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Messages - gil

General Discussion / Re: Easter
April 21, 2020, 04:53:29 am
You too! Albeit a bit late..

Certainly. I got the tracking number last night. I hope to get it before the week-end, but probably early next week.

I just ordered the QRPVer Minion SDR. The G1M was the other option. In the end, it's the surface-mounted jacks problem on the G1M that made me go for the unknown Minion. I ordered without the LPF, but last night emailed Yurii to ask him if it wasn't too late to add it.. The G1M also burns more current. The minion has all bands between 160 and 10m and also apparently does transmit on CB frequencies. If the Minion SDR turns out to be great, for only a little more money, I think it would be worth saving up for it.
We'll see... I should get in in about a month.
Thank you. As to bringing it back solo, I don't have much of a choice... I will keep the coast in sight however, since I don't know the boat...

General Discussion / Radio Prepper Maritime Mobile!
March 11, 2020, 11:20:26 am
Yep, it's done! I am utterly broke and a boat owner now :-)
Here is the video:

So I am already planning for radios of course, HF and VHF. VHF Marine with a Standard Horizon GX2200E and a handheld, which was included in the sale. There is a VHF in the boat but it does not have an AIS receiver, which I find indispensible for collision avoidance and to allow longer bouts of sleep while offshore.
I will also carry my Yaesu VX6 for HAM VHF/UHF. Maybe a tiny APRS 2m tracker as well, after what happened to my last boat...
For HF, I just ordered a QRPVer Minion SDR! That will be mainly for SSB.
I hope to get it before I go get the boat in Spain on April 27th. Hopefully there won't be any travel restrictions due to the Corona virus.
I will have a PRC-320 on board of course, but not to bring the boat back, because of airline issues with batteries and military gear, you never know...
My main HF radio will be a QRP CW rig on 30m, which one remains to be determined.
Also on the way is a Raspberry Pi and 7" 12V display for digital. I am adding a GPS/Glonass dongle and VHF/UHF SDR dongle for backup AIS reception. For naviation I will install OpenCPN with an AIS plugin. JS8Call and FLDigi for digital, as well as weatherfax decoding. I don't know if there is a Winlink software for Raspberry. For all that stuff I will need solar power, but I don't have much deck real-estate, that will be a challenge. I'll see about that after getting back. For now the inboard Volvo Penta 10hp single-cylinder diesel will serve as generator for the two batteries.

I should leave Spain on May 1st for a ten-day trip back to Antibes. Frequencies will be posted here, along with a link to my inReach satellite tracking map. Contacts should be reported here.

After what happened last time I am a bit stressed out, having to bring an unknown boat back over such a long distance (around 400nm). I will follow the coast of course, but still... I am sure radio contacts will be great morale boosters. Most likely, I will stop at night if time permits. Hopefully I won't have to hunker down in some port for days because of bad weather. There is an autopilot on board, but of the electric/tiller type, and although it is a RayMarine, I don't trust these gizmos. Nothing better that a mechanical wind-vane.

Stay tuned...

Thanks Robert!
Antennas / Re: End fed windom
February 10, 2020, 05:34:57 am
Quoteno matching needed on the most bands?

Hi, correct. I am talking about a half-wave end-fed with a 49:1 transformer, not a random wire with a 9:1 UNUN. I have built a Windom, albeit not this exact design, with a dual-core Guanella BALUN. Because the two legs aren't the same length, even with the BALUN, I had RF stray currents problems... Actually, I've had troubles with random wires and any antenna that was not fed in the middle or half-waves at the end. Now, I only use dipoles or HWEFs, sometimes quarter-waves with radials, but I avoid antennas fed somewhere in between... Too much trouble...

Thanks Sparks :-)
Great info Scott, thanks. Certainly, but I would not trust AES. There has been allegations of voluntary weaknesses introcuded to allow possible decoding. I don't remember the details. Bottom line is, I do not understant it enough to be able to determine its security. A one-time-pad is very simple and indeed does not require a computer. In the filed, it would be the simplest way to send an encrypted message. Anyone can learn to do it with pen and paper. The problem is if you have to explain to someone why you carry a long string of seemingly random characters on you... No doubt it would land you in jail forever in many countries, or worse. If I wanted to use a computer encryption cypher I might look at Blowfis/Twofish... That raised a stink when it came out, indicating that it did bother quite a few people... But a cypher sponsored by the NSA, no thanks. Anyways, I have no use for encrypted messaging at this time... If I ever do, and I hope not, a simple one-time-pad would do. Note that you may be able to transfer a long random key file now but not ten years later... For example, you could send a key file encrypted via PGP today by email, but in the event that the internet is no longer available in the future, you would be SOL.

Well, it just happened that I was visiting my parents up North this week-end so I missed it. I do want to make a winter outing though, just to test my equipment, radio and camping/bugout...

Quotei know there is no pleasing Gil on that front haha

That's right ;-)
I really do like the 20W power level though...

Morse Code / Waiting for a Norcal 40!
January 09, 2020, 05:19:35 am

Great news (for me), I found a Norcal 40A kit on Ebay! It isn't sold as a kit but as a PCB with a bag of components. I call that a kit, but oh well. The Norcal 40, precursor of the Elecraft K1, was designed by our member Wayne, co-founder of Elecraft; or was it K8IQY? I can't remember. The PCB files were released in the wild and some people made runs of the board. A club in England put a kit together for its members and apparently had some left over... I don't know if they have more but a quick search on Ebay for "Norcal 40" will answer that question.

The Norcal 40 is a single band CW transceiver with the amazing receive current of 15mA! Power output is around 2.5W, drawing around 200mA. It will run seemingly forever on most battery packs. It is in the same category as the Small Wonder Labs SW+ from Dave Benson.

There will be a video of course, if it works, and I don't see why not...
Anyone here has used one before?

Hello. I made a lot of great contacts from Florida to Eastern Europe using a PAR 10/20/40 end-fed half-wave hanging vertically, including one to Estonia using 1.3W. Stateside contacts fell into a 800 to 1300 miles radius... I had very few contacts with Western Europe. Not much success between 50 to 800 miles, though Ray and I had almost daily contacts at 820 miles.

I observed the same thing here in the South of France: Easy contacts to England, Germany and Eastern Europe, all around the same distance; nothing to, say, the Paris region...

Antennas / Re: End fed windom
January 06, 2020, 05:45:11 am
QuoteNo tuner needed and you donĀ“t have to care about ground connection.

Same as an end-fed half-wave...