Year: 2015

FSQ on 5 MHz

FSQ is a Fast Simple Qso chat mode, a bit like chatting by SMS or Skype but of course using RF. The FSQCALL protocol was developed by Murray ZL1BPU with significant input from Con ZL2AFP. Murray suggests all the hard work was done by Con ūüôā

FSQ is intended for fixed frequency (channelized) operation, with dedicated calling frequencies. It isn’t intended as a ‘tune around to see what you can find’ mode!

Suggested Frequencies

Region 1 (Africa, Europe , Middle East)
80m 3588 kHz USB (sunset to sunrise)
60m *5367.5 kHz USB local day
40m 7044 kHz USB (sunrise to sunset)
30m 10144 kHz USB (local day, DX night)

*suggested UK freq for 5 MHz.

Region 2 (North and South America)
80m 3594 kHz USB (sunset to sunrise)
40m 7104 kHz USB (sunrise to sunset)
30m 10144 kHz USB (local day, DX night)

Region 3 (Australia and Asia)
80m 3580 kHz USB (sunset to sunrise)
40m 7105 kHz USB (sunrise to sunset)
30m 10149 kHz USB (local day, DX night)

You can read more about FSQ and the way it can generate automatic replies from station monitoring the frequency. You will need to understand how the commands work.

To help you get started have a read at the operating guidelines published here. They establish some rules around callsign format being in lower case and what frequencies to try. One option for inter G is to try 5 MHz, put your dial freq on 5367.5 USB and call CQ.

You can download the software on ZL1BPU website, for some reason we have a USA and rest of the world version. I would suggest you select the rest of the world version (unless your in the USA) as for some strange reason they dont both centre the signal as 1500 Hz (centre of the waterfall) if you try and use the USA version and the other station have the rest of the world version you cant operate on the same dial freq.

FSQ was developed by Con Wassilieff ZL2AFP with the assistance of Murray Greenman ZL1BPU. The first QSO took place between these two on 28th November 2014, and the first Alpha executable release was on 17th December 2014. The source code was released with the Beta version 0.23 on 3rd March 2015. The first US version release (V0.24 RC1 by Bob NW8L) was on 29th March 2015. The first full-package public release was by Bob NW8L on 29 April 2015.

A version of fldigi with full FSQ support was released by Dave W1HKJ on 16 July 2015, and includes support for Linux and Mac platforms.

More information on FSQ and fldigi is available online.

The software requires very little setup, just add your callsign (lower case) and locator. You may need to use VOX to key the radio, much depends on your local setup.

Here you can see a screen grab from a chat with G4VLC Peter, G0VPJ John, G4DAX Dave on 5367.5 MHz USB

fsq

 

73 Dave M0TAZ

 

RSGB Christmas cumulative contest

Today I operated alfresco with George M1GEO from our contest site at Kelvedon Hatch SNB. Operating as M0TAZ/P from Kelvedon Hatch SNB in JO01 we managed to operate 3 bands, 144, 70 and 50 MHz.

The contest was a RSGB Christmas Cumulative Contest and we entered as the Secret Nuclear Bunker contest group.

M0TAZ view SNB

Portable Equipment

144 MHz 9e portable tonna Gain: 13.1dBi free space

50 MHz a G0KSC designed 50/70 MHz beam Gain: 8.6dBi free space
70 Mhz a G0KSC designed 50/70 MHz beam Gain: 8.5dBi free space

The 50/70 MHz interlaced beam is interesting as it uses a single feed line, and respectable gain for a 2m boom length.

Racal 12m PU12 mast. Push up 12m mast

Mast head preamp 11 to 18 dB gain.

Power was provided by 110 Ah leisure battery

Radio Icom 7100 at 50w.

Masthead amplifier for 144 MHz provided by George M1GEO. The design was originally published in the RSGB magazine RADCOM plus  issue 1 designed by Ian White GM3SEK. The details are published on his website, detailed as the DG8 low cost, high performance preamp for 144 MHzDG8_144_mast_ampConditions seemed good to the North, allowing us to work some good DX. On 144 MHz our best DX included GM4JR in IO85 (368 km) , MI0SMK in IO64 (524 km) and GD8EXI in IO74 (429 km)

Maps showing the QSO enclosed.

144 MHz

144cc

70 MHz

70cc

50 MHz

50cc

 

Thanks to everyone we worked, from a rather chilly Kelvedon Hatch.

 

m1geo_m0taz

 

JT65 on 5.357 MHz after dark…

NOTE:- The latest JT65 software uses a dial freq of 5357, in the UK we must not transmit beyond 5358. So if you use a dial freq of 5357 then you must ensure your audio is no higher than 1000.

The alternative is to place your dial on 5355 and then you have access to 3Khz.

The RSGB have placed a some advice on their website.

I was quite surprised to hear so much activity on JT65 this evening. I can often be found working data modes on 5.366.5, but this evening decided to check out the JT65 freq.

Check the UK 5 MHz allocation showing practical usage and dial freq on G3NRW site. Here you can download and review the bandplan is a PDF format.

Using WSJT-X v1.5 by K1JT and the excellent JTAlert program by VK3AMA

I have included some screen shots to show the activity and setup. Using 10 to 15w into my doublet antenna.

Here is the bandscope, showing the audio bandpass, you can see 5 signals have been active. Each horizontal line indicates a 60 second period. You either transmit in odd or even mode, TX for 60 seconds, then receive for 60 seconds.jt65_band_scope

In this window you can decode the stations call sign and signal reports. The program can be configured to show different colours, red indicates your working that station or being called by a station.

You can look up online and see who is receiving your signal using PSK reporter. You will need to open the page and type in your callsign. The reports page will look a little like this.

jt65_band_map

This evening I worked OZ1TMK (Denmark), A45XR (Oman), PA3FMP (Netherlands), 9A6TKS (Croatia), LA1VNA (Norway), 5P1KZX (Denmark)

73 Dave M0TAZ

 

Working Santa Claus OF9X on RTTY

Interesting Santa had a moment from his warehouse in Finland to work a few on RTTY. I found OF9X calling CQ on 18 MHz. The only details given for the call read,  Santa Claus World, Article Circle Lapland, Finland.

Merry Christmas Santa, I hope you had delivered from China all the hover boards required to satisfy children all around the world.

of9x_sanata

 

QSL_OF9X

 

 

SNBCG Christmas Dinner

Members of the newly formed Secret Nuclear Bunker Contest Group met for its inaugural Christmas dinner this weekend. The event was well attended by 10 members, enjoying a traditional Christmas dinner, crackers and unavoidable cracker jokes.

Pre meal drinks, from left to right Chris G8OCV, Dave G7UVW, Bill G0BOF and George M1GEO.

Left Kevin M0TBX and Dave M0YOW enjoying a beer.

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Thanks to Peter G0IAP for organising the event and to everyone that attended. The SNBCG is now affiliated to the RSGB and holds the club call M0SNB and permanent special event call GB0SNB so look out for us in contests in 2016.

2015-12-13

Left (front to back) Bill G0BOF, Chris G8OCV, Dave M0TAZ, Fred G3SVK, Diane

Right (front to back) Dave M0YOL, George M1GEO, Dave G7UVW, Kevin M0TBX, Peter G0IPA

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From left to right Dave G7UVW, Chris G8OCV, Fred G3SVK and Diane

Operating GB0SNB special event call from the Kelvedon Hatch SNB

On Saturday I operated from the Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker near Ongar. The bunker is a large 3 level underground site, with a 50 meter mast on the roof. The bunker was active until 1994.

The bunker has a permanent special call sign GB0SNB and is open to the public as a museum.

Working with George M1GEO we completed some QSO on 5 MHz, 14 MHz and some VHF contact on 145 MHz.

You can read more about the bunker online, and if you’re local why not plan a visit. The current owner Mike Parish gives you a virtual video tour below.

The Icom 7100 provided HF and VHF. To the left is the TYT MD380 and right Icom E92

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Operating is completed from the original home office radio room, although this equipment is on the back wall its only for show.

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Here you can see George M1GEO tinkering with the IP and the co-located GB7KH DSTAR repeater.

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© 2015 Dave, M0TAZ