No time for new stuff, let’s tinker with the old!

2014 was mainly a ‘Time of Tinkering’. I built several different combinations from RTL-SDR dongles, LNA’s, computers and controllers to learn how well these dongles, antennas, LNA’s and RaspberryPi’s can work together – main idea was still to use as small amount of money as possible but still create a powerfull SDR system.

Active Whip Antennas, what are those?!

January 2014 I read about Active Whip antennas, a MiniWhip that could be used to receive HF stations without having to install long wire antennas – something that was not possible in my current home location.

Some research and parts from the local DIY shop gave me a very good lesson about the huge amounts of radio interference in city areas. Still, I was very pleased with the results and later bought a ready made PA0RDT MiniWhip that is now installed to the main remote site.

Let’s do some APT!

The first time I think I was doing something that can be called a ‘SDR’ was when I read about receiving NOAA APT weather transmissions with self made wx receiver kit – the kit came with a very small ‘computer’ capable of tuning receiver to the correct frequency and was also capable to receive command from PC program called WxToImg.

I ordered the kit (Emgo receiver) and began to create my first real SDR system on January 2005.

Today, the WxToImg software is no longer available – one can still find it from the mirror sites and archives, but the development is no longer active and the company behind the software exist no more. Unfortunately it seems that there are no alternative software in works.

First I did some tests with different antenna types, then after some months of testing the final version, cross-dipole was installed. It is still in place feeding my system with fresh data from APT and also other VHF/UHF cube satellites.