Have an Antenna finally...

So, I bought the book "Low Profile Amateur Radio". One thing I learned from it is Any Antenna Is Better Then No Antenna. So, I went to HRO and bought a RadioWavz brand dipole. 40/20 with Balun. I was going to just staple it to the fence but decided while I was out there that I could hang it from the edge of the roof. So, its slightly better then totall suboptimal, I mean, its not sitting on the ground. About 10ft high sloping to 5' at the fence.

Well, it tunes up with my MFJ antenna tuner, and it seems to work.

Now I just need to get over my fear of the PTT button.

Categories: antennas, hf
Date: 2011-02-23, 6 years and 241 days ago

Fun with building GHPSDR

I may have mentioned, a friend loaned me his TAPR HPSDR chassis and cards. I kinda had to assemble things a little first but that was fun. Then I decided to build mac-GHPSDR. It was a lot of fun. Sorta like slamming my head in a car door. Figured I'd make some notes. Oh, this wasn't exactly the first time. It took me a while to figure everything out. Oh, http://openhpsdr.org/wiki/index.php?title=Quick_Startup_Guide is a VERY useful link to figure out how to make everything work.

First off, I had to install the required bits. I use Macports, I install gtk2, libusb, and libfftw3. Then I tweaked out the Makefile so it'd work with the /opt/local path needed. Here's my updated Makefile bits as guidance

INCLUDES=-I. -I/opt/local/include/gtk-2.0\

LIBS=-L"/usr/X11R6/lib" -L.\
     -L"/opt/local/lib" \
     -lfftw3f -lfreetype -lfontconfig -lusb-1.0\
     -lgtk-x11-2.0 -lgdk-x11-2.0 -latk-1.0\
     -lpangoft2-1.0 -lgdk_pixbuf-2.0\
     -lm -lpangocairo-1.0 -lgio-2.0 -lcairo -lpango-1.0 -lz\
     -lgobject-2.0 -lgmodule-2.0 -lglib-2.0 \
     -framework IOKit -framework CoreFoundation

Well, it built mostly but eventually blew up with some nasty errors. It took a little while, but finally figured out that I needed a different fftw install. The key was installing fftw-3-single.

After that, building the OzyUtils-MacOS package worked just fine and then just had to grab the latest firmware and boomph, it worked! Previously I had used Windows to upgrade the firmware on Mercury and Penelope. And then tested the HPSDR hardware using PowerSDR. I forget exactly where I grabbed the latest firmware but at some point I located it. Just copy it into the directory with OzyUtils. Oh, and there are some I2C errors that throw up when you fire up initozy. They are Janus related and can be ignored.

Categories: sdr, hpsdr, brainexplosion
Date: 2011-02-23, 6 years and 241 days ago


Sadly, I don't see a way to leave a review on their site but I have to mention somewhere that TestParts.com rocks.

Generic Right Angle PL259 adapter, local stores for cheap far-east piece of junk $10 avg. TestParts for actual Amphenol $7.95. Might not seem like a huge savings until you factor in that most places sell that Amphenol for $15, and it doesn't break like the cheap ones too. I'm sure there are some reasonable cheap versions, but they seem to be hard to find. TestParts also has a huge range of other connectors and very good prices across the board for them all. As I like predicable parts I will probably be buying a lot of Amphenol from them...

Oh, I should mention shipping. I was in a rush because because my normal supplier was having issues with shipping through all the snow in Texas. I asked them to Overnight it. They shipped via USPS for actual rate and got it out within an hour of my phone order. If you're not in a rush and meet the minimum ( $25 I think ) then shipping is free.

Anyhow, normal disclaimers, I dont work for TestParts, I don't know anyone at TestParts, I just know they have done right by me and earned a mention.

TestParts.com Banner

Categories: parts
Date: 2011-02-11, 6 years and 253 days ago

And another new toy, SGC-37

Friend of mine is selling me ( very reasonably ) an SGC QMS-37 mobile HF antenna setup, which is the SG-237 Smartuner in a really fancy suction cupped thing. This weekend I fully intend to give it a spin with a ground rod, as many radials as I can run in my limited (concrete) yard, and as much wire as I can make vertical. If it works at all, I'll drop the money on a fiberglass flagpole and get the recommendly 28+ feet of wire in the air and *finally* have an HF rig at home on the air. Very exciting for me...

On the mobile front, I am still doing battle with SWR. I've done some more grounding, but I think I have a cable issue due to a rather severe right angle bend the coax has to make. I bought a right-angle connection from HRO, but its standard import *insert profanity here* and broke on the drive home. I've ordered an actual expensive amphenol right-angle and will do some work this weekend and see if I can make things happier. I have to say, the coax that High Sierra uses in their cable assembly seems pretty cheap. The braid is maybe 80% coverage which I'm not a fan of. I grew up mostly using Ancor marine coax which is 95%+ coverage. Maybe High Sierra just had a bad batch?

Categories: hf, base, antennas
Date: 2011-02-02, 6 years and 262 days ago