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Thursday 29 November 2012

Research into taking foundation exam.

I am doing research into what I need to do in order to take the exam for the foundation license, the part of this I already know is that I have to do some training at a radio club, sadly both clubs that offer this are not well served by public transport so I’m going to have to find a way around that… somehow.

I have also found a good study aid, a book by the Radio Society of Great Britain called Foundation License Now, they sell this from their own online shop for £4.99 and from what I understand it is a worthwhile investment and should help me pass the exam first time, my intent is to operate on an M6 call until such times as I am happy and comfortable with operating procedures, then progress to the next level, the intermediate, but I’ll go over that nearer the time.

If all goes well I could be operating on the Amateur bands a foundation license holder can operate on soon, and perhaps we could have a QSO at some point after I am licensed, in the mean time I still have CB, PMR446, and the Free Radio Network, though there is so much more out there to use than just a set of channels on 27MHz and 446MHz.

Before I go, it has come to my attention that an Internet troll has somehow bypassed the lockout on this blog and obtained the photographs on it and photoshopped at least one without authorisation, on the belief that Copyright law does not apply to the Internet, sadly as the image has been modified I cannot issue a takedown notice, however I would like to remind everyone that unauthorised use of any of the content of this blog is prohibited, if you want to use photos or content, ask first.

I shall update you on my journey to becoming a licensed amateur radio operator soon


73 de 26CT730

Thursday 22 November 2012

Wouxun KG-UVD1P, a good radio?

Today I took delivery of a Wouxun KG-UVD1P, part of my reasoning for buying this is so that I can use it on the Amateur bands when I pass my Foundation exam, at the moment I can use it to listen to GB3IR, the local repeater in Richmond.
This radio has the majority of features that an Amateur could possibly need, DTMF dialling for use with repeaters and the Free Radio Network if you choose to use such a radio on PMR446 or some other unlicensed service, though that is at your own risk (as some gateways are configured to support DTMF), a 1750Hz tone burst for accessing repeaters, split-frequency operation either in VHF, UHF or VHF+UHF, ideal for repeaters, an A/B button is provided to select one of the two frequencies displayed as master frequency, that frequency would be the transmit frequency. It can also be widebanded from about 118MHz to about 500MHz, possibly 520MHz, though the lower range of this is the civil airband which would be illegal and dangerous to transmit in and the upper range is in the television broadcast band, also illegal to transmit in and there’s no analogue broadcasts up there now in the UK at least.
The radio is supplied with a battery, belt clip, lanyard, SMA antenna, and a drop-in charger with LED to indicate when the battery is charged.  My radio came with a programming cable for the computer (A USB type “Prolific” cable though a serial port cable exists), a speaker microphone, and a headset, the radio microphone wiring is Kenwood wired, if you decide to use this as an FRN gateway radio and needed an interface.
The top of the radio has 3 LEDs, one serves as a torch, a green LED flashes in standby, and come on when a signal is received, a red LED comes on when you transmit, these also indicate activity when the radio is being programmed via computer, you can use the official Wouxun software (which is confusing for the most part) or the easier to use KG-UV Commander.
The manual available online for this radio is in the typical “Engrish” one would expect the Chinese to use, however the manual that came with the radio seemed to be pretty much well written, however under the charger on the label came a notice that wasn’t translated all that brilliantly into English about not dismantling it.
The radio feels solid, yet not heavy so not an issue carrying it around, underneath the battery is a die-cast metal chassis.
The radio has an adjustable transmit power, ideal to save the battery, it can transmit at 1 or 5 watts VHF, or 1 or 4 watts UHF.
The radio has a keypad and an LCD display that shows the frequency you are operating on, the second frequency if in dual mode, or a line of text, usually UVD1 though this can be changed, I changed it to UVD1P because I could.
The radio seems to receive well, with it, unlike with my Steepletone and Omega receivers, which have analogue tuning and seem a little on the drifty side, I have been able to positively identify a second repeater I could use when I get the foundation license, GB3HG, located in the market town of Thirsk, though the Wouxun can hear it, I do not know if it would be able to open it on it’s stock antenna and as I am not licensed I am not able to try it, GB3IR in Richmond I’d have no problems with accessing once licensed, I’ll give them both a shot when I get my foundation license.
I am going to put the radio to the test at some point to see just how well it can receive, if it is good enough it should be able to receive my PMR446 gateway, which transmits at 500mW, from a distance, the furthest I have managed is to just before the B6271 railway bridge in Northallerton, around about the gates to the home waste recycling centre, using an unmodified Intek MT-5050 with the monitor button pressed, though I was on a bus and that did degrade the signal somewhat.
I may write a follow up when I’ve had a chance to fully explore what this radio can actually do.

73 de 26CT730

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Domain change and an antenna progress update

It has been a while since I posted to this so I thought now would be a good time to post some updates.

Yesterday, without much warning,, who provided the domain for my personal sites including this blog went down without any warning, this resulted in a loss of all these sites, this was repaired this morning by me after I bought another domain and transferred all affected sites to it, so I’m back in business shall we say.

Now, as for the CB antenna, I have had to remove it entirely from the loft, this is because I have had work done to replace my bathroom and kitchen as they were due it, the latter in particular was well overdue, this has delayed the CB gateway even further, though the PMR446 gateway is still available for use, still on channel 6 with CTCSS 20.

Of course with all the work to my kitchen I’ve not been able to get on air, as I’ve not been able to get into the shack and get at the radios or indeed the chargers for the PMR446 radios, though this problem is now largely mitigated now that access to the shack has been restored, this also sees the return of the shackcam.

Now everything should hopefully get back to normal as far as radio is concerned, until next time, hope to hear you on air


73 de 26CT730