Log4OM Video Demonstration #4 – Setting up Alerts

For some reason I completely forgot to post about my latest video on Log4OM. This time I take a look at the set up and configuration of the alerts and notifications.

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Log4OM Video Demonstration 3.5 – Rig Control using OmniRig

Hello All!

I received a comment on my previous video (where I used Hamlib for rig control) by G4POP. He indicated that I would be able to get a view of VFO B in the application if I used OmniRig instead. I decided to give it a try. I found, not only that the second VFO was where, but the response time to and from the rig when issuing commands was much faster.

Here is the video demo I put together about it.

73 de VE1XT

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Log4OM Video Demonstration 3 – Configuring Rig Control and CAT

It is once again time for another Log4OM video! In this third installment of the series, I take a look at setting up Right Control / CAT using the Hamlib library and my TS-570. I go through the configuration and demonstrate how it works.

I posted the video last night and have already received some feedback from G4POP (Terry Genes) who is one of the Log4OM team members. He indicated that I would be able to get more features (and faster response time) by using the Omnirig library instead of Hamlib. I am going to play around with this and probably record an additional video about it. Stay tuned for that.

For now, here is the latest video. Enjoy!

73 de VE1XT

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M8 Transistor Tester Kit

One of the fun things about our great hobby is that we get to tinker with all sorts of gadgets. Over the past couple of years I’ve purchased a few cheap device kits from eBay, Amazon, AliExpress, etc. These gadgets are perfect for people, like me, who are only just getting into electronics and learning how things work. The best part is that these kits are very cheap so if you damage it you are not out a lot of money.

I’ve bought, and put together, various kits. Some examples are: An oscilloscope, a sound meter with LEDs to indicate the level, an audio amplifier, and a few more. My two favorites so far have been the $20 oscilloscope and the $12 transistor tester.

Most of these kits are fairly well made but certainly not as high quality as something you would get from one of the traditional manufacturers. However, they are great for learning. Today’s post is focused on the M8 Transistor tester that I recently built. You will find some links below to Amazon and eBay where you can buy this kit.

M8 Transistor Tester

The PCB in my board holder with the first few resistors installed.

 

M8 Transistor Tester

Here is my soldering station (purchased on eBay) and my multimeter. Those are the only tools I needed to assemble the kit.

 

M8 Transistor Tester

Here is a shot of the back of the board prior to soldering the components and clipping the leads.

 

M8 Transistor Tester

Here you can see that a few more components have been installed. The board was clearly marked except for some of the polarized caps that I had to dig around a bit to figure out.

 

M8 Transistor Tester

The microprocessor and LCD screen installed. I forgot to take pictures of the processor and it’s socket.

 

M8 Transistor Tester

After hooking up a 9v battery the unit powers on and needs to be calibrated. The process is pretty quick and once it’s done you generally do not need to do it again. The manual explains this short process.

 

M8 Transistor Tester

Testing a 3.3 nF cap. The cap is an old one that I had kicking around but the tester seems to measure relatively accurately.

 

Overall the process only took me about an hour to complete. However, I did assemble it in various steps when time permitted.

Here are some other comments / details about the unit:

  • You can power it with a power supply ranging anywhere from 5.5 to 12V as long as it is center pin positive but the 9V battery is handy for portability.
  • The manual is written in very poor English. You can also get it here (M8_Instructions). I had a real hard time getting it from the vendor I bought it from as their dropbox link would never work.
  • Make sure to calibrate the unit properly, as per the manual. If this is not done correctly you will not get the correct readings.
  • This tester works on much more than transistors. It will do capacitors, resistors, diodes, transistors, and more.
  • The microprocessor used is an Atmel ATmega328. This means that you can most likely reprogram it if you have the skills.
  • There are no extra components shipped with this so if you do receive a defective one, you may need to source a new part as it will probably be more of a hassle to get it from the vendor than getting it on your own.
  • As with most of these low cost kits, there is no case that comes with it.

I hope you enjoyed this short review of the M8 Transistor Tester. If you are interested in buying one feel free to click one of the links below. To be fully transparent, the links are through my Amazon and eBay affiliate accounts so if you would rather not use them you can go directly to the site and search. If you do use one (or more of my links) I thank you very much.

Amazon Canada (search) – Search for M8 tester

Amazon Canada (Assembled) – SODIAL(R) M8 Transistor Tester Diode Triode Capacitance ESR LC Meter MOS/PNP/NPN Soldered

Amazon US (search) – Search for M8 Transistor Tester

Amazon US (Assembled) – SODIAL(R) M8 Transistor Tester Diode Triode Capacitance ESR LC Meter MOS/PNP/NPN Soldered

Amazon US (Kit) – M8 transistor tester

eBay (Kit) – M8 Transistor Tester ESR Meter LC Meter Diode Triode Capacitance DIY Kit

 

73 de VE1XT!

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March 2017 Update

Hi Everyone!

I hope 2017 is shaping up to be as good as you had hoped! This are going relatively well here except that I have run into some issues with my back within the past two weeks. I have a couple of discs that are herniated and are causing sciatic nerve pain. This is extremely painful. I have seen my doc and have started going to physiotherapy so I hope be to back in decent shape within the next few weeks.

With that said, I have not been able to devote much time to making any new videos or doing much of anything ham related lately. I suspect that will remain much the same until my back heals. The one thing that my back has not stopped me from doing is thinking of new ideas for projects and videos. In fact, I may be making a lot of work for myself.

I’ve very much enjoyed making the first two Log4OM videos and I have some ideas for more to continue the series. I like making these videos because I very much enjoy the program. These videos also help me learn more about how it works and some of the more obscure features.

I have also been interested in doing more with my RTL SDR dongle. I had started playing with a few different software applications (HDSDR, SDR Console, SDR#) prior to my back injury. So once I get back into shape I may make a couple of videos demonstrating some of the things you can do with the dongles.

Apart from the video work I have been doing, I have a few other projects that I have been working on:

  • Our radio club has three Yaesu DR-1X repeaters and I have been working with Yaesu to figure out the logistics of getting the 1.10Q firmware on a model that only supports the 1.oo versions (1.00n is the latest). Due to the complexity of this firmware update, we will likely need to send the unit back to Yaesu to have it done as it is not a process they are willing to release to the public. I also found this same response from another operator on one of the System Fusion email reflectors.
  • Along with a couple other operators, I have been looking into potentially doing a local lighthouse activation in May. That is if everything can be lined up and we can get permission to do so.
  • It is getting close to time for me to start planning the placement and work needed to get my two new towers in the air. This past year I acquired a 45 ft aluminium tower as well as a 3o ft self standing tower.
  • I also have two small kits I want to put together. One is a 40 m CW / crystal transceiver, the other is a component tester (mainly a transistor tester).
  • I will use this line to sum up the other 20,000 little things I want (and maybe need) to get done.

That is it for now. If you have any software or topics that you think would make a good video, please let me know and I will check it out.

73 for now!
VE1XT

 

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Log4OM Demonstration 2 – Setting up real-time log generation

I have posted a second YouTube video in my Log4OM series. This time I take a look at how you set up real-time log generation (webpage) and get it uploaded to your website via the built-in FTP client.

73 for now!

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Log4OM Video Demonstration

Hello Everyone! Happy 2017!

I wanted to post and let you know that I have recently uploaded a video of the logging program that I have been using for quite some time. The name of the program is Log4OM. It is feature packed and is completely free to download and use.

Check out the video below!

If you want to check it out for yourself, you can get it here.

73 for now!
VE1XT

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End of the year update

Wow it has been a while since I’ve posted anything. I guess it’s time for a bit of an update.

The most important thing is that I got my TS-570 fixed! Thanks to a local ham who figured out there was a problem with some of the solder joints on the main board. After trying to figure it out for a few days, he noticed that pressing at a certain spot on the board would reliably reproduce the issue. He then went ahead and re-flowed a the solder joints on a good chunk of the board. The radio now works better than ever.

I also picked up two towers this summer, a 45ft aluminum and a 30ft self standing. Neither one of them is up yet but I am hoping to get to it early in the spring when the ground thaws. I hope to get a good VHF/UHF antenna on the self standing and maybe a hex beam or a Yagi for HF on the 45 footer. We will see how it goes.

Another new endeavor for me is taking over admin duties on Repeaterbook.com for Nova Scotia. It’s pretty fun to be a part of this and I’ve learned a lot about the repeaters. There’s a fair bit of research involved to get things updated. If you know of a repeater that needs updating feel free to use the update feature on the website or use the contact form here to let me know.

I’ve been working on a few other odds and ends as well. I have a Yaesu DR-1x repeater with the matching HRI-200 Wires-X node that I intended on getting set up for the club. I have a DX Engineering log periodic (VHF/UHF) antenna that I need to replace a couple elements on. I also have some other non ham projects I am working on.

Below is my latest video on YouTube. It’s showing some nasty noise I have on 80 and 40m. I’ve already shut the power off in the entire house and shack just to find out that it wasn’t anything in either of those places causing it. I guess I’ll have to get out the AM receiver and take a trip up and down the road.

That is all for now. 73s and I hope everyone had a great Christmas!

VE1XT

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Kenwood TS-570S – Issues with Audio and DOTS on screen

I recently posted this to YouTube. My TS-570S has been having a couple of issues.

The first is an issue with receive audio dropping down very low a few seconds after turning the radio on. I am told (by a local ham who repairs most of our gear) that this is usually caused by bad solder joints on the SSB filters. Often times removing the filters, cleaning things up a bit, and then re-soldering them back in place does the trick.

The second issue is the DOTS issue. I am told this is somewhat common and that it’s due to the VCO not being able to lock on frequency. It seems that there’s a pot on the PLL circuit that can be adjusted to set the correct voltage so that the VCO locks correctly.

I’m not an expert in radio repair, by any stretch of the imagination, but I think I might be able to do both of these myself. I’ll post an update once I get a chance to attempt the repairs.

73 for now!
Dennis – VE1XT

 

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Practicing CW / Morse Code by Listening to Real Stations

I’ve come to the realization that it is much more interesting to practice CW by listening to real live stations. Lately I have been tuning around the bands to find a QSO or station that is transmitting somewhere near what I think I can copy. Often times I am not able to copy very much but ever once and a while I realize that I have written down a small word (or two) and maybe even a callsign or name.

Tonight while surfing 40m, I came across W1AW’s slow code practice session. This was great. I was actually able to copy multiple sentences. It was much more fun than using a practice application that spits out random strings.

If you are interested, I’ve posted the current W1AW operating schedule. You can find the original (and updates) on the ARRL website.

Pacific Mtn Cent East UTC Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri
6 am 7 am 8 am 9 am 1400z Fast Code Slow Code Fast Code Slow Code
7 – 9 am
10 am -12:45 pm
8 – 10 am
11 am -1:45 pm
9 – 11 am
Noon – 2:45 pm
10 am – Noon
1 – 3:45 pm
1500z to 1700z

1800z to 2045z

Visiting Operator Time
1 pm 2 pm 3 pm 4 pm 2100z Fast Code Slow Code Fast Code Slow Code Fast Code
2 pm 3 pm 4 pm 5 pm 2200z Code Bulletin
3 pm 4 pm 5 pm 6 pm 2300z Digital Bulletin
4 pm 5 pm 6 pm 7 pm 0000z Slow Code Fast Code Slow Code Fast Code Slow Code
5 pm 6 pm 7 pm 8 pm 0100z Code Bulletin
6 pm 7 pm 8 pm 9 pm 0200z Digital Bulletin
6:45 pm 7:45 pm 8:45 pm 9:45 pm 0245z Voice Bulletin
7 pm 8 pm 9 pm 10 pm 0300z Fast Code Slow Code Fast Code Slow Code Fast Code
8 pm 9 pm 10 pm 11 pm 0400z Code Bulletin

I think I am making some respectable progress. It’s hard to find time with two kids and a full-time job but a few minutes of practice here and there really does pay off.

73 for now!
VE1XT

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