Sunday 29 November 2009

Weekend update

I have been  busy playing around with the new addition to the shack the TS450S. Before pressing it into service on data modes I have been tuning round the bands and having a few SSB QSOs on 40 and 80 metres. All in all it seems to work well, it is quite fussy about various settings, the ALC in particular must be kept at a reasonable level or the rig won't operate properly, the Auto ATU works reasonably well (Apart from 160 metres where it doesn't work at all- the manual warns you of this).
As a receiver it seems quite lively, though if you are interested in receiving Medium Wave it wouldn't be much use as sensitivity is deliberately much lower in that part of the spectrum. The connections on the rear include a small 13 Pin DIN socket for use on data modes. Although I made up the leads between my data interface and my TS830 I didn't fancy my chances of soldering up a tiny 13 pin connector so a quick email to Dave G3VFP of EZE UK confirmed a lead for the 450s was available, so that has been ordered and hopefully will arrive soon.I have always liked Kenwood/Trio Gear and am not disappointed with the 450S so far. My main rig is a Yaesu FT1000MP which is a superb rig but I feel its complexity means its not the most suitable rig for data modes.
In the meantime, last night whilst chatting to a few local amateur friends on 2 metres we also exchanged a few pictures on SSTV on 20 metres. The band was otherwise dead, as it seems to be here after dark, but it was interesting to use this mode as it is years since I have used SSTV. The software we used was MMSSTV, which seems to work really well. I have in the recent past also tried digital SSTV using a program called Easypal and the quality of pictures this produces is amazing. It does however seem to be quite a resource intensive program and the old PC which I use for radio applications struggles to run it.In addition I don't think it is a mode which is very tolerant to QRM.If you are interested in receiving Digital SSTV then on 80 metres around 3730Khz in the evenings is the best place. It sounds quite unlike analogue SSTV. As I understand it the software technology is based on the DRM transmissions that some international shortwave broadcasters now use.

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