A place for things that pique ones interest

This is the VK3FS blog. A place for all sorts of curiosities that have come across my web browser over the course of time. The topics could be broad, and most likely will be, however, they will normally be of a technical nature.

Amateur Radio
Digital Amateur Radio
Portable Operation
Space Communications
Callsign beeper CW kit interface for microwave path line ups
Callsign beeper CW kit interface for microwave path lineups
This is a callsign beeper CW interface for the CW jack on your radio ideally used for microwave path line ups. Just build, plug and play.
Latching coaxial relay switching
Latching coaxial relay switching
A simple latching coaxial relay switching circuit and PCB for amateur radio microwave use driven by +12v from a sequencer or transverter.
External Frequency Reference for Microwave applications
GPSDOs for external frequency reference for microwave applications are a good idea, especially for weak signal QSO as well as Q65 contact.
5 GHz 10w PA from SG Lab
5.7 GHz 10w PA from SG Lab
The new 5.7 GHz 10w PA from SG Lab is a well-priced power amplifier for the 6cm amateur band. Great for going to the next level on the band.
OmniRig Icon
IC-705 OmniRig ini file
Do you contest with the IC-705? The Icom IC-705 is a relatively new radio when it comes to OmniRig. So new in fact that I had to rewrite an IC-9700 ini file so that the Omnirig software would see the IC-705 which it now does.
HamAlert Real-time DX notifications on your iPhone or tablet
Real-time DX notifications on your device - HamAlert
Real-time DX notifications on your device - HamAlert is an app available for both apple and android devices.
Cheap 1296 MHz Antennas 190m MHz Big Wheel by WA5VJB and a quick and cheap omni antenna
Cheap 1296 MHz Antennas
Here are two cheap 1296 MHz Antennas - well one is a lot cheaper than the other. There is no comparison in cost when it comes to building your own from available parts.
Local Radio Intereference on 6m
Local Radio Interference
There are two types – one you can’t do much about such as power line interference and the neighbour’s solar installation, and one you can.
Solar Termination Events X class flare
Solar termination events
Understanding the Sun and its cycles is key to predicting space weather.
6cm Microwave Band transverter
Getting on the 5.7 GHz 6cm microwave band
The 6cm or 5.7 GHz amateur radio band is accessible to standard and advanced licensees in Australia. Here's how to get on the band. It’s the higher of the two WiFi bands but doesn’t seem to suffer the noise problem like its poor 2.4 GHz or 13cm, cousin.
West Mountain Radio PWRGate
12v shack backup. Choose quality powergates over junk
Powergates, PWRgates, power paths, power plus, power mini, there are so many names for devices that switch to a battery for power when your mains supply fails. Choosing quality power switching over junk is super important.
The new IC-905 VHF to 10 GHz amateur radio
The new Icom IC-905 VHF to 10 GHz amateur radio from a microwave enthusiast's point of view. Home station or portable? Well, it's microwave!
M5Stacks ICSMeter with the Icom IC705 as a transverter display
M5Stack for the IC-705
Icom's IC-705 is a versatile portable radio. It's a modern amateur radio transceiver that has built-in WiFi. Many radio amateurs like to push the bounds of technology and this radio certainly makes it easy. Check out the M5Stack options for the IC-705
10 GHz portable over 150km
10 GHz portable over 150km
One of the best things about our wonderful hobby of amateur radio is going portable, especially 10 GHz portable. When your passion is microwave, getting up on top of a hill is even more motivational.
IC-705 8 pin mic adapter plugs CU
IC-705 8 pin mic adapter
What if you want to use a different microphone with your IC-705? Here's an 8 pin mic adapter - a circuit that does the job, but it does have its shortcomings. Maybe that's why Icom doesn't have an optional cable.
NBN: Mitigating Amateur Radio Interference to VDSL2
Mitigating Amateur Radio Interference to VDSL2 is a challenge most of us face unless you're lucky enough to be area serviced by fibre. This document published in March 2022 by NBN Co finally explains the link between frequencies used by amateur radio operators - 80 and 40m, and the VDSL2 standard.
Arduino 5v to 12v driver switch
Arduino 12v interface
This circuit describes a Darlington pair that switches a nominal 12v VCC. The choice of the final switching or output transistor determines the current (Ic) that is supplied to the downstream device.
SG Laboratory 13cm transverter Local Oscillator
How to program the SG Laboratory 13cm transverter Local Oscillator
How to program the SG Laboratory 13cm transverter Local Oscilator
IC-705 Opening Screen
How to make and set the opening picture on the IC-705
The IC-705 opening picture is easy to set up. All you need is a bit of time, an SD card and a graphics package on your PC.
6cm transverter with latching relay
Converting a latching coaxial relay to failsafe behaviour
Converting a latching coaxial relay to failsafe behaviour is is ideal for a TX RX coaxial changeover relay. This circuit will show you how.
1296 on the IC-705
If you enjoy SOTA, parks, microwave or radio in the great outdoors, then this is the radio for you. Having received great accolades, and a long list of positives, some might say there’s one thing missing on the IC-705 and that’s the 23cm band.
40m VDSL filter for your NBN
40m and Australia's NBN delivered over FTTN just doesn't mix. It's like oil and water. Transmit on 40 metres and kill the internet. It's quite a common problem here and probably anywhere the internet is delivered over VDSL.
Picture of the Icom IC-705
Station or Access Point - Which WiFi to use on the IC-705
There’s been a bit of confusion lately about how to access the IC-705 using your PC or laptop. Access Point or Station. You’d want to do this if you’re trying to run software like wfview.
Picture of IC-7300 with FT8 screen behind it
Icom IC-7300 Digital setup for WSJT-X
The IC-7300 digital setup for WSJT-X has proved to be confusing as the WSJT-X software and the firmware for the IC-7300 change. Hopefully, this page will help.
Picture of Icom Icons
Icom Icons for your Windows Sound Control Panel
Add meaningful Icom radio icons to your sound control panel to avoid confusion when you routing audio around your PC network. Free download.
Port forwarding for Icom Radios
Configuring port forwarding in modems and routers can be a dark art if you haven't done it before. The IC-705 and wfview software has created lots of interest in remote operation.
Picture of Icom IC-705
How to set the clock on your laptop using the IC-705 built in GPS
If you have no internet and need to set your laptop clock accurately for FT8 because the DT error is too great, you can use the built-in GPS in the Icom IC-705 to set your clock.
Picture of HP Laptop operating WSJTX on the IC-705 wirelessly using wfview
Operating WSJT-X wirelessly on the IC-705 with wfview
The Icom IC-705 is a very versatile radio. Amongst many of its cutting-edge features, it also has WiFi. This feature alone puts it in a class of its own. The radio can connect to your home WiFi network, or it can be a stand-alone access port. Perfect for field operation.
Picture of FT8 on the IC-705
Wireless FT8 on the IC-705
FT8 on Icom's IC-705 is good fun. Setting up a USB is straight forward but operating wirelessly takes a little more preparation.
How to enable dark screens for WSJT-X and GridTracker
WSJT-X GridTracker NIGHT SCREENS setup
Satellite image of Australia with a cloud free bight
Autumnal Propagation in Southern Australia
If you’re interested in tropospheric propagation, Autumn in the southern states of Australia is one of the best times to get on the bands.
10 GHz Mt Martha Mt Kororoit
10 GHz over 77km
On February 24 2021, Robert VK3KRD, Neil VK3BCU and I (VK3FS) headed out portable to try and work 10 GHz between Mt Kororoit and Mt Martha - a path of 77km.
WSPR - Weak Signal propagation Reporter
WSPR - Weak Signal propagation Reporter
WSPR stands for "Weak Signal Propagation Reporter"… a protocol used for weak-signal radio communication between amateur radio stations. It’s fully automated and reports to the WSPRnet.org server in real-time.
Picture of Icom's IC-9700.
Tools for VHF propagation
Working VHF DX is a lot of fun, but it can be challenging. I’ll show you the tools I use to work VHF from -20 to 40 over.
Picture of ISS
ARISS Next Generation Radio System
On the second of September 2020, ARISS announced that the setup and installation of the first element of our next generation amateur radio system had been completed and amateur radio operations are now possible. This first element, dubbed the InterOperable Radio System (IORS), was installed in the International Space Station Columbus module.
The Return of Melbourne's ATV Repeater VK3RTV
Melbourne's ATV Repeater VK3RTV has made a welcome return. It's found a new home on Mount View, right next to the Victorian Police Academy in the easter suburbs of Melbourne.
I recently came across Alan's (VK3DXE) post about The VHF/UHF DX Book. He reminded me about how much of an invaluable resource it is. It's now available online as a PDF.
VK3FS MAD March 8 2020 car setup
#MAD Microwave Activity Day March 2020
#MAD Microwave Activity Day February 2020
3FS MAD February 23 2020 VK3ADP
#MAD Microwave Activity Day February 2020
#MAD Microwave Activity Day February 2020
Proposed changes to amateur access in the 3400–3575 MHz band
Proposed changes to amateur access in the 3400–3575 MHz band
Icom IC-9700
Faulty IC-9700 checks in to the Icom hospital
At the time of writing, I know of two faulty IC-9700 transceivers. These radios are new to the Icom lineup and obviously do have some teething issues.
2019 Spring VHF UHF Field Day
The 2019 Spring VHF UHF Field Day was a great weekend for getting out and using the gear, especially in VK3. This time 2.4GHz and up was on the cards.
Propagation ready reference
Here's a Propagation Ready Reference card you can download, print, laminate and stick on the shack wall. The table shows distance workable and activity level by time of day and frequency. It is approximate and seasonal.