KitchenAid Mixer QRM

I discovered a new QRM / RFI source today, my wife’s new KitchenAid 7-Quart Pro Line Stand Mixer. Here’s a waterfall screenshot after it turned on, you can see the roughly 15 kHz spaced bands of interference. These use a DC motor, presumably that is the cause of the RFI, vs mixers with a regular AC motor.

Fortunately she doesn’t use it that often, and she’s testing out a new low carb dough recipe, so I can live with it. Speaking of low carb, here’s our low carb pizza recipe.

A Christmas card from… the Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran

The other day a large envelope from the Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran arrived in the mail, the kind of envelopes they put QSL cards in. I had sent a report a few months ago, but already received that QSL card.

I opened it, and instead of a QSL card… there was a Christmas card:

The Squid – A Universal Matching Transformer for Beverage, Longwire, Dipole, Random wire, K9AY, Flag, EWE… and More Antennas

I built my own “universal” matching transformer for connecting dipoles, beverages, loop antennas, etc. to coax cable, rather than having to wind several transformers and test each to see which impedance ratio provided the best match. After some interest from others who wanted one, they’re now available for purchase.

Each contains a tapped transformer, providing many winding ratios, matching a range of impedances. Each tap on the transformer comes out via a color coded wire, making it easy to determine which pair to use. You can also just go through the various combinations, to find best pair to use. The output is a standard SO-239 socket, which you can directly plug coax with a PL-259 connector into. Or you can use an adapter if you have different coax, I tend to use RG-6. That’s a 75 ohm cable, but it’s fine to use here because I can still select a tap that matches the impedance.

For a dipole antenna, one wire goes to each leg of the dipole. For a loop, connect to the two wire ends. For a beverage, one wire to the antenna, the other to the ground rod. And so on. Note that the transformer is only designed for receiving applications, not transmitting.

The transformer has three isolated eyebolts. Two are used for the antenna connections to take the strain off the tap wires (don’t just directly connect to them) and the third to hang the transformer.

Unused taps should be covered with electrical tape, so the wire does not corrode.

More details as well as ordering information on The Squid page.

DX ToolBox 5.0.0 Beta for Windows and macOS

I’ve released another beta version of DX ToolBox 5.0.0 for Windows and macOS. I’m continuing to work on SWBC related features. This update adds search features to the Logbook which is new to version 5, and some more tweaks to the Reminders window.

Some notes on what I’ve been adding to these beta versions:

The Logbook works just like a traditional logbook, where you can log reception of stations with all the pertinent details (station, time, date, frequency, signal, country, program details, QSL sent/received, etc). The logs can be searched, making it easy to find particular entries. You can even get lists of which stations you’ve send reports to, and are still waiting for QSLs back, so you know when to send followup reports.

The Logbook is tightly integrated with the SWBC schedules window. Say you’re tuned into a frequency, and use the SWBC schedules window to identify the possible broadcasts it could be. Once you’ve decided on the station, you can right click on that entry from the schedules window, and a new log for the transmission is created with many of the fields already filled in for you. Just add/edit whatever additional information you wish, and log the broadcast.

You can right click on entries in your logbook, and automatically search the current schedules for other transmissions by this station, on this frequency, or from this country. You can also do this from entries in the schedule window. Say you find a station or transmission of interest, but can’t hear them right now. By right clicking, you can bring up a list of other transmissions or frequencies used by that station, so you can try them. Or you can get a list of other stations on the same frequency, to see what other stations could be on right now, making it easier to guess what you might be hearing.

One of the most powerful new SWBC related features of the DX ToolBox betas is the Reminders window. When you find transmissions you want to tune in to later, just right click on them to add them to the reminders window. This window is sorted chronologically, and continuously updated every minute. You can glance at it to see what broadcasts of interest to you are on now, or coming up. And the same right click options are available to log transmissions, or look for other transmissions on the same frequency, by the same station, etc. This is a great way to keep track of what you want to listen to, and not forget about them until it’s too late and they’ve signed off. You can also get a OS notification from DX ToolBox that a reminded broadcast is coming up, even if it is in the background.

If you want to give DX ToolBox a try, you can download the beta versions here, scroll down to the bottom of this page: http://www.blackcatsystems.com/download/dxtoolbox.html