27 Feb 2012

Opera

Are we witnessing the death of Opera?
After the initial surge it seems to have ground to a halt - its a shame really as I thought it would lead somewhere - I like the software, it appears to be more interactive than Wspr and is easier to get going.
I have just been monitoring for a period on 17 and 20m and normally the reports side would rapidly fill and scroll off the page with all the activity - today,  a handful of reporting stations on various bands - my beacon was received in Moscow, France, and Spain and nothing else and on 10Mhz nothing - just one station who was way off frequency anyway.
I am quite surprised to see so few stations using it now - this happened the other day so I switched over to the FT450D and set up for Wspr and was Immediately reported in VE, W, VK, ZL literally within minutes ...   so it was not a case of poor propagation - One of the things I would like to see introduced into Opera  are receiving stations Locators which in the most part are not usually given, and all this information to appear in spreadsheet format (In a grid)  - I am not a programmer so I have no idea whats involved, whilst I realize this is in "Test Beta" experimental phase it's still early days - I will continue to monitor Opera's progress, meantime I have returned to using Wspr, there are simply more stations out there.
 

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7 Feb 2012

20m Wspr

Did some Wspr’ing today earlier on10m and was basically drawing a blank, but when I looked very closely at the display there was a very faintest of faint traces appearing, disappearing – then re-appearing , it was FR1GZ  in Mauritius, and for half an hour the marginal propagation shifted this way NNW/SSE and he appeared in my list – I think it’s termed “Trans Equatorial Propagation” ?! correct me if I’m wrong.

I also noticed other smaller groups of close-by stations were copying each other – presumably ground or direct wave.

I then decided to check down the bands 24mhz, 21mhz, 18mhz, finally 14mhz which looked very busy, so busy in fact positively crawling!

wspr1Capture from todays Wspr session

I dont recall 20m being this busy and in amongst those reporting my 5w transmissions were VK4TMH  W3CSW  KF3BH  VK5ADE  VK3BDK  4Z4TJ   My original intention was to test the I-Pro vertical dipole and with the use its had on these modes AND Cw and NEVER exceeding 50w cw  the haul of “Dx” stations either heard or worked has been impressive to say the least and if I were THAT keen on “chasing” !!! Well I DONT I am happy to work “Dx” as and when – I dipped out on T32C strangely on their first   weekend, and that was the strongest I’d heard them – about 5/5 SSB but could not be bothered to plug in the mic (It’s under lock and key)  Only joking…!


Propagation

I notice current solar activity has dropped off – we’re into Feb now and a mile away from September figures where the solar flux peaked out at 190 on the 24th last year – Sunspots were 208 during early November, as we speak the SFI  is  112 A:Index 4,  K:Index  3

I dont thing this is going to be the big one at all, in fact I reckon it’s going to be a short cycle, if you remember it was slow to get going.

Next year 2013 is my predicted peak, so I am going to try and make the best of it and get out there /P and have some fun – I hope it’s a hot summer !

6 Feb 2012

Psk31 Today

Today for a change I was hanging out on the Psk channels as I was up very early and thought I might catch a few Dx stations on - or different calls anyway - that proved to be the case, but THE  B I G miss of the day was VK3AMA - I was just lurking on or around 28.120 and I just happened to glance up at the screen and spotted him just finishing his call so I jumped in, he seemed a workable strength but would my 25w make the trip ?...  No it would'nt, so I bumped it up to 35w and called him again, there was a pause and he continued then disappeared completely - strangely when I looked on Hamspots I was the only one who had spotted him - so after that I just took it casually and switched bands without ANY DX at all, so had to content myself with more "Local" contacts.



Giovanni IN3GNV in Bolzano.IT.  was an interesting contact - I think for the first time we broke out of the "Macro Syndrome" and it turned into a "Rag Chew", I actually enjoyed it but had to have my wits about me without cocking up ! (Anyone for Psk125 Qso) LIVE keyboard to keyboard ?
Did'nt think so....! 
Would be interesting to see how others have their "macros" set up so you can "Chain Link" the important bits
Any Takers ?
Going to try some more Psk later - I guess it's all time consuming but it's the learning bit thats fun.









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1 Feb 2012

Opera Problem ?!

Been very active this week listening to CW, plus the odd bit of Psk and constantly trying to keep up with the ever changing Ros,  AND Opera, what a fascinating piece of software...
Now - is it just ME, or is there a problem with Opera v1.2.0 up?
Antenna or locator information being tagged on to the end of lines ?

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