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Tuesday, 16 February 2021

MB7UCG goes live on Thursday

 I am pleased to announce that MB7UCG will be on air from Thursday, Ofcom confirmed today that they received my email so I can run it from that date.

I was of course planning to run a walkabout test with my FT2D however that cannot happen until the following week as I am doing overtime that day, however I can test it using my car, though this will not be filmed as it is on my journey to work and I have not set up a camera that exclusively looks at my FTM-400XDE's display

I look forward to hopefully running a successful igate.

73 de M0WNU

Saturday, 13 February 2021

Catterick Garrison APRS igate ready to go

 I have finalised everything for the new Catterick Garrison APRS igate to go live very soon including the NoV, the callsign for the unit is MB7UCG, the setup is located in my kitchen  with the antenna outside on the window ledge on top of a Fray Bentos cheese & onion pie tin, once I have the ok from Ofcom I will be doing some tests however I've not heard anything from Spectrum licencing since they sent the NoV.

I have already put one object onto the igate already and previously placed this on the map using my own callsign and that is the location of the local club, however of course due to COVID-19 we cannot meet physically.

I have remote access to the power supply, as required by Ofcom, to shut the unit down in the event that it is required to do this, and the switch that controls the socket has been clearly labelled, the socket is under the counter with a WiFi controlled socket plugged into it and power to that is switched by a fused spur.

I am reworking the website to hopefully reflect the new igate and when Ofcom clear me to switch it on, I have emailed them but I don't know if they got my emails so I will give them a call Monday morning just to find that out, giving their staff levels will be low due to COVID-19 it might take a while to get a reply.

And there will be YouTube videos coming up on MB7UCG.

73 de M0WNU

Monday, 18 January 2021

First post of 2021 (and in a while), some updates, sterile UV5R, and a livestream on Wednesday

 I have not had the time to update this as my work went through its peak period so also that means little in the way of radio.

Firstly the radio camper project is on hold as my spouse has told me I am not to own any product of the Ford Motor Company possibly because of some fire incidents with the Pinto, a US model from around the 70s I believe, so I have to start again from scratch with a vehicle available in the UK that we both agree on, add to that a £300 garage bill for my car in October/November time for a clutch change.

Videos have been coming in short burst and I've started to try and fit in some livestreams where I can, though it's all a learning curve, including trying to keep RF out of the audio chain, I have one coming up on Wednesday.

My latest video has me sterilising a UV5R with a handheld UVC steriliser (which is indeed the real deal) and of course I was very copious with the warnings of the danger of UVC radiation, I am impressed that I managed to find that in a local shop but also worried that people will buy these things and harm themselves due to a lack of understanding of the dangers.

I am still in contract with my current employer for another month at least which is good as I'm putting £10 a week away in my savings (every pay day) to try and save for a 3D printer for both radio and non-radio related projects, watch for that one in the future.

Also hope to get my igate on air under test then unattended NoV in the next few weeks if I can.

That's all for now guys, have a good 2021, hopefully it will be better and rallies will once again be held.

73 de M0WNU

Saturday, 5 September 2020

Realistic TRC-1007, a quick first look

 I have had the radio now for a couple of days, it arrived quicker than expected and well ahead of the dummy batteries which have not shown up as yet (despite being sent via Amazon Prime) meaning to get the voltage required I've had to fit 10 normal AA batteries with two of them insulated by tape to remove them from the circuit and a wire to jump the last in-circuit battery to the negative terminal, the batteries in the radio are two of the 10 Duracell batteries that were in it on delivery taped over to remove them from circuit and 8 Kodak batteries from Poundland, the radio indeed has an intact telescopic and seems to transmit and receive fine.

After filming the attached video I found out when this radio dates from, if I have read the date code correctly it is from September 1987, making this radio 33 years old and aside from a crack in the housing it is in very good order.

With the non-standard external antenna connector I cannot get even a rough power measurement off it because I need an adaptor and I will have to call Knights on Monday to see if they have any in, though they list them on their website as limited stock it is best I check ahead.

On Wednesday I hope to put up the boomerang antenna, connect it up to the President Grant II and go up to the Downholme viewing point with the Realistic and the modern Intek and Midland handhelds I also own which will be tested on both the supplied rubber duck antennas and the Albrecht CL27 with the Realistic using its own telescopic which is longer than the CL27, which will be filmed and uploaded to YouTube

In the mean time though here is the video on this radio not long after it arrived

73 de M0WNU/26CT730

Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Classic 80s CB on its way... but will it work?

I placed a bid on a "seems to work" but being sold as "spares or repairs" Realistic TRC-1007 27/81 spec CB handheld, and surprisingly won it as the only bidder, this would be the second Tandy/Realistic product I would own after the scanner which needs work and maybe the switches cleaning.

I do have a soft spot for the older radio gear as well as the modern radios you can get today, and if this handheld needs work I can refer to Richard Shireby at UK CB radio servicing on YouTube as he has done this radio and has a service manual for it.

With the seller having tested this and suggesting that it seems to work, it should be a good project if there are any faults, the telescopic antenna appeared intact from the photos on ebay, however I will find out in a few days, and as will you guys as this radio will be featured on the YouTube channel at some point not long after it arrives.

This will either be the third working handheld or the second non-worker depending on actual condition as I have a broken Intek H-520 Plus that I may be able to repair if I can get a scrap one in the future.

I will post an update when the radio arrives, to err on the side of caution I have some dummy batteries (which were sold in a kit from Amazon) which will arrive ahead of the radio, testing the radio for TX power is not immediately possible because the Realistic handhelds appear to use a phono or Motorola connector (unsure which it is) but I will be setting up something to test the radio from high ground.

73 de M0WNU/26CT730

Sunday, 9 August 2020

The radio camper project

 With the whole COVID-19 situation of the past few months I have had time to think about other projects, the igate being one of them, however I have a bigger project in the pipeline for a couple of years now.

So what would be nice is if I can go /p and have all the conveniences of my home rather than operate from the car, the solution here is a campervan.

I am after something a little specific and have been looking to base this off a Ford Transit T350 LWB (or XLWB if I can get one in good order at the right price), rather than buy a ready made camper I want a blank canvas so I can make it mine, the other reason I chose the Transit is because it is the go to van in the UK, having driven one in tipper variant and also having driven a similarly configured Iveco Daily and a large Mercedes-Benz Sprinter I have also been able to conclude that the vehicles have their own quirks, the clutch on both the Daily and the Sprinter are both too heavy for my liking, the handbrake lever is far too low for me on the Sprinter, and the Transit is the closest thing to car-like performance and handling without me going for smaller, and thus impractical VW Transporter, Vauxhall Vivaro, Peugeot Expert (and its Citroen sibling), or even as small as the VW Caddy, Vauxhall Combo and the Ford Transit Connect.

The majority of Transit vans I have seen for sale all tend to have a bulkhead between the drivers cab and rear section, except in the case of crew cabs and mess vans which have that bulkhead further back, usually that's removable and not a part of the vehicle fabric.

Cab radios will be the Team Roadcom-FS for CB and it was planned the Yaesu FTM-100DE be an option for 2/70 but that has since been discontinued and the Yaesu FTM-300DE will make a suitable replacement choice, antennas for these will be fitted ahead of conversion work, on the minibus variant of the generation of Transit I am looking at Ford fitted a tachograph into a 2x single DIN mount above the stereo that would replace a tray normally fitted to the panel van, which would be where the CB would go as the part is readily available

Lighting in the accommodation area would be run from 12 volts to allow me to see without having to run a generator, though I will make provisions to plug in a generator or campsite hookup if the vehicle I buy does not have this, the same 12 volt supply will be designed with running radio gear in mind so a beefy leisure battery, or two very identical ones run in parallel to give high current, will be needed, so along with usual camper electrics a radio capable of a reasonable amount of power can draw off the same supply, though I am looking into solar panels as an option, a light will be provided above the accommodation door and in the footwell that will come on with the door open.

For the vehicle to be classed as a camper then there needs to be a bed, a table some seating and cooking facilities as well as storage, though I will be fitting some cupboards I also intend to use the space above the cab as one as well, a water tank also needs to be installed, as well as a waste water tank, and a supply of gas to cook with and make tea, a fridge to keep milk also will be needed and for those cold winters a heater as well. it also needs at least one window in the rear, mess vans usually have two, one in the sliding door and one immediately opposite on the driver's side. as well as the mandatory table, which is one reason I am looking at crew cab and mess van type vehicles, so I don't have to cut holes in the vehicle fabric for windows

Externally there will, of course, be CB and 2/70 antennas on the roof, as well as all the needed vents and a mains inlet, also there would need to be an inlet on the side to take an antenna feedline without me needing to leave a window or door open, I also want to sign write the vehicle with my Amateur radio callsign using the logo from my YouTube channel, as well as information on my YouTube channel, to help promote it, and the vehicle will ultimately feature heavily in the channel's videos, and when safe I can do meet-and-greets with it for all those that watch my channel.

For storage of gas and other essentials I plan to build a storage area around the back doors of the van, separated internally from the main accommodation area, with the LPG warning on the door of course, and a finishing touch externally will be a 'GB' sticker for driving abroad as I'd like to be able to travel to Germany for a very well-known Amateur radio event and not have to sleep in a hotel.

I also hope to use this vehicle for club activities with the Colburn & Richmondshire District Amateur Radio Society.

With my finances starting to improve and my new job paying a good salary and my final pay from my previous job being higher than expected (holidays and such) then I am already on the road to the van and know if I shop around and take a torch I can get the right van at the right price, I learned a big lesson from the disaster of the 106 so I shall take my handy torch and look for the dreaded rust in every single place it could be on the vehicle and in the future I could well be making a post from that vehicle and you guys and my twitter and YouTube followers will get to see this every step of the way from buying the van through the entire fit out as the perfect mobile portable shack.

73 de M0WNU/26CT730

Friday, 7 August 2020

Attempting to receive the AO-92 satellite on a tape measure Yagi antenna

 Last night I went outside with my tape measure antenna and attempted to receive the 2-meter downlink of the AO-92 amateur radio satellite, was I successful? have a look in the video attached and find out.

73 de M0WNU