Thursday, November 06, 2014

New version of WSPR Watch for iOS is out

I've updated the iOS app WSPR Watch with support for iPad, iPhone 6 and 6+.

The program is simpler than before but I think more useful with a feature I've long wanted, a direct view of how long ago each of the spots were reported.

As always, it's free and all data is gratefully pulled from the legacy database page on

I'm happy to report that there are a couple of equivalents for Android, one from developer Derek G4SWY, who made WSPR World Watch, and another called WsprNetViewer by Joseph D. Glandorf with source code and it's in the Play store. Great work!

My own WSPR beacon station is on 20m running a vertical wire antenna on a 6m squid pole. It doesn't take much to reach around the globe.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

wspr on Ubuntu 14.10

The easy solution

Thanks to this post, from Greg, K17MT, here's what you do.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ki7mt/wspr
# press enter when asked something
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install wspr ntp

Now you can use the Ubuntu launcher to launch wspr, or as I did, drag the icon to the side dock and launch.

Note that I also recommend installing the ntp time sync service as I find my ubuntu laptop clock drifts off and by default Ubuntu only syncs the clock on each boot.

Watch out for me, vk2tpm, on 20m.

Thanks Greg!

Obsolete below here

Building WSPR on linux is often a bit of a puzzle. With the help of the clearly very clever George Smart M1GEO I got most of the way.

He didn't draw a lot of attention to it, but after running ./ you do need to edit the Makefile and change /usr/bin/f2py to /usr/bin/f2py3.4

After successful make and make install, running wspr gave me a python exception ending in ImportError: cannot import name '_imagingtk'

The solution is:

sudo apt-get install tk8.5-dev tcl8.5-dev
sudo pip3 install -I pillow

It's now running although I now get a crash shortly after it starts decoding.

So audio in is working. My guess is something is wrong with the fortran to python interface. Any tips would be most welcome.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Another hobby - Quadcopters

Accidentally purchased a little quadcopter and then found that the expensive ones have come down in price since I last looked. These videos look much better on YouTube at 720p full screen.

You can see my 20m vertical on a squid pole on the balcony at the front. It's running my WSPR station.

I bought a Quattro-X which can easily lift a camera and has the advantage of GPS stabilisation so it's not too hard to control even when there's wind. A surplus of trees does lead to some messy landings however.

The quadcopter is getting pretty beaten up.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Back home, back on lower bands

For the past eight months we've been living in an apartment and while I enjoyed learning about antennas on a balcony, it's good to be back at the normal QTH. The neighbours behind us have a magnificent gum tree which supports my new 80 and 40m dipoles.

You can't see the thin wires so hopefully it won't annoy the neighbours too much. I don't really have enough space for the 80m dipole which runs along the side fences, but 40m works really well and tunes up beautifully.

It's good to be back and while I have lots of unpacking and re-organising to do my hope is that ham radio projects will again get some time.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

iPad version of WSPR Watch coming

Here's a sneak peak:

It updates itself every few minutes but I am concerned about loading too much.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

New transceiver for the shack - with valves!

Great day at Dural today. Particularly impressed with the home brew moving coil compass built for a model boat. I didn't mean to but ended up walking away with a beautiful Yaesu FT-101E for $200.

Had a contact with Stephen, VK2BLQ, who reports that I sound normal so that's all good. Plate and Load knobs are new to me but fun to learn about.

For my younger readers, this is what a valve looks like:

The compass was fascinating, it uses a spinning coil with an amplifier in the centre. Power is fed in through the ball bearings and the output is sent by an LED light.

We turned it on and compared with a compass in a smartphone.

A wonderful device, but I think technology may have moved on.


Here's a video of what it's like to tune across 20m on the FT-101E back in the flat with a dipole on the balcony.

We're moving out of the unit back to the normal QTH in a few weeks so I thought I'd capture this for future reference.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Appearance on RN's Download this Show

A busy week, media wise. I was on RN's Download this Show:

Also wrote an opinion piece about how the BitTorrent technology can be used for good as well as evil, published by the ABC.