Click here for the Ban PLT website.

Thursday 29 August 2019

Restarting my self-training in Morse code

One of my bigger Amateur radio ambitions after passing the Advanced exam is that I wanted to learn Morse code, and even more so since the passing of Charles Ring W3NU last year as he was a CW operator, this does mean I will need to get hold of a key, a battery and a buzzer to make up a Morse trainer, so as soon as I find a free moment in my hectic schedule, which is due to get even more hectic as circumstances will dictate that I get a second job now which is unfortunately unavoidable.

I don't have access to HF at this time from home which dictates that I use another CW segment in another band, or on QO-100, when I am confident in both sending and receiving, I do intend to listen to some CW to get my ears adjusted as well as practice sending on a key with buzzer and battery, best tools for this for me right now are the SDRs on both Hack Green for the HF bands and Goonhilly for the QO-100 geostationary satellite,

I also still have an app on my phone but I need to get the feel of a key as well to get anywhere

I will keep you posted

73 de M0WNU

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Advanced exam results

as you know I took my Advanced exam on the 14th August, and I am pleased to inform you that the good news is that I passed the exam, after chasing it up with RSGB a short while ago, because they had already sent out the paperwork, to my old address, they were able to give me my candidate number to log into Ofcom's website and get my full licence, I now hold the callsign M0WNU, the letters being from the callsign of Charles Ring W3NU SK in his memory as I know he would have been proud of me to make it to this point and now I have.

I will get that callsign aired as soon as I am able to do so.

Though now I am duly licensed I will have to put my igate plans on hold because of an emergency situation involving my XYL which involved a trip out to France and Germany, inconveniently while I was waiting my results, however I hope to have the issue rectified before I know it, it has been a stressful time and this has come as some great news.

73 de M0WNU

Sunday 18 August 2019

hopefully saving some money on the QO-100 RX project

now in an earlier post I mentioned about my intent to attempt to receive QO-100 using off-the-shelf hardware for Sky UK's television service, I've not come across any cheap dishes anywhere however I could potentially construct the Bias-T out of parts I have lying around as all I need to do this is a ceramic capacitor to block DC but pass RF and an inductor to to pass DC and block RF, preferably inside a metal enclosure (I have an Altoids tin in mind for this), and what I intend to do is splice the existing Sky coaxial cable and hard wire this into the homebrew Bias-T with a BNC output for the receiver, the RTL-SDR.

The LNB can obviously be tested however it won't really receive anything because it is not fitted to a suitable dish, I just need to feed it with 12-volts, my bench supply can do 13.8v which should be fine for this task, if nothing goes bang it is good, otherwise it is scrap.

So all I will need now is a suitable satellite dish and away I go, however with an old Sky LNB I do not expect the best results, but we will see, this hobby is about experimenting after all.

73 de 2E0EIJ

Thursday 15 August 2019

Advanced exam taken

Last night, on day of posting, I went up to the local club, Colburn & Richmondshire District Amateur Radio Society, and sat my Advanced exam, assuming the paperwork is sent on time, as it is a paper exam and not one of the newer online ones as we don't have a club PC to use nor Internet access it means I have to wait to see if the big envelope comes through the door, however I am feeling chilled out because it's no good me worrying myself over this.

This means it could be only days now before I operate as 2E0EIJ for the final time though that callsign, as well as M6RSQ, will remain valid and I can still use them, however should I get the big envelope I am eager to start operating with a full callsign, M0, straight away.

I have a callsign in mind already and have done for some time, the reason for the callsign I had in mind will be explained should it actually be available and should I receive the big envelope.

The XYL has shown support too, and even wants to go on to get the advanced, of course that would then be under the new syllabus, however with my XYL spending a year in DL to do some studies not related to radio in any way,, it may be a while before that happens.

The next 10 days should be quite exciting, though who knows, I could hear back from RSGB much sooner and if it is the big envelope I will get then I will obviously update my callsign on here, my YouTube, my twitter, and, lastly,, as well as, of course, all the amateur radio related services that require my callsign such as DMR, D-STAR, Echolink and APRS.

73 de 2E0EIJ (for how much longer though?)

Saturday 10 August 2019

setting up receive for QO-100 at my QTH

The Es'hail-2 geostationary satellite, the first of its kind to carry an Amateur radio payload, designated QO-100, has been in orbit for some time now, and I listen to it now and again on the BATC WebSDR hosted at Goonhilly Earth Station in Cornwall and have got a rough idea of when it is active, I've had a look at how to receive it and it would appear it can be received with a Sky UK 60cm Minidish and LNB connected into the RTL-SDR, however the RTL-SDRs that can power accessories on the coax only can do so with 5v, a satellite LNB requires either 12v or 18v, the polarisation is selected using these two voltages, 12v for vertical, for the narrowband transponder, which I am interested in here, 18v for horizontal, this calls for a Bias-t which essentially supplies voltage to an accessory up the coax however at the same time prevents that voltage going into the receiver (or transceiver in some cases), a Bias-t simply has a capacitor to block voltage and an inductor to block RF).

LNBs generally have a LO of 9.75 GHz unless a tone is fed to them as well, which is not required for QO-100 as the 9.75 GHz LO is suitable, the downlink frequencies being around 10.4 GHz (though generally these LNBs specify a minimum frequency of 10.7 GHz), so on the RTL-SDR for me to receive the narrowband transponder requires me to take it's frequency of 10489MHz and deduct 9750MHz, this should be around 739MHz.

As I already have an LNB, which is designed for an oval shaped dish, the Sky UK Minidish, the biggest size they are in is 60cm for the north of the country is what I need, though there is a dish and LNB already on the building for my flat I cannot use this as it needs to stay set for the Astra 2 Satellites used for Sky UK and Freesat, so I need to buy another dish and this is what I had in mind as the LNB I have, a quad-output Visiblewave unit with Sky branding on the sticker, will fit this with no modification, this gives me an option to receive both transponders as the unit had a length of twin cable terminated in F male connectors, which I intend to splice and fit a Bias-T inline for each, powered at 12V and 18V respectively, however I'd need two RTL-SDRs of good quality, the NooElec NESDR SMArt is a perfect choice as it is more frequency stable than the standard stick, as reference I'll use the Goonhilly hosted WebSDR to ensure things are on frequency, LNB skew and dish alignment is obtainable from BATC.

There should be a YouTube video of my success (or failure) of receiving QO-100 with a Sky Minidish, nice to experiment with, if not I've got a portable satellite dish to take camping with me for television use.

73 de 2E0EIJ