One week on JT65 on 40m


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Activating CA0039 Gibraltar’s Point lighthouse at Toronto Islands

 This weekend, I had enormous pleasure and great honour participating in Gibraltar’s Point lighthouse activation by VE3TNC Toronto club members as part of the International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend




Gibraltar Point Lighthouse


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13 Colonies special event

A nice piece of fancy wallpaper arrived in the mail today:

13 US colonies - 2014


To get one, you need at least 1 QSO during the special event week (July 4th independence week) with any one of the 13 participating states stations – K2A, K2B, …

Great work by the organizers and the state stations/operators this year!

Thank you and 73!



Unattended (somewhat) JT9 / JT65 on 40m and JT-Alert

Once I had my digital interface in place, I used my new FT817ND with great success for ragchewing using PSK31, several contest-style contacts with W1AW on RTTY, and then some WSPR propagation tests, before I stumbled upon the WSJT-X app by K1JT following some questions from a ham on a local amateur radio club forum.

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N1MM Logger Plus

There is a new VB.NET ‘Plus’ replacement version of the popular N1MM logger coming soon! There is not much else info around but the screenshots look promising:


As it is VB.NET based, I was wondering if it will work on Linux / MacOS (e.g. by using Mono Framework)? It would be a pity if it remains Windows-only app after such a massive rework….

There is a Facebook fan page with regular updates posted and the app is now in beta-testing stage.

Would it have been better written in Java the first time instead so it would be truly cross-platform?

Portable 25W of solar power for ham radio

There is a nice add-on for a field day set for next year: Canadian Tire has a Coleman 40W solar panel (with charge controller) on sale for $124+tax (regular: $250+HST).

Tested it quickly in full sun – it was reliably giving 2 Amps charge at 13.8 Volts out. This is actually closer to 25W but still more than enough for a 5W QRP set!

The downside that it’s not really foldable (the leg is) and it’s quite bulky to carry around. But the upside is up to 25W of constant (re)charging power (in full sun).

Just need to plug-in a 60-65Ah car battery (or marine/RV one) and it’s good to go. May even be enough to run a small netbook for logging and digital modes from the same charge/battery.

They first came on sale on the last week of June – just before the Field day for $99, and now it was the second time but for $124. Possibly, will come again on sale closer to September.

UPDATE: This panel is on sale again for $99+tax starting this Friday until 9/18/2014.

Wired (and wireless) interface for digital modes for Yaesu FT-817ND

I had bought a sound card interface kit ( some time ago which I planned to use with soundcard-based digital modes such as PSK31 and RTTY.

Recently, I finally found time to build it and wire it to my new Yaesu FT817ND radio. Overall, it was an easy and pleasurable build – took me less than an hour. The design is very well thought and easily expandable.

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NASA proved a concept of an RF resonant cavity thruster (space engine) using 915MHz and 28W

This is quite an unusual application for microwaves and 35cm ham band.

NASA has finally confirmed that the Shawyer’s EmDrive engine works:

British aerospace engineer Roger J. Shawyer published his EmDrive design back in 2006.

A prototype was built and tested and confirmed as functional by Chinese researchers in 2010. Now, it was finally proved by NASA. The thrust is tiny yet there is a potential. “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind”.

I guess in 25 years (when patents expire) we may have an open-source/commercial space engines finally. Unless, Chinese manufacturing will build their own royalty-free version and start colonizing Moon and Mars first before us (sarcasm).

Official science has no explanation on why and how this design works so far. Just another example of how little we know (and understand) about how exactly this universe functions.