As a licensed listener 🙂 one of the aspects which drew me to radio as a hobby was the huge variety of paths it can take you down, I would like to construct a Mag Loop antenna, Peter M0DCV gave a really interesting and informative talk and demonstration at a club evening, not only was their the construction element which attracted me, but how the loop was controlled and tuned.
Looking on the internet and YouTube shows plenty of mag loops being controlled via an Arduino, this is completely new to me so the best place for me to start was to get a starter kit off Ebay, the kit cost £31 and is an Arduino clone (Sintron) and contains everything to play with, (Servos, leds, LCD displays etc) well everything apart from an instruction book, fortunately after the purchase, the vendor sends you a link to download a whole host of manuals and projects.
I was up and running within about 10 minutes with the first project which was to make the on board led flash, the next project was the make traffic lights following the UK convention and this setup is in the picture, this slowly slowly approach is good for me as I’m learning how the code works and what are the effects when you make changes.
The ultimate aim is to download a program which will control a motor connected to the tuning control on a mag loop.
Note – The ribbon patch connectors in the picture was bought separately, again from Ebay for £0.99p including free postage!
I have ordered a larger motor, motor interface and rotary enumerator, once configured, the motor will mimic the turns of the manual rotary control. I will post up more when it arrives.
Been to a few radio rallies and at the CDARC surplus sale on the 13 February I recently bought a Heathkit GD-1U Grid Dip Oscillator complete with the original coils, a bargain at £10.
Thanks to Andy (G6OHM) for sending me the link to the service manual and David (M0ZEB) for the Assembly and User Guide.
GD-1U-GPO Assembly and User Guide (7.3Mb File).
GD-1A-GDO Assembly & User Guide.
Aurora alert status added to Chatteris weather pages – space weather, source of UK Aurora information is here.
After a snowfall I noticed that the weather site was missing a snow depth indication, so I’ve enabled the feature in the Weather Display software, this results in the Rain column being replaced with a Rain/Snow column on the home page.
I will revert to Rain only in the summer.
I realised fairly early on that I would need some form of antenna analyser if I was to build my own, the decision was then which one and how much to spend!
I opted to buy the MFJ260C Pro – Link to Manual as this has all the frequency ranges that I will need and a number of very useful, added value features, such as:
Coax Loss measurement
Length (distance) to open or short circuit
Capacitance in pico Farads
Inductance in micro Henries
The money to help pay for this came from not having to pay two months of council taxes, I ordered the unit from Ham Radio Outlet, New Hampshire, USA, their was a January promotion of a $50 reduction which eased the pain a bit!
The meter took 4 days to reach the Parcel Force Cambridge depot where it sat until I paid £64 release fee (£54 VAT and £8 handing fee), it would have been nice if I didn’t have to pay this, but I knew when I ordered it that it was a real possibility, nevertheless, I saved over £71.00!
Well I didn’t actually save £71 as the unit needs batteries to be portable, I bought rechargeable ones as I didn’t want to keep opening the case to remove batteries when not in use, also this allows me to regularly keep the batteries charged in-situ, the downside was that these cost nearly £30 – (10 AA 2000mAH batteries bought in packs of 4 from Argos).
I’ll give another write-up once I know how to turn it on 🙂
After reading reviews and watching YouTube videos, I decided to buy a BHI noise cancelling speaker from Radioworld ltd – Link to Information.
I opted for this version as it has a small footprint and is very adaptable, for example if I choose to put a rig in a vehicle, transferring it is a very simple matter of unplugging the audio 3.5mm jack from the transceiver and 12v power lead, the other plus was that it has a 3.5mm mono headphone jack which cuts the speaker when plugged in, meaning the feed to the headphones benefits from the noise cancelling. (see warning)
The unit works really well and reduces interference and in some cases completely eliminates it enabling me to hear stations which I couldn’t otherwise.
The speaker has a number of controls:
Power Off/ Audio Bypass, with this ON the unit is a powered amplifier with the volume being adjusted but a control on the top of the speaker (Note – as a powered speaker it is susceptible to picking up the polling of any mobile phones near to the unit which can be very annoying), with the power on, but the noise cancellation OFF, a RED led will be lit on the front of the unit.
Turning noise cancellation ON is done by a slide switch on the top of the unit, the LED will change to green when in this mode, a multi-position rotary switch on the rear of the unit adjusts the level of filtering, you know when you have too much noise cancellation as the speech sounds like they are underwater!
I’m very pleased with the unit and it works well, two things I have found is that the filtering initially introduces latency during tuning until the noise cancelling stabilizes, this only takes a few moments but gives the impression that you are not on frequency with the tendency therefore to tune past the spot frequency in use, the other issue is that any roger bleep, radio confirmation or CW tone is not caught by the noise cancelling circuit and will break through the unit at an Warning – incredibly loud volume, be aware of this if you are wearing headphones (as I found out!!).
I have added a Guestbook on the Chatteris Weather web site, there is a link in the top left of this pages sidebar.
Please feel free to give feedback on the site or this blog.
The policy can be viewed Here.
28 March 15 superseded, details here.
Due to my previous blogs about a dodgy power supply unit (PSU) used for Chatteris Weathers Blitzortung lightning detector, I ordered a low electrical noise PSU off ebay.com, I ordered the 5v PSU on the 5th January, I received a mail confirming dispatch on the 7th January and on the 10th January it arrived from Hong Kong!
I plugged the unit in the detected signal quality is excellent, the PSU was quite expensive, but well worth the money as the performance of the unit is considerable better than before.
Spot the spelling mistake 🙂
5v USB at 1A and an output of 8.5v which I have used to power thermostat controlling the temperature in the small equipment room.
TeraDak unit next to my NAS.
Although ‘smoothing’ is on, the trace is considerably better than anything before it.
Lightning detection trace, picked up from Scotland, so not that far away.
This is Part 2 from this previous thread, the remaining parts have arrived so I could complete the circuit which (hopefully) will give a relatively accurate positional indication, the circuit uses two LM3914 (one for Pan the other Tilt) with a potential divider signal being derived from the potentiometers (Pots) within the Pan/Tilt head, I have mounted the reference resistors slightly proud of the Veroboard as I’m not convinced that the values are correct, so I will be able to modify these from the top of the Veroboard.
Circuit diagram of positional indication for the Pan element, for Tilt I have used three LEDs and so the wires from each LED will go to the appropriate leg of the IC which has the correct voltage when aligned to the correct position, a mod to make is to convert the mode of the LM3914, so instead of a ‘spot’ led indication used as in the direction indication, where each LED follows each other and then fades out, the tilt will show the LEDs staying on as the platform transitions from zero degrees to ninety degrees.
Veroboard showing resistors raised for ease of modification should it be needed as the accuracy of the Pan/Tilt pots has not yet been confirmed.
The Veroboard has been temporarily secured using a cable tie, this arrangement will be replaced with something more permanent when the unit has been proved in service.
Connector block with two sets of three wires for the Pan/Tilt positional feedback Pots, followed by the Pan and Tilt motor drives and at the end, the brake release feed.
The supply is 24vDC which is reduced and regulated to 12v via board on the right, this is fully adjustable and will be used to tweak the voltages to make allowances for any external cabling voltage drops that are incurred at installation.