Huggins Did It!

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KX4Z, Jul 31, 2019.

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  1. KX4Z

    KX4Z Ham Member QRZ Page

    THE FIRST HOUR of testing of "real world" signals off the air has been completed -- we were able to do ONE HOUR of testing before we finished. My truck overheated and I had to sit in hot florida sun to get the test completed. The details ahve been mailed out to persons involved of the preliminary results.

    We had one fully decoded email -- received and monitored from N5TW, about 900+ miles westward from me, on 20 meters in bright sunshine.....which had my solar panels cranking out 8 kW of energy, and really playing havoc with reception on two receiver systems part of the test at my house, being manned by the able Leland Gallup, presiding over two receivers, two modems, two raspberries and 2 screens (were trying to see if one modem is any different). So that we didn't have to WATCH pAINT DRY --- I drove 15 miles away and set up the initiator station in a ParkNRide, with a 40 meter wire vertical driven by a balun and a tuner....and made connections to any working gateway in order to get the FAR GATEWAY to do a transmit of a message, so we could see if my house could monitor it.

    STATIONS 300-400 MILES AWAY ON 40 METERS DID NOT WORK --- because my house apparently has much more noise (RFI) on that band from my solar power and my neighbors and everything else in my house.....than my pickup truck had in a deserted ParkNRide with no houses anywhere close.

    MUCH STRONGER SIGNAL ON 20 mETERS FROM N5TW and THAT is when things started working -- S4 on my ancient ancient icom 725 and loud enough to be heard and detected at my house (most of the time, according to leland's observations) --- and on one email we got perfect copy. I'm not quite sure yet what went on with two others, but it appeared my software finally may have quit or something. NOT SURE. Leland understands a lot lot less about the code and the raspberries and the modems (he doesn't have one) so he wasn't able to give me sufficient details to make any diagnosis. What he DID do that was priceless was tune the receivers to every gateway as we marched around the southeast hunting for anything we could connect to in what is normally the worst time of the day, due to the D layer and the less-than-ideal critical frequencies/MUF's we're dealing with..... We were all very excited when PACKETS WERE FLYING PAST ON THE MONITOR....and discouraged when they WERE NOT (like on 40 meters).

    So the obvious thing to grasp from today is --- if you can't HEAR the signals, you surely aren't going to decode them....this is NOT FT8.......and I'm not quite sure what to do about my noise situation in my neighborhood and house...., but we'll look further into the data. I added more items that will allow me to potentially move the code a lot further forward down the road. maybe leland's house is quieter??? time to break out the spectrum analyzer and start making measurements/??

    The email i did decode is attached, with the "capturefile" (you can read my disclosure to the FCC and better understand all of this) and photos of the "remote station" -- which signals did NOT overwhelm the receivers at home, which was quite welcome.

    Software is still pretty crappy, but working. lots of improvement can be made....

    RemoteLocation.JPG TransmitterDataSheet.JPG

    Attached Files:

  2. KX4Z

    KX4Z Ham Member QRZ Page

    Maybe what I will do is move the monitoring portion with the raspberry to the quieter location in the truck! That may give it the better signal To noise ratio and give us a real test of how we can pick up signals. The other station will be demanding repeats all the time ..... I have just got to improve this code to take advantage of the repeats!
  3. KX4Z

    KX4Z Ham Member QRZ Page

    WINDOWS SOFTWARE TO READ WINLINK (pactor) EMAILS. i have permission to distribute this software, from the creator/re-compiler, Peter DL6MAA. It is an important portion of my raspberry pi software, ported over to WINDOWS ---
    For input, it needs to see a file named "capturefile.txt" in the same directory as the executable, and created by capture of the ASCII output of a Dragon modem in PMON HEX 1, PMON VERBOSE 3, PMON START . I suspect you could use any terminal program that works with the Dragons to capture with --- there is a program on their web site for Windows, but I have almost no experience with it. Someone could recompile my raspberry term program --

    It spits out the final readable message from winlink in one step!!! Much easier than the way I had to do it in the development. It is still my code underneath, so it will not properly handle ALL splits of the FC EM line into two radio packets, but it is pretty usable code at this point --- we read a message from N5TW's gateway today with it!! I ran this on my computer and it appeared to be exaactly what it is supposed to be, and worked perfectly when I tested it.

    if there is anyone here who knows how to do tcp/ip socket coding.....I was given the specification for ARDOP today and it has a MON command that would allow precisely what needs to be done in order to read ARDOP using the same end-code that I developed for PACTOR; just write a command to propery connect over the socket, and take the output and put it into a capturefile (or for the windows....capturefile.txt) I won't get to that probably for month(s) on end --- but someone here could take on tht project and get it DONE!!!



    Attached Files:

    KX4O likes this.
  4. DL6MAA

    DL6MAA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I like Coolterm developed by Roger Meiers for capturing output data from the modems...

    I now could even add direct modem support to PMON_lzw.exe (and a GUI), i.e. "monitoring LZHUF
    compressed sessions on the fly" but unfortunately I have a bunch of very urgent other projects
    "on the stack". Don't know when I will find the time for that job. PMON for RasPi also still sits on that
    "stack"... :mad:

    73 de Peter
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2019
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  5. DL6MAA

    DL6MAA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just modified the PMON_lzh.exe code a little...

    Now you have to give the filename as first argument, e.g.:

    PMON_lzh capturefile.txt<Enter>

    Then PMON_lzh.exe will then generate the file


    Please find attached also two sample capture files I received with a DR-7800 in PMON mode and audio split cable while receiving e-mails from HB9AK (241 km away) on 80 mtrs...

    So you are more flexible regarding filenames of capture files...

    Have fun...

    73 de Peter

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 9, 2019
    KX4Z likes this.
  6. KX4Z

    KX4Z Ham Member QRZ Page


    Unknowingly, we actually practiced a worst-worst-case scenario....and still captured perfectly one email from > 900 miles away.

    1. Heat of the day is always worst -- one only has to see how the "green" section of the WiNLINK propagation prediction device shrinks to just a couple inches of possible stations -- whereas at night it will be 2 pages' worth!!
    2. i had no idea that the remote location I chose (and put an on-the-spot ad hoc vertical wire) would have so much lower noise than the MONITORING STATION --- so we put the monitoring station several dB handicapped, particularly on 40 meters, where even the triggering station was having problems, dealing with S1 signals of roughly -89 dBm (when the noise level at the monitoring stattion by itself is 3 db higher...about -86 dBM -- monitoring basically impossible.)
    3. We finally succeeded when we moved to 20 meters and found a signal of S4 level -- approximately -83 dBm (if the S meter calibration carries over to 20 meters) -- that is NOT THAT MUCH STRONGER -- but the monitoring station then had much less noise to deal with and succeeded.

    Note: after the practice run, i realized I had to calibrate those s-meters, so I hauled out the spectrum analyzer tracking genrator and accomplished that task on 7.1 MHz. The data are in the report.. S units average about 2 dB on the where close to what is commonly thought.

    We need to do more practice where we actually give the monitoring station a fighting chance!!! This was a worst-worst case....and we still succeeded ONCE. We also demonstrated that if we can add the ability to deal with REQ=1 packets, we can improve further. That will take quite a bit of programming, unfortunately.

    NEW SOFTWARE: As you are seeing in posts above --- Hans-Peter now has enough software that you can join in the testing without even needing a Raspberry pi!! It would be wonderful to see DOZENS of people testing and improving these systems....not just a crappy programmer half-retired anesthesologist who isn't getting enough sleep because of this all of you EXPERTS out there --- now is your chance!!!

    This material will be stored on a web server and disclosed to the FCC and to the ARRL BOD later today, when I can get to it. 8 hours of work to set up, carry out, and analyze just 1 hour of radio time. A lot of work.....


    Attached Files:

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  7. KX4Z

    KX4Z Ham Member QRZ Page

  8. KX4Z

    KX4Z Ham Member QRZ Page

    Now disclosed to the ARRL Board of Directors.
  9. KX4Z

    KX4Z Ham Member QRZ Page


    Another BIG DAY of discoveries for the effort I am working on to accomplish the exRpessed desires of the good Doctor at NYU and so many others.....

    It took me about 6 hours, all told before I hit upon a way to be able to FORCE pactor traffic to occur. Folks, THERE JUST ISN'T THAT MUCH PACTOR TRAFFIC TO WORK ON!!! We would all be dead and gone before I finished up this project if I had to wait on spontaneous traffic!!!! I ginned up a way to FORCE my home gateway to try to find email every 15 or 20 minutes from N5TW (about the only station I can hear during the heat of the afternoon ---- everyone else is basically unreadable here.....) --- and then send myself an email over the cell phone to give N5TW something to send to my house. *I then drive 15 miles west to the small town of Newberry* and connect to a wire vertical that I can probably leave there a few more days. I have to remove it before they need to cut the grass next!! It runs up a palm tree and then up to nearly the top of a huge tree. I screw a dog-leash-holdeer into the dry dry dry florida sand --- it barely goes.....lousy ground, and add a 1:49 balun and connect to the MFJ antenna tuner in my truck.

    I discovered today why it was a good thing my truck overheated the last time --- the truck is making HUGE RFI at least on the Icom 718 I worked with today....and its output amp seems busted, only makes 50 wats...but what i need was the RECEIVER.

    Today I worked with WINDOWS software. CoolTerm recommended by Peter took me 10 minutes to make sense of....the modem he loaned me does NOT have here.....and then it captures BEAUTIFULLY into a text file. Peter took one of my c-code files and ported it to windows (see above) and today I used THAT --- and it wored perfectly, puts out "decompressed.txt"

    Three emails received -- two of them either perfect or so close i can't tell, but George Washington's lengthy address got chopped (I dind't include all the ending junk) -- THERE WAS VERY SIGNIFICANT FADING about every 2 minutes on that one. I discovered when the S-meter goes flat to ZERO....the dragon no longer can read the signal. I could still "hear" something, but the dragon couldn't. That is how t normally is with AX.25 also--- you need a real SIGNAL to decode it. NOT AT ALL LIKE FT8...... i think my signals were lousy enough that we never made it past speed level 3..... but I did get some "long" packets instead of just the short packets. Very cool to see FIVE HUNDRED characters fly past in a single packet!!!!!

    We are learning at a faster and faster pace now. i am about ready to enlist an army of volunteers to begin to speed this up further. IF WE HAD TWO RECEIVERS CONNECTED VIA TCP/IP AND SHARING MISSED PACKETS....THIS WOULD BECOME PHENOMENAL!!!! Hint hint --- if you are a grad student out there looking for a project....WE HAVE ONE! Real ham radio real-world research right here for the taking!!!!

    Attached Files:

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  10. KX4Z

    KX4Z Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Region 4 SHARES authority was not very happy at my idea of using SHARES to demonstrate how easy it is to read Pactor IV traffic. That is the only place where I could run the test that I know of unless I figure out some cool way to do it on VHF??? That might be another way to try it, if I can't do it legally on HF...... Anyone know about that idea??

    The authority stated that it has been known for 15 years that you could read WINLINK, and that it might not be the best idea to be disclosing traffic that went across that system [not his exact words, but I'm paraphrasing]. I'm not convinced that he understood the allegations in this incredible argument that has been going on with filings to the FCC, so I provided him with links to a couple of Rappaport filings alleging the near impossiblity, and have not yet heard back from him.

    But generally speaking, I'm now at the point that if I know a pactor-equipped RMS that has a reasonably good signal, i have found a way to make them send out emails about every 20 minutes without me being at either station involved in the transfer, and from 15 miles away at the bus parking lot where I have a simple antenna, with no knowledge other than knowing the frequency on which it may occur.... I can generally read the email either partially or completely, at least on 20 meters in my tests so far. It took a lot of work to create the TESTING SCENARIO.....capturng the email and reading it is child's play at the moment, two pieces of windows software now. I have asked real experts to look over how I made the configuration that gave me such large numbers of test pactor emails, to see if it can be improved even further.

    But you do have to know how to install software, and it is still done with a terminal program (on Windows, a free product, "CoolTerm" ) that simply captures the frames, and then you start the decoder and create the readable file. Read then any way you like, even Notepad. The deocding takes a tiny bit longer on the windows machine -- about 1 second, whereas on the raspberry it is the blink of an eye. Eventually all of that will be wrapped up into one piece of software, but that really isn't a real issue of course. In this development, getting actual facts and improving the process as we go along is very important. This morning i got the correct info on what the RQ:1 means, so now I understand what Peter was trying to explain to me, about harvesting that extra pearl of information.

    Much better people than me are starting to join in on this effort. The diversity receiving system might actually begin at some point. Nothing ever stopped this... the work that I, and others, are doing, could have been done any time in the last 19 years using the WA8DED HOSTMODE, for which there is an entire chapter in the manual.....but most of us simply weren't around when that was popular and thus many people didn't even know it existed, I suppose.
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