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Topics - RichardSinFWTX

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Greetings all!

On Saturday the Russian cosmonauts from the ISS are going to be broadcasting images commemorating the 54th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first spaceflight.  The signals are supposed to start at 10:00 UTC Saturday morning and go until 21:30 UTC Saturday evening.  Capturing SSTV images from the ISS could NOT be simpler!!  All you need is a 2m rig and some FREE software.  It can even be done with an HT (so I've been told) and a tablet or smart-phone. 

The frequency is 145.800 MHz FM.  ANY 2m radio will handle that.  I've got my FT-857D connected by way of a SignaLink interface to my trusty Dell D800 laptop.  I've got a package installed on it called MMSSTV.  Basically what I plan to do is just tune my radio to that freq, start the software and just let it run.  Whenever the software hears the signal it will auto-magically decode the images and save 'em for me.

You don't HAVE to have a SignaLink interface.  You can just have a mic feeding the audio from the speaker on your radio into your computer.  While I've got my FT-857D doing it's thing I'm going to hook up my FT-8900R and try receiving images on my iPad and/or iPhone 5S using Black Cat Systems CQ SSTV app.  You can just set up your iDevice next to your radio with CQ SSTV running and the app will decode the message for you.  If you have an interface connecting your radio to your tablet or smartphone you can also transmit your own images, though not to the ISS.

I don't get any kickbacks from any link mentioned above.  I just think this is just too freakin' cool! 

Batteries & Solar / Building a 40 Ah Battery Box
« on: August 13, 2014, 04:12:39 PM »
OK, so apparently I've developed a fetish for building stuff.  With the HF station in a box 95% complete I got to thinking about what to power it by when off the grid.

The build blog for this and any other projects I can think of will be here:

I'll also post pics and videos here; but the most up to date stuff will be at the link above. 

Feel free to offer and advice and/or criticisms. 

Be gentle!  ;)

Net Activity / Google+ Community Plug
« on: April 15, 2014, 10:34:12 AM »
Hey guys...

I don't know if it's bad form to plug another venue here; but for those of you on Google+ there's a community out there called "RaDAR".  It stands for "Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio".  In my opinion it's a sister organization for us.  It's all about being mobile with our communications gear.  I know we all love operating from home or from our BOLs; but what about between points A and B?

On the first Saturday of each month we all take to the air for our own little mini-sprint contests seeking out other RaDAR members.  They only last a couple of hours, from 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM (CDT).  The April and November contests are a little longer, 4 hours (9:00 - 1:00 CDT).  The central idea is kinda what I call "shoot and scoot".  You set up your gear preferably at some remote location (I use nearby city parks) and take to the airwaves.  After making five successful contacts you tear down and move to another site and repeat.  It's good practice getting your gear up and down efficiently.  It can also help you lighten the load.  You'll find out what things you really need and what things you can live without, which can help in a bug-out situation.

If you're interested, check it out at:

I just wanted to make you guys aware of it.  My apologies if I've wasted your time and/or if I've committed a mortal sin.  :) 

Technical Corner / PSK-31 RX/TX Via iPad or iPhone
« on: April 08, 2014, 04:16:05 PM »
Take a look at this video on receiving PSK-31 with your iPad / iPhone.  The app is only $2.99.

Doing this through the iPad / iPhone may not be really practical in a true SHTF or WROL situation; but it might serve as another option for doing digital modes if your laptop goes tits-up!

K7AGE makes reference to an interface that you can get off evilBay. 
I just bought one a few minutes ago. 

A review to the meantime I'm going to test the app and technique this weekend just to see how well it works.

New To Radio / Using tQSL to Upload to LoTW
« on: March 19, 2014, 04:38:33 PM »
Here's something I whipped out (haven't said THAT since my wedding night) on how to record your contacts using tQSL and upload them to LoTW.

Give it a try.  If you have any problems post them here and I'll see what I can do to help. 

Also if you see any typos or corrections that need to be made, PM those to me!

EDIT:  There is one thing in the document that I forgot to mention.  You can run the software on multiple machines once you've got it running right on one of them.  Just click on File...then choose "Backup Station Locations, Certificates and Preferences"...on the working machine.  Copy the file to a thumb drive, CD or the cloud then restore those settings on another machine that you've installed tQSL on.  This does NOT copy your contact file(s) though.  That's why I store mine on my OneDrive account (formerly SkyDrive).

Tactical Corner / HF/Digital Station in a Box!
« on: February 19, 2014, 11:00:49 AM »
OK...It looks like it's time to get down to the nut cuttin' on building my HF / Digital "station in a box".  For those that don't know, here's what I'm planning to do.  All future postings about it will be made here.

My goal is simple, to have a air/watertight container housing an HF radio, a VHF/UHF backup, power supply and a laptop to be able to maintain voice and digital comms with my all people from my retreat location or anywhere else I happen to be. 

This is container I'll be using to store and transport everything.

It's an army surplus medical instrument case.  The one pictured about isn't the exact one that I bought...I found one in nearly new condition locally for $90.  It has good seal all the way around and is completely air and watertight so it can go in the back of my vehicle as I head out for parts unknown.

I plan to build a rack out of aluminum angle and other materials with slide-out shelving for all components.

The rack will be on the left side on the same end as the wheels to keep the load at least fairly stable.  The right side will have a slide-out shelf with Dell Latitude D800 laptop that is just used for my radio activities (programming the two radios, using RMS Express or going digital with FL-Digi)

I've already built the shelf for the laptop.  That was the easy part.  I'll get a picture of it posted later.

Feel free to ask questions or offer any opinions / suggestions along the way.

Radio Reviews, Questions and Comments. / Proud Owner of an FT-857D!
« on: December 13, 2013, 03:30:40 PM »
WooHoo!!!  A couple hours ago I bought a shiny, new FT-857D from GigaParts!

Now the fun part...waiting on it!   :'(

Tactical Corner / Tripod for Camo Pole Type Masts
« on: October 30, 2013, 12:46:46 PM »
A couple weeks ago I bought the antenna base pictures below off evilBay

I'm looking for a couple things.  First is a tripod that beefy enough to be able to support a mast made of say ten surplus 4' aluminum camo net poles.  I figure something like that has to be fairly substantial.  Option #2 would be something that could clamp onto the mast on one end and maybe clamped or bolted onto bed of my truck on the other.

Anyone got any ideas and/or pictures?  My county RACES group is doing an exercise in a couple weeks so I'd like to have a solution ready by then so I don't have to rely on my HT.

Thanks guys!

New To Radio / Programming Software for Yeasu Radios
« on: August 27, 2013, 01:46:56 PM »
Greetings all,

I've got a question for the group.  I currently own a Yeasu FT-8900R and have the programming software for it.  I'm looking to buy an FT-857D in the next couple of months so I can join Army MARS here in Texas.  Will the programming software for the 8900 work with the 857? 

Forgive my newbiness!


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