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Wednesday 27 June 2018

DV hotspot update 2 and the Activate all Counties event

So the Pi Zero W has arrived and the MMDVM board has been ordered, the Pi booted and the config done to the point it can be, currently no modes selected for DV and no modem set, this comes later.

The Pi Zero W is currently running as a WiFi hotspot using the Pi-star software, this allows it to be configured over the web interface, though from what I can tell connecting it to the Internet is not possible in this manner, once it is assembled as a hotspot then I hope to take it out of the mode it is in and connect it to my WiFi and my phone and get on the air on DMR from home.

I have had a listen to the CQ-UK room on Wires-X by way of MB6RY, the local gateway run by Andy M1SDE, the gateway, though dropping out for me while I was driving around last night, gave me an insight as to who uses CQ-UK, and I should be able to access that using the complete hotspot by means of DMR (Phoenix, not Brandmeister) and Fusion.

With the Pi Zero arriving (and making it my second Pi Zero after the one that runs my IRC bouncer) attention turned to the rest of the hotspot, with the MMDVM board (one with an OLED display) ordered hopefully to arrive before the club meeting on the third Thurdsay of this month (if so it will mean I can assemble it and video it for YouTube).

Now for the Activate all Counties event, I did not get this filmed to go onto YouTube sadly, this was due to a few factors, one of which the complete failure (my fault) of the Grant II, fortunately for me an emergency radio was to hand and I was able to participate in the net, I managed to get into a net on Channel 37 midblock, confirming my T2LT was getting out and that Tan Hill is an ideal spot to play radio.

Initially it was planned I run the radio off a newly acquired generator, sadly my proximity to the Tan Hill Inn (literally across the road from it) prevented me using the generator as it was loud, but it was there should I have needed it, the mast was bungee corded to my car's wing mirror mount on the passenger side, the coax fed into the car through the window (which did not matter as it was a hot night) and connected to an inline SWR meter, SWR was spot on.

Another test I performed as I had the CRT SS9900 with me as this was not unpacked was to see what it was like on 10-meters, as the T2LT is exceptionally narrow banded the SWR was in the red there, not to worry, it gave me an excellent idea and that is to make a wire antenna for 10, not sure I could base this on the T2LT design however I shall get another dipole centre at some point.

Conditions improved as the night went on but the band was getting swamped by German stations operating FM, I flicked through to another net close to my location however it was right in the back of the box, so my T2LT reached out to Northumberland and Tyne & Wear from my location, on receive I heard two stations in Morpeth, one of which was the famous Delboy, probably the first time I had heard his voice, this was on flicking around, not during the time I called into the net.

This is the first time that I have managed to get my CT call logged on 11-meters successfully, it was a worthwhile event and I am glad to have been a part of it.

All in all I am impressed and by what I understand the Activate All Counties was a success, shame I had to leave Tan Hill at 9:30, as I did not fancy driving down from there in total darkness nor taking the antenna down in total darkness, and on the drive back down it was back onto 2-meters and putting a few calls on GB3IR once I could hear it, as I remained in that radio mood.

Doesn't matter if it's 11-meters or the Amateur bands, it's still radio and it's what we all enjoy, and I say enjoy it

73 de 2E0EIJ/26CT730

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