What to do next? Time to sit back and scope out my 2021 projects as we move past the pandemic. Lots of ideas but no decisions yet.
I put so much effort into wideband loops, antenna phasing and diversity reception during the past year that I find myself a bit exhausted. My head scratching is about me wondering what I will spend my time on next year.
Well, for a start, I should spend some time enjoying the fruits of my labors. This will include getting back on the air, something I didn’t really do much in 2020. Now that the sunspots are coming back, I should enjoy getting active again on 20 and 15 meters. Perhaps this will include CW as well as SSB. My Flex 6300 provides keyboard Morse Code sending, and I have built some CW decoders which might be fun.
And, of course, diversity reception on medium and shortwave bands. I just wish there were more English language broadcasts to listen to. My phased antennas now do such a great job reducing neighborhood RFI – makes SWL activities fun again.
I think I will also build a hardware antenna phaser so I can use my loop array with single channel receivers like the Perseus and Flex, in addition to the digital phasing with RSPduo and Afedri.
Other 2021 projects may include finally teaching myself to use Linrad for diversity reception with the Afedri. Linrad is challenging to learn and use, but if I put some time into this I can master it. Also, it might be fun to play with the SDRplay API and figure out how to get synchronized RSPduo streams into GNURadio for some experiments.
2021 Projects in the Electronics Making Lab
And, of course, there should be more PCB milling with the CNC. My Genmitsu 3018 came with a 5500 milliwatt laser module which I have not tried yet. You can use paint and laser ablation to create PCB etch masks. The Prusa 3D printer will always be around to fabricate project boxes and other structures.
Perhaps I will also return to Arduino and NodeMCU internet of things gizmos. I have all the parts to build a wireless remote controlled loop rotator and enough aluminum core PEX left for another one meter loop. Comparing the performance of a rotating loop with the dual loop phased array will be interesting.
I might return to writing some software for device control and radio decoding, using either Delphi or Visual Studio community editions
Finally, I have amassed a lot of useful test equipment – oscilloscope, signal generator, VNA, power supplies – that I really need to put to greater use.
Any suggestions for 2021 projects from you would be more than welcome.