G4ILO's blog

When I first discovered WSPR I had an initial burst of great enthusiasm for it. I still think it is a great mode. It is fun to see how far signals usng low power or a very small antenna can be received.

But I have really lost most of my enthusiasm for actually using WSPR these days. Why? Because virtually all of the activity is concentrated on 30m, to the extent that there often isn't a sufficiently large number of stations monitoring any other band to guarantee the chance of a report.

I supported, indeed was involved in the inception of the idea of special activity days on other bands. These have been pretty successful in encouraging more stations to use other bands. But the rest of the time everyone goes back to 30m. Why? Personally I'm bored with getting the same old reports from the same old places on the same old band. There is nothing new to do on 30m as far as I am concerned.

One disadvantage to using the Eee PC as an WSPR station - apart from the flakiness of its Linux OS - is that its power supply is a switched mode wall wart of the worst sort, a wideband noise and wandering warble generator. It's made in China and is rated at 9.15V 2.3A output. I don't suppose it will be easy to find a noise free alternative.

In response to popular request I have made my compiled binary version of WSPR for Linux available. The program has been compiled on Xandros Linux similar to that used by Asus on the Eee PC. The user interface has been optimized so that it fits the 800 x 480 display of the original Eee PC, which I own. Some of the fonts have also been changed so that they are easier to read.

I have just succeeded in compiling WSPR for Linux. Hurrah! I feel like someone who has been lost in the jungle for two days and has just staggered out into the daylight, bruised and scratched but happy at what I achieved. But the experience is the ultimate proof that Linux will never succeed as an operating system, except as a plaything for computer hobbyists. It has taken me several hours to achieve what Windows users could do in about one minute and a few mouse clicks.

Soon after I got interested in WSPR, I was interested in the idea of running it on my Asus Eee PC netbook. Partly because running a desktop PC and an Elecraft K3/100 all day was consuming a lot of power just to generate a 1W signal. And partly because in any case, I was interested in using WSPR to test the effectiveness of some portable antennas, which needs to be done out of doors.

Did an interesting test today to compare the performance of my 20m multiband dipole and my MFJ magnetic loop. Both are in the attic of my very small detached house, the dipole is in the apex at a height of about 8m above ground.

I have written an article about WSPR and how to get started. I thought I'd do it while it was fresh in my mind!

You can read the article, WSPR - Distant Whispers, on my website. I hope it helps a few people get interested in this mode, so we can see spots from a few more new places!

Just got started using WSPR, after it was mentioned to me in an email from a fellow Elecraft user, Trevor, G0KTN.

I think I'm going to love this mode. Being home all the time, but usually too busy to spend much time on the air, and with one of my main interests in radio being just seeing how far a little RF will go, this is a great way to see where I can reach with little effort.