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Old 14-09-2020, 21:22   #1
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Airmail/HAM set up question

Hello,

i need some help please with the Airmail/Ham set up.

So far , using Icom M710 with Pactor 2USB , Firmware upgraded to 4.1R. Airmail client installed and configured. test outgoing mail in Outbox. Connection seems ok , modem responds , Radio shows REMOTE but none of tyhe stations seem to accept my call. The following is a snip from Airmail. To me it looks as if i get a connection but the station seems to drop me may be due to Password handshake issues. Hope someone can give me some hints.
Thanks
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Old 15-09-2020, 03:26   #2
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Re: Airmail/HAM set up question

None of the stations have responded to your call, you havenít even gotten to the password/handshake portion of the exchange.

How far from you are these stations?
Is your transmitted signal clear? Do you have a gain problem?
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Old 15-09-2020, 04:12   #3
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Re: Airmail/HAM set up question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
None of the stations have responded to your call, you havenít even gotten to the password/handshake portion of the exchange.

How far from you are these stations?
Is your transmitted signal clear? Do you have a gain problem?
Thanks for your reply.

nearest station looks like Victoria , i am currently in Hobart , Tasm so about 900 km.

I currently use the HF just for voice comms with the local Coast guard , no issues with that.

How can i test the gain?

Appreciate any advise as i am very new to radio amateur usage of the radio.

Thanks
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Old 15-09-2020, 18:48   #4
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Re: Airmail/HAM set up question

Iíve never used a pactor, but sound card modems are very signal level dependent
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Old 16-09-2020, 08:34   #5
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Re: Airmail/HAM set up question

If you have voice working, that is a good start.

Did you updated your list of call-in station after installing Airmail ?
The build in list is not the most up to date.

Make sure also you turn off all DSP processing inside the radio: noise cancellation, DSP... What usually makes voice call better is not good for data call.

You basically need to try a couple of different station ... until one answers.
You can also listen to some of the stations frequency to figure out if there are current traffic. Pateintly wait until traffic end and call-in...
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Old 16-09-2020, 08:37   #6
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Re: Airmail/HAM set up question

You need a SWR meter to see what your transmission power is.
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Old 16-09-2020, 09:37   #7
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Re: Airmail/HAM set up question

Following this thread with interest. I have regularly used Sailmail stations but never was able to ever contact any ham station using Airmail. Even when band was open and I could hear many data signals in the ham bands. Also it seemed that the ham frequencies published in Airmail were always in use.
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Old 16-09-2020, 09:55   #8
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Re: Airmail/HAM set up question

I see your ‘Center Freq.’ but see your ‘Dial Freq’.. Should be in the lower right hand portion of the screen shot that appears to be missing...
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Old 16-09-2020, 10:24   #9
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Re: Airmail/HAM set up question

Looks like you are making all your calls in the 3mhz range. Try some different frequencies.
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Old 16-09-2020, 23:56   #10
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Re: Airmail/HAM set up question

Quote:
Originally Posted by SV DINGO View Post
Thanks for your reply.

nearest station looks like Victoria , i am currently in Hobart , Tasm so about 900 km.

I currently use the HF just for voice comms with the local Coast guard , no issues with that.

How can i test the gain?

Appreciate any advise as i am very new to radio amateur usage of the radio.

Thanks

Firstly, is the radio frequency controlled by the software. The frequency on the radio display should be 1500 (1.5kz) below the frequency in the list.

Secondly, while i haven't checked in a while, vU2GMN is in India, and went off the air so.e years ago, so you need to update your frequency list.

If you use the prediction tables they are generally quite good especially in airmail.

If you are planning to cross the indian, then my advice is to also get yourself a sound card modem and run the two in tandem. The reason is because the station in Mauritius only supports sound card modes.
For the soundcard modes you will need to use the winlink software..winlink express...which is not as good in the marine environment for a number of reasons, but still good to have.

900km should be a walk in the park, at the correct time of day, but if you concerned about password problems, make sure your winlink password is ALL CAPS , as airmail and the winlink system will only talk to each other like that. Dont ask, i dont know why.

The other important thing for good data speed, is a prolific use of toroidal chokes on all the radio and modem cables. They will work miracles to make you connections better and faster.
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Old Yesterday, 02:59   #11
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Re: Airmail/HAM set up question

Quote:
Originally Posted by IOM View Post
Firstly, is the radio frequency controlled by the software. The frequency on the radio display should be 1500 (1.5kz) below the frequency in the list.
If my suspicions (my earlier comment) are correct..he’s transmitting on the ‘Center Freq.’ not the ‘Dial Freq.’ as seen in his screen shot..most likely his rig is manually controlled.



[/QUOTE] The other important thing for good data speed, is a prolific use of toroidal chokes on all the radio and modem cables. They will work miracles to make you connections better and faster. [/QUOTE]

The optional Blue Tooth board eliminates a majority if not all RF interference issues...I can take my computer anywhere on the boat and not be limited/ tied to a cord..
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Old Yesterday, 03:48   #12
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Re: Airmail/HAM set up question

[/QUOTE]

The optional Blue Tooth board eliminates a majority if not all RF interference issues...I can take my computer anywhere on the boat and not be limited/ tied to a cord..[/QUOTE]

The BT option is definitely a plus plan for convenience. His modem would need a external BT to serial, which i have seen done, but was a bit costly in my opinion.
While BT definitely helps the PC not do wierd and wonderfull things, like open 200 pages or just hang, and it definitely stops you chasing a rouge mouse all over the screen, it does nothing for the interference to the modem from the radio, which is after all where the sound signals are generated, and decoded. They are still connected with good old copper with varying levels of shielding, so still very affected by RF.

I was very skeptical about the benefits of chokes initially as well, and had more than acceptable server speed, but adding them made a huge improvement to my sending speed. Adding them to various boats has also taken away many other strange electronic problems while transmitting on HF.

The other thing that can hide RFI is just drop the power. You need very little power to have a good pactor connection.
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Old Yesterday, 06:51   #13
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Re: Airmail/HAM set up question

BT rather simple to install on the III USB board...

“3.3 Bluetooth
The PTC-IIIusb is available with optional Bluetooth. Bluetooth is a low power high frequency (2.4 GHz) radio link which serves as a cable replacement for short distances. In the interference susceptible shortwave environment of the PTC-IIIusb, the USB cable connection between the modem and the PC can be eliminated.
Advantage:
The data stream signal of a USB interface is located in the middle of the shortwave bands. Therefore, the USB data signal cannot be separated from the shortwave signal being transmitted or received by simply filtering. Mutual interference is possible, especially where the antenna is located close to the modem/PC setup (ship borne installations). Mutual interference in this case means that the transmitted HF-signal can disturb the USB data stream between PC and modem, as well the USB data stream can disturb the radio reception of short waves. Bluetooth can help solve this problem, as Bluetooth and shortwave radio signals don’t interfere with one another. Additionally, eliminating the USB cable connection, the danger of ground loops and parasitic currents distorting the radios signal modulation are removed, which will lead to a better transmission quality.
Installation at the PC side:
Many modern laptop computers are already equipped with Bluetooth. In this case there is no further installation required. All the others need to purchase a “Bluetooth stick” which is plugged into a free USB connector.
Bluetooth Sticks of various brands are available from computer stores. The installation should be done in accordance with the instructions of the Bluetooth Stick vendor (driver and software, etc.). SCS does not supply Bluetooth stick software on the SCS-CD. Please use the CD from the Bluetooth Stick manufacturer for the installation!
12

3 Installation
After installation (or after the first connection with the PTC modem), a virtual COM port is generated (just like with USB) which can be accessed by any terminal or PTC program.
Installation at the PTC-IIIusb side:
You can order the PTC-IIIusb with Bluetooth option already installed, or you can get an existing PTC-IIIusb extended for Bluetooth by an authorized dealer or by SCS. For the prices for both versions please refer to the price list or ask your dealer.
Getting started:
Disconnect the USB cable from your PTC-IIIusb and switch it on afterwards.
Important:
If the USB cable is connected between the PTC-IIIusb and the PC, then Bluetooth is always disabled, USB always has priority! This decision is made by the PTC-IIIusb at power-on. Do not change the configuration whilst in operation, always switch off the PTC-IIIusb if you want to swap between Bluetooth and USB. The USB cable serves you as “switch” in this case.
Locate the PTC-IIIusb near your PC being equipped with Bluetooth (max. 5 m distance).
Start the Bluetooth manager software on your PC. The user interface of the manager may vary with different brands, so that only the basic operation can be described here.
Let your Bluetooth manager search for Bluetooth devices in range. The PTC-IIIusb should be found within a short time and displayed as a symbol in the manager. Now you need to “pair” the PTC-IIIusb with the PC, so that both will recognize each other next time. Usually the manager offers you the pairing option when you double-click on the symbol, or when you select it and press the right mouse button. After you have started the pairing, you will be prompted to enter a key or password. The last 8 characters of the PTC-IIIusb’s electronic serial-number represents this key. You’ll find the serial-number on the bottom of the modem. Enter the last 8 characters, which can be numbers and letters, and take care that you enter the letters in upper case. After you have confirmed the entry, the pairing should have been completed successfully.
Remark: The pairing might have a limited lifetime and may require to be repeated when the PTC-IIIusb and the PC have not been connected by Bluetooth for a few days or weeks. If you use Bluetooth more frequently, repetition of the pairing usually is not necessary.
After the pairing the Bluetooth connection can finally be established. This usually happens by a double-click on the modem’s symbol in your manager. At connection a virtual COM port is created and the number of the COM port is usually displayed. Enter this COM number into the terminal programs you intend to use. From now on, as long as your Bluetooth manager is operating, starting and terminating the terminal program will also start or terminate the Bluetooth connection between the modem and the PC. From now on you’re wireless.

3.3.1 Bluetooth Installation
The Bluetooth transceiver is soldered on the bottom side of the main board, on the left front side, approximately underneath the Bluetooth and USB LEDs. When installed, it is automatically recognized by the modems operating system and can be used. There is nothing more to do than soldering it in.“

...also it’s RF advantages are as noted ..

With the Dragon 73xx modem the BT option is even easier to install..nothing more than..open the case and insert the BT board.. Yes...the Dragon series modems are PACTOR 4 capable and I use it when off shore to those stations capable of PACTOR 4 and it’s blazingly fast!
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