Archive for the ‘dstar’ Category

An unscheduled interruption

OVMRC and CUARC Field Day Site 2011, the Canada Science and Technology Museum

My last post was way back in June, when I was on business in St John’s Newfoundland. I had not planned for there to be an interruption in the postings but it just seemed to turn out that way. No single reason for the lack of output, things were busy with family, jobs around the home, work (I have taken on a new role) and radio with the Carleton University Amateur Radio Club (CUARC). Once I had stopped posting for a while it was too easy to not post. There may have been some writer’s block too. One reader advised me to write again when I was feeling the mood return, but emphasized not to change the format. So now it is time to pick up the blogging again.

I may post more on these items, but here is a brief run down of recent amateur radio and electronics related activities over the hiatus.

  • End of June there was Field Day and again CUARC participated with the Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club after being kindly invited to join them  (see photo above).  We operated mostly as a GOTA station (I was a GOTA captain and rules were followed) but when one transmitter turned in for the night we became the 80m station. We used a homebrew full wave 80m horizontal loop and a homebrew ¼ wave vertical with three elevated radials for 15m.  Both antennas performed well.
  • Somewhere in the recent past this blog went over 100,000 views.  Top post in recent months has been details on the Z-Match tuner.  Thanks to all of you for reading the blog!
  • CUARC is constructing a 30m QRSS receiver and the oscillator, mixer, diplexer stages have been built and constructed individually.  A low noise audio stage is to be built next.
  • At work I have been  building small SMD microcontroller boards with on board RF capabilities.  The boards which we modified from some open hardware have been reduced down to about 4.5cm by 2 cm.  My SMD soldering has been getting better, especially using a professional rework station.
  • I have been programming the new ID-880H dualbander that I bought in Spring.
  • The Saturday morning Ottawa Amateur Radio Digital Group D-STAR net continues every Saturday at 8:30am local time here in Ottawa (8:30EST or EDT) and we link through to reflector REF016B.  Either Andrew, M0GRU, or myself run the net. Join us if you can.

Next post will be the pictures form a foggy Signal Hill that I promised in the previous post.

Been travelling

Over the islands, flying from Vancouver to Seattle

View when flying from Vancouver, BC to Seattle, WA

I have spent this week in Seattle, WA on business. Did not have much time for radio but I have been using the DVAP dongle and been linking into the repeater back in Ottawa either directly or via REF016B.

The DVAP works well whilst travelling.  I even used it to link through to talk to the students at the Carleton University Amateur Radio Club.  I could then chat to them as they were working on building a PSK31 interface for the FT817. I have also chatted with the locals, some of whom commented that I sound like I am local.  I will continue packing the DVAP with the IC-91AD in future.  By the way, there was no trouble taking the HT in my hand luggage on the plane, no questions at Ottawa or going through customs US Customs at Vancouver.  (For those not familiar flying from Canada to the US it is not unusual to pass through US immigration/customs in a Canadian airport so you land as a ‘domestic’ flight in the US).

Today I had a little time to visit a hardware store called Hardwicks that was close to the hotel.  This reminded me of the old ironmongers store that was in the village I grew-up in, in Lancashire, UK.  however, Hardwicks was about 5 times bigger.  Great to wander around and look at the range of tools and hardware.

I also visited a RadioShack store (in Canada now called the Source) and was pleased to see some drawers with components in.  At least you can still get a voltage regulator on the high street!

Travelling back today.

Another Blog

91AD on Module C

Recently, I have created a second blog for D-STAR radio, particularly in the Ottawa area.

You can find it at The focus is on D-STAR operations in the National Capital Region and activities of the Ottawa Amateur Radio Digital Group.

My personal blog here continues to be my main blog.

D-STAR one route for traffic into Christchurch, New Zealand

New Zealand flag (from Wikimedia Commons)

Tonight, before heading home I dropped by the VA3CUA station at the University where I work.  I used the Icom ID-1 to link the 1.2GHz module of VA3ODG to reflector REF003C, an Australian reflector.  Linked also to the reflector was the repeater ZL1VHD in Auckland, New Zealand. After making a call out on the reflector I had a reply from Marlene, ZL1MYL. We had a nice but brief chat and she told me that there had been messages passed through the Auckland D-STAR repeater for people in the earthquake damaged city of  Christchurch. Messages received were being relayed on via other modes on VHF to Christchurch, as that city does not have a D-STAR repeater.  The chat with Marlene was short as she had to take a phone call, but I did then talk to her husband Laurence, ZL1ICU.

Later tonight I saw the message from the ARRL that confirms that 2m is being used to support the recovery efforts and currently not HF.

If you have traffic for someone in Christchurch then one possible route in is via the Auckland D-STAR repeater ZL1VHD.

Ottawa Amateur Radio Club Presentation

OARC meeting

Just before the start of the OARC meeting (photo copyright of the OARC)

Last week I drove through a snowy evening to give a presentation to the Ottawa Amateur Radio Club (OARC).  The meeting was in one of the rooms in City Hall and I have to admit it was my first time attending the OARC.

I was greeted by Dave, VE3TLY, the president and others and it certainly seems to be an active club.  There was a report on the club construction project and talk about the upcoming Canadian Ski Marathon and the amateur radio support that is given.

My talk was on D-STAR in the Ottawa Area and started with some D-STAR principles, covered a little on the local repeater VA3ODG and finished off with a look at the current projects and developments.  A pdf of the slides are here:> OARC Presentation PDF.

I finished off with a demonstration and tuned the HT to module B of repeater VA3ODG and chatted with a small group that had assembled there.  There was some luck as using the repeater with Maurice-Andre, VE3VIG was Greg, VA3OMP, using his FREE STAR* repeater as well as a station connecting in from Florida. This nicely illustrated the linking to the repeater from outside the local area and use of a different (FREE STAR*) network, which I had just earlier mentioned in my talk.

After the demonstration there was some good questions and comments from the audience.  The meeting officially wound-up and over coffee I had pleasant discussions with a number of the club members.

A great evening and thanks to the OARC for inviting me and making me so welcome.

LHS Episode #056: The Squeal of Feedback

Hi, folks. Episode #054 of Linux in the Ham Shack is an all-feedback episode. We cover a lot of ground in this one, from how to run Linux using WUBI, via dual boot, from a flash drive and more. There’s a bit about PIC controllers, feed problems, sticks in the mud, a sprinkling of badgers and a whole lot more. Keep that feedback coming. We love it!

73 de The LHS Guys

D-STAR symposium was a success

Ottawa D-STAR Symposium Logo

Last Saturday  the Ottawa Amateur Radio Digital Group had their first Ottawa D-STAR symposium at Carleton University.  As a co-organizer I may be a little biased but I think this was a great success.  Despite snow flurries in the morning, causing bad weather conditions for some driving in, the day went very smoothly.  We used the internet to the full, with one presentation coming in via Skype from the UK; wireless access was provided for delegates; we had live streaming of the presentations as well as running a DVAP dongle too.

We had a full room and the presentations were excellent.  The final list of presentations were as follows:

  • Welcome, Logistics, Agenda – VA3STL
  • Introductions – VE3CVG
  • D-STAR Past, Present, Future – VE3EI
  • The VA3ODG System  – What Is – VE3CVG
  • Linking and Routing – VA3KA
  • DVAPs, Dongles and HotSpots – M0GRU
  • Lunch
  • The Spaghetti Bowl  – VE3CVG
  • Overview of Gateway Technologies – VE2BFW
  • ID1 and High Speed Data – VA3YH
  • D-RATs Overview- VA3STL
  • DPRS Overview – VA3YH
  • Plans: Almonte Amateur Radio Club – VE3UIX
  • Discussion

The slides of the talks can be found at the West Carleton Amateur Radio Club website and there is a link to some recordings of the streaming.

Andrew, M0GRU, was the presenter from the UK and he was displayed on a large screen TV whilst he could see the delegates by two web-cams in the room.  We were lucky to be joined by Greg who had managed to fly back from Regina,SK the previous night.  It was also good to be joined by Andrew’s father Rob, VE3UIX, who gave an update on the Almonte, D-Star repeater project.  Eric, VE3EI, of Icom Canada travelled up from the Niagara region to give the first talk of the day and an excellent overview of D-STAR’s past and future (watch for the IC-9100 being available in December/January, but start saving the money!).

The symposium ran from 10am to 4pm and because of many questions and full presentations there was little time for discussion at the end.

Feedback so far has been good and so I am very pleased with a successful day.

Thanks have to go to my co-organizer, Rick, VE3CVG; the Ottawa Amateur Radio Digital Group; the Dept. of Electronics for kindly providing the facilities; the Carleton University Amateur Radio Club members for helping guide the attendees around the campus; Maurice-Andre, VE3VIG, who unfortunately could not attend  but did provide directions over the air to those that needed it; and of course all the presenters and participants.

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