Month: April 2014

Elad FDM-DUO standalone SDR HF+6m transceiver

Things seem to be going the right way for SDR technology. The latest spawn from Italy – called ELAD FDM-DUO – definetely got my interest; we are talking about a direct sampling full SDR transceiver for HF/6m, that can also run standalone. The closest thing to it might be the Elecraft KX-3, but that is considerably behind in technology and still manages to have one of the top recievers around. The ELAD FDM-DUO recieves from 9KHz to 52MHz and covers all the amateur bands from 160m to 6m, claiming an MDS of -132dB and an BDR or +115dB @ 500Hz. Power output is only 5W (!). Besides being standalone, it can also be attached to a computer so you can benefit from all the power of the SDR technology: big spectrum analizer (up to 6MHz), dual recievers, total control via their SW-2 software etc. Here’s what makes it go:– ADC: Linear Technology LTC2165 clocked at 122.88MHz– DDC: Xilinx Spartan 6 XC6SLX25 FPGA + serial flash– DDS: AD9957– 2x STM32F4 microcontrollers What I don’t like about it is the fact that it is not concieved as a product, but looks more as a technological demo, made entirely by engineers. The hefty pricetag (1160EUR, about US$ 1600) asks for a good user interface, useful output power and decent build quality, otherwise it will be just a stillborn novelty – interesting from...

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A good day for SOTA – YO/EC-057 activated

Finally some SOTA action ! After a few days of rain and cold weather, yesterday April 26th 2014 was perfect for outdoor activities – sunny, almost 20C and an overall tranquility that makes you want to get out of the house no matter what. So i decided to pick up my sister and two of her friends and put my new FT-897D trough its paces by activating a SOTA peak. I’ve settled for the Gropsoarele Peak (loosely translated as “The Small Pits”), SOTA identifier YO/EC-057, a peak 1884m tall in the Ciucas mountains, about 120km north of capital city Bucharest. There is a rather bad road leading from the closest village Cheia to a cabin called Muntele Rosu (“The Red Mountain”) at about 1400m altitude. Here’s how the peak looks from this place, where we started the hike:   With over 10Kg in my backpack, even more extra on my belly and 3 girls stopping to take pictures, the hike took about 3 hours.  As we got higher and higher, the view became more and more beautiful. In distance, the Bucegi mountains, covered in snow: there are a few 10 point peaks over there, some not yet activated. Yet ! In the coniferous tree forest the air is intoxicatingly fresh, i wish I could bring some back to Bucharest. As soon as I we get over the tree line,...

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Nice day for portable activity

Being the day after Easter, most of the people didn’t have to go to work this Monday around these parts. The weather was finally nice and sunny after more than a week of daily rain, so it felt like the perfect oportunity to go out with the family for a picnic and also taking the portable equipment for a spin. We chose to go to Paltinu lake, a beautiful place about 90km north of Bucharest, near a town called Campina. This place was also situated in a Flora and Fauna region – YOFF-491, but as the propagation didn’t seem to be helping alot and there wasn’t GSM coverage to add a cluster spot, I decided not to take the high road of activation-style operation and just search and pounce what I could hear, while relaxing with the family and friends. The soft, grassy and humid soil served as a good ground for a vertical fishpole antenna, plus the trees were really useful for the installation, I didn’t even need to use guy wires. The setup: – Yaesu FT-897– LDG Z-100Plus– 12V/7Ah SLA– 6.5m vertical wire, 9:1 UnUn, 2 radials Most of the time I worked with 25W output, but when I couldn’t get trough I bumped the power to full 100W. Logged in 13 stations, the bands were not that busy and the radio time is what it is...

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