A better sound card makes a world of difference!

Between slapping myself on the back and unpacking my new Sound Blaster I replaced the single core wire antenna which had done itself proud, with a 1/4 wavelength antenna made from decent quality antenna wire and strung it out the window. If anyone asks we’ve just got two washing lines in the garden, but how you get to the one running out the first floor window is a bit of a mystery.

With the USB sound card in one hand and Google in the other I found that, despite being an “End of Service Life” product Creative Labs are still producing drivers for for it under Windows 7 and 8.1! A testament to a quality product? Who knows, but it certainly made installing it a whole lot easier.

First things first, the receiver needs a small jumper shifted across to the correct audio output before you start. With that moved to line-in it was time to hook it up to the sound card.

I ran Spectrum Lab and the output was a totally different creature to before

Screenshot 2014-09-15 17.09.30

Out of curiosity I plugged a set of cans into the headphone output from the sound card and clearly, above the background noise could be heard the warble of WSPR tones.

Firing up WSPR gave this

Screenshot 2014-09-20 18.12.22

As you can see the Line-In level is now something sensible and the WSPR spots are strong and frequent.

After running WSPR for 12 hours overnight I was greeted with this.

Screenshot 2014-09-21 09.11.52

Really pleased with that!

And here’s the setup at present



I’m going through clip on ferrites like they’re going out of fashion but they make a considerable difference to the amount of noise the receiver is experiencing. The next trick will be to house the board in a metal enclosure when it turns up in the post.

When I was trying to trouble shoot the build problems with this board, there weren’t that many posts or websites out there in relation to it. Perhaps it’s a case of it’s so simple people are just getting it working without hassle and I’m the unlucky one, but if you do have one and have issues getting it going hopefully this will point you in the right direction.

I built this receiver so I had a suitable test rig to get a QRSS beacon going. The post man delivered that the other day and hopefully I’ll have that up and running over the next few weeks.