WebSDR as a diagnostic tool

A few months ago, Wes AC5K sent me an email detailing a keying issue he’d notice on my signal during the ARRL DX Contest and kindly offered to let me monitor my own signal as received at his QTH via a phone call.

Kenwood, Heathkit and other manufacturers used to produce “station monitors” for exactly this sort of troubleshooting but who has one today?

Before my schedule coincided with what would be a decent time to call someone on the phone with what could be a lengthy conversation, the idea came to me that I could use WebSDR for the same purpose – at my leisure and without causing any extra effort for anyone else.

Without my recent interest in SDR I doubt the idea would have occurred at all.

It was a simple process to find a station who could copy me on my band of choice, then send a series of “VVV VVV TEST de AE5X” while listening to my own signal, as received 1000 miles away, through the computer’s speakers.

Due to the rapid (less than a second) reception of my own signal via the internet, I found it was easier to program the CW text into the keyer’s memory so I could send it without the annoyance of hearing my own sidetone echoed by the signal I wanted to hear from the computer.

Phone operators could use WebSDR similarly to make adjustments to mic gain and speech processor controls.

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  4 comments for “WebSDR as a diagnostic tool

  1. Larry W2LJ
    June 29, 2012 at 10:40 am

    John,

    Curious – what was the issue and did you get it solved?

    Larry W2LJ

    • June 29, 2012 at 11:08 am

      The issue was choppy truncated keying of the AL80B by the K3. Turns out I was able to duplicate it only by tuning the amp at the lower edge of 40 (and maybe 80) meters and then operating significantly higher (7080 or so) without touching up the amp’s Plate & Load controls. I only operate that high during CW contests and will have to remember this. For normal DXing, I stay below 3525/7025 kHz.

      Higher bands weren’t an issue and the issue on 40/80 were very subtle as far as what I could hear.

  2. June 29, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Hi John, it’s called webSDR these days as it’s possible to overview a complete spectrum of signals. But for monitoring I already used internet stations in the nineties. Testing my small CB signal jumping over the ocean into the US. That was fun. 73, Bas

    • June 29, 2012 at 11:04 am

      I’m a couple decades behind in several areas…!

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