Thursday, February 6, 2014

1296 Mhz and 10 GHz transverters

I started documenting the building of some transverter kits for 1296 Mhz (23cm) and 10 GHz (3cm) to inspire others to try (what I consider is) this new frontier of amateur radio.

I say "a new frontier", as the proliferation of kits and surplus of microwave gear, opens the opportunities of experimenting on microwave bands to more people.

If you have never looked, then go look at VK5EME Minikits  and VK3XDK websites.

anyway, here is my microwave page:

SDR update

if you had played with,  or attempted to play with those little USB TV dongles,  e.g. the black dongle that Andrew VK3BQ sent as link for on ebay end of last year.  The black rtl2838 based dongle is more sensitive and less prone to image signals than the white rtl2832 based dongle we had used in the past.

I can advise that the  SDR#  (sdrSharp) website have greatly  improved their download and install package and install procedures, it's now a much easier task. And the site have also improved their install procedures instructions, for those using RTL based dongles.
The latest Zadig USB driver installer is much improved too. Note: two versions of Zadig, one for XP and another version  for Vista,Win7 & Win8.

begin here at the SDR# downloads area:

which includes links to install procedures on for MS Windows and Linux

Somehow I broke my SDR# installation on my notebook last year whilst trying to update it and could not get it running properly, but I did the download and reinstall yesterday and now it all works great, I can even swap between dongles to compare them, both dongles work fine. Really pleased with it now.


last week was pretty good for propagation from Sydney, with the High pressure cells sitting over the Tasman sea for days, we were presented with consistent tropo ducting up and down the coast of NSW and across the pond to ZL as well as trops across the Great Australian Bight which provided paths from vk6 to vk5, vk3.

As far as paths from Sydney, we had openings to Tamworth to both their 146.750 and 439.950 repeaters,  paths to Buladelah 147.100 regularly, good paths to south coast such as 146.825 near Bega, 146.625 Goulburn  was strong on quite a few occassions, in fact one day it was 60/9, with Mt Ginini 146.950, and the local Canberra repeaters 146.725 and 147.175 heard on occassions. One one night I found 147.025 from Mt Canobolis (Orange) accessible, I called someone to come up on it, but that repeater faded into the noise before we could make a contact.

monday night this week, heard activity on 146.700 near Nowra.

Last week several VK2 and VK4's made it across the pond to ZL1 on 2m,70cm and 23cm SSB, even ZL1TPH/p was receiving the Dural VK2RWI 1296.420 beacon on more than one day, that's pretty impressive, but makes me optimistic that more regular 23cm contacts across to ZL are probable. It provides me with more incentive to get 23cm SSB gear active and a dish up and aimed at ZL next summer.

I did note that the tropo just does not extend inland and with enough intensity for contacts on 2/70/23 to ZL, I think the inland inversion ducting is the much more common propagation mode, which of course occurs mainly at night.