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Monday 23 March 2015

First participation in the Sunday net on GB3IR

Last night was my first participation in the Sunday night net on GB3IR, most if not all the regulars were on, along with myself and 2 of the other newly qualified operators, and this revealed a problem I was having which I shall outline later.

I was happy to take part in the net as I'd been itching to since I passed my exam, this means I now have something to occupy an hour or two on a Sunday night if nothing else already has, and if I am in the car it's no problem because I have a rig in the car as well as my two handies, out of range of GB3IR I just have to connect over Echolink through my computer, phone, tablet or another Echolink enabled repeater so I have no excuse to miss out.

Now, the problem, I own a speaker mic, which I have had for some years, turns out it's so cheaply made that the audio from it is absolutely dire, I even tested it between the handhelds on a clear frequency to find out, so it means I am going to have to do of two things, new speaker mic or just use the handhelds without, both handhelds, even the Wouxun with the longer antenna at 1 watt,were operating perfectly fine, so the best thing I can do is ditch the speaker mic.

So next Sunday I will be on at the same time, unless something else takes priority of course.

73 de M6RSQ

Friday 20 March 2015

First Amateur QSOs

The following morning after obtaining my license and callsign I had my first QSO on the Amateur bands, specifically through GB3IR, with the keeper of GB3IR no less while on my way into work with me having a rig in the car.

I was again on the repeater later on that same day in QSO with some of the local regulars and one of the other newly qualified foundation licensees that passed the same day as myself, and yesterday I had a brief QSO with the remaining two who I had yet to have a QSO with at that point, though I saw them down at the club last night anyway.

I have not called out on the repeater today, but last night I did dig out my Wouxun KG-UVD1P, but sadly not it's antenna so I've put the Nagoya antenna on it which is a longer antenna anyway, I'll be giving this handheld a trial run on the Amateur bands shortly, possibly using it on the Sunday net on GB3IR, maybe good for operating simplex and potentially accessing the other nearby repeater, GB3HG.

On a final note, all Amateur radio related posts as of the day I got my license will be signed with my Amateur callsign, CB and PMR446 will be signed with my CT callsign as before, SDR related posts I will see what's what.

73 de M6RSQ

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Licensed Amateur

I am pleased to inform you all that I now hold an amateur radio foundation license, my certificate arrived today and I completed the application for the license within the last few minutes prior to posting

So, I will be able to join in on next Sunday's net on GB3IR, and will give it a go when mobile, I am also setting up Echolink at this time.

Hope to hear you on the Amateur bands real soon.

73 de M6RSQ

Monday 16 March 2015

A new week in radio

This week I should hopefully hear from RSGB (I'll let you know when I do later) regarding my Foundation exam results, also today gives me an opportunity to see if GB3IR is performing better, on it's transmit as I can't use it yet, as since the last time I traveled to Sheffield (which is out of GB3IR's range anyway) the repeater has changed for a different unit (different "k" tones and a tone at shutdown) as the one in use was not working as the keeper or other local amateurs would like.

Had I had my license before today my intent was to use GB3IR to a point during my journey today, then switch to another repeater, GB3NA in Sheffield once in range of it, though this is not on the Echolink system unlike GB3IR but would allow for some contacts regardless of this.

So, having missed out on last night's net on GB3IR, which had a larger than expected turnout as I was still able to listen, I, along with possibly all three of the others that took the exam the same day as me, should be on air next time, which will be Sunday, though I should be on GB3IR itself this coming week.

I was also thinking of seeing how many others I know would be interested in going for their foundation license, which may help to get numbers up, I still have the book of course, might be worth while.

Stay tuned, I may be updating this with news of my pass and callsign very soon

73 de 26CT730

Saturday 14 March 2015

Foundation exam, a week later

It has been a week since my foundation exam, however I have not yet heard from the RSGB meaning I still am not licensed, allowing for posting (assuming posted Monday this week) it should take a day or two (assuming first class) to reach the RSGB, up to 6 working days to mark, and then (assuming first class post again) a day or two to return back to myself.

The above would assume that the RSGB would get the results on Tuesday or Wednesday, mark my results, upload the pass to Ofcom, and send back the information I need, presumably arriving this coming week, not in time for the Sunday net on GB3IR nor in time for my journey to Sheffield this coming Monday which once again is going to be very dull.

Naturally I have been checking my mail all week, however I now have to wait even longer, and will of course check my mail again on Monday as soon as I can given that I may not be back home at any point in the day depending on how things in Sheffield turn out.

Sadly not what I had planned as I thought the RSGB would have turned this around much quicker but as they did not then I still have to wait.

In the mean time I do have PMR446 and 11-meters to use.

73 de 26CT730

Saturday 7 March 2015

Foundation exam results

As regular readers to this blog will be aware, I have taken my Amateur radio foundation exam today, the news is that I got 25 out of 26 correct, the pass mark is 19 out of 26, this means that have passed however I still need to wait for official confirmation from the RSGB, hopefully this will happen in the next week and I should be able to join the local 2m net on a Sunday evening on GB3IR, tomorrow should be my final day of listening only and both my Baofeng and Leixen can be put to the use as intended, my Wouxun can as well but I have misplaced it's original antenna at this time.

The next thing to do now is wait for the official result and log into Ofcom's licensing system once it arrives, but until then it's a small wait.

This day has been years in the making, now it is all done I can look at the next step on the ladder.

73 de 26CT730/M6 coming soon

Friday 6 March 2015

Foundation exam tomorrow

Tomorrow is my big day, my foundation exam, this means that if I pass (which I am still really confident of) I can use GB3IR as opposed to listen to it as well as be able to transmit in bands aside from 11-meters and PMR446 once I have got my license, though I won't be giving these up, also when I have my license I can finally check the SWR on my 2-meter rig and see if my Orbitor antenna can do 10-meters with no problem, though I doubt it can as I'm sure it's upper limit is 28MHz but we'll see.

Hopefully the week following my pass I can get my license and get started on the Amateur bands.

73 de 26CT730/watch this space

Monday 2 March 2015

New radios... update

I am happy to report that the CRT SS9900 is now operational in the car save for an SWR check, and it seems to work fine (can't say for transmit but receive is fine).

As I mentioned in my previous post, this rig, due to high power demands, bypasses the car's fusebox and is wired directly to the battery, this has also allowed me to tidy up all the wiring to both it and the Leixen VV-898, which is also working fine, which gave me the opportunity to listen to GB3IR over the course of my journey to and from my appointment in South Yorkshire, of course the range of GB3IR is not that far.

The battery did need to be disconnected before I could begin, and the rig's negative cable was not connected until the battery negative was connected for safety even though the rig was not connected.

The connections were, as noted above, tidied out of the way behind the glovebox and the radio fired up, working happily

Next post should hopefully be after my exam on Saturday

73 de 26CT730

Sunday 1 March 2015

New radios in car

Well, today's aim was to get the new rigs into the car, that job is not 100% complete however.

The Leixen was the easier of the two to install, wiring into where the Midland used to go, no hassle there, the rig bracket was fastened to the car's ash tray and the rig fixed to it (after two attempts), the antenna was then connected and the power connected, mic clip was fastened between the instrument panel and the stereo, that is now done other than the need to cable tie the power wires out of the way.

The CRT was a different story, this requires a direct to battery connection, this meant I had to remove the glovebox (a pain in the arse in a Peugeot 106) and put a hole through a pre-existing grommet, the cable refused to go through until I simply strapped it to a screwdriver and lubricated it with washing up liquid, it now needs pulling the rest of the way with pliers, however there was another issue, that of the fuse on the positive line (there is one on the negative line as well), this disintegrated when I removed it from the fuse holder, meaning an emergency trip to Halfords for a new one in the morning, not what I wanted.

The above means that the CRT is in it's final position, with mic on other side of stereo though still within my reach from the driver's seat, but with no electrical supply, add to that rain and later on snow prevented me from doing as much work under the bonnet as I could have, as well as a lack of pliers to pull the wire through.

Despite the issues installing the CRT I am happy so far, the Leixen will be on and tuned to GB3IR when I head to Darlington early tomorrow and later on when I head to South Yorkshire for an appointment, by which time the CRT should also be operational and tuned to an active frequency, most likely FM voice as SSB frequencies will always require adjustment of the clarifier/RIT and I can't be doing that while driving.

More tomorrow all being well

73 de 26CT730