Had some success this weekend getting in a decent image from NOAA-18. Revived an old Asus P5Q Pro motherboard with an Intel Q6600 quad-core processor and hooked up my Behringer USB sound card and R2FX receiver. Reception wasn't great, but I blame that on my turnstile antenna, which needs a tune-up apparently. Unfortunately on Sunday the computer died suddenly, most likely a motherboard failure, so we're stuck with one image only.
Kip is back to normal. She is uprooting my veggies, eating worms that hardly fit in her beak and growing back the tail feathers she had lost in the attack. Her left wing is still drooping a bit, though and I doubt if that will ever heal. At least she is not in pain there.
Kip is doing a lot better. I placed her outside in her cage to get her used to her familiar life. At first she made picking movements but was still too afraid to eat of drink herself. As soon as I stopped feeding her in the morning she became too hungry and by the end of the day I saw a small dent in the corn I had put out for her: success!
I'm force-feeding kip three times a day right now. She gets vitamin C laced water from a syringe and I push corn and wheat flakes in her beak which she doesn't like, but still swallows. In the evening we take a nap together. But, she is a lot more lively than a few days ago, so that is a good sign.
Kip is in shock. She can hardly stand and her left side is clearly hurt. She sleeps most of the time, doesn't eat or poop at all. She also doesn't drink and that worries me.
We had a big scare this morning. Just as I was busy in the kitchen I heard kip starting to scream. When I rushed out I saw a bird of prey on top of kip, who was on its back, just outside our kitchen. I didn't see what kind of bird it was because it flew away at once. Kip didn't show any sign of life and was bleeding from its head.
When I picked it up I couldn't feel her heart beat, but after a couple of minutes it came back to life. It has lost a lot of feathers and down and one of its wings droops in a strange fashion. She has slept all day, but hasn't eaten and only drank a little water we fed her by means of a pipette.
Card in the mail from JA0JHQ/VK9C: DXCC 111 confirmed.
SFI=78 SSN=22 A=10 K=1
Tonight it seems nothing goes: not a single station from North America and calling CQ doesn't yield much return, even though Europe is coming in fine. I worked one English station and a surprise from South America: CE3JRI from Chile.
This is the sorry state of my medium/longwave loop. The wooden wire guides split due to moisture, despite several layers of lacquer. The wire also broke in several pieces, so we'll have to do it all over again.
Cannot have no QSL card, so I designed a new one. US$60 for a 1000 cards and I had them the next day from my local printer. Printed labels and now 200 are ready to be shipped via the bureau.
Today's conditions were not as good as yesterday, but I did work two new US states: NJ and FL!
Solar conditions: SFI=73 SSN=11 A=5 K=1
Playtime tonight. Within 4.5 hours I made a stellar number of FT8 QSOs: 50, working stations from 19 different DXCC entities (Germany, the Netherlands, UK, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Finland, Poland, Lithuania, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Canada, the USA, China, Japan and Taiwan (tnx BV2FB)).
Forgot this month is JASTA month. Got QSSTV going, but it wasn't easy.
Made some FT8 QSOs tonight, one with Iowa even, but there were sudden ionospheric disturbances and even black outs where the whole 20 meter band suddenly went dead. Even regular Japanese stations would come in -18dB only. Very funny.
Put in two 1.8 meter ground rods in today. It didn't make much difference with regards to the noise level on HF, but LF and VLF got another 10 dB boost in signal strength.
At night there was a good opening towards Japan and on 1278 kHz my favorite station - RKB - came in very well. Here a recording made
around 12 UTC. The ID can be heard a minute in the recording.
Have been making some contacts with the new mode FT8 lately. Today I got my first new country with this mode: AP2AM from Pakistan.
Today I also passed the 1000 km mark with my scooter: 49,400 km.
Put the garden vertical on the roof, but higher than the other one: 5 meters above the roof and 3 meters above the water tank. Two radials attached as was in the garden. Scanning the 15 MHz broadcast band I noticed 6 S-points difference between the two verticals, with some stations barely coming out of the noise on the lower one and S9 on the higher one.
At night it was a different story: S7~9 noise/rattle, but the lower vertical was giving off only a little noise, albeit also little signal. The noise/rattle seems to be from the power lines that run all over the place, but it needs more investigating. In the mean time the garden seems to be the best place for an antenna, not the roof.
First FT8 QSO with HS7WMU. I forgot to switch antennas, so it was made with the delta loop for 6 meters!!!!!
Had my first ever JT9 QSO with VK6KXW. I made a slight mistake with the macros, but otherwise it was a successful QSO.
Put up this temporary vertical in the garden to compare it with the vertical on the roof.
We had quite a scare last night. In the afternoon it started raining with heavy thunder and within 5 hours 110 mm of water came down. We couldn't find Kip, our Japanese hen and we knew she would be scared by the lightning and thunder. She also didn't come home at night, but it was too dark and wet to go out looking for her. Still no sign of her this morning, but then just after nine we heard her familiar cackling and there she was: very wet and very hungry. She had some corn then started straightening out her feathers.
Finally finished my shack. Here the operating position....
Here the vent with new plexiglass window and coax connectors.
Now it's time to enjoy (and work on antennas).
And another six eggs, today! Unfortunately one broke.
Kip decided to lay another egg today. She is quite productive.
Kip was acting a little weird when I came home this afternoon. She had already laid two eggs in the window frame, but then when I started filming she gave me a surprise.
Kip has grown up now. Today her first egg. 49 mm long, 35 mm at its widest.
From the garden: after tending to it for four years our desert rose is rewarding us with flowers.
The rhubarb is coming along, too.
My wife forgot to dig up some old ginger and all of a sudden it started shooting up leaves from the soil.
Finished itching another scratch: the ceiling light in the shack. Got the LED fixtures for free, the rest was US$10 only.
Put up a 2x5m dipole to check the difference between it and the 5m vertical. Ran WSPR in listening mode for two days in a row, but the difference was minimal. Nice to receive VY0ERC all the way from the North Pole.
Despite the noise still two QSOs today on 20 meters in CW: one with Malaysia and one with Russia (almost 7500 km). With a little bit of conditions there is still some hope to get some signal out.
An unknown station on 1611 kHz which sounded like coming from the Philippines. Suddenly off at 13:06 UTC, but just before that they mentioned Naga a couple of times, so it could be DWNX, which is listed on this channel. Pretty strong!
First step of the remote control system for my medium wave loop. Arduino Uno with a 28BYJ48 stepper motor. The gears and the rest is from my junk box.
Five months to this day not a single QSO made. Today was different: heard WH6WI calling CQ in CW on 20 meters and since nobody answered I gave him a call. He faded quickly, so not much of a QSO it was. Three hours later, on the same frequency, YF1CRR calling CQ and luckily he came in a bit better.
From the garden...
My wife made cinnamon rolls for the first time. Quite a success.
After a long period without rain we finally had some in the last couple of days. It certainly cleaned the power lines of all the gunk they amassed for a few months.
The result: the usual S9+ noise level is down to almost nothing on 13 meters and moderate levels on 20 meters.
Next part of my shack finished: a home build 2.4 meter high stack of shelves.
Had a stellar night, last night. Got rid of the last interference from my PC, which lowered the noise floor by quite a bit, and conditions were great after some lackluster days. Immediately logged 8 new beacons and the highlights were ML 343 from Minami Torishima (another entity/country) and PNI 366 Pohnpei from Micronesia (another new country). The last one was very strong and while monitoring it all of a sudden TN 366 Shin Tachikawa from Japan faded in, my second Japanese NDB. Coincidence, because I heard them earlier this week when checking out the KiwiSDR near Tokyo. The output power is only 50 Watts, so I was very pleased with this one.
First test with two nRF905 modules, one transmitting data from a Arduino/DS1820 temperature sensor combo to another Arduino hooked up to a laptop. The nRF905 modules need level conversion, so I build two where the modules can be plugged in dir
We made yogurt in our incubator for the first time. Two liters full cream milk, four tablespoons of unsweetened yogurt bought in the store and 24 hours in the incubator.
The ideal temperature: 43 degrees Celsius.
After 24 hours the milk had turned mildly sour and thickened a bit. After straining it became nice, creamy, thick yogurt.
The good people of the NCC came by today to check my station. Some measurements with a spectrum analyzer to see if my TS440S put out a clean signal and within the hour they were gone. Cost me US$30, but at least I have my station license now.
Long wave keeps on being an amazing band. Tonight the noise level was very low; so low I had to check if my 5 meter vertical antenna was even connected properly. Checking NDBs I didn't find that conditions were favouring any particular area. It only seemed that local stations were coming in better than usual and a lot of more distant regulars (read: Chinese stations) were not heard. But after scanning for an hour I was more than pleased: the first Indonesian NDB heard (OJ, 375), the first NDB from Hong Kong (LC, 390), first time Kaohsiung heard (SK, 330) and a nice mix up of SQ and VQ, both from China, on 398 kHz. With the Indonesian beacon I break the 3000 km range for the first time.
The little chicks we keep in our garden have developed an eye problem. Need to check with the experts on how to treat this.
I promise that from this day on I will write something every now and then.
In the mean time a photo I took from my garden in December 2016.