Having just moved house means all the usual headaches have to be taken care of along with finding the time to get my communications back up and running.
After carefully removing all the antennas from the previous address, the priority in this new location was centered around the shortwave bands (until now). There’s been some impressive 50 MHz openings over the last week and as I don’t have a physical rig that receives SSB on 6 meters, I’ve put a rush on to get my dinky RTL dongle plugged in and ready to go.
The plan is for a nice shiny new discone (but until I can go pick one up), the only antenna available is one of those wide-band covered verticals. Not even sure how long this antenna has been with me, but its already been through 4 house moves and always worked well enough to keep it around (its also lightweight enough to take on field days).
The antenna is almost straight (the old sat dish bracket is at a angle) and its fixed with thick copper wire (as I have no mounting brackets at the moment), but its not likely to fall down any time soon. The discone will be up a lot higher and mounted a much better 🙂
The other short term benefit to this antenna is that it will happily take a few watts on 2m/70cm and I’ve been using it to access my local repeaters.
Hanging about on 6 Meters
Having multiple computers is heaven when most of your radio fun is on the digital side. Easing back on a little online gaming means I can happily leave the dongle and SDR# running all the time.
The other downside (especially if your tired) is the hour of my life wasted wondering why the PC couldn’t see the dongle, when all along it was plugged into a totally different computer!
After finally getting things working it didn’t take too long to find some European stations on sideband. Listening to a decent pile up on 50.170 MHz gave IW2HAJ working the booming ED4SHF/6.
Really looking forward now to getting a better antenna up and something (anything!) that will put out a signal on 6 meters.
A Better RTL Dongle?
So as it stands at the moment we take the various RTL dongles and bend them to our uses, but what if the original was tweaked and pushed more towards the needs of the SDR hobby radio enthusiast?.
In a recent post from ‘The Swling Post’ this is exactly what Carl Laufer of the ultimate SDR resource (RTL-SDR.COM) has been doing.
With a mountain of dongle expertise, Carl has had RTL gear built with a host of his own modifications. It looks like they are going to cost a bit more, but with the low entry price of SDR dongles anyway, its never going to be a choice between owing one of these souped up versions and feeding the family.