Wednesday, February 24, 2010

SDR Blog and the Way Forward

A nice note from Tobias, DH1TW, got me in touch with his fascinating blog "Contesting & SDR". As luck would have it, he has a nice set of reviews of a forthcoming SDR kit, the FA-SDR-TRX designed by Harald, DL2EWN, and published in 3 issues of the German magazine "Funkamateur", Oct. - Dec., 2009.

The kit is supposed to be coming in March. I can't wait. It may relieve my frustration.

SDR Frustration!

I finally got around to building the SoftRock RXTX 6.2 kit that I've had sitting on the bench for nearly two years. This was stimulated by some progress on the audio front.

After a number of tries, my Edirol FA-66 audio subsystem is working with Ubuntu Karmic Koala. In the past, I've run into issues with the questionable support for Firewire devices in Linux. Finally, I figured out enough about how to use the Jack audio connection kit and the FFADO/FreeBob Firewire driver to make things work. (I wouldn't say I understand Linux audio, though!) The FA-66 offers up to 24 bit sampling at 192 kHz, which should cover a substantial part of most of the HF Amateur bands.

So I need a front-end like the simple SoftRock boards to act as both receiver and transmitter. The RXTX 6.2 was going be the one. I built the nice switched dual crystal oscillator board for 20 and 30 M operation, and then was ready to tackle the main board.

Alas, the main PC board is missing! Either it never came with the kit, or it got mislaid back in 2008.

Now what to do? DH1TW sent a note that suggests an answer. See next post!

Monday, February 15, 2010

12 meter DX

The 24.9 MHz band was popping this morning. Worked SV3 (Greece) and YV1 (Venezuela) for fun. Solar activity is helping a lot.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Sun's a-poppin

Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy Blog compiled this neat video of what the Sun has been doing for us lately:

Sunday, February 07, 2010