I found this old General Radio 1001-A Signal Generator at the Mike and Key Swap, got it for $10 bucks. With the idea of making Max a radio to play with. It turned out perfect. I made all the knobs potentiometers so that it makes the needle swing all over. And the switch turns on the red light. I have future plans to add a simple audio tone generator and use the dial to adjust the tone. Additional add-on features are actually hooking the microphone into a FRS radio so he has a base station to call mommy from!
With new HRD software came the decision to buy a new computer update from XP on the shack computer to windows8. It was quite a jump in technology laziness was the main factor but with a new PC the whole things was updated. First computer I purchased in 8 years. Its sweet. I actually like windows8 the "app store" is more like a crap store. But you dont need to use any "apps". Everything is working perfect I am even running my shack without a serial port (shock)
Intel i3-3.3 with 4500 video, 8GB ram, fancy hard disk, windows8, Rigblaster Advantage, IC756P3 (today) - point and click QSO!
Whew.. what a lot of work! after a lot of help and planning, the antenna project is done! Tower up Antenna up.. lets hope that's the last of it!
So I suckered into going legal by using Spotify, after lots of consideration of the iMatch in the iCloud I decided that I only want to stream music and not deal with storage on a device. I am tired of paying crazy prices for apples storage memory.
So I chose Spotify, found a long free trial of premium, and love the ability to just search up (almost any) song I want. Then, also link to my home pc for music they just don't have yet. Whatever ... if you have a clue you have seen enough about this.
But here, at the end of my demo of Spotify... And I am not happy, two things 1) the Spotify radio isn't available in the iOS app. 2) the iOS app is not universal. Simple things if you ask me and it's a joke they don't simply solve them. Enough to make me dump it and go back to just using pandora.
Break from that for a moment...
I love pandora, I have used it for years and the most amazing thing about 3G is having pandora in my car. However, I seem to lately have ran pandora dry, the radio stations seem to be repetitive and I listened to all the music there is to listen to that I like. (nothing wrong with that) one thing about pandora I never liked is the penalty for skipping songs or FF/RW.
Back to program... So I complained on the online Spotify support to get totally ignored (lame). Just today I saw this post about a app SpotOn it's a API that will run pandora like radio and use your premium account to play music. All from iOS. I hope someone sees this blog post because the only reason I didn't cancel Spotify this month is because of this app. Now I don't know how good it is with random new and loved music as its only 6 hours old and I have ran it on my iPad for 20 min while blabbering my thoughts here. So far it promises to please, playing random music - At least in this period. So another month of premium thanks only ... and solely to the creators of SpotOn
So I was working with WSPR which is a propagation tool for HAM radio, I had just put my 80M loop back in the air and wondered what I could do with it at a better height. so I kicked up WSPR. After a few hours I noticed my disk space was getting full, having seen the tool on Scott’s blog called Space Sniffer I thought to check it out for this task. What an awesome tool! This is sort of like the KDirStat Project (WinDirStat) but a lot more “fancy”. Particularly it shows data in a better format I feel. So I then noticed something that WSPR was eating up 15GB of my hard disk! Yikes So I deleted all that mess, and back to testing my 80M station BTW if your wondering the data is wasted in this directory %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files\WSPR\save
So my recent ham radio adventures have taken me to packet radio, I am super stuckon it as it's a lot of fun. I have collected a lot of knowledge that seem to be allover the net as well as wanting to document my learning for others that Google acrossmy blog.
Packet radio what is it? first here is some good reading as to whatis packet radio
after you peruse that if your still interested then this is a good post to keep reading,if not just understand that I am a nerd and go read katiesblog
So the first thing you need to do is get a TNC and this is a big one so I wanted toprovide some advice here. I had a timewave/AEA PK-900 this is a Cadillac of TNC'sit was more money then I have to spend back in 1995 today it retails for less then200 bucks on used markets and you can find them even cheaper. But here is the thingany TNC is very reasonably priced. If you watch for things like AEA PK-232MBX theyare less then 50 bucks. I even just picked up a old MFJ TNC for less then 30 shipped!Those are the 3 physical TNC's I own the AEA units run some awesome software madeby a company that is now out of business but timewave purchased they and they stillsupport the units that are out on the market. Needless to say I love the AEA hardwareits awesome. The MFJ will do TNC2 Bios which you can learn about later its not ascool.
All of the TNC hardware I listed is physical units that need a serial port to function,they also have D/A converters or just a Analog modem in them so they are very accurateand stable.
All of the TNC's I listed also have something that you need to learn about, a PBBSthis is a packet or personal bulletin board system, this is the same BBS concept from1990's basically what you care about is a PBBS is important because people can storeand forward "email" on your TNC. Meaning that when your away from your station peoplecan leave you or others "email" (I say "email" because its not email that youknow today, its archaic digital email that is only stored on a chip in the TNC .nothingto do with the internet..yet)
So we have some large concepts out of the way what is packet radio, physical TNC,and mailbox or PBBS these are all things you want to know or have if your seriousor just have extra 50 bucks around.
What if I don't want to spend money and do this for free?
Glad you asked, or ..are still reading. There is a free option to get this working.its called AGWPE this isa handy little software application which emulates a TNC with soundcard hardware.The application can be downloaded from the link, additionally if you want to downloadthe latest beta its here. The softwarealso has a $50 copy that is "easier" to use and operate. I say "easier" because itcomes with a GUI and more help. I highly suggest buying the software to keep it indevelopment and feature enhancement if you find it handy. otherwise spend $50 on aPK-232MBX on the used market.
How to configure this stuff?
If you have a AEA product the manualon how to use them are here these manual are incredibly detailed and you needto read them cover to cover they are awesome resources and even if you don't havea physical AEA TNC I can say that the PK900 manual is just an awesome instructionmanual on how to use any TNC and packet radio.
How to get on the air fast?
For VHF set your radio to any frequency with packet data (typically in the 144.8 to 145.1, so 145.01 145.02 for example likely have data on them and remember APRS ison 149.39 which is 1200b packet)
Once you have the TNC configured for connectivity to your radio and the computer youwant to use any "terminal emulator" software such as putty or terraterm inthe case of a physical TNC. if you don't have a physical (such as AGW) then download AGW-Term (additionallyyou might want AGW-Monitor)alternatively you can use a packet radio application a nice free one is WinPack (AGWinstructions) any of these will get you online.
If you have a physical TNC you want to learn how to set it up fast in the manual,basically you want to set your call type command "MYCALL" to show the current and"MYCALL K7MHI" for example to set to my call, on AGW there is various ways with winpackyou have a emulator for TNC commands, and with AGW-Term you set it in applicationsettings.
Once you are this far you can see what is on frequency, if you haven't see data yeton the screen you can set your monitor command, using "Monitor ON" or "Monitor 6"you should be able to start watching all packets, if you hear data on frequency butdon't have any output check your 'on-air baud rate' VHF typically 1200 UHF 9600 andHF 300. If you are on Vhf/Uhf you just need to be on frequency FM if your on HF youshould be on NET105 at 14.105.51USB Ishould note that getting on VHF packet is faster then HF because you must get thefrequency exact to your radio and its not as quick to do.
You should ideally be seeing packets now. To do something more then read the mailyou can connect to any station you see or hear.. to find out what you see or hearthe command "MHEARD" will show you a list - note that there is a bug in AGW if youhavent heard anyone and type MHEARD the application will crash. Use the AGW-Monitorlink above to solve this issue - also worth noting that agw-monitor will monitor allpackets for you.
if you see call signs in the MHEARD list you can then connect to them with the command"Connect K7MHI-1" for example or just short hand "C K7MHI-1" all commands on the TNChave a shorthand version.
What to do once your on the air?
next you want to enable your mail PBBS and other fun functions on your TNC (to dothis on AGW we chat about BPQ later) if you have a TNC with a PBBS chip in it youcan do lots of fun.
SSID's are not complex but what is complex is understanding that every group has theirown rules around how to use SSID's . a SSID is nothing other then having multiplesimilar call's on the air at the same time. for example when you set up your PBBSyou want to use a SSID, example my SSID for mail is K7MHI-1 so if you connect to K7MHI-1you will get my Mail BBS, if you connect to K7MHI you get my keyboard (QSO mode) ifyou connect to K7MHI-2 you connect to my portable TNC station setup keyboard/QSO mode)its nothing more then designating stations on the air as the same user but different"addresses"
Some common SSID's are on HF -1 is PBBS or mail -7 is a gateway or Node. on VHF -4or -10 is a winlink node. These are just example on VHF as there is no standard thateveryone seems to stick to. -15 is normally reserved for digipeting off someone else'sstation you typically never assign this your self its automatic by someone else'sTNC
Next you want to start reading this site thisis a great resource on how all this stuff works. And start looking at software tostart making your experience more fun.
Outpost is a PBBS or BBS tool that will automatethe use of PBBS mail systems, it takes a bit to get working but its real nice if yourusing a BBS system anywhere. it makes the interface nicer then a command line. helpfor outpost is on the main site and it can connect to AGW
BPQ gets advanced fast, but ifyou don't own a TNC with a PBBS chip this software will give you the ability to havemail and chat BBS for free, its great software and works with AGWPE
Winlink / RMS
Winlink gives you the abilityto have email connected to the internet via winlink.org, you will get a email addresssuch as your call at winlink.org when you use it the first time. So if you are awayfrom internet you can still use email with the internet if you have a RMS/Winlinknode in range. I found the best to use PackLink this application works on VHF andHF and telnet. It also works with the PK900 nicely as well as AGWPE. once you havepacklink working you point your email application at localhost for POP3 (the pop3server is the paclink application) after this is configured you should be able tohave email via radio!
QSO Mode software
As I said I use a dual port TNC on VHF and HF at the same time, for this things canget crazy fast. I have found that EmcommOps softwareis very nice GUI to keep everything in line and working well.. additionally its nicebackup of most of your settings when things go crazy it will reset most things foryou. which is handy when your learning how to use the TNC.
- I will update this post as I find new help info!
rather then update with all the new radio fun I will just link to the new photos andupdated pages with new info on my ham radio shack
so I started some projects to get working on all digital modes that I have not yettested and tried one of them was packet radio. mostly because I have no TNC and seeno huge reason to buy one.
I never saw much of a reason for APRS I don't want to publicly send my location out,but then I started goofing off with it. I'm hooked its so simple and fun to see whathams are in the parking lot I am in I just had to get more involved with it. Alsobeing that I am a self proclaimed digital master I couldn't just ignore the mass consumptionof APRS. I got the following software installed on my portable station laptop andstarted to run with it.
The Required Software TNC is available here thefile is AWGPE you just needthat zip file, I strongly suggest that you pay for this software at least the TNCpro version because its way cool and you didnt have to buy a real hardware TNC it also allows you to set up a virtual IP adaptor to connect your system directlyto a WAN over your radio port (cool!)
Also available from that site is the same authors AWGTracker applicationwhich will allow you to set up a APRS server that is directly connected to a localMicrosoftMapPoint so you can track local with no internet, it also connects up togoogle maps live. This application has real cool WX monitoring options and replayfor telemetry very cool
This software works great its especially great to get started in learning how to tuneand position the antenna for the packet RX since its all by the same author the applicationswork flawless together. Get started with that.
After I was looking into the applications some more one thing I didnt like was howthe AWGTracker would send the waypoints over to MicrosoftMapPoint it just didnt lookgreat. I then found this awesome application called APRSISCE/32 youcan get it from the yahoo group then after you get the up-to date copy you can enablethe developer downloads and get a copy that will work with AWGPE. This applicationis very cool, same stuff as AWGTracker minus the cool telemetry logging but I candownload open map files from the internet and cache them on the laptop, before I leaveI just download maps for the area I want to review and then I have a portable up todate quality map with tracking with no connection to the internet!
I have more post's later about this topic and how much more I got into it but fornow that kicks off my new digital mode and how to get started for free as well aswhat software to use to get started with it!
I have created a gadget for looking up QRZ profiles and having a desktop view of propagationdata as well as sun spots etc. This is a very simple gadget but I find it very usefuland I hope you do as well, as of my blog post I had 380 downloads in 24 hours, notbad. Helps that QRZ considered it news!
If you like the application donate to N0NBH and QRZ as its their bandwidth your usingto make this tool happen for you.
This application has been checked on Windows7 beta/rtm and vista. Remember that onvista your limited to sidebar space in relation to screen resolution so your resultsmight vary.
If you have bugs or feature enhancements please let me know, the biggest feature Iam working on is a spotting or cluster gadget, just need to make it usable, fittingthings into a tiny window for all to read isn't easy!