Click here for the Ban PLT website.

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

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Work on the future Catterick Garrison igate underway

I have been working on getting the radio hardware working for the future APRS igate that I intend to run from the home QTH, the radio is my Leixen VV-898 as it's sat doing little, the rest is done via a Raspberry Pi with a keying circuit and a USB sound card.

The setup is currently into a dummy load and is powered from my bench power supply for the radio and the Pi is running off my phone charger.

The next jobs to do for this is to get the shelves in the shed and to get the antenna built (which I plan to make resonant on 144.800), then of course batteries and solar panels to get power to the shed.

So far the tests show promise, the transmissions are received by my Yaesu FT2D and it is used to test receive on the igate which seems fine.

I have two You Tube videos on the subject and they are attached below.

73 de M0WNU

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

POCSAG from the Jumbospot

I finally got round to setting up an account with the DAPNET, which means my Jumbospot can now transmit POCSAG pager transmissions, I put the NooElec NESDR SMArt on my tablet and on the standardised pager frequency in the Amateur 70cm band and indeed the hotspot is genuinely transmitting.

I hope to try and get hold of a compatible pager and use this to its full potential, because it's retro tech and works well for what it is, and this service being part of the Amateur radio service is perfectly legal to decode, unlike commercial pager systems.

The hotspot is working as follows, when it is idle, the POCSAG transmissions can take place on the worldwide spot frequency of 439.9875MHz (or whatever frequency is set up for paging, though this one is the standard in most of the world), once the hotspot has done this is switches back to the hotspot frequency (in my case I use 438.800 as in the UK bandplan this is set aside for personal hotspots, though your country my differ), while a digital voice transmission is in progress or the hotspot is receiving a digital voice transmission it will not transmit any further POCSAG until the hotspot has returned to its standby state.

If you want to use the DAPNET yourself you need to go onto, open a ticket to create an account (you will need to also submit your licence document as proof you are an Amateur radio operator), then you will need to open a ticket to register a transmitter, which will give you the auth code to put into the POCSAG settings on your hotspot, this does work with most Pi-Star based hotspots but not sure about others.

If you have a pager you'll need to obtain a RIC, open another ticket to do this.

I have Josh KI6NAZ from Ham Radio Crash Course to thank for me actually getting registered with DAPNET, one of his previous livestreams featured a pager in it (though the subject was the NanoVNA) and he has a video on the pager subject as well which is what motivated me to finally get on and do it, and though his channel is an American channel I highly recommend you check him out no matter where in the world you are.

there's more to come on this subject so do watch this space

73 de M0WNU/26CT730

Sunday, 28 June 2020

The current-model Thunderpole T-800 CB radio's odd country selections

I discovered that the country standard selection in the current model Thunderpole T-800 was a bit obscure, which I alluded to in my last post, the radio is still a good radio it just seems to come with a bizarre set of country standards including one that overlaps in the CW and data parts of the 10-meter band, and transmitting there is going to upset every Amateur and of course the authorities of the country where the transmission originates if this can be determined.

So I put a video up onto the channel showing exactly this and it's also attached below for you to go straight to.

I do like these Thunderpole badged CB radios, the T-2000 is one I hope to get in the future, and I know there are still a lot of the original radio, the T-1000, still out there, if you're a starter the T-800 is the most simple radio you can buy, currently £60 with free delivery from Thunderpole, if you need an antenna and mount then you can get it in a pack for between £85 and £95 depending on what mount and antenna you choose.

73 de M0WNU/26CT730