I did not realise I had been off the air for quite so long. I have been away for six years, I have been listening to the airwaves but not operating as such. We have moved home three times in this period, I feel roots are sufficiently laid to the extent I can now start experimenting again.
Whilst waiting to finish the main radio setup, I have kept occupied setting up a small WSPR beacon. My choice was the Wsprlite system by Sotabeams.
I have this in my loft running off a usb mobile phone charger into an aerial called a Magitenna made by M0CVO antennas. Having spoke with Nigel from the antenna maker to ask how this aerial would perform, I was told that as it was not resonant at the frequency I would be using he could not guarantee any results. But in good old fashioned Amateur Radio I was told to “give it a go” so I did.
The aerial is a multi band 6-60mtr capable with an atu. The Wspr unit only has an output of 0.200w so there is not much chance of locating an atu that would be able to register such a low power.
So, on to the power supply. I have used an 1800mah usb mobile phone battery bank to test the module, there are known issues with these battery banks shutting down due to such low current drain, however initial findings are quite good. The transmit was activated at 11:32 on 5th March 2020. I will update with the battery drain as and when the signal subsides. 10 hrs in and the battery is still operating, the band has flattened out as expected and and the only contact being made is 7 miles up the road on the other side of Leicester. However, as long as the signal is being received I will continue with the transmissions in anticipation that I will be able to pretty much pinpoint the moment when the battery gives up, so I will know for future use what the battery is capable of when transmitting on the std 20% wsprlite default setting.
As stated above my first beacon signal of 0.200w was transmitted on 5th March 2020 at 11:32. Within 2 minutes I had the first results when the reporting system notified me that I was being heard in the USA by callsign KD2OM – distance 3,441 miles. I think the system and the antenna are working.
Up to 21:30, 10 hrs after the transmitter was activated the total spots across the globe of my signal totals 171 with a maximum distance of just under 4000 miles. You can see the spread in the photo below
If you look at the graph below you can see when contacts peaked and when the band started to die off. The band has now reduced to only one callsign hearing me, who is based on the other side of Leicester approx 7 miles away. The battery finally died at 21:34 exactly 10 hrs after it powered the first transmission. I have placed another battery of the same type in its place and going on this information it should last until around 08:30 in the morning.
More work yet to be done checking on the other bands and how they perform however initial results especially on the 14Mhz – 20mtr band are really encouraging.