New QSL Cards Received

Some Qsl cards received via e-QSL the last week or so.

Particularly happy to have RI1ANL Antarctica confirmed on 40m.

Received in FT8 mode using JTDX software, and Airspy HF+ or SDRPlay RSP Duo receivers and homemade mini whip on the balcony.

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Meteor M2 & NOAA Weather Sat

Over the last couple months I have been receiving images from  the Russian Meteor M2 LRPT and the NOAA 15/18/19 APT weather Sats as you might have seen from earlier posts.  The Russian Meteor has excellent resolution in its images I believe 1km, compared to the NOAA 4km sats.

To receive these images I use my Airspy HF+ or SDRplay RSP DUO and for an antenna I use a V-dipole with a LNA4ALL preamp.  If I use the SDRplay I have to record the pass and play the file with SDR# to decode the Meteor sat for the NOAA sats I can record live while using WXtoimg.  If using the HF+ I can record live on both.

And I have found software called MeteorGIS and with this you can create compositions similar to what WXtoimg does with the NOAA sats.  And another good tool with MeteorGIS is it removes the black bars caused by the fault in the Meteor sat that puts a black bar across the image every six minutes, it also removes little lines in the image caused by poor decode.  So basically it is filling in the missed data with artificial data from surrounding pixel data in the image.  The results are good and more pleasing on the eye. Below is some examples of recent Meteor visual and infra red night passes.  Using the MeteorGIS software as you can see in the visual composition if the missing data is too large caused by signal fade the software does not fill it in .

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Reception of Meteor M2 Weather Sat

I have been receiving and decoding images recently from the NOAA weather Sats with decent results using my Airspy HF + and V dipole antenna on my balcony.

I was reading about the Russian Meteor weather Sats people have been receiving and getting some very good images from for some time now.  The advantage with the Meteor Sats is their image resolution is 1km the NOAA APT Sats are 4km, So more detail in the image can only be a good thing.   I stumbled across a fellow Scots website Les Hamilton, full of information and links to software to get you started.

I used the Amigos LRPT decoder in real time under TCP while connected to SDR#, and using Smooth Meteor to further enhance the image. Below is the image I received

The first is the enhanced image and cropped to show the best part of the decode, the UK is barely visable under all the cloud.  The second is the original decoded image, the two black bars are caused from a malfunction on the satellite every six minutes.  The other thin lines are signal fade.

Meteor 23-11-182018-11-23-8-8-58-718_123

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NOAA 19 WX Sat Full Pass

Here is a YT video of NOAA 19 pass with 73 deg max elevation.  Received with Airspy HF+ and SDR#, the antenna a V dipole out on the balcony

And the full image below as produced with WXtoIMG

 

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NOAA Wx Satellite Decoding

I have always been interested in receiving satellites and have decoded the NOAA sats many times with acceptable results,  sometimes the problem with the receiver was the lack of IF bandwidth nowadays with SDR this is not a problem.  In the past I would try and make QFH antennas they are circularly polarised ideal for sat reception.

However I found them difficult and time consuming to make, surfing the net today I came across an article by 9A4QV Adam and he had made a V dipole and was getting very good results 9A4QV article on V dipole

As you can see in Adams article the antenna itself is as basic as it gets and I made it in minutes and had it outside on the balcony next to my mini whip in no time.

The dipole was feeding my Airspy HF+ and using SDR# and WXtoImg I waited for the next available sat to see if it works.

Wow I was blown away by the results how could such a simple antenna produce an image as good as what I had in the past when using a QFH, obviously my construction of the QFH must have been off as it is difficult to make, on the other hand the V dipole is basic and easy to assemble but it works !

The first Sat to decode was Noaa 18 it was not an over head pass but the below image was received.  I just wonder If I use an inline amp might help with the slight noise bursts.  To the North I have buildings and hills so always going to struggle that said got down to about 12deg.  Will try tomorrow for overhead passes.

My thanks to Adam 9A4QV for coming up with this idea and posting the guide on the net!

noaa-18-mcir

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New Qsl Cards Received

Just some Qsl cards received via e-QSL with the exception 5H3EE and RI1ANO that where via QSL managers direct.

Received in FT8 mode using JTDX software, and Airspy HF+ receiver and homemade mini whip on the balcony

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Airspy HF+ and mini whip antenna

For a few weeks now I have been using my new receiver the Airspy HF+, its the latest must have SDR and many people have purchased one.  From what I have read online the vast majority of people are amazed how well this little receiver hears.  I myself am very happy with my purchase and for the price performance is stunning.

Mine cost £220 from Moonraker UK and was delivered on a Saturday with DPD, the first thing you will notice once you open the box is how small the thing is.  But when you pick it up it feels reassuringly heavy and solid with its metal case….no plastic here !

The other thing you will notice and that I really like is the two antenna ports both SMA so it makes connecting to antennas very easy, with my SDR play RSP2 the HI Z port was a pain when connecting to 50 ohm antennas and to tune the low frequencies you had to use that port.

I immediately connected the Airspy HF+ to my PC and within seconds was tuning with SDR console v3….just that easy! no messing around with drivers and such.

After I had it a day I noticed online people saying the low bands sensitivity was reduced and this was a bit alarming but then prog from the Airspy group forum posted a mod that could be done, so not ideal to be taking the case apart on a new SDR but the process is really simple four screws holds the case on and once inside the the part of the circuit board that needs the mod is spacious and unless you are really careless no damage can be done, the mod is basically shorting a capacitor with a small bit of wire…the “R3 Bypass”  the process took less than 10 minutes.

Once the mod was done sensitivity on the low bands was as good or even better than any other SDR receiver I have used previously and that includes SDR play, Perseus and Elad.

The software that Airspy offers namely SDR# is good and there is many third party plugins that can be used with it, for shortwave I just cant get used to it and prefer to use Simon Browns SDR console v3 for vhf SDR# might prove to be more useful with the available plugins.  But overall you are spoilt for choice with the current available free! software.

Feeding the Airspy HF+ with my mini whip I have had to take extra care with noise suppression as the little receiver is so sensitive and is very susceptible to noise if care is not taken.  I have uploaded a video to YouTube showing my current setup and the difference an RF isolation transformer makes in a mini whip power feed unit.

With this small antenna and small receiver from my town apartment in Southern Scotland, with current propagation I can receive Trans Atlantic NDB beacons and MW broadcast stations almost nightly with some really amazing signals check out my recent YouTube videos.

YouTube video Airspy HF+ and Mini Whip

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