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bleadon hill hilomast kiwisdr Light Communications Light Wave Communications Nano Waves NanoWaves Optical Communications SDR Station B weston sdr weston-super-mare

Light Wave Communications


We have finally started work on our optical communication systems, thanks to the massive help from Bernie G4HJW from the nanowavesUK group.

We have built some very rough tubes to mount our optics and last night, Friday 30th July 2021, we tested the system between the GB3WB repeater site and Red Lane near Burnham on sea, 6.6KM away.

We achieved fully quietening signals over this distance, and know that we can travel much further from the site once we have re-built the optics and mounted them properly.

A massive thanks to the nanowavesUK group for all of the information which is available from them and to Bernie for supplying the boards.

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bleadon hill Hf receiver KiWi KiWi SDR kiwisdr remote receiver SDR SDR receiver Station B web sdr websdr weston kiwi weston kiwi sdr weston sdr weston web sdr weston-super-mare westonsdr

Donation Page Weston kiwi SDR’s

Please help to keep our Kiwi SDR’s online.
With the massive increase in the cost of electricity it is hard to see how we can keep all of the Kiwi SDR’s in service. If a few people donate every month then it is possible to keep this expensive equipment running.
It is as easy as using your PayPal account and sending PayPal donations to:

paypal@kiwisdr.uk

It should be noted that once you have hit the donate button you can pay using your bank card, and you do not need to have a PayPal account.
If you have a PayPal account however, it is very easy to select the ‘friends and family’ option which means that we don’t have to pay any PayPal fees at all, so well worth taking that option.

It is also easy for anyone to send donations via bank transfer, our bank details are:

Bank: NatWest
Name: A Coombs
Account: 81529570
Sort: 60-23-32

You may also send a cheque or cash to our address:

G1VSX
Graham Buck
1 Hobart Road
Weston-super-Mare
North Somerset
BS23 4QQ

Get in touch:

andy@gb3wb.com

Categories
bleadon hill Hf receiver hilomast KiWi KiWi SDR kiwisdr remote receiver SDR SDR receiver Station B web sdr websdr weston kiwi weston kiwi sdr weston sdr weston web sdr weston-super-mare westonsdr wsm sdr

All Kiwi’s Back In Service! Thanks to everyone who supported us!

UPDATE: 10:00 AM Wednesday May 11th 2022. Please help to keep our Kiwi SDR’s online:

With the massive increase in the cost of electricity it is hard to see how we can keep all of the Kiwi SDR’s in service. If a few people donate every month then it is possible to keep this expensive equipment running.
It is as easy as using your PayPal account and sending PayPal donations to:

paypal@kiwisdr.uk

It should be noted that once you have hit the donate button you can pay using your bank card, and you do not need to have a PayPal account.
If you have a PayPal account however, it is very easy to select the ‘friends and family’ option which means that we don’t have to pay any PayPal fees at all, so well worth taking that option.

UPDATE: 10:00 AM Thursday March 11th 2022. All Kiwi’s Back in Service:

UPDATE: 10:00 AM Thursday March 3rd 2022. Storm Eunice, then storm Franklin damage:

We are sorry that the Kiwi SDR’s have been out of service for so long, but unknown to us at the time of the mains failure, was just how drastic and dangerous the mains fault was.
The danger only came to light when I started the repair work on the aerials.
As soon as I touched an aerial connector I got an electric shock. I then touched an RF amplifier and got another electric shock.
I measured the AC voltage between the mud (ground) and any exposed metalwork and found that everything was at 180v AC!

Somehow we had lost our earth and for some reason everything that should be grounded was now at 180v AC with respect to the mud/ground all around the site.

After getting some very strange results I pushed the multimeter probes into the mud/ground about 1 metre apart and measured 26v AC.
This showed that current was flowing through the mud!
To prove that this was not an anomaly with the meter, I pushed the wires of a white LED with a series resistor into the mud, with the wires about 15cm apart and the white LED illuminated very brightly!

There is some massive fault on site ever since the long power outages last week.
We have mains currents flowing through our mud/ground and all our metalwork has become live.

This is a very serious situation, as I often work alone on site and realise that I could have been killed.
I have never encountered anything like this before.

If you can help, it is as easy as using your PayPal account and sending PayPal donations to:

A massive thank you to the 13 people who have offered help and sent donations out of the dozens and dozens of people who use our Kiwi SDR’s everyday.

Many times during every day of the week there are 32 people simultaneously using our Kiwi’s

There was a mains power outage on Friday February 18th 2022 at 12.07 lunch time due to the extremely high winds.
All mains electricity was lost. We have had a week of pretty non-stop high winds and rain which have caused damage to our equipment and resulted in extended mains electricity outages to the site.
We do get a lot of power cuts, but never anything as bad as this.

We are going to have to act and get some backup power on site to stop this from happening so often.

If you can help, it is as easy as using your PayPal account and sending PayPal donations to:

After spending many hours on site we have now repaired the top section of our smaller mast which had caused the center of our big main HF dipole to drop. This center section contains our custom 12:1 balun. The balun and HF dipole became stuck in a tree once it had broken away from its center support mast. This was very difficult to retrieve as the tree is so big. This led to us having to buy new very strong wires to build a new HF dipole.

Our site is very exposed to the wind and rain, so all repair work was very hard going.

As always, any donations will be very gratefully received!

A massive thank you to everyone who helps us to keep everything up and running with your much appreciated donations.

If you can help, it is as easy as using your PayPal account and sending PayPal donations to:

 

UPDATE: 10:00 AM Friday February 25th 2022. Storm Eunice, then storm Franklin damage:

There was a mains power outage on Friday February 18th 2022 at 12.07 lunch time due to the extremely high winds.
All mains electricity was lost, and damage was caused.

A very big thank you to the 13 people who have offered help and sent donations out of the dozens and dozens of regular users who use our SDR’s everyday.
Many times during every day there are 32 people simultaneously listening to our Kiwi’s.

Our Kiwi SDR’s are very busy 24 hours a day, and we are really pleased to see them so well used.

We have had nearly a week of pretty much non-stop high winds and rain/hail which have caused damage to our equipment and resulted in extended mains electricity outages to the site.
We do get a lot of power cuts, but never anything as bad as this.

We are going to have to act and get some backup power on site to stop this from happening so often.

After spending many hours on site in terrible windy and cold conditions we have now repaired the top section of our smaller mast which was damaged causing the center of our big main dipole to drop.
This center section contains our custom 12:1 balun.

The pulley section at the top of the mast had snapped, which had put the coax feeder under tension because it was still connected lower down the mast, damaging the coax and the balun.
Once the balun had broken away from the mast it was propelled into a large tree because the far ends of the dipole elements were still connected to their towers.

All of this sounds very simple to put right, but it has been extremely difficult to get to the balun and the rest of the huge HF dipole, as it is so high in the tree and very well wedged up there.

Our site is very exposed to the wind and it is very harsh working in the wind and rain up ladders.
Everything on the site seems to be on a slightly bigger scale than the average amateur setup, which makes everything so much harder to work on, especially when every time you get ready to fix these problems the wind picks up, or it pours with rain.

As always, any donations will be very gratefully received!

We now have little choice other than to replace the balun and big HF dipole.
We have now bought the very strong cable required for the dipole.

We can now see how the very strong winds broke the top of the mast and can make sure that never happens again.

A massive thank you to everyone who helps us to keep everything up and running with your much needed donations.

It is very expensive to keep all of our equipment running, with our monthly electricity bill costing more than people pay for their house!

Our running costs are about to rise quite dramatically, which is going to make it even harder to keep all of our systems in service, so do please donate if you possibly can.

Listen to the Weston kiwi SDR here


At the beginning of September our main winch lifting cable snapped as we lowered our tower while we were trying to locate the source of the noise bands of interference which have appeared across the 80m band.
At times this interference can sit directly on 3615KHz which is exactly where the VMARS AM net operates, which is very unfortunate.
We replaced the towers guy wires last year, but not the lifting cables as they seemed fine.
The main lifting cable snapping resulted in other problems with our massive tower winch, so the challenge got even greater.

With this tower down we had no microwave Internet links with any usable bandwidth as we cannot see over some of the taller trees.

We will keep working on the interference problem until it is fixed, as we are sure that the interference is across other HF bands as well as 80m.

The multicoupler receive pre-amp failed on Tuesday 17 August, causing all Kiwi’s to appear very deaf.
This has now been replaced.

The latest upgrades during July 2021 were to give each of our 8 Kiwi SDR’s their own individual power supplies.
This is to eliminate yet another route for earth-loops.
Each Kiwi also now uses its own GPS antenna which is fed via a GPS repeater into the radio cabin, this is once again to remove any earth loops.
Our GPS repeater is used to lock each Kiwi precisely to the GPS frequency standard.

When earth loops are present, they cause lots of wideband noise, which can be seen on the waterfall display once you know what you are looking for.

They can produce most of their interference at VLF, which is impossible to eliminate with ferrite cores as the ferrite has no effect at such low frequencies.

Even though the earth-loop effects can be most easily seen at VLF, have no doubt, this interference will have been effecting you on all frequencies from 80m through to 10m.

So the only option was to break the ground loops by buying each of our 8 Kiwi’s a brand new power supply.

These upgrades cost us a lot of money and took a lot of time to fit, but have produced some very big improvements on our 8 Kiwi’s.

You can really tell the difference by listening to our Kiwi’s, and also if you look at the world wide SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) ranking tables, you will see that our Kiwi’s are ranked in the top 10 every evening out of 600 SDR receivers throughout the world!

Please donate using PayPal or bank transfer today if you think that you can help. Thank you

To get the best out of our Kiwi SDR’s you really need to change your waterfall settings to manual.
This will allow you to see many more weak signals.
You need to make the display as dark as possible, so that the display is not washed out, but not so dark that you can’t see the weaker signals.
The changes which you need to make are found on the right-hand floating box.
First click on the left-hand waterfall button under the big magnifying + symbol. It has WF plus the number of your zoom setting written inside it. For example it may say WF7.
Once you have clicked on this waterfall button, you will be able to make the correct manual waterfall settings, which can be seen in the following picture.
The four drop-down boxes near the bottom of the WF box should be set as follows from left to right:

Kiwi, Man, OFF and EMA.

Now make sure that the box above the bottom-left Kiwi drop-down box says spec with a triangle (delta).
Set its slider all the way to the right until it displays 32 Avgs.

With the slider above this box set to fast, the WF min sider set to 130 and the WF max set to 30 you will be off to a good start.

You will need to adjust the WF min slider quite often to get it just right on all of the bands.
Set it so that the waterfall is not looking washed out. Go for a dark blue look, but not too dark!

Kiwi-SDR-waterfall-settings
Kiwi-SDR-waterfall-settings

Don’t forget to look at the Kiwi extensions using the top right drop-down box.
There are some great features included, such as WSPR decoding and the S-Meter which draws a graph of the signal strength received.
Make sure to set the min and max levels for the graph close to the level of the signal which you are monitoring and it will clearly show you the QSB trend etc.

It is well worth clicking on the spectrum analyser button, which is labelled as spec, and is just under the extensions drop-down menu, and to the right of the three + symbols in circles.

Having a waterfall and a spectrum analyser that lets you look at the entire 32MHz spectrum, or zoom right into a signal to see every detail isn’t something you see on many receivers.

Major technical update:

You can now listen using the 28MHz 5/8th vertical, Wellbrook loop or 160m dipole automatically on every kiwi SDR.
All Kiwi’s on site will route you to the perfect antenna for your frequency automatically.
Individual users per Kiwi can use different antennas simultaneously.
No more coax relays being switched on you!

It is easier than ever to listen to the Weston kiwi’s, as you only need to type:

80m.live

and your browser will be connected to our SDR’s.
That URL should be very easy to remember and give out over the air.

There are other very simple URL addresses which can be used such as:

vmars.live

rafars.live

I am still very grateful to everyone who has helped to keep all of our kiwi’s running by giving us generous donations.

A massive thank you to you if you feel that you can make a donation and support the kiwi SDR’s too.

Nearly all of the Weston Kiwi SDR’s are connected to a 160m dipole, Wellbrook loop & 28MHz 5/8th vertical via an HF multiplexer, then via a 16 port HF multicoupler (low noise pre-amp with very high output level providing 16 outputs) with the exception of kiwi 8077 which uses an 80m dipole.

It is really worthwhile listening to a signal on 28MHz, such as the beacon on 28.220 USB, on kiwi 8073, and then listen to the same beacon on kiwi 8077 using its 80m dipole.
The signals are so weak on the 80m dipole compared to kiwi’s which are able to utilise the 28MHz 5/8th vertical.

Bleadon Hill has been experiencing multiple mains power failures recently. This seems to being caused by a dispute about the cutting of some nearby fir trees next to the overhead power lines.
Currently when the wind blows and the trees are wet the power lines are shorted to ground and the overhead fuses are tripped.

A massive thank you to everyone who has donated to keep the Weston-super-Mare Kiwi’s in service, it is really appreciated.

Please donate if you possibly can so that we can keep all of our SDR’s in service and make our SDR site even better than it was in 2020.

Click on the following links to access the currently available Weston Kiwi’s:

Weston kiwi 8073
Weston kiwi 8074
Weston kiwi 8075
Weston kiwi 8076
Weston kiwi 8077
Weston kiwi 8078
Weston kiwi 8079
G8JNJ kiwi 8060
G3SDH kiwi 8053 using an 80m doublet
G3SDH kiwi 8054 using a Wellbrook Loop
It is easy for anyone to send donations via bank transfer, our bank details are:

Bank: NatWest
Name: A Coombs
Account: 81529570
Sort: 60-23-32

It is also easy to use your PayPal account to send a PayPal donation to: paypal@kiwisdr.uk

The main advantages of our hill top site for our Kiwi SDR’s is the very quite noise floor, the ability to put up many full size HF dipoles, including top-band aerials and the lack of any nearby transmitters, masts, houses or broadband.

Our repeater site and SDR site is located on Bleadon Hill in Weston-super-Mare. The site is 108m ASL and has clear views towards Minehead, Ilfracombe, Glastonbury, Cardiff, Clevedon and you can clearly see the sugar loaf near Abergavenny in South Wales.

Unfortunately our big top-band dipole is held up by a hilomast, which continuously lets us down.
If you are ever tempted to buy a hilomast, then please think again.
The design is very poor, and the cost of replacement gaskets is incredibly high.
SMC communications, South Midlands Communications has the monopoly on all the spares.
They charge £20 to post a small envelope containing the gaskets!
SMC couldn’t be more awkward or slow in dealing with our order.
Please do not buy a hilomast, as you will be left very disappointed!

Our massive fields have not had any cattle or sheep in them for many years, so all of our outdoor equipment has been very safe and undisturbed, and most importantly there have been no electric fences to destroy our amazingly quiet background noise level.

It gives all of the team a lot of pleasure seeing so many people using the SDR’s, so long may it continue.

It is as easy as using your PayPal account and sending PayPal donations to:

paypal@kiwisdr.uk

It should be noted that once you have hit the donate button you can pay using your bank card, and you do not need to have a PayPal account.
If you have a PayPal account however, it is very easy to select the ‘friends and family’ option which means that we don’t have to pay any PayPal fees at all, so well worth taking that option.

It is also easy for anyone to send donations via bank transfer, our bank details are:

Bank: NatWest
Name: A Coombs
Account: 81529570
Sort: 60-23-32

You may also send a cheque or cash to our address:

G1VSX
Graham Buck
1 Hobart Road
Weston-super-Mare
North Somerset
BS23 4QQ

andy@gb3wb.com

At the top of the page there are a few photos of the KiWi’s and our radio site so that you get a feel of the set-up. The photo that seems to be only of trees is really to show that you can easily see Glastonbury Tor from the repeater site, which is in Weston, so its pretty cool.
You can also see Hinkley point nuclear power station, seen across Bridgwater Bay.