cables all run to a external garden electrical box and are coiled up inside when not in use.

The antenna assembly itself is mounted atop of a short mask comprising the rotor and various clamps. The base of the mast is secured to an old parasol base which is made from steel. The whole lot is stabilised by a pair of stage weights.

The rotor turns the antenna with ease and the antenna tunes well across the whole frequency spectrum,

Tuesday 1 June 2021

Ciro Mazzoni Baby Loop follow up

 I have now mounted the antenna in the yard and confirm it works like a dream. It is mounted on a metal base previously used for a sun umbrella. Then there is an aluminium pole 1.5m long. The antenna is mounted on top of this. 

At the moment it is being fed with a temporary coax and control cable. I did this to trial it out and will make it more permanent in the near future.

Tuesday 25 May 2021

The Ciro Mazzoni Baby Loop

It's been a while since I posted on here but I decided that I needed another antenna for 40m to 10m and the Ciro Mazzoni Baby Loop fits the bill.
At the moment it is mounted within the roof space and I can't get it to resonate on 21MHz but all other bands are ok. I think it may be some localized cable running to the lights in the loft that is causing the issue. However for now it is ok. I will be moving it into the yard as a more permanent site but not just yet. 

The ATU version 2 works really well as does the actuator controlling the whole antenna. 

I am just using the manual keypad as my CAT port is already occupied with a cable feeding the PC. The Ciro Mazzoni serial switch port splitter is expensive but may be a future purchase if it works ok with Ham Radio Deluxe etc.

The antenna and associated equipment are extremely well made, came in an enormous cardboard box which was well padded and should last a few years.

Thursday 28 June 2018

50Mhz on FT8

We had a sudden burst of activity on 6m today June 28th 2018. I worked many European stations between 500 to 1100 miles away. Then as soon as the stations appeared they disappeared.
I worked 27 stations in 2 hours - Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Spain. Oh I also worked a Brit in Hull. Not bad going for a June day.

Thursday 26 April 2018

Is JT65 dying out?

A quick listen around the HF bands this morning while using WSJT-X switched to JT65 mode revealed very little activity using JT65 or JT9. Everybody seems to have switched to the quicker FT8 mode. This is a shame as JT65, albeit a slower mode when you consider how long it takes to do a QSO, is actually much more resilient.

The data portions of the bands are now crowded with hams using FT8. I have JTAlert and set it for a matrix of 32 decodes and it regularly displays 30+ stations showing just how busy FT8 has become.

I await for future modes that may be able to transmit more than just brief details but still be as quick and resilient.

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Wouxun KG-UV950P problems

The volume controls on this rig are now playing up. When turning the volume down completely it sometimes goes down to VOL:01 but no further. It sometimes is apparent on VFO B but VFO A is not immune either.

I know that the control uses an optical chopper to convert rotation to pulses to tell the hardware to change value. The result of this is the sound can not be entirely muted. There is also an issue with the channel knob which again uses a chopper. Sometimes it cannot change channel properly.

The rig is permanently in the shack so not subjected to different humidity or heat. The problems are intermittent and sometimes the rig works normally.

I've had a Trio 7500 2m rig for nearly 40 years before it developed any issues. THe Wouxun has been with me for just over 3 years and upto know has been ok. I'm not going to bother getting it fixed and may well just buy a Yaesu rig instead. I never use 10m on the Wouxun and most of the time it is used on 2m or 70cm so even 6m doesn't get a look in.

If anybody knows of a fix for this I am all ears.

Monday 24 July 2017

First QSO(s) using FT8

I recently downloaded the Release Candidate for WSJT-X v1.8.0-rc1 as I was curious to try out the new FT8 mode.

After ticking the boxes Auto Seq and Call 1st I tuned to 20 metre band and set the program to call CQ.
There was a bit of waiting before a station replied to my call but then the program did everything itself. The whole QSO went like this
    CQ G8YPH IO83
    SP6ECQ G8YPH -14
    G8YPH SP6ECQ R-14
    SP6ECQ G8YPH RRR - at which point the log QSO dialog box popped up. I just clicked OK
   G8YPH SP6ECQ 73
    SP6ECQ G8YPH 73 - this was transmitted automatically as a courtesy

Then the program went back to transmitting CQ again. It all worked seamlessly and the logging was intercepted by JTAlert and passed via QSO Relay to Ham Radio Deluxe logging module. I didn't have to add FT8 to HRD as some people have queried on the HRD peer support Facebook group as it was done automatically.

An initial auto controlled QSO
FT8 Waveform in the waterfall. Considerably different
than other JT Modes
Overs are 15 seconds long so FT8 can cope with fading QSOs. I believe you need a fast PC though to cope with decodes. These tend to take around 1 second at around the 13th second of the receive cycle.

I also noticed it coped well with hiccups in reception where nothing was received or decoded from the answering station in the middle of a QSO. When a successful packet was received the program went onto the next step in the transmission sequence - transmitting two or three RRR's until a 73 was received for instance.

Software versions used at G8YPH

  • WSJT-X Version 1.8.0 Release Candidate 1
  • JTALert-X 2.9.10
  • QSO Relay 1.6.6371.29224
  • Ham Radio Deluxe

Radio Yaesu FT-450D

So far I am impressed but the extra 73 transmission means you don't go back to calling CQ after you have sent a successful RRR and received a 73 from the receiving station.