Tropical Storm Zeta Visit, October 2020

I had a visitor this morning, Tropical Storm Zeta.  Zeta did a tree trimming job on my trees in the front yard.  I bet you can guess what I will be doing for the next couple of days!  No damage to the house or the antenna farm, so from that aspect I am lucky.

NASCAR Experience 2020

My terrific daughter Jennifer got me NASCAR Experience drive in a NASCAR Cup Car at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  What a great birthday gift for a gear head like me!  The Drive was scheduled for September 12th but when we arrived it was threatening rain most of the morning and sure enough when it was my turn to go at 1:00 PM it was raining.  So we rescheduled for today, Sunday, September 13.  Good weather was with us and I got to do 7 laps around the race track.

Here is a video from inside the car.  In the lower right corner is the view of the driver and on the rest of the screen is the view out the windshield of the car.

During the drive my best lap speed was 146.09 MPH.  Not to shabby for an old guy.

Thanks Jennifer for a great birthday present that I will remember forever!


IQ32 QRP SDR Transceiver

Several years ago I purchased a SDR QRP transceiver, the RS-HFIQ, from HobbyPCB. It is a 5 watt SDR radio that covered 80-10 meters. The radio required a PC, a Sound Card, and a couple of USB ports to function. Once assembled and hooked to the PC the system was fully functional on SSB but lacked a CW mode without using a external I/Q keyer. The SDR software used was HDSDR, not one of my favorites. There were many cables required to hook up the SDR and although it worked very well it was cumbersome to use especially on CW where the I/Q keyer needed to be inserted between the Sound Card and the radio. So after the initial assembly and startup, the fun wore off very quickly and the RS-HFIQ wound up in a drawer for quite a while. I was always very impressed with the performance of the RS-HFIQ transceiver, especially the receiver. However, it was cumbersome to hook up all the cables to my notebook computer. One of my main uses for a QRP radio is using it as a portable station in the field. To use it as a field radio would be difficult because of carrying a notebook, keyer, and cables to hook the radio up.

Earlier this year HobbyPCB came out with a kit to make the RS-HFIQ SDR a stand alone QRP transceiver, the IQ32. Details from the HobbyPCB website are here:

I quickly ordered the IQ32 upgrade kit, dug the RS-HFIQ out of a drawer and in a few hours I had a very nice, small, stand alone SDR QRP radio.

IQ32 from HobbyPCB

At 6.5″ X 4″ X 3″ the IQ32 is a compact and light weight transceiver, with only two knobs and a touch screen to handle human interface functions. It is fully functional on SSB, CW, and even has built in provisions for PSK-31 transmit and receive. It uses band switched mutli-pole LC passband filters to provide excellent receiver performance and eliminate harmonics from the transmitted signal. This is by no means your typical “dongle” SDR receiver performance, it is an excellent receiver with good sensitivity and select-able receiver bandwidth filters for SSB and CW. The 5 watt transmitter output will provide hours of fun contacts on its own, but pair it with the HobbyPCB Hardrock 50 compact 50 watt linear amplifier and you are now only 3 DB down from your 100 watt desktop transceiver! Using the Hardrock 50 with the IQ32 is easy. A single cable between the IQ32 and the linear sends band data and PTT keying to the Hardrock so the amplifier tracks the band changes on the IQ32. Very nice!

I have made a number of CW contacts all over the eastern half of the US with 5 watts and a dipole. I made a few contacts on SSB too, just to make sure it worked and it does work quite well. The little rig performs great with good filters, good AGC action, and a built in CW keyer with adjustable speed, weight, and semi break-in functions. You can also select a straight key mode that can be used with either a straight key or an external keyer. There is a frequency split mode for CW that allows for a separate send and receive frequency. If someone comes back to you on a slightly different frequency you can leave the TX frequency where it is and tune the RX frequency. The split feature is not found on typical QRP radios.

Another very cool feature of the IQ32 is that it will send and receive PSK-31 without the use of a external computer. All that is required is a keyboard which plugs directly into the IQ32. The received signal is decoded and displayed on the touch screen. Below is a short video of the PSK-31 receive mode. The keyboard is also used for editing the 15 memory tags and to send CW.

One of the things I like best about SDR radios is that new features and functions can be implemented without hardware changes by updating the software. In October a new firmware release came out, version 1.100, that added many features to the IQ32. Chris, VE7XH, has worked diligently on this new firmware release and has done an excellent job. He put together a short video demonstrating the new features.

So, I think you will like this compact little SDR for either operating from home or portable in the field. Either way the IQ32 is a top notch performer!

DE N4RFC – Bob

The Artic Ocean is Warming!

The Arctic Ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places, the seals are finding the water too hot according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from the Consulate at Bergen, Norway.

Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone.

Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes.

Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm.

Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well-known glaciers have entirely disappeared.

Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.

Within a few years, it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and make most coast cities uninhabitable.

I must apologize. I neglected to mention that this report was from November 2, 1922, as reported by the AP and published in The Washington Post 97 years ago.

3 minutes of your time

This is a very good video that shows you just how ludicrous man made global warming is and how the governments of the world are using it to create a false crisis. It comes to us from Australia. It is a excellent representation of the truth about CO2 in our atmosphere.

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