The bird has landed

Maria flew to the UK on Friday afternoon. Leaving Palmerston North at 4:45p.m. A short flight to Auckland.  

She flew with Air New Zealand. NZ6 To Los Angeles. Where she changed flights to NZ2. Crossing the International Dateline in the south Pacific means that after her 5 hours stopover in LAX, she got to London Heathrow on board NZ2 at 11:00 a.m. BST, on Saturday morning. (British Summer Time = GMT + 1 hour. 
All went well. She was met by our son Brett, his wife Natalie and our most beautiful granddaughter Darcey-Jane. 


Almost home.

We are on the outskirts of Palmerston North for our last night on the road. Home tomorrow. 

Back in May our hot water boiler developed a leak. A replacement would cost around $1200NZ. I managed to get the inner tank seam welded, after a considerable wait, as it was a favour. It’s stainless, and needs special equipment. It hasn’t lasted a month. So it either gets welded again, or I bite the bullet and buy a new one. Hmmmm.  Need to sleep on that.

No WSPR today as the antenna is down and the coax and counterpoise are stored in the rear locker. On the app store, I purchased iWSPR for the iPad. Connected it to my K2 with a straight thro audio cable, set the K2 in VOX mode and it worked straight off. No problem at all. If only I get the iPad to receive and decode the WSPR messages, I would have a nice compact station without the need for a laptop. 


The first couple of hours transmitting with 100mW.


18632 km to Belgium from Masterton, NZ.
I hooked up the Elecraft K2 mic socket with an adapter cable, in order to feed in the audio from the laptop. Setting the K2 in VOX mode took away any PTT hardware problems. It worked first time. Thanks to Bill GW4THK, who did the same thing with his Elecraft KX3. The K2 is set for 100mW. 

The antenna is my 32ft vertical on the rear ladder of the motorhome. There are single radials for 20 and 40 mtrs. Its a telescopic fishing pole, spiral wound with thin stranded Teflon coated cable, mounted inside a piece of white water pipe. The pipe is bolted to the ladder with ‘U’ bolts. When collapsed, the antenna is inside the pipe and out of sight. A stainless steel cross bolt holds the fishing pole level with the top of the water pipe when its down. The white pipe sort of blends in with the motorhome colour, so no complaints from Maria, my XYL. Over 18000km with 100mW. I am amazed at the performance of this software. 



More WSPRs

Parked up in the motorhome at Masterton, New Zealand. Using the Elecraft K2 and a 32ft vertical mounted on the ladder at the back of the motorhome. This is the first callsign I have received with WSPR. No wifi access here so I can’t post the spot to the WSRPnet database. I’m sure I can save the results and post it at a later date. Its all new to me so I will investigate that, but its what I would have done if I had written the software ( I wish ! )

First signal on WSPR, from Germany to New Zealand.

In the couple of hours that this has been running, I have received signals from Europe, Canada and North America. Australia and Cook Islands are a bit close to NZ to make great claims for them, but lots of signals heard on 20 mtrs today.

WSPR saves the most recent decoded information, it overwrites the ” decoded.txt” file. It also transfers the contents of the file to “ALL_WSPR.txt” so nothing is lost. I just need to know how to post that info to the database. I have registered with WSPR website ( applied for registration, as they put it )  and I’m waiting “approval”.


WSPR Receiver

I drew this up a couple of months ago as the product detector and audio stages of my 9 band superhet. It should work well as a Direct Conversion receiver for WSPR. Of course it will need some filters. The VFO will be supplied from CLK1 on the QRP Labs U3S kit. 

It looks like this in the flesh, so to speak.

The wire link is just for testing. It links out the volume potentiometer. A tiny audio input signal sounds really loud on a decent 4″ speaker. Its quite noise free with no input connected.


Travelled in our motorhome from Palmerston North to Greytown just a bit South East of Masterton. A couple of days on the road before heading back next Wednesday. Nice sunny weather this afternoon. Its quite cold here this evening. Tho we have a heater so its not freezing.
When we get back, Maria will finish packing for her trip to UK on Friday next week. She is visiting family for 7 weeks.

Spent sometime reading up on the WSPR transmitter kit that I ordered from  

All the control and timing is on board. It even has a second RF out to run a receiver, that should work OK, with a bit of hardware hacking. I have also ordered the OCXO synth as it looks like it will be more stable for digital modes.

 Need to get on with designing the receiver next. Probably start with a Direct Conversion design and move on to a Superhet if the extra complexity is justified.

WSPR on the Raspberry Pi

Spent the whole day trying to get this installed and running.  Lots of posts on the net claim to have done it, but there are typos and misleading information aplenty. I have yet to find clear instructions on what to download, where to put it, how to compile it and how to run it.
Not being familiar with Linux, I struggled to follow instructions, only to come up against error messages that I later discovered were due to typos. One blog links to “better info here”, arriving at that page I found an update link, it took me back to the page I came from.

That just about describes my day. Running around in circles and getting nowhere.