Thurrock Acorns April 2015 Meeting

The monthly meeting of the Thurrock Acorns Amateur Radio Club for April 2015 was on the subject took at look at the often tricky topic of how to get computers and amateur radio to co-exist.

The club night in Grays saw a few new faces – including Essex Ham members Dorothy 2E0NCE and Richard M0CLZ from Basildon, Nathan M3ILB travelling from Chelmsford, plus Steve G4HXY (one of the chaps awarded a certificate at the previous day’s Skills Night.

Thurrock Acorns meeting April 2015 in Grays
Thurrock Acorns meeting April 2015 in Grays

After a few club announcements by TAARC Chairman Nick G4HCK, the floor was handed over to Peter M6RFW, who explained the basics of how to connect a PC to an amateur radio rig (in this case, a Yaesu FT817), before moving on to setting up and using SSTV.

Peter M6RFW explaining the basics of SSTV at TAARC
Peter M6RFW explaining the basics of SSTV at TAARC

After going through how SSTV works, Peter answered a number of questions from the floor about how to set up MMSSTV, before moving on to discussing the JT65 data mode. Although possibly not the most exciting mode, as the contacts mostly involve pressing a button to replay a short piece of text every two minutes, JT65 has the potential to get around the world on very low power. Peter stressed the importance of making sure the computer’s clock is bang-on, otherwise modes such as JT65 and WSPR won’t work.

Next, the floor was handed over to Pete M0PSX, who had brought along four devices to show some of the other things that are possible using laptops and tablets. Pete introduced four applications briefly: PSK31 on HRD, SDR#, Logger32 and Tablog. Rather than a detailed explanation of them all, Pete summarised the basics, and then was on hand to offer personal demonstrations to the club;s members.

Various computer applications, shown by Pete M0PSX
Various computer applications, shown by Pete M0PSX

Handy Links

For anyone interested in trying out any of the software mentioned by the two Peters, here are some software links:

  • MMSSTV – Free application for sending and receiving slow-scan TV
  • Ham Radio Deluxe – This link is for the paid version – Version 5 is free, and still available- HRD 5 Download
  • JT65: There are two programs – M6RFW favours JT65-HF, and Pete M0PSX prefers WSJT
  • Logger32 – PC logging application that allows you to control the rig via a CAT cable and set up alerts based on who’s on the DX Cluster
  • TabLog – Written by local amateur Charlie M0PZT, this allows fast and efficient logging from field events on an Android tablet
  • SDR# – Free Software Defined Radio package that can be used with the £10 SDR dongle

The following links might also be handy:

Thanks to Thurrock Acorns for a great night – You can find more details on the club at www.taarc.co.uk

More Photos

Ricky M6DII took a great series of photos from the night, which you can find here: Ricky’s Photography – Acorns Club Night – Here are three from Ricky’s collection:

Pete M0PSX demonstrating Slim Jim construction (courtesy Ricky M6DII)
Pete M0PSX demonstrating Slim Jim construction (courtesy Ricky M6DII)
TAARC April 2015 Meeting (courtesy Ricky M6DII)
TAARC April 2015 Meeting (courtesy Ricky M6DII)
Demonstrating TabLog on a cheap Android tablet (courtesy Ricky M6DII)
Demonstrating TabLog on a cheap Android tablet (courtesy Ricky M6DII)

Related Links

One Comment

  1. M0LMR 2E0NCE 22 April 2015 Reply

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