ZL2RX's blog

My shack like most peoples I guess, is always in a temporary state.
My new purchase is an 2003 Elecraft K2 which lends itself well to Wspr. Probably the most frequency stable rig I have owned. The uBitx/TS120S hybrid is now on the shelf unused and the FT757 GX II is the back up rig now connected up and still used most days.
I now have a dedicated 30 metre dipole, so I have an antenna for every HF band plus 160 metres.

I have been away from digital modes for six months or so while I was reconstructing the radio station. Now I have an old but CAT capable Rig FT 757 GX II and a new PC, so digital modes are back on the menu.
So far WSPR and JT65 and in the past day I have been on FT8. Interesting .....

This summer I have been trying to get some activity on the two metre band. In the past I have not observed much activity in New Zealand but recently ZL2IT and ZL3PX have been on regularly, and exchanging reports. I have recently joined in, and another wsprer I have seen is ZL2COM. These station seperated by long distances, the shortest path I think is from ZL2COM to myself about 200 km.

During the past few months I have changed my WSPR station to being totally SOLAR powered. The old TS120S is driven by an old ACER "Aspire" 3620 laptop which is running directly from the SOLAR panel regulator off about 13 volts, so avoiding the necessity for an inverter for a 230VAC to 12 VDC Power supply unit.

I have built a new shack which is located outside of my house. Okay so the XYL finally got the ham radio out of the house, but it took her 45 years to do it.

I have recently been beaconing on Ten metres and have been interested to see on the MAP how propagation develops over a 24 hour period and how seasonal variations appear to affect paths. But something I have noticed which may be an indication of a problem at my station is this.......
After a pre sunset session of good decodes......

The old TS120S based WSPR system is now all good. The frequency drift has been stopped with the x-lock modification and now with the addition of Dimension 4 time lock to the laptop, I have a very good system.

My VFO stabiliser is now working and has locked the old TS120S VFO and cured it's until now temperature related frequency drifts. It worked very well at stabilising the VFO initially but because of over compensation the receiver would not decode WSPR signals. However after reducing the varactor to VFO coupling, all is now working very well. I am very pleased with the X-Lock from Cumbria designs.

I carried out the official Kenwood mod to reduce frequency drift, but not noticed any improvement. It could be that the capacitors I used do not have correct characteristics to compensate for temperature changes or that the rig may be too old to provide the kind of stability that WSPR requires.

The old TS 120S is drifting in response to temperature changes in the room. There is a mod to improve frequency stability, which involves changing to capacitors in the VFO. I must get onto this!

Audio feed from PC to mic of TS120S needs to be modified as the input impedance appears to be a mismatch requiring lots of audio drive. As a result of the above I am receiving and reporting only until I get these mods done.

Have lots of local QRM today, sounds like electric motor sparking type noise. I can see and hear lots of 20 metre signals but mostly they cannot be decoded, even the very strong signals. Not coming from my QTH but someone local I guess.

After being off air for a couple of years after my old Icom failed, I am back on the air. Started on WSPR about 12 hours ago.
My new rig is TS120S about 30 years old maybe more, but goes well. Am restricted to 20M by my antenna type, but thats fine it's always been the best band forever! Seems like I specialise in old gear, even the PC is about 10 years old and running XP.

I have just been taking my first steps with the software, as usual without reading the instructions. It's suprising how far you can get on instinct!
Managed to log VK2UD on 40 metres twice between 2100 NZST and 2200 NZST, but due to incorrect set up have lost the record and didn't upload. Better next time he comes up I hope.
Transmitting can wait until I have gor the receiving correct.