26-November-2019 – my first contact on the 2.30 GHz NoV band

With the SG-Labs 13cm transverter in a box indoors, I can use a sub-band switch on the front panel of the box to switch between 2.30, 2.32 and 2.4 GHz. At 1870 MHz, the LO (Local Oscillator) frequency is rather low for the Microwaves Modules 70cm transverter (1870+430=2300 MHz) as I have not reprogrammed the SG-Labs transverter, so I thought the configuration might not work on the 2.300 to 2.302 GHz NoV band. I had configured the K3 with a 2300 band setting to generate the correct frequency on 10m band Intermediate Frequency (IF) feed to the 70cm transverter.

Using my Tiny VNA as a signal source, I found I could receive in the 2.30 GHz band.

I tried a contact on transmit with Keith G4ODA. It worked easily! Keith’s signal was very strong. I was using the Andrew linear amplifier producing about 50W, feeding the 40 el Wimo yagi through some metres of Ultraflex-10.

Really the SG-Labs transverter needs re-programming to give a more appropriate LO frequency, but it is nice that something works on the NoV band for the time being.

UK radio amateurs can apply for an NoV here for the 2.300-2.302 GHz band.

Ubuntu Linux: “Stopped – Unable to add document to print job” Epson ET-4500 printer

Whilst in the middle of printing,  I accidentally touched the turn-off button on the printer & after that, nothing would print and the printer status in the System Settings/Printers for my ET-4500 showed as: “Stopped – Unable to add document to print job”.

I searched the printer menus, but could find nothing to help. It just wasn’t handshaking.

I deleted the printer and re-installed, selecting Network Printer and AppSocket/HP JetDirect. In the host field I typed the fixed IP address 192.168.m.n (m.n being the numbers I assigned in the printer settings). I clicked Forward and selected the test page option.

It worked!

22-Oct-2019 SHF UKAC 3cm and 13cm

I worked a few locals on 3cm, collecting my partner from the station in between. I could just hear David G4ASR in the noise, but not strong enough to work. I had elevated the dish a tad in order to clear the ridge of trees. Anything south is a problem. I failed with John G4ZTR. Kjeld OZ1FF didn’t respond to my meeps on ON4KST KST chat. So about 400 points on that band maybe.

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I had taken the relay box down from the pole the previous day for 13cm. That Tue eve I finally found the fault. I had added an LED to show when the relay was on transmit. This drew just enough current to have the side effect of latching the relay to receive (energised), so no RF out on transmit! I disconnected the LED & the relay worked. So I just lashed it up on the bench. I worked Denis on about 1W at the antenna. Then I cabled in the linear with some attenuation to get 20-25W for a couple more. I tried John G3XDY near the end of the contest and logged what I heard. Then I timed out.

Denis G3UVR was easier to hear on 3cm.

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I’ll try a low-current LED. If I get a good spell of wx, I’ll put the box back on the mast & get the pre-amp nearer the antenna. I haven’t tried the relay or pre-amp before. The Narda relay is nice & chunky, but its markings suggest it is only rated up to 1 GHz.  I may have made the Noise Factor worse on receive, but I have some more dB on transmit. I’ve included a Band-Pass Filter in the box, so that worsens the NF a little more.

At least all the control circuitry seems to be working: sequencing, 12V to the pre-amp, 24V to the antenna relay etc. The 40el Wimo yagi is back up on its jockey pole so I can do terrestrial 13cm again. It has been nearly a year since I started upgrading 13cm with a pre-amp and linear.

The SG-Labs transverter is now in a box in the shack, with reverse-polarity protection, sub-band switch: 2.3 Ghz, 2.32 GHz and 2.4 GHz, power switch, ref. osc. input switch, indicator LEDs power switch and a nice Anderson power plug. I want to add drive power switching and a monitor meter.

 

Problem: ASUS ZenPad 3s 10 fails to turn on/won’t start – magic spell

Generally this tablet works very well. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, it fails to turn on with the Power button (the small silver button about a quarter of the way down from the top on the right-hand side).

I keep forgetting how to clear this problem, so I am making a note here. The problem has happened a few times over the years.

I waved my fingers over the device and pronounced the following spell with gravity: Nil Desperandum Carborundrum! Then I held down the Volume-Down button (nearer the top on the RHS) and the Power button together for 5 seconds.

This elicits a sort of boot menu:

Select Boot Mode:

[Press VOLUME_DOWN to select item. Press VOLUME_UP to confirm.]

[Recovery    Node]                                             <<==

[Fastboot      Node]

[Normal        Boot]

Normal Boot sounded good, so I clicked Volume-Down twice to select it and Volume-Up to activate it. I got the ASUS banner & then the PIN screen. I entered the PIN & it booted fine.

Then I shut the tablet down.

Holding down the Power button alone (for about 6 seconds) worked then to start the tablet.

Now I’ve shared this magic spell with you, I have to shoot you.

This reminds me of a wonderful T-shirt from tech support days. On the front it said: It should just work…

 

25-July-2019: Tropo propagation on 23cm & 3cm

I was up early and I must have heard some beacons and messaged DL1KDA via the ON4KST site for a contact on 3cm. We were 419 each way using CW (morse code) at 0650 GMT.  622 km to Alex in JO30MP. Alex beamed 018 deg off a reflection!

On 23cm at 0720 GMT I worked Hans DK2MN 59 each way SSB into JO32MC using my usual 8W to the 44el Wimo yagi. I asked if Hans had 3cm and he did. This resulted in an SSB contact. He was 58 with me and he gave me 57. 595 km and “arm-chair” copy!

I could hear the beacon PA0TGA/b on 10368.023 MHz in JO21WU at 529 km.

26-May-2019 UK Microwave Group 3cm contest

There had been some rain about, so I was hoping for some decent conditions. I was disappointed. Unusually, GB3FNY was only 10dB above noise, so I suspected a receive problem. Neil G4DBN said he heard FNY well down too and reckoned it was microwave- absorbing rain/drizzle.

I gave a few points away to just five stations: Neil G4DBN, Denis G3UVR, David G4RQI, Nick G4KUX and G3ZME/P. The latter station was over to the SW from here, so difficult over the ridge & through the trees.

I heard no-one to the SE.

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