Sunday, September 2, 2018

Times are a changing

It has been some time since I have posted but it has been very busy out this way as we are moving. It has been packing, packing and more of the same!! The move is underway  so I'm looking at 2-3 weeks before VE3WDM is back up and running. We are still in a condo but the good news is we are 100 feet higher with a clear east/north east exposure.
See you soon once all the unpacking is done.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Initial setup of SunSDR2 Pro

To get the rig up and going it's not like most dial and knob rigs were you plug it in, turn it on and start spinning the VFO. This as most SDR rigs there has to be a talking relationship with the rig and PC. Lets start with the PC because there is going to be software on your PC that the SDR rig will have to communicate with and to do it well your PC should meet certain spec's.

Apache Labs ANAN 10 recommends an Intel i3 2ghz or better, 4 GB ram, screen resolution of 1280x1024 and a full duplex 1 GB ethernet card.

Flex radios knowledge base suggests Intel i3 or i5 quad core processor,  4GB ram for 32 bit OS and 8 GB ram for 64 bit OS, screen resolution of 1280x768 and the ability to support firewire. 

Sunsdr2 Pro recommends (located under "read it first") intel i3 1.6 ghz or higher, 8GB ram did not specify 32 or 64 bit OS, minimum screen resolution of 1024x600, LAN network card of 100 Mbps or 1 Gbps

Now mind you these in some cases are minimum specs but even to move up to the next level in a PC would not mean you are moving toward a high end gaming PC. Most of us have a PC at home for one reason or another and I would go out on a limb to say that most PC's at ham's homes would meet the minimum standard for SDR to function well. 
My SunSDR2 Pro's setup involves some minor PC techno wizbong maneuvering.......my SDR rig like most others communicate to the PC via a LAN cable and using an IP address. Now the Apache Labs ANAN 10 when powered on (if your LAN is correctly configured) an IP address should be automatically assigned in other words the rig and software should be communicating. The Flex radios are the same in regards to setup (again if your LAN is correctly configured) an IP address should be automatically assigned. This I believe is known as DHCP were the configuring is done automatically. For some reason the SunSDR2 Pro does not take advantage of this, you have to manually assign the IP address. It did not work out to well for me as I have 2 LAN options in my PC one is a card and the other is the one on the motherboard. When configuring the IP address I called up the wrong card (not the one the SDR rig was plugged into) Once I figured that out I was getting conflicts and issues. Long story short I have everything running now. I may email the Expert Electronics and ask why they chose this route and not DHCP.
The only (as far as I know) software this radio will work with is ExpertSDR software. Having said that I am very happy with the software and questions I have asked on the forum has been answered very promptly. It runs very smoothly on my PC and the waterfall looks great! The next post I will be looking at the ExpertSDR software.


Sunday, July 15, 2018

My new ham radio passion revealed.

My new adventure arrives
  IARU contest was in full swing and I felt it was a great time to see if my I.P. address both static and dynamic as well as the good old Subnet mask was going to bring me joy! I started the PC and with the pushing of a few buttons I was up and going. I am the proud owner of a new Expert Electronics SunSDR2 Pro. So the cat is out of the bag as some had already guessed my new adventure is SDR radio. For real VFO spinning and button pushing I still have my Elecraft KX3.  Expert Electronics has currently 4 transceivers, the MB1, SunSDR2 Pro, SunSDR2 and SunSDR2 QRP. I chose the SunSDR2 Pro for a few reasons first being the MB1 was way out of my price range. I wanted a bit more than QRP power so the SunSDR2 QRP was out of the question. The U.S dealer is NSI communications and on their site the SunSDR2 Pro was on sale as well! I order the rig and it took about a week to make it up to me in Canada. Before it was shipped Yuri from NSI communications called me just to let me know if there was any issues with setup to call him. He also advised me to download and start reading the manuals.

The SDR radio is a learning experience for me and I’m sure it is going to be the way of the future and I’m a slow learner so I wanted to get on the wagon soon. I “tried” to set the radio up on my own to have it communicate with my PC and it just went from bad to worse. I had to get the rig to communicate with my PC via the Ethernet card. I have two Ethernet cards and was getting them intermixed until I was lost. I didn’t want to get frustrated as this is a huge learning curve BUT I did give in to emailing Yuri about my situation. He promptly called me and set up a time to use Team viewer and take over my PC to figure out the issue. Within 15 minutes he had my PC and SDR radio “talking” with each other.

SunSDR2 pro 

The SunSDR2 Pro tops out at 20 watts and includes VHF and a lot more that you can read about from this LINK. As I was saying at the start of this post the IARU contest was on this weekend and I threw my SDR rig into the action. This contest gave me an opportunity to see how the receiver stacked up on a busy band. I was impressed and very much enjoyed using the second independent receiver/transmitter.
I was not an active participant in the contest I was there to see how the receiver preformed. Next I want to get my contest software and logging software on board with the SDR radio. Some draw backs I have found with this rig is.....at this point in time there is no QSK and there is no one button split operation. For split it involves a few button pushes. I have been told and read on the forum that these issues are known and solutions are being worked on.
Using the 2  receivers 

Sunday, July 8, 2018

My change of direction leads me to this...........

At times it did not go as anticipated 
The fun begins
All I can say is the adventure continues..........my first stop on this journey is going well beyond the left/right mouse clicking, seeing messages on the PC that say "are you sure you want to save these changes" and finally finding out the hard way that I should never had saved the changes!! The best way I can explain this part of the adventure is.......when I am building  Ikea furniture and at one point things are just not fitting together. You find the reason is because 10 or so steps prevues you either  forgot a part, placed it in backwards or put the wrong part on. To correct this you have to disassemble to 10 steps back and correct the issue. With the PC it's easy to see things are not working as they should or as they used to be BUT ITS THE GETTING BACK PART!!
At this point (don't get me wrong I'm still having a blast) I am learning about all about static IP address, Dynamic IP address, just plan old IP address and finally Subnet mask. Oh and believe me I never knew how fast things can go wrong if your not really sure about these settings and the numbers you place in set empty spaces.
The numbers game begins