brainwagon "There is much pleasure in useless knowledge." — Bertrand Russell

12Mar/090

VA3STL’s QRP beacon

Alan, VA3STL posted a nice list of captures of his QRP beacon on his blog, including a link to a spot of him that he got from my grabber. I didn't notice it then, but now that I'm back on 30m, I'm seeing it nicely at the moment:

va3stl

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12Mar/091

WSPR DX from the land of penguins…

Well, after failing on 20m earlier in the day, I waited a bit, until I saw that Felix, DP1POL had shifted from 20m to 40m. I then flipped my beacon/grabber over to 40m, and gave it a try at the 5w power level. And...

Timestamp Call MHz SNR Drift Grid Pwr Reporter RGrid km az
 2009-03-13 02:10   K6HX   7.040031   -18   0   CM87ux   5   DP1POL   IB59uh   14831   155 
 2009-03-13 02:02   K6HX   7.040031   -16   -1   CM87ux   5   DP1POL   IB59uh   14831   155 
 2009-03-13 01:54   K6HX   7.040030   -16   0   CM87ux   5   DP1POL   IB59uh   14831   155 
 2009-03-13 01:46   K6HX   7.040030   -19   0   CM87ux   5   DP1POL   IB59uh   14831   155 

If you look carefully, you'll see an unusual grid square. DP1POL is operating from the German Neumayer III Station on the Ekstroem Shelf Ice, Atka Bay, in Antartica. Felix will be working their for quite some time, so I will undoutably have multiple opportunities to get him on multiple bands.

Another reason that this contact is significant is that it's actually my furthest DX, further even than VK6DI. I decided to remake my WSPR spot map:

world

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12Mar/090

WSPR on 20m, trying to snag DP1POL…

I don't think this is going to work, but I noticed that DP1POL is currently reporting WSPR spots and being spotted from his base in IB59uh. That's Antartica. I couldn't resist the temptation to try, so I've shifted my WSPR beacon over to 20m and upped the power to 5 watts to see if I can get him. Currently, he seems to be getting mostly Europe, but I thought I'd give it a try. My grabber is down for a little while while I make this (probably futile) attempt.

Update: I've resumed normal 30m grabber/beacon ops, again using step morse.

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12Mar/091

K6HX transmitting “Step Morse” now….

I've changed my beacon to send "step morse" for a while. It will look like this (thanks to WA0UWH's grabber):

picture-13

It's kind of wacky, but here's the deal: there is a center line frequency which represents the space between characters. The message starts out at the centerline. Anything below the centerline represents a dit, above, a dah. If you send two dots or dashes in a row, it alternates between the two frequencies above or below, respectively. It dawns on me that when I change from dot to dash, it would be better to shift to the highest or lowest frequency, to enhance legibility. Hmm. I'll tweak that later. But for now, if you see this, it's me. Just changed it. The overall signal will be slightly wider now.

Addendum: Oops. Math error. The overall signal was twice as wide as I intended. Here's what it's currently sending, which should be the final version.

picture-15

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