My K1EL Winkeyer USB is on its way (I hope…)

Exactly a month ago I ordered a Winkeyer USB from K1EL. It was shipped through USPS (with tracking) on July 28.

A few days later the track got lost… at the moment Bpost, the belgian postal service, took over.

Today, 13 days after shipping in the US, nobody seems to know where the package is. I can guess it is stuck in Brussels Airport and the BPOST bureaucracy needs a lot of time to send me a letter for paying the import duties.

Note to myself (and to whom it may concern :-)): BPOST sucks when you have to get a package from abroad.

Update: after being lost in cyberspace somewhere my keyer has arrived. Extra costs: €30,84 => 21% VAT (= some €12,60) and the rest for the BPOST and customs bureaucracy.
Finally my Winkeyer costs about 50% more in Belgium than in the US.

FSK RTTY with Signalink USB? Yes you can!

According to this page on the Tigertronics website you can’t do FSK with the Signalink.

Of course you can, you just have to be a little creative…

Use the Signalink for RX and make this interface from Don AA5AU’s site for keying your transceiver.

It takes only a few euros and a few minutes of work for the hardware.

Configure MMTTY for transmitting FSK through your serial port et voilà!

Do you really want to pay €49 to be able to program your (mobile) radio through your computer?

For years I have been struggling to manage the 1000 memories on my FT-7800 mobile radio. Memory channels, subtones, memory banks ==SIGH==

Recently a friend (thanks Jan ON4KB) gave me the kit he bougth from Yaesu for the FT-8800 and of course, the cable was correct for my FT-7800 but the software didn’t work ==shame on you Yaesu!==.

That’s when I decided to get some help from Google and I found CHIRP, a free, open-source tool for programming your amateur radio. It supports a large number of manufacturers and models, as well as provides a way to interface with multiple data sources and formats.

I tested it for my radio and it works very well indeed! Downloading the data already in the radio, modifying it on the pc and uploading it to the radio again all in a breeze!

CHIRP supports over 60 different radios from 5 or 6 brands (including the ‘big’ ones of course) and is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Programming cables can easily be found on Ebay (for some €12) or you can make your own.

I doubled, even nearly tripled the number of CW QSOs in my log…

Some 18 years after I passed the Belgian 12 wpm morse exam I decided to dust of my 1995 Schurr Profi 2 and start making some CW QSO’s again. So last weekend I worked 42 stations during the IARU HF contest.

With only 33 qso in the log until last friday this more than doubled my qso number in CW 🙂

I guess it’ll take me some years before I will be contesting at the speeds I heard this weekend though… Some of those stations seemed to be working at some 3000 wpm. One station used some trick to slow down about 1 CQ-call out of 3. Probably some clever usage of the macros in N1MM?

Anyhow, I had a lot of fun and I’ll keep practicing to get my speed and accuracy up!

I can expect some more wallpaper…

Even if I prefer playing in the SO2R category, I entered the 2013 ARRL RTTY Roundup in the MSLP category because I wanted to test the pretty new RTTY Skimmers. And even if I didn’t expect it this is what is written in the ‘2013 ARRL RTTY Roundup Results – extended‘:

The Multi-Single, Low Power category in Europe had nine out of ten stations on the Top Ten list. Some winners were team efforts and some were operators using spotting or CW Skimmer assistance. Jo, ON5MF won for Europe using contest call OQ6A, although he normally doesn’t participate in the Multi-Single category. Using the relatively new RTTY skimmer spots, Jo ran stations on his main VFO and jumped from one spot to another with his second VFO, no doubt mostly in-band to comply with the band change rules.

Guess my ‘nice heavy paper weight‘ isn’t that bad, is it Franki?

The QRM is gone…

Finally after a few months I don’t have the QRM anymore on the higher bands. The guys from BIPT/IBPT (the belgian FCC) came over to my QTH and they found the source of the QRM and solved the problem.The QRM came from a broken high voltage light fixture in a nearby shop.

Now at least I can start to prepare for next contest 🙂

Why I’ll probably not be able to work 5W0M


This is the QRM I have (S9 at least, on all bands from 17m up to 10m) during the time of the day where the propagation from 5W to ON is best.

I have identified the source of the QRM and I have filed a complaint with our authorities a few weeks ago. They sent me a letter they would investigate this as soon as possible. I hope ‘as soon as possible’ is tomorrow 🙂 That would leave me 2 days to try and work them… I need 5W0M for number 297.

My current project

Ever tried to manually switch your antennas and bandpass filters 30 hours into a contest? I have been doing it for years. 🙂 (And I have been complaining about it for ages too)

But the solution is near:

band decoder 001 band decoder 002

This is the prototype for my new universal band decoder.

The hardware is an Arduino (in the pictures is a Mega, it will be replaced by a UNO r3 in the finished product) and 2 4×4 Driver Shields from Logos Electromechanical.

The goal is to switch my SixPak and my 2 Dunestar 600 band pass filters for SO2R.

The data comes from the pc (over the usb port) using the Open Two Radio Switching Protocol (OTRSP) which is supported by N1MM and DXLab logging software.

For now this is a work in progress,  so come back here soon to follow the evolution!