Category Archives: Radio

OMNIRIG AND the ICOM 7300 FIL2 problem

I came across an odd problem getting my shiny new IC-7300 working for digital modes using Omnirig.

I set the filter to FIL1, the default widest filter, and the software (JTDX in this case) would transmit correctly. But after the transmission period when it went back to receive it would activate the narrower FIL2.

Here’s what’s going on…

Omnirig sends this instruction to the ICOM to go back into receive:

[pmDIG_U]
; These lines select USB-D for USB digital mode
Command=FEFE94E0.2600.01.01.FD
ReplyLength=15
Validate=FEFE94E026000101FD.FEFEE094FBFD

And according to the ICOM manual that should set the filter back to the “default filter”.

Trouble is nowhere in the manual can I see how to actually set the default filter for the mode.

So for now the best solution is to have Omnirig explicitly set us back to filter 1. I could just change FIL2 to be wider but then the filters get more confusing. Having Omnirig explictly set a filter when all I want the radio to do is go back revieve isnt ideal, but it works. To do this you’ll need to change this section in the IC-7300-DATA.ini Omnirig file:

[pmDIG_U]
; These lines select USB-D for USB digital mode
Command=FEFE94E0.2600.01.01.01.FD
ReplyLength=16
Validate=FEFE94E02600010101FD.FEFEE094FBFD

This is identical to the original except we explicitly set the filter as per the manual and update the replylength and validate string accordingly.

Funcube Satellite Telemetry

Prompted by Michael’s effort at acquiring NOAA Weather Images I thought I’d see what other telemetry or data was easily and publicly available from satellites. Sever satellites operate amateur radio transponders and you can listen in on QSOs, but some also allow you obtain satellite and experiment telemetry.

My first attempt was to get the telemetry from Funcube-1 (AO-73).

Continue reading Funcube Satellite Telemetry

SOTA promotional leaflet

‘Summits on the Air’ is a great way to operate an amateur radio station in a portable environment. In Ireland there are plenty of summits, of varying difficulty, to choose from. And you will nearly always manage to make contacts, especially if you can spot yourself on the sotawatch cluster, as people around the world really want to work you.

However, setting up a station, particularly for High Frequency, get’s you noticed. It can involve having a mast about 7m high and 20m of an inverted V dipole hanging from it! This invites attention from hillwalkers – especially if you fly a SOTA flag from the mast!

I’ve produced this leaflet to give out to such curious members of the public who come over for a chat. It’s mainly for Ireland but can easily be adapted for other counties and covers the basics of Summits On The Air.


SKYRC iMAX B6 – Still the best LiFe charger in 2019?

I use lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO 4) batteries for my Summit On The Air Activations, any any time I’m operating portable really with my Yaesu FT-817 or FT-897D. They give reliable power for a long period of time and crucially for me – don’t tend to explode as much as LiPo batteries! (search youtube for ‘LiPo explosion’ !)

They do however need a special charger – you cant just plug these into the charger you use for you NiMh AA’s. Unfortunately there are a lot of options for chargers out there, the majority of which on ebay etc. seem to be clones. Now I don’t mind buying clones of some products, but for things that are liable to lead to a fire if they fail I’d rather stick to branded originals. And the charger that I was advised to get and I’m still happy with is the SKYRC iMAX B6.

Continue reading SKYRC iMAX B6 – Still the best LiFe charger in 2019?

Tonlagee SOTA activation

Another SOTA catchup post from last year!

For the 40m counties contest in May I decided to go up Tonlagee. There is a steep but short route up to it from the ESB car park and since the weather was nice I decided to stay overnight. Weather for the contest was good, but the propagation was terrible especially for a low power station, still an enjoyable afternoon up there chatting to people who came over.

What really makes camping in the wilds of Wicklow worthwhile, apart from the silence, darkness, remoteness, lack of people all night, general solitude (can you tell that I used to really enjoy heading to the hills for a few days?) – is the mornings. Here are some photos:

Continue reading Tonlagee SOTA activation

First SOTA Activation on Lug

I did my first SOTA activation on Lug in September for the 2m/70cm IRTS contest. I won the 2m contest and did well in the 70cm considering I just had a Baofeng handheld.

However Lug is windy. It’s the highest summit in the East of Ireland and it was a particularly windy and occasionally wet day. So not the time to try and get a 10 element antenna working portable. After it blew down hard a couple of times, I settled for setting it up couple of meters above the ground and was only just about able to turn it in the wind. Worth experimenting with again, but in better weather.

Continue reading First SOTA Activation on Lug

Kippure Summit Activation

Kippure is one of the more popular SOTA summits in Wicklow. Probably because it has a nice road going up to it! The gate at the main road is usually closed – access is only for crews working on the transmitters, but there is parking for a few cars at the gate. This being on one of the main roads from Dublin you should not leave valuables in your car – I’d even suggest removing the boot cover and leaving the glove box open as there have been a spate of car break in’s this summer in the hills.
Continue reading Kippure Summit Activation