One of the members at the radio club Merlin suggested trying out this sensor decoding program for the RTL SDR receiver.
The software RTL 433 is a generic sensor decoder, and it will decode and display a variety of environmental data. Despite its name the frequency can be defined in the setup, and sensors can be found on 315, 433, 868 and 915 MHz depending on your location.
In the UK 433.92 is the most popular, and so this is a good place to start. Firstly you will need to install and have run the RTL SDR, you can do this by plugging it into the USB port on your computer and waiting. Windows will helpfull install the incorrect drivers, and this can be resolved by running Zadig. Follow the instructions here. The Quickstart guide is also online.
If your running Pi, Linux or Mac then you will need to look up the instructions on the link given for installation instructions.
Once the RTL dongle is installed, then the addition of a good 433 MHz antenna will allow the reception of some interesting signals, even if you just have the default magnetic antenna the chances are you will pick up some local traffic.
The RTL has lots of diverse supported software, you can find a list available at RTL-SDR.com
Merlin also pointed out that while the program will run from the windows explorer it is best to create a .bat file in notepad.
August is the last Bank Holiday of the year, and with the weather set to be 30c+, it provided the ideal weekend to play some radio.
Members of LEFARS and SNBCG came together at Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear bunker for a 3 day radio weekend, including BBQ and camping. Some members of the advanced party arrived on Friday evening helping to set up the operating tents.
The 40m vertical was the first antenna to go up, this included 4 elevated radials.
Peter was delighted to use the 7 MHz vertical and linear, commenting on how much fun it was to run a pile-up! The weekend was all about having fun and trying out new things, Dick G4DDP completed a number of QSO on 50 and 70 MHz working SPe all over EU.
Special thanks to John who repaired my headset with a mono jack plug he desoldered from his own headset. Thanks, John!
Vintage Dave also decide to operate in period costume, adding to the nostalgia of his vintage wireless experience.
The BBQ provided by some excellent food, thanks to Ron and Karen for setting this up and Dave M0MDB for his Chillie.
Thanks to Piotr for this clip, it gives you some idea how busy 7 MHz can be on a field day.
We put 1030 QSO in the log, in 52 DXCC from both 7 and 18 MHz, thanks to everyone who took part and made the weekend a success.
The 50 MHz trophy cup is a regular SNBCG event, thanks to a 6e beam originally acquired by the late Bill G0BOF for the club.
Icom 7300 and 400w from a solid state amplifier.
50 MHz is somewhat unpredictable, and can range from very quiet to pile up mode. This year the SPe did make an appearance, but the activity levels seemed a little low.
It was possible to work South and East of the UK to around 2000 KM, but most of the propagation fell in the 1,200 to 1,500 KM range. Over the course of the next 12 hrs we managed to work 139 QSO in 23 DXCC
Today was the RSGB first 70 MHz contest, and the weather was forecast to be overcast and dry. I operated from the SNBCG contest site at the Secret Nuclear Bunker Kelvedon Hatch.
The Icom 7300 and homebrew 6e beam was used in the field, and the Expert 1.3KA provided 160w to the antenna.
The pump up mast provides 10m elevation, and the bunker location has good take off in most directions. The only issue is some local noise when you beam towards the cellular mast that is on site.
Unfortunately the weather had other ideas, and it soon became apparent that sitting outside alfresco was no match for the British weather. The addition of an umbrella helped for the first shower, but the rain radar soon confirmed more was to come.
I decided to pack away after 90 minutes operating, as the weather was set to get worst. I also noticed a very high noise floor when both in and beaming towards the rain.
Sadly an early close meant not too many worked, but its the taking part that counts 🙂
Thanks to Dave M0YOL for his help setting up and taking down. Claimed score online, best DX GW0GEI at 314 KM