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Sunday 21 September 2014

Some ideas for my next attempt at the CT SSB DX net

Despite my lack of entries into the log last night for my attempt at the SSB net, as well as my first ever go on SSB since it became legal on CB in June, I have not been deterred and want to have another go next time, so I came up with some ideas for my next attempt

  • Carry my antenna pole in a backpack, attaching it to my scooter doesn't work as well as I'd like
  • Invest in a bigger backpack, and a pop-up tent that will fit it, the scooter's cover did work to keep some of the weather off but not all
  • Take some warm clothing and and some food and drink with me so I can stay on the air for some hours longer without the need to return home after 2 hours, I have a 7,2Ah battery that should last a while depending on how much transmission takes place
  • Possibly locate other high places that are accessible by road and are close by, and, of course, not liable to cause any interference to other radio users
Though it all went well, apart from no QSOs logged, my only disappointment was not logging a QSO with the station in Corsica, as that particular station is one I've been trying to log for some time, perhaps the next time I can log a QSO with him.

Let's see what happens next time and when next time is due to occur.

73 de 26CT730

Saturday 20 September 2014

Evening SSB net

Tonight I made an attempt to take part in an SSB net for a couple of hours on EU 28 USB, though I could hear a station in Corsica I was not able to get back to him, nor another Charlie Tango station on channel I heard in the back of the box, presumably Northumberland, there was  a lot of QRM from the US as well as some QSOs going on, but unable to reach them either.

The T2LT had tuned down fine so perhaps conditions were not favourable for me this time, if the weather is good I might give it another go next weekend, and perhaps work out a shelter that's somewhat better than my scooter's cover.

73 de 26CT730

Sealed lead-acid battery for portable work aquired

I made a trip to Sunderland yesterday to pick up an SO239 coupler from Maplin Electronics (as both the Teesside and Middlesbrough stores did not have any), this is to allow my T2LT to connect to a suitable feedline, the tail from the T2LT isn't that long and barely reached the ground during my tests.

I also picked up a 7Ah sealed lead-acid battery for my portable work, relegating the AA batteries to emergency power as the sealed lead-acid battery should provide enough power for a few hours of operation, though if I am close to it my scooter would also be able to provide power, it too has a 7Ah battery but I need to use care not to run it down as it's not for deep discharge and starting my scooter would not be possible otherwise.

So later on today I will be up at the same car park I tuned my T2LT and will be taking to the air, look forward to making some contacts tonight

73 de 26CT730

Thursday 18 September 2014

Amateur radio club visit

I attended the inaugural meeting of the new local Amateur radio club, and it was an enjoyable evening, out of those there only a small handful of us did not have a license, with my CB and PMR experience and having read the Foundation License Now book I should get through the exam with no problem and plan to begin revising more thoroughly

The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly and a lot of Amateurs from the wider area including GB3IR's keeper were present, the club had no planned on-air activities tonight, given that this was a new club and they want to get it established, and also make it a member-oriented club.

So, I will be attending again in two weeks

73 de 26CT730

Less than 12 hours to go

Today is the day of the start of the new Amateur radio club, they have even managed to get a story in local newspaper The Northern Echo, which in turn made an appearance on Southgate Amateur Radio News.

The aims and objective of the club and it's founders is to get as many people involved in Amateur radio as possible, given this age of social media and mobile phones, and happily for me they are going to offer at least Foundation and Intermediate training, although I do enjoy what I do on 11-meters and PMR446, I know I can do so much more with radio, listening to GB3IR is one thing but being able to use it will be another.

I look forward to being at this new radio club tonight and I will be reporting back with how it went later on.

73 de 26CT730

Tuesday 16 September 2014

T2LT update

With the new pole having arrived I strapped it to my scooter, packed up my Grant 2, my most decent SWR meter, my multimeter should I need to investigate any shorts, the dummy load in case I needed to check for any issues with the radio, which I did not need.

The pole was not 100% straight (it was propped up), the T2LT was slightly adrift at the top but otherwise fine, a small loop was also provided for tuning. but no tuning was needed as the SWR was below 1.5 at all times, reception was good across both UK and midband, the tuning loop was positioned slightly above the top of the pole with the main part of the antenna running the length of the pole, the choke also worked perfectly.

Should the weather be good on Saturday I shall be heading back up to the car park where I did the tests and will be going on air properly for the first time in a long time.

73 de 26CT730

Monday 15 September 2014

Pole for T2LT arrived

And surprisingly it was left in the hallway by the courier, the last job for me to do will be to transport the pole, the T2LT, and a suitable radio (I was thinking the Grant 2 for this so I could ascertain reception on SSB) to tune the antenna on.  I will also need an SWR meter (internal SWR meters are not to be relied on solely).

I got it unboxed and had a look, the bottom is removable to allow sections of the pole to be removed to shorten it in increments of about 1 metre.

So, now to see if it works and the antenna tunes down.

73 de 26CT730

Sunday 14 September 2014

Amateur radio club confirmed to be starting Thursday

I have been listening to GB3IR, the local 2-metre repeater, and mentions of the new Amateur radio club actually taking place this Thursday, and I will be there for this historic occasion and to get into the Amateur radio hobby, there's only so much one can do on CB and PMR446.

I certainly look forward to seeing the faces behind of some of GB3IR's voices and taking my first steps to my Amateur radio license, so a busy week for me is ahead as I have a lot on as well as the Amateur radio club starting this week.

73 de 26CT730

Saturday 13 September 2014

Pole prep

In preparation for the pole for the T2LT, I have picked up some velcro cable fasteners, they simply wrap around the cable to hold it in place, it's supplied on a roll to be cut to the right size. so I simply can cut off one piece to wrap around the antenna and pole, and cut more pieces to the same size.

I still need to cap off the end of the exposed part of the T2LT before I can fit it to the pole for testing to keep the water out if it's out in the wet.

So, hopefully I will have this antenna set up and working within the next week. and I can finally get on the air anywhere.

73 de 26CT730

Thursday 11 September 2014

Pole for T2LT ordered

I have put an order in for a suitable pole for the T2LT, though this pole was advertised as being a flag or windsock pole it would work fine for having a piece of wire attached to it, this will allow me to tune down the T2LT to a suitable degree, though the SWR may change on location but we will see.

The tuning will be done using my President Grant 2 off either the battery pack or the scooter battery, as I don't plan any proper QSOs, I will simply erect the pole and antenna, and either prop or fasten it to a fence post, I will find some velcro straps to allow a temporary fix to the pole, and a small cable tie to loop the top section for tuning, all I have to to is adjust this loop.

I intend to use the most reliable of my 3 SWR meters for this, the meter in the Grant 2 may not be accurate but will be on to see just how accurate the onboard meter of the Grant 2 actually is, also out in the open the antenna should receive across all channels, and also all modes now we have multimode CB, I look forward to finally seeing if my third antenna attempts (I made a dipole a few years ago out of a piece of coax (but forgot the choke), the coax being used later for the ill-fated inverted-V, the T2LT uses one component used in the ill-fated inverted-V, half of the choke core, it was integrated rather than detachable.

I have confidence this antenna will work well, but I have sufficient coax to make another should the need arise.

73 de 26CT730

Sunday 7 September 2014

T2LT progress update

Today, as the weather was nice, I dug out the beginnings of my T2LT antenna and got to work measuring it up and finishing it off, though I have yet to tune it yet.

Tuning will take place as soon as a suitable pole can be acquired, the pole MUST be a fibreglass pole, a carbon or steel pole will upset the antenna and make it useless, given how busy I have been of late with other things it's been a bit difficult to find time to get the T2LT sorted, hopefully I can get it tuned down and it will work nicely, a temporary solution to a problem I shouldn't even have and perfect for hilltop DX, which I hope to do before the weather starts to turn bad, so I'll get on with it sooner rather than later.

Also it's a couple of weeks to go before the Amateur radio club supposedly starts, I will still be going to Colburn that evening but if it's a no-show there is not a lot I can do about it, but if not then it's progress for me.

So I most certainly will be on CB soon, and possibly the Amateur bands not long after.

73 de 26CT730