2020 Ham Radio Challenges


I started 2020 with my 4 month old Yaesu FT-991A needed to be used and set myself a mini challenge. To work 1 QSO each day.

With Covid I had some time I wasn’t in work, so started around March to work all day on the Radio. Below are the monthly QSOs I’ve had, mostly FT8.

  • Jan 2020 – 33
  • Feb 2020 – 39
  • March 2020 – 346
  • April 2020 – 673
  • May 2020 – 208
  • June 2020 – 84
  • July – 551
  • August – 421
  • September – 231

I am now heading to the end of the year with the new mini challenge of 10x the amount of QSOs for the year – 3.660 QSO by 31st December.

The picture above is from my Logbook ( m.0tzo.me ) which shows I’m now at 100 Days with minimum QSO each day since 13th July 2020. This goal is to get 366 continuous days, and hopefully to the end of 2021 too.

World’o’Techno Build Notes

Note:- This is not my project, mearly my attempt at recreating it and some build notes.. Original here ( http://www.jarkman.co.uk/catalog/robots/worldotechno.htm )

Also this is a work in progress, and some steps not included, yet

  • Use at least a Raspberry Pi 2
  • Download Raspbian specifically this version as has correct Sonic Pi Version
    • https://downloads.raspberrypi.org/raspbian/images/raspbian-2015-09-28/
  • Raspberry Pi Configuration
    • Change Password
    • sudo reboot
    • ssh into pi (I use Putty on Windows)
    • sudo raspi-config
      • Option 8 / A8 Serial / Would you like a login shell to be accessible over serial? Choose No
    • sudo apt-get update
      • at this stage I don’t sudo apt-get upgrade, as need the older version of Sonic Pi
    • Following guide from ( https://github.com/jarkman/world-o-techno/blob/master/README.md ) I do the following:-
      • sudo apt-get install gpsd gpsd-clients python-gps
        • sudo gpsd /dev/ttyAMA0 -F /var/run/gpsd.sock or
        • sudo gpsd /dev/ttyUSB0 -F /var/run/gpsd.sock
      • sudo reboot
    • mkdir world-o-techno
    • cd world-o-techno
    • gem install sonic-pi-cli

There are a few other things I’ve probably done not included, but there are my notes, not a full on install guide.

Useful other links

  • https://in-thread.sonic-pi.net/t/sonic-pi-for-standalone-installations/225
  • My tweet on success https://twitter.com/m0tzo/status/1244696802709962760

Continue reading World’o’Techno Build Notes

Reminiscing the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A

Tonight on a chat with partner, I was reminiscing about my Texas Instruments TI-99/4A my uncle gave me many years ago (sadly I don’t have any more).  I do recall I had  4 cartridge games and the game joysticks.

Games ( most listed here TI-99/4A Games )

  • Pac-man
  • TI Invaders
  • Video Chess
  • and Music maker (unknown proper name)

TI-99/4A at Wikipedia Link
TI-99/4A at Old Computers Link

Raspberry Pi Remote Radio

In 2019 I purchased the Yaesu FT-991A radio. It’s a radio with a single cable for control and the built in sound card. My previous Yaesu FT-897D needed separate and many cables.

After running on my Windows 10 laptop and with TeamViewer for a while, I decided I wanted a Raspberry Pi to run radio stuff, instead of my laptop being left on all the time.

I purchased the following items

  • Raspberry Pi 4 4Gb (ebay)
  • Large Heat Sink (The Pi Hut)
  • Stacking Case with Fan (The Pi Hut)
  • PoE Ethernet to Ethernet & USB C

I already had a SD card. The Raspberry Pi arrived before some of the other items, so I started building it. Next to arrive was the PoE adapter.

I loaded the image with Etcher to the SD card and started setting up Raspbian. One early issue was not being able to VNC in, but solved in Raspi-config by setting screen size. So far this has been setup and run headless.

I installed WSJT-X, ADIFPush (for Cloudlog) and GridTracker. I can use a VNC viewer to remotely access the Raspberry Pi 4 and load the software as if using a desktop PC. The Radio is also remotely powered on with a SmartPlug.

This setup is working well. In March 2020 I’ve as of posting this worked 115 QSOs and heading towards my best year on the air.

My Logbook is filling up nicely. m.0tzo.me 

[This is a blog post, not a setup guide]

February 2020 update

So, my logbook is filling nicely. ( m.0tzo.me )

  • Jan 2020 35 QSOs
  • Feb 2020 51 QSOs

May not be the most active Radio Amateur on the air, but I’m back enjoying it.

I’ve also recently purchased an Arrow II handheld antenna. Specifically an ARROW II 146/437-10WBP and roll up bag.

Last night I tried listening to SO-50 (Saudi-OSCAR 50). I heard the end of a callsign possibly SQL (2M0SQL?) but was unable to hear more or be heard. I’m using ISS Detector app (Android), and have limited to higher elevation passes in hope of more success.

Over the weekend I did some more FT8, but mostly on 20m and 30m instead of the usual 40m.