Marco Cogoni - IS0KYB
This is my personal home page to share some interesting ideas and pictures.
I have been a licensed radio amateur since 1992, currently active on SSB, some digital modes and CW, on the amateur radio HF bands. I especially enjoy the experimental aspects of this hobby. I don't like contests, but I love them when lazily receiving a large chunk of 20m band on sunday mornings...
Seldom, I let my computer do all the radio work through WSPR.
Information and activities
- I'm the developer of SuperSDR, a software client for the KiwiSDR platform. The software offers a different way of operation for the hardware with respect to the official web interface which is designed for radio listeners. The experience is oriented especially towards the ham radio operator wanting to enhance the possibilities of his receiving/transmitting setup.
- I mostly operate from San Gavino Monreale: JM49JN
The main radio is a KENWOOD TS-590SG along with a TS-140S, a TS-940S and a TS-180S for backup. I believe I'm a Kenwood guy at the end of the day: I learned how to repair them and I like how they're built and mostly I like how they behave, with all their quirks. For years I spent time repairing hybrids such as the 830, the 530 and the 820. After a high voltage shock to my arm (with the tube cage being closed!) I stopped dealing with hybrids :-) The TS-140S has been with me faithfully for 30 years now and survived almost OK a lightning strike that fried almost everything in the shack when I was a teenager. The 590SG is much better than the 2 590S I had previously, especially CW RX. The 590SG is the best radio I've tried. The only downside is a less than stellar TX if you don't spend some time fiddling with the setup. On the other hand, every IC-7300 you hear on air sounds BBC-quality like.
Kenwood vote: 7/8.
I tolerate ICOMs, but really dislike YAESUs. For some time I had a FT-1000MP that I think is one of the worst engineered radios of all times and deaf like a bell on higher bands. Not to speak about its noisy switching power supply and the ball of thin wires that you find inside. They're a MESS. Their "roofing filters" are a joke and you can see it with a spectrum analyzer. Their reputation was hyped but some contesters and some low band operators and people buy what others say it's best.
The ICOM I like most was a IC-765, that even if tinny sounding, was nice to operate. I didn't like its internal construction, though. I had the now almost rare IC-703 QRP radio and it was decent but saturated like mad when connected to a large antenna. I really don't understand why people is paying twice its price when new right now. I also built a QRP Labs QCX for 20m that I use rarely. ICOM vote: 6/7; YAESU: 4/5; QRP Labs: 8 (if they open-sourced their firmware).
Just a comment about Ten Tecs: I had 2 Orions I; their transmitter section is horrible to be gentle; their receivers are decent but nothing special. All myths about their strange AGC setup are propagated by people not understanding how an AGC works. Typically the same people talking about "noisy receivers" without ever touching the RF Gain knob on a radio... The only thing that I really liked about the Orion was the ability to reduce RF Gain and still be able to read the S-meter with no needle deflection. Their CPU froze like mad and you needed to reboot them more often than with Windows... Vote: 5.
A KENWOOD TM V71 for FM VHF and UHF is (rarely) connected to a COMET GP-5 on a short pole. I had a few TS-790 but V/UHF are not my kind of meal.
Operation is either CW QRP or 100W SSB - I can transmit almost decently, with a straight key, at moderate CW speeds at the moment, but receiving is quite slow, about 13 WPM. Please be patient!
I also have a networked (and publicly shared) wideband SDR receiver: KiwiSDR. The KiwiSDR is really an outstanding piece of equipment and almost a miracle since it's the result of a single person (John Seamons ZL/KF6VO). Its software and firmware is totally open source and you may change it, contribute back to the project or ask for features, that will be accepted or not depending on John's mood :-) Overall, it's one of the receivers I use the most since it's always on and connected to a good RX antenna. It's quite easy to overload the ADC if you live in Europe, but a notch or two to kill the strongest stations at night and it's perfect. Mine has been used by thousands of people worldwide since installed. Try it out: Sibamanna KiwiSDR.
I also use a RTL-SDR V3 with LINRAD or GQRX. LINRAD is one of the best examples of SDR software that allows extreme customization, reliability and open source development. You can turn LINRAD into an advanced spectrum analyzer, a radio direction finder, you could record for ten hours the whole MW band or receive EME signals or FM stations reflected from airplanes. Of course it has a steep learning curve at first.
The main antenna is a 5-band HD Spiderbeam that soon will be mounted on a 13m telescopic mast made by SILCOM.
The omnidirectional and wideband antenna is a simple 5m aluminum vertical connected through a short piece of parallel feedline to a SGC-239 tuner. It works satisfactorily from 40m up to 10m. Even some occasional 80m contacts are possible in a pinch. As a ground plane I use a very long metallic fence.
The parallel feedline has very low loss even when the SWR is over 10:1 and the RG-213 has no more than 2.5db loss at 28MHz
since it sees a 50 Ohm load. The large distance from the house assures that no home-made noise reaches the antenna. I live in a rural area and my nearest neighbor lives about 200m from the antenna. I have no high-voltage lines nearby: if you can hear me, I will too!
The KiwiSDR is connected permanently to an active receiving antenna. I choose to buy the kit by Chavdar Levkov LZ1AQ
COMET GP-5 on the roof for VHF and UHF.
- Keys: Begali Simplex and J-38 Vertical key.
- I also (sometimes) run an experimental beacon (by QRP Labs) sometimes on 30m (10.130 MHz). It's impossible that you'll hear it, but if you happen to, please let me know! (its antenna is just a 2m wire...) A list of many HF Beacons...
- Info: if you have any technical question please contact me at cogoni AT gmail DOT com
Last modified: Saturday, May 7th 2022
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