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Sunday 23 February 2014

Shack tidy up

I figured today I should have a little bit of a tidy up in the shack, this is for a few reasons.

First and foremost I will be getting the shackcam back online at some point soon, and if the shackcam is on I'd rather have a tidy shack than a messy one.

Secondly as I plan to do a short video of any new and interesting radios I get for publishing both on the blog and my radio communications website I would prefer the shack look reasonably tidy before any filming takes place

Thirdly, as the desk was getting extremely cluttered it was difficult to work which is not at all helpful, also some other things needed moving, it looks somewhat better now.

Due to issues with the CB gateway that still cannot be resolved (heavy CPU usage sending false audio indications to the Free Radio Network client, I am thinking of using that computer for the shack computer again and using my newer laptop for the CB gateway as it has unfortunately suffered damage rendering it's internal display inoperable, as it is currently at my work I will be retrieving it this week, and looking at how I could get it to work for this purpose, though the CB gateway may, in the end, remain on the existing machine, but I'll see what happens.

I'll keep you updated and I aim to get the shackcam working this week as well

73 de 26CT730

Saturday 15 February 2014

The DX5000, is it worth it?

I am looking into treating myself to the K-PO DX5000 for my birthday in April, the question is though, is this radio worth the money?

I have heard mixed reports about it, and over time it has got better, the current version is version 6.

This radio is also known as the Anytone AT5555, the Maas DX5000, the Intek HR5500 and other names

Out of the factory it is generally programmed for the 10-meter Amateur band and thus sold as a radio for that band, but it is expandable to cover the 11-meter band as well, generally this has to be done with a data cable.

Power outputs are reportedly 12 Watts AM, and about 40 Watts FM and SSB* however this is adjustable on AM and FM (not SSB as the power output is dependent on your audio going in).  Though the UK gets SSB and AM on the midband this year, the power output is 12 Watts PEP for a legal radio on SSB and 4 Watts on AM, and as this radio exceeds it it would not be legal to use on the midband for SSB and AM.

When I get this radio, I will hook it up to a dummy load and see what is what with it, and can report further, receive would require me to connect it to an antenna, the antenna that I have in my loft for the CB gateway works OK on receive but it also is very prone to picking up QRM owing to it's location, but at least I'll have some idea if I do, and having looked at the mic pinout it appears I can avoid plugging the mic in for receive, though to use my powered desk mic I'd have to wire 3 out of the 4 wires.

So, will this radio be worth the money I will be paying for it? We shall see, and I hope it to be the first radio I can connect to my Sirio GPE 5/8 as that antenna will be going up when I get a house, and there's only so much you can do in a council-rented flat, and an antenna with radials on it won't get past the planners, housing, or my grumpy downstairs neighbour, a shame really because I'm on a hill and that's a good location for good DXing.

Anyway, keep your eyes peeled, a DX5000 will hopefully be appearing in my shack very soon.

73 de 26CT730

*SSB power output is measured as PEP (Peak Envelope Power)

PS, I will probably make a small video on my thoughts of the DX5000 after I get it, that will be available here and on YouTube, probably with another video later, keep watching this space

Sunday 9 February 2014

CB testing

I recently constructed a dummy load, using instructions I found on the Internet, that consists of nothing more than salt water, a container, a SO239 in top of container, some silicone sealant, and two pieces of copper wire (Google search for "salt water dummy load" if you're interested and want to make this yourself), because it contains salt water and a large amount of RF will heat it up, it makes it perfect for use on legal CB radios that output at 4 watts, at the moment it is connected to my Midland 78 Plus Multi B, though I plan to swap it to my Moonraker FA5000 as I reserved the Midland for car use.

The primary reason for connecting it up is because I had built it some weeks ago and had initially calibrated it on the Midland, and after that it had been stood for some time so I was not sure if it was still working as it did when I built it.  I do own a Zetagi DL50 dummy load that can take 50 watts but reserve this for serious rig testing (for example if I suspect the finals have blown in a CB), this saltwater load, which I keep connected to a spare SWR meter, is for using the rigs short range, for example testing the received audio on the Free Radio Network CB gateway, as I suspect right now that it is a bit over the top on some rigs, it appeared to be on my Midland 78 so I will look into dropping the volume down a touch, the test room parrot may be of some help here, thus the secondary reason for connecting it to a radio.

I have to go to conduct the remaining audio tests on the gateway, as well as other things, so will return soon with more of my goings on in the world of hobby radio

73 de 26CT730