Jul 14, 2014

RTL-SDR Improvements

The $20 RTL-SDR dongles are great little software defined radios that will allow you to tune in to a large portion of the frequency spectrum below 2Ghz, but unfortunately by default lacks most of the HF bands.  This can be rectified by using an up-converter like the Ham-It-Up, but now you are left with multiple cards and adapter cables which can be a bit of a mess.

With a few small modifications, and a couple extra parts you can turn this mess into a nice finished product that will not only make using your sdr easier, but will also improve the performance.

The first step is to remove the SMA connectors from the Ham-It-Up and the USB and MCX connectors from the RTL dongle.  Now that you have removed the original connectors from the boards you can hard wire the two boards together, and substitute your antenna connector of choice for the input (I chose BNC).  Once hard wired together this can all be put into a small metal project box to block out most noise.

Now you have a nice and compact sdr platform that is easy to take with you and performs better than it did before.  What more can you ask for :)

Credit goes to micah for the original idea also more pics and information at (http://thisisnt.com/put-it-in-a-box/)

May 29, 2014

Configuration tips for Fldigi

Once you have fldigi up and working with your radio there are a few other settings you may have overlooked which will likely improve your overall experience with data modes and fldigi.

QRZ.com Callsign Lookups

Unless you enjoy jumping back and forth between your web browser and the fldigi window looking up users callsigns you can let fldigi do the heavy lifting for you.  You can configure fldigi to use your qrz.com account to perform the callsign lookups for you.

In the fldigi configuration window select the Web tab and then the Call Lookup tab.  Check the QRZ.com checkbox, and fill in your username and password.  Hit save and close and you are setup.

To perform the lookup simply double click on the callsign in the receive window, then click on the world icon in the top control bar.  If all is successful you should see the users name and country.

Enabling Spotting

Using sites like pskreporter.info you can quickly see how far your data messages are traveling in near real time.  Using a network of spotters like yourself the website aggregates spotting data allowing you to see the bigger picture.  fldigi can be configured to report all call signs being received by your client to pskreporter.info automatically this will help pskreporter.info create a more complete picture of current working conditions, and also provide a handy tool for yourself to see at a glance what you are seeing out there.

To enable spotting open your fldigi configuration window and choose the Misc tab then the Spotting tab.  Select "Automatically spot callsigns in decoded text" and if you have rig control "Report rig frequency"  the default host and port are fine.  Once checked you must also click the "Initialize" button to enable spotting.

You now have spotting enabled.  To toggle spotting on and off simply use the spot button at the top right of the Fldigi window.


By default the fldigi app does not seem to save macros when you edit them.  To enable this go to the Fldigi configuration window and select the UI tab then the Macros.  Select "Load last used macro file on startup" and "Prompt to save macro file when closing" then select Save and Close. You are now be given the option to save any macro changes before closing fldigi.

Jan 13, 2014

Amateur Radio Frequencies By Class

Below is a list of frequencies available to transmit on as a licensed amateur radio operator.  Included are the beginning and end of each frequency range, the allowed modes, and the minimum class needed to be allowed to transmit.

Starts Ends Modes Min Class
160 Meter
1.8Mhz 2.0Mhz CW,Phone,Image,RTTY/Data General
80 Meters
3.525Mhz 3.600Mhz CW Only Technician
3.525Mhz 3.600Mhz CW, RTTY/Data General
3.800Mhz 4.00Mhz CW, Phone, Image General
40 Meters
7.025Mhz 7.125Mhz CW Only Technician
7.025Mhz 7.125Mhz CW, RTTY/Data General
7.125Mhz 7.300Mhz CW, Phone, Image General
30 Meters 1
10.100Mhz 10.150Mhz CW, RTTY/Data General
20 Meters
14.025Mhz 14.150Mhz CW, RTTY/Data General
14.225Mhz 14.350Mhz CW, Phone, Image General
14.150Mhz 14.350Mhz CW, Phone, Image Extra
17 Meters
18.068Mhz 18.110Mhz CW, RTTY/Data General
18.110Mhz 18.168Mhz CW, Phone, Image General
15 Meters
21.025Mhz 21.200Mhz CW Only Technician
21.025Mhz 21.200Mhz CW, RTTY/Data General
21.275Mhz 21.450Mhz CW, Phone, Image General
21.000Mhz 21.200Mhz CW, RTTY/Data Extra
21.200Mhz 21.450Mhz CW, Phone, Image Extra
12 Meters
24.890Mhz 24.930Mhz CW, RTTY/Data General
24.930Mhz 24.990Mhz CW, Phone, Image General
10 Meters
28.000Mhz 28.300Mhz CW, RTTY/Data Technician 1
28.300Mhz 28.500Mhz CW, Phone Technician 1
28.300Mhz 29.700Mhz CW, Phone, Image General
6 Meters
50.000Mhz 50.100Mhz CW Only Technician
50.100Mhz 54.000Mhz CW, Phone, Image, MCW, RTTY/Data Technician
2 Meters
144.000Mhz 144.100Mhz CW Only Technician
144.100Mhz 148.000Mhz CW, Phone, Image, MCW, RTTY/Data Technician
1.25 Meters
222.00Mhz 225.00Mhz CW, Phone, Image, MCW, RTTY/Data Technician
70 Centimeters
420.00Mhz 450.00Mhz CW, Phone, Image, MCW, RTTY/Data Technician
33 Centimeters
902.00Mhz 928.00Mhz CW, Phone, Image, MCW, RTTY/Data Technician
23 Centimeters
1270.00Mhz 1295.00Mhz CW, Phone, Image, MCW, RTTY/Data Technician

  1. Max power 200W PEP