Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Android for APRS and Echolink

I been testing the Android phone with Echolink, works great, can make Echolink calls to other Links and Repeaters just fine, so easy to install, configure and operate. All the preference settings are simple and just what you need, very un-complicated.

And the APRS tracker is great too, the choice of doing single position reports, or full tracking (send & receive). again, settings a very simple, easy to understand and use.

Comparing the hands on operation of my daughter's iPhone4 versus my Android, I gotta say I prefer the menu system of Android, much easier, my Android has a 'Back' (touch) button, it always gets you back up a level, whereas the iPhone4 do have a screen button, but not for all menu levels, so sometimes you have to press the physical home button, which takes you back to home.

Friday, December 10, 2010

6metre FM

things are picking up on the DX front for 6metre band, particularly more for the FM segment up on 52.500 and above. I haven't heard anything for the FM repeaters, but definitely some activity on 52.525 FM simplex, Sydney to VK5 and Sydney to VK7 over past week, looks promising.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Android & amateur radio

this is fun, a little searching on the web and you find a whole swag of amateur radio related apps for iPhone and Android, even a couple found for Symbian.

but w.r.t. Android there are lots of goodies, as for the apps that interested me at this time,
some on sources such as Android Market and Android Zoom, here they are:

EchoLink Node Finder - using Google maps, will show EchoLink nodes in your vicinity or any specified location. You can select a tag on the map and it provides the info about that node.

EchoLink - an Echolink client, for making connections to Echolink Repeater and Link nodes. You can operate from your phone, just like a desktop operator do.

IRLP Node Finder - using Google maps, will show IRLP nodes in your vicinity or any specified location. You can select a tag on the map and it provides the info about that node

APRS Viewer - using Google maps you can show APRS nodes near you location or other specified locations.

APRSdroid - an APRS tracker for sending position reports, with basic receive of local stations.
(visit www.aprsdroid.org)

And several apps like logbook, satellite tracker, etc.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


speak of the devil, my new new HTC Aria arrived yesterday, much better browsing than my previous Nokia, I can now monitor vklogger.com when mobile. Functionality appears great. With time I can compare it against the likes of the iPhone4.

Monday, December 6, 2010

smartphones and apps

I was just reading Terry VK2KTJ's blog, apart from the discussions about podcasts for science, I noted Terry is using an Android based mobile device, note that I used the term 'mobile device'
instead of smartphone, as describing them as "phones" is a very loose terminology, as it is a really a micro notebook computer, usually with touch screen interface AND it has a phone as part of it functionality.

Anyway, I have been reading up on these 'mobile devices' since my daughter just HAD to go buy an Apple iPhone4, because that's what Gen-Y have to do !! Don't take me wrong, Apple make good stuff, but I like flexibility and being able to fiddle with things and it was my fellow work colleagues talking about which "smartphone" we need to use, that started me thinking, so I did some googling on the subject over the last 2 weeks and finding an abundance of good info on the subject of mobile devide operating systems, I now know Apple have iOS for iPhone and Nokia and some others use Symbian, HTC have both Windows 7 and Android based mobile devices. I myself have been using a Symbian based Nokia, which due to hardware reasons, is going to get replaced by something different, hopefully a HTC with Android.

Android is an open o/s based on Linux which is great, you can still have a fancy brick, but with a base o/s that allows some fiddling. I even see people doing some hacking to get iPhones to dual boot Android and iOS o/s's which is exciting stuff, that just instantly opens up your choice of apps that you may wish to run.
That's what I like about open systems like Linux and Android, it just pushes the big guys like Apple and Microsoft to innovate and to try and stay ahead on the ensuing pack.

I feel it will be an exciting period for these new mobile devices (smartphones) its already has me
thinking about apps that can assist my hobby, apart from the existing amateur radio apps such as echolink, dstar, aprs.

Friday, December 3, 2010

VK9NA Norfolk Island DXpedition 2011

the VK9NA team heading to Norfolk again and will be operating from 9th to 20th Jan 2011
on band 50MHz to 10GHz. Modes operated will include SSB, CW, FSK441 and JT65.

Need to find out if they can do 23CM FM simplex

Echolink Node 1494 update

finally fixed the damned DTMF decoder for the node, its been broken since I changed PC's a year or two ago.

Did some testing in the last couple days, tweaked the audio levels, spoke to Dave VK2JDS viaVk2BLO node on Orange repeater 146.700 and Terry VK2JTP via his node.

in summary, my node is looking in better shape now, so I can use it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

2m & 70cm FM activity

the sticky weather of summer has started, with the N.E. breezes hitting Sydney yesterday, creating coastal ducting, some rptrs that were enhanced last night, to the north we had 147.100 Buladelah, 146.900 Newcastle, 146.775 Watigans up to s7 normally s1, 438.025 Newcastle, 438.075 Somersby was up to s7 normally s1, the south 146.700 Ulladulla, 146.975 Robertson up to s9 from s1, then from south west 146.950 Mt Ginini was less than s1, nothing found inland, so looked confined to coastal ducting. Noted that 146.650 Mt Bindo was s1 instead of its usual s9, maybe an inversion, as I noted the Dural 23cm beacon was missing, but re-appeared this morning.

Nothing this morning from any of the distant rptrs, but did hear Dave VK2AWZ talking to Brian (VK2BX) on 146.500 FM simplex from Vincentia (near Nowra) approx 10am. Just checked again for 2 & 70 rptr at 2pm, but nothing. 30deg with 80% humid with thunderstorms approaching from west. Will go see if anything on 52.525 FM simplex.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

23cm operating

Last Friday, 1st October, operated stationary mobile from Seaforth Oval, took the 23cm FM and the Double Quad antenna and 3m coax,

we been trying to do some tests out to Dave VK2JDS, on previous attempts to use this site, there has always been some sporting event on, the reason for this site, is it is high, but has a clear, unobstructed view to the west, from the carpark, the land dips away acrossd the playing field and there are nil trees to block the path, you can see clearly the Blue Mtns, there are other nearby locations that might be higher, but usually they obstructed by large trees.

For this test, Dave using his all mode for 23cm into a 3m dish, located on his mountain top at 890 m ASL, aimed at Sydney. We used 1270.000 MHz simplex, Dave first tried sending a carrier and I opened the mute on my FM rcvr to try and detect, it was hard to tell if the noise floor changed or not, so I ran 10w FM, Dave tried detecting it in SSB mode and he was successfully able to detect my carrier, so we proved it was possible over the 190km path.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

23cm operating

I noticed a good turn out of 23cm FM ops for the WIA broadcast on VK2WI on recent Sunday mornings, one day there were at least 5 or 6 people.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Field Portable locations

After visiting the Jenolan Caves/Edith, Oberon region in July, I finally sorted and uploaded the photos to Flickr and updated the Field Portable web page on my website. I went back through and added some more information relating to some good RF locations to use, unfortunately, some of the places I wished to visit in 2009, which I thought would now be cleared of forest, are still in the process of being cleared, so, will have to wait until 2011 to do some tests from those sites.

Next trip, hoping to get to the DX Farm in October for some DXing.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Field Portable

did some more work on the Field Portable page on my website, updated some more places that I surveyed for portable DXing. Need to add some more photos soon.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

linux update

Attempted installs for Slackware, Gentoo and OpenSuse versions of Linux, the Gentoo I couldnt get past the basic search & load drivers, the Slackware installed ok, but failed when booting. The OpenSuse works well, a very nice gui based installer and equally good looking gui when running.
I installed the KDE 4.3 desktop with my OpenSuse. There was the option to install either Gnome or KDE. Nil amateur packages on OpenSuse, but still a good easy to install and use package, for those new to Linux and just wish to experiment.

Next, I wish to give Fedora 12 a test run, maybe Debian 5.04 too. I have been holding off upgrading my two Ubuntu boxes from 9.10 to 10.4, as I deciding whether to reallocate one of these boxes to another project.

In summary, for amateur radio related activities, still best to use either Debian/Ubuntu or Fedora bundles. For a ham that is new to Linux, probably Ubuntu is best choice, as it is just so easy to install and use.

Echolink Node 1494

the APRS connection is working with the node now, using UI-View32 as the APRS interface.

Also still trying to get reliable DTMF decoding by my current node, I tried different radios, so finally I tried a notebook computer, now it decodes DTMF commands (via thew radio port) just fine, so this confirms the audio from the radio is fine.
The notebook is an old Compaq P3-500 with ESS Maestro audio interface, so this certainly works
better than the audio interface in the Compaq Deskpro P3-1GHZ
currently, its still work in progress.

Monday, April 19, 2010

91.5 Hz CTCSS standard

well, so much for the new 91.5 Hz CTCSS standard adopted by the WIA,
after recently hearing a local 70cm rptr being keyed up by a LIPD.
The funny thing is that particular rptr switched to 91.5 Hz decoding to avoid LIPDs.

What we need to do is find another CTCSS pair to use and make that the next "new" standard.

I still can't fathom why we (in VK2) are moving from the standard of 123 Hz to a new standard of 91.5 Hz, when places like VK7 use a different standard and also in VK5 they use a different
standard again.

What do we have in Sydney now? half the rptrs use 91.5 Hz and the other half still using 123 Hz,
what do we get from this ? a whole heap of unused 70cm rptrs.

23cm operating

Scanning across 23cm, found a couple people chatting on 1294.000 FM simplex freq, a VK3HDX/p2 in Neutral Bay and Vk2HGX at Hurstville, what a surprise, some more people on 23cm FM, made contact with VK3HDX/p2 good Q5 signal both ways. Not bad for an antenna sitting on my downstairs window sill.

I think I heard them or someone else on the Dural rptr 1273.500 yesterday.

I must build a phased stack of Double-Quads as an array, much better proposition to a stack of yagis on 23cm.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

John Moyle Field Day 2010

had a listen last weekend (19th & 20th March) heard a few people active, on 439.000 FM and 146.500 FM , but didn't hear anyone on 1294.000 MHz FM, even though I gave a few calls. Nothing heard on 52.525 FM that I noticed either.

Friday, March 12, 2010

mobile activity

I switched cars in January, still haven't moved gear to new car,
therefore not mobile, meaning either voice of APRS
Maybe back on air soon.