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05/04/2020

Nooelec Ham It Up Plus - Receiving High Frequency Amateur Radio Using a Laptop

The Nooelec Ham It Up Plus Upconverter takes a radio signal and converts lower frequencies into higher ones. In the case of the Ham It Up, all frequencies are increased by 125MHz, pushing the 0 - 30 MHz Amateur HF bands into the 25MHz - 1750MHz receiver range of an RTL-SDR Software Defined Radio. This allows you to listen to Amateur Radio on your laptop.

It isn't a new device, in fact I've owned it for over a year and not got around to playing with it. But this weekend I had a spare hour to give it a go and was quite surprised when I heard a German station calling CQ.

NooElec Ham It Up Upconverter and Nesdr SMArt RTL-SDR

Antenna

Unfortunately I didn't take the picture of the antenna. It was quite a sight to behold, with a combination of cable ties and duct tape securing any non-conductive "pole" I could find ( Broom Handles, bits of old trunking etc) to distance the elements of the antenna from my metal balcony.

For the antenna I used a QRPGuys 40m-10m UnUnTenna I suspect its a clone as I bought it from eBay before I knew who manufactured it originally. I generally try to avoid clones as its unfair on the person that took the time to come up with the design.

The red wire is the "active" element and the blue wire is a shorter counterpoise. I hung the red wire off the "poles" from two balconies and the counterpoise was pretty much left in a pile on the floor. The red wire snaked around the balconies and was by no means straight. 

UnUnTenna


SDR & UpconverterTo receive the signal I used a NooElec Ham It Up Upconverter and NESDR SMArt RTL-SDR and SDR# on a Windows Laptop. I won't cover the software setup as frankly I was in a rush. I think you can add an offset to account for the upconverter so the software shows the actual frequency but I couldn't figure it out in the brief time I was using it, so you're probably best to find another guide.


Results

Here's a brief video showing DK1RU calling CQ from Stuttgart in Germany - over 400 Miles away. Yes I filmed it with my phone rather than a screen capture, I wasn't planning on blogging about it at the time.



What next?

Now I've seen it working I'd like to try spend a bit more time on this. I'd like to get the offset working in SDR# so the correct frequency is displayed and also do some additional calibration to make sure it's accurate. I also need to work on the antenna stand offs - I may buy some additional broom handles or something fibre glass.

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