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Author Topic: Panadapter or linear?  (Read 5258 times)
AB8MA
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Posts: 753




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« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2012, 03:56:41 PM »

Hi, all,

I'm eying Christmas presents for myself. Which would you experts say is more useful for DX, a panadapter or a linear?

Thanks,
- Steve (WX2S.)

Get both: there is no reason the panadapter has to be an expensive present. You can do one quite cheaply using a Softrock
SDR receiver kit (<$50) and get all the benefits of say a P3. Or a LP-PAN if you can spend a little more.

The main time in "DXing" when I use a panadapter is figuring out where to call in gigantic pileups. It helps immensely there.

Tor
N4OGW


I dont have any luck trying that (finding the spot to call) with the scope on my pro III.  Hell, most callers never stop calling. The big blob of callers is always there.  How do you pick out the correct one in time for it to be useful?  hi  73, Gene AF3Y

I have had these same thoughts ever since this thread started. When I try finding the spread tuning the second vfo, I would swear there was more than one dxpedition going on and folks were casting for the other ones (continuous calling at illogical times).
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AB3CX
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Posts: 631




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« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2012, 04:52:34 PM »

I was recently forced to work the 7O6T DXpedition amp free due to my amp's issues; it was doable, but everyhting took alot longer, and I did not get 40 SSB which I really wanted.  My PAN is fun but really is more useful for quickly assesing band activity or whether it's open. I can do that in a flash.  Everyone talked about seeing the DX listenening frequency in the pileup with SDR or PAN displays; in my experience, there are so many people calling randomly in a pileup that in general the PAN is useless for that.  To me, PANs are very useful in contesting for finding holes in the band to run on, and for spotting outliers in search and pounce mode.
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AF3Y
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« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2012, 06:02:56 PM »

I was recently forced to work the 7O6T DXpedition amp free due to my amp's issues; it was doable, but everyhting took alot longer, and I did not get 40 SSB which I really wanted.  My PAN is fun but really is more useful for quickly assesing band activity or whether it's open. I can do that in a flash.  Everyone talked about seeing the DX listenening frequency in the pileup with SDR or PAN displays; in my experience, there are so many people calling randomly in a pileup that in general the PAN is useless for that.  To me, PANs are very useful in contesting for finding holes in the band to run on, and for spotting outliers in search and pounce mode.

Agree, and especially for assesing band activity.  Perhaps there is something I need to learn about using the display when trying to dig out the DX listening freq.  I have actually done better just tuning around, listening, hopefully snagging the station answering the DX, and then trying to decipher the DX listening pattern, IF there is one.  When the callers are just calling over and over without pausing while the DX is working someone, its not much help. Gene AF3Y
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AJ4RW
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Posts: 568




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« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2012, 06:20:12 PM »

Those idiots that have diarrhea of the mouth and keep calling randomly are annoying and I can see where it would create a real problem with a pan adapter.  I'm in the process of putting an RF Space IF-2000, LP-Pan and NaP3 software together and I really enjoy this post.  Mike, what kind of pan adapter and software do you run and do you have any suggestion?
Randy AJ4RW
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N2RJ
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Posts: 1204




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« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2012, 06:49:09 AM »

If you don't have an amp, you need one. Any serious DXer needs one unless you want to prove that you have the skill (patience mostly) to work DXCC with 100 watts and a dipole or want to go for QRP DXCC.

But you don't need a full gallon. The first 500 watts makes all the difference. The rest is just about 1/3 of an S unit I believe.

Those extra 2 to 4 dB make a hell of a difference, regardless of what the receiving station's S-meter says. I've done this test numerous times with EU (mostly G and PA) stations on 80 the first year I had my amp. I would A/B 500 and 1500 Watts and ask them to not look at the meter but to tell me how much signal difference change they perceived just by listening to my voice at the two power levels. Invariably, as I suspected "MUCH Louder" or much clearer or similar comments followed the "jump to light speed." And although I've never tested this out scientifically or even anecdotally, I'd wager that the difference of 2-4dB over the pole to a guy sitting on wooden scaffolding in the South China Sea over a chunk of barren rock would be enough to get me in the log and not the guy who's hamsters are running full tilt at 500W.

There are times I'd love to have a panadapter of some species or another (namely in killer CW and RTTY pileups) but the times I'd use it in any given year could be measured on one hand.

Antennas (and the height thereof) first, amp second, filters/radio third, panadapter....way down there.

It probably has to do with your location as well. Since you have Mt. Jellybean in the way, and I'm further up in the hills, clear from obstacles to the East, going from 500w to 1500w for you is probably like going from 100w to 500w for me. I am yet to run a legal limit amp from here though so I've never been able to test that theory.

But by all means, mo powa, mo betta. I would certainly recommend getting as much as your budget allows but don't sweat it if you can only get a 500w amp. It's much better than running barefoot and only marginally worse than running a full gallon.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 06:51:14 AM by N2RJ » Logged
N4OGW
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Posts: 308




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« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2012, 07:39:39 AM »

Hi, all,

I'm eying Christmas presents for myself. Which would you experts say is more useful for DX, a panadapter or a linear?

Thanks,
- Steve (WX2S.)

Get both: there is no reason the panadapter has to be an expensive present. You can do one quite cheaply using a Softrock
SDR receiver kit (<$50) and get all the benefits of say a P3. Or a LP-PAN if you can spend a little more.

The main time in "DXing" when I use a panadapter is figuring out where to call in gigantic pileups. It helps immensely there.

Tor
N4OGW


I dont have any luck trying that (finding the spot to call) with the scope on my pro III.  Hell, most callers never stop calling. The big blob of callers is always there.  How do you pick out the correct one in time for it to be useful?  hi  73, Gene AF3Y

The point is that a "real" panadapter has much better resolution than the scope on your Pro III and you CAN pick out individual callers. I usually use a display where the signals scroll sideways (like CW Skimmer). This is much better than the vertical spectrum displays because it shows a few seconds of time history of signals.

With this kind of display you can actually read the CW signals visually from the dots and dashes and often pick out who is responding to the DX. If you use Skimmer, it will decode the callsigns and whoever is sending "599". There is a picture at http://code.google.com/p/so2sdr/ showing what I use.

Tor
N4OGW
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N2RJ
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Posts: 1204




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« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2012, 09:08:26 AM »

The point is that a "real" panadapter has much better resolution than the scope on your Pro III and you CAN pick out individual callers. I usually use a display where the signals scroll sideways (like CW Skimmer). This is much better than the vertical spectrum displays because it shows a few seconds of time history of signals.

With this kind of display you can actually read the CW signals visually from the dots and dashes and often pick out who is responding to the DX. If you use Skimmer, it will decode the callsigns and whoever is sending "599". There is a picture at http://code.google.com/p/so2sdr/ showing what I use.

Tor
N4OGW


I absolutely agree. The Pro3's spectrum scope is not as useful as it initially seems, at least compared to a real panadapter. I have had SoftRock receivers connected to my vertical out back as a 2nd rx. These were invaluable in finding the split freq and pattern quickly and easily. A lot of my recent ATNOs within the last couple years were basically 1 call because of this. Best part is that they were 10 bucks a piece. But I also learned how to tune and find the split very quickly by just tuning and listening. OK, gonna shut up now before I reveal more of my secrets. Smiley
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AB3CX
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Posts: 631




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« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2012, 11:08:34 AM »

I have an FT-2000 with IF-2000 and SDR-IQ.  I have had it for about 3 years.  The software is great, pretty easy to install; I have a dual serial port card in my computer (COM 1, 3) and I then use a program called VSPE  (free, Eterlogic) to create a splitter (COM1 to COM2)  This allows my rig control and SDR-IQ to run on the same COM port, so the PAN display is clickable, I retain logging program rig control and I can QSY anywhere pronto by clicking.  You can't use COM5 with the SDR-IQ, I cant remember why but rename COM5 some other number if your computer assigns that number to any serial port. I use 100 kHz bandwidth. Very weak signals may be audible but not visible on the PAN.  I have not used any other PAN system, but it's hard to imagine anything better than this one.  The other plus is that you can take the SDR-IQ anywhere, put an antenna on it and a serial port to your laptop, and you have a great radio for listening, ham band or general coverage. The SDR IQ is very likely a better receiver than what most guys are using.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 11:47:37 AM by AB3CX » Logged
AJ4RW
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Posts: 568




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« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2012, 02:10:25 PM »

Thanks Mike for sharing that information with me.  I had read an article by AC0C that reccommends Using LP-Pan if you run Ham Radio Deluxe.  I really like HRD so I went with LP-Pan but the SDR-IQ was my second choice.  If this doesn't pan out, I guess I'll have to see if I can get a dual serial port card for my computer.  I guess there's going to be some experimentation with it.  I'm excited to try this new addition to my station.  Thanks again.
Randy AJ4RW
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K8AC
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Posts: 1477




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« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2012, 02:45:20 PM »

Quote
. An HF beam is not possible at my QTH, unless someone makes an invisible one. (Historic district plus busybody neighbors plus XYL objections.)

With just the info from this quote, I'd strongly advise AGAINST an amplifier.  Clearly you're going to have an antenna that's low and close to your house.  The fact it's a historic district tells me the lots are small and the houses close together.  The amplifier will insure that everyone nearby knows you're a ham and your XYL will soon feel the pressure of complaints about you getting into the neighbor's TV, stereo, washing machine, dish washer, etc.  It really doesn't matter that the true fault is the neighbor's electronic equipment - all they'll know is that they didn't have the problem before you got that amplifier.  If you're an attorney, you may be able to deal with what's going to happen, otherwise, you're in for a rough sail.

73, Floyd - K8AC
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AE6RV
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Posts: 146




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« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2012, 04:29:31 PM »

If you're an attorney, you may be able to deal with what's going to happen, otherwise, you're in for a rough sail.

Why would he need an attorney?  RFI is not local jurisdiction.  Sure, he may need an attorney to establish that for some judge, but it's hard to believe that this isn't well established by now except maybe way out in the boondocks.  Back in 1981 my neighbor called the police to complain and the officer told him point blank that there was nothing he could do, but if the neighbor trespassed and threatened me again he would be in trouble.
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AF3Y
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« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2012, 05:45:57 PM »

If you're an attorney, you may be able to deal with what's going to happen, otherwise, you're in for a rough sail.

Why would he need an attorney?  RFI is not local jurisdiction.  Sure, he may need an attorney to establish that for some judge, but it's hard to believe that this isn't well established by now except maybe way out in the boondocks.  Back in 1981 my neighbor called the police to complain and the officer told him point blank that there was nothing he could do, but if the neighbor trespassed and threatened me again he would be in trouble.

Lots could not be much smaller than mine here in E. Coast of Florida. I run QRO quite often when in pursuit of that ATNO, and I have yet to have a complaint from the neighbors. I actually went to all of them within 5 houses each side AND across the street and asked them had they heard me or had any RFI at any time since the year and half I have been here. I asked all of them to turn on TVs, etc. and let me go transmit near legal limit.  NO complaints.... Well thats not quite true...... One guy told me I turned his "clap on - clap off" string of small novelty lights his wife had on a credenza.  I offered to help him eliminate the problem, and he told me no problem, he never liked them anyway.

I have that S-9 wire vertical in the back, and as I said, from time to time I can be 1 KW or better. with no known RFI problems.  wire probably gets pretty hot tho...... Grin
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W2IRT
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« Reply #27 on: July 18, 2012, 06:31:09 PM »

So long as the station is well and thoroughly grounded, low- and high-pass filters installed as needed and the station is operated and set up using solid engineering problems there should be no issue. Use good quality feedlines, current baluns at the antenna feedpoints and so on. I run 1500 Watts with a crapload of ERP and so far zero complaints from neighbours--only RFI is occasionally on 40m CW or 6m beamed Northeast I'll get into my wife's computer speakers. That's it.
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AF3Y
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« Reply #28 on: July 18, 2012, 06:55:02 PM »

So long as the station is well and thoroughly grounded, low- and high-pass filters installed as needed and the station is operated and set up using solid engineering problems there should be no issue. Use good quality feedlines, current baluns at the antenna feedpoints and so on. I run 1500 Watts with a crapload of ERP and so far zero complaints from neighbours--only RFI is occasionally on 40m CW or 6m beamed Northeast I'll get into my wife's computer speakers. That's it.

Before leaving S.C. for Florida, when I had some decent antennas and a tower, I did get into my neighbors surround sound once. He was just about due South from the tower, and I was running legal limit  or so, in that general direction, which put my signal perpendicular to his East - West running
speaker wires. Again, I told him I would get the fix for him, but he said no problem, that he did not use the surround sound that often.  Sounded fishy to me, but I did not argue. So..... The couple times I had RFI problems, both neighbors were great guys.   73, Gene AF3Y
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AE6RV
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« Reply #29 on: July 18, 2012, 08:59:59 PM »

So long as the station is well and thoroughly grounded, low- and high-pass filters installed as needed and the station is operated and set up using solid engineering problems there should be no issue.

Unless your neighborhood has ATT U-Verse installed.  I've been on quiet time for various reasons for the past few years.  But before that, I spent a lot of time with ATT helping them figure out the difference between an AC ground, a DC ground, and an RF ground.  I plan to become active again this year, so we'll see how many phones and TV sets I take down.

Added:
Oh, if you mean legal problems: no, I don't expect any.
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