Wednesday, June 15, 2016

M0AUW Goes SDR part 2

Well I've received the CAT connector and all it consists of is one cable a mini CD ! Presumably the mini CD is for the drivers but we'll see. First I have to load up the OmniRig application which is the software for connecting the HRSDR app to the rig. Once that installed I connect up the rig to the PC via the CAT and start calibrating the settings.

So I managed to successfully install OmniRig with the drivers from the mini CD.
Looking within HDSR at the OmniRig partition, I've got to work out what settings will be required to operate the Ft2000 with the PC. Unfortunately there's no set up instructions so I've been busy on the web trying to find some sort of help with regard to setup. The nearest thing I can find is set ups for other rigs but it gives me a general idea of what to do.


Clicking on Options in HDSDR you can discover the OmniRig setup, but I had no idea how to proceed, so a lot of it was trial and error till something happened. I had a particular problem with the Baud rate on the picture below, I just couldn't get the rig to connect to the OmniRig try as might it just didn't want to know. Then I set the Baud rate to 48000 and bingo it seemed to spring in to life and I suddenly found the volume had increased and strange things were happening when I moved the mouse!
I'm still trying to find my way round the application, but it does add some interest when you can see all these potential signals on the screen. So I'm just going to keep plugging away and see where I get to and hopefully by the rate I'm going, that should be by the end of the week!

Sunday, June 12, 2016


Since my Brother in Law bought his FT DX9000 MP, I've been going over to his house quite regularly to see the rig in action and I have to say I've been impressed especially with its panadaptor screen and how he can control the rig by computer and see all the potential QSOs on screen and instantly sweep across to call them. So I looked at the DMU 2000 for my FT 2000d and got a shock at the price, £1000 plus, too much for me!

 So I started reading up about SDR via the internet about how you can adapt various radios to SDR. Well this got me thinking can I set up SDR for my FT 2000d?  It turns out you can and once more its fairly cheap to get going. Since I work in the IT trade with knowledge of computers and software I thought this was too good an opportunity to miss so promptly started searching for what is about and what I can set up for my particular rig. 

I came across a webite called HDSR (High Definition Software Defined Radio) with a package that can be downloaded and begin your adventures with SDR. It explains about SDR and various packages you can download and use, but obviously they are promoting the HDSR package.

Turning to hardware I wasn't sure where to start, but I figured the web must hold some information regarding hardware and what to use.
Eventually after much searching I came across an American site off eBay titled RTL SDR Panadapter/Spectrum Scope for Yaesu FT-2000, consisting of: A Newsky USB RTL SDR Digital Tuner/Receiver.A RG-174 cable to connect the radio's IF to the Tuner/Receiver An adapter to simplify the cable install.3 foot long USB Extension Cable to get the Tuner/Receiver away from the computer (Computers make a lot of noise).With the complete instructions and links to the correct software and drivers. I thought this is just what I need but it's in the US so postage costs would be high. Surely someone in the UK is doing something similar?

 First Results were promising

Sure enough I found a page off the UK portion of eBay that had the hardware I needed, The site consisted of similar items like the American site, a dongle, some length of RG 174 and a USB extension cable, the tools to get you up and running. You have to download the software on to the PC and basically add the drivers. The Hardware then has to be installed which is the dongle connected up to the RG174 which in turn is connected to the scope socket within the rig, which incorporates removing top and bottom lids of the rig (easy to do). Then the other end of the dongle connects to the PC via the USB extension cable. Using a nice large monitor on your PC and bingo your away!

The newly installed panadapter in the shack.

I've still got loads to learn and I haven't got the CAT yet for controlling the RIG but I've ordered one and it's coming next week. I have to say it's great fun and if you can do take a look at whats about for your radio, it's the future and it's fun, so it's definitly worth getting in to !

Monday, June 6, 2016

The CARA ,(Cheltenham Amateur Radio) Field Day 2016

The Cara ,(Cheltenham Amateur Radio)club field day took place this weekend it's literally just down the road from me(about 500 yards). Tents were set up, camper vans parked up and  antennas of all sorts sprouted out of the ground and there were transceivers and receivers from modern to old military. An excellent barbeque was laid on for Saturday evening and there was some six meter and HF contesting going on throughout the w/e 

Antennas, tents, camper vans and car parks!

The weather was brilliant for the weekend. Warm temperatures and dry conditions has made it exceptionally good this year and there was a large number of club members who have been out and about. It was nice to catch up with fellow members all addicted to the same hobby as me, sometimes a good chat and a drink boosts the radio morale.

The six meter DX competition was a bit disappointing with only 62 contacts throughout the two days and you have to admire the perseverance and patience of those guys.
But across the way from them the HF field day competition (24hours non stop)made some excellent contacts with some 800 stations.

The HF contest tent

The Contest competitions are not what I remember from the old days. Computers seem to rule the roost and are used on a regular basis for logging and for tuning up and down the bands. I've never been in to contesting much but from what I saw they can be quite exciting, 24hrs of split shifts with lots of go getting without much of a break, even so, I still have to say not for me! However, one interesting thing came up especially for me was that the HF boys were using a K3 transceiver for their contest and it was nice to see it there for the first time and put through its paces. Comments about the radio were good but not good enough for me to decide  to move from the FT2000d to a K3!

The six meter contest tent

I t was nice to see some old military radios in serious action and I must admit I'm tempted by a small purchase in the near future of something like a Clansman radio. I saw two old versions, one for the mobile (Land Rover ops) and one for the standard infantryman, both nice radios, but if I had to choose I'd probably go with the mobile version.

G0NXA at the two meter DX Rig

There were a couple of radios put aside for the ordinary amateurs just wanting a tune and play and we made some good contacts throughout Europe and the UK. The weather definitely played its part in getting everyone out and it was nice to catch up with some of the club members I rarely see.

There were some brave souls camping in the field, but I must admit it wasn't for me but as I live literally just up the road it was a no brainer!! In fact I had one visitor at the house who thought I was the field day!
One chap (Chris) had brought his one man tent and set it up without much fuss in a quiet corner and he was busy all day chatting on forty to various amateurs across Europe, sounds like a well spent weekends radio work!

Chris a the controls of his rig without a blissful care!