Sunday 3 December 2017
In practice the setup works fine and I have had 2 audio reports already and they have come back positive, this meant I have not had to make any adjustments to the microphone gain.
I put the microphone to the test on a journey from the seaside town of Scarborough yesterday, the nearest two repeaters to that town are GB7RW at Robin Hood's Bay just up the coast from Scarborough near the town of Whitby, though it covers into Scarborough for mobile operators and those with a decent outdoor base station antenna at least, my other choice is usually GB3YC but a lot of the time have found it is listed as not operational on ukrepeater.net though I have checked it now and it appears to be operational so I could have used that repeater, others I did use on that journey are GB3HG and of course GB3IR, but no one did come back to me, and it was literally yards from home when someone actually called on GB3IR thus making me unable to respond to the call, as I was not far off shutting the car off.
I am happy that I have got a safe means to operate in the car and I have found it easy to use, I just flick a switch to talk and flick it again to listen, not a bad investment and I can easily fit it to my next car as well, I just need to figure out how to get the up/down buttons to send the correct data to the radio to work as up/down.
The next major job is properly arrange the shack and sort out the desk arrangements.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Tuesday 28 November 2017
On the downside the channel up/down controls don't work on the Yaesu FTM-400, they simply send a 4 and 7 respectively, so this means I have to use the control panel to change frequency, though this should not be a difficult task as I've reconfigured the radio to allow me access to an on-screen keypad, I don't know if this sends DTMF or not, I'd need to test this out or refer to the manual.
With the switch on the gear stick it means I need to use care in not flicking the switch unintentionally and informing any passengers I have that they are not to touch it, though with it being on the gear stick they probably won't anyway.
A convenience feature of this microphone is that it has a 2.5 minute alarm, so I know if I have been talking too long, as can happen, though I tend to keep my overs short if possible.
While I was finishing tests, I took a test drive amongst other things to ensure the fittings were sound, I tried to call on the digital voice calling frequency, no one was there, and given the order it is stored in my FTM-400 I managed to catch on to what I initially thought was noise on the ISS 2-metre downlink frequency only to find a QSO ongoing between one of the astronauts (IZ0JPA as I later discovered) and a ground station, a school in Ontario, Canada (I did some digging around to see if there were scheduled contacts), I recorded a small part of the QSO on my phone (of the ISS side from IZ0JPA as that was audible, the Canadian side would not be for obvious reasons) but I do not intend to upload this to YouTube as it was spur of the moment and not on par for a YouTube video
The reception of the ISS was unexpected, and it must have been within range for a time, not bad for a vertical antenna on the roof of the car, in fact I would have happily kept listening had I had time and it wasn't nearly freezing out.
As for the hands-free microphone, I hope to get some audio reports on that in the next few days.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Sunday 26 November 2017
The microphone mounts to the hinge of the sun visor with a cable running to a control box that mounts to the gear stick (though this does not work in automatic cars very well), it has a toggle switch for PTT and up/down buttons (which do not work with the FTM-400), and should time out after 3 minutes TX should it be left on by mistake, this means I don't have to hold a microphone and only have to take my hand off the wheel to key up and again when I have finished speaking to go back to RX.
This would also leave me without direct DTMF entry unless that can be done from the control panel, I'd need to read the manual to find out if this is possible, alternatively I could find a way to keep both mics plugged into the radio and allow a way to switch between them.
Though I do like to operate mobile, the majority of the roads around here don't lend themselves to the mobile operator due to lots of bends and roundabouts, and I consider road safety to be priority number one when driving, if I cannot drive and operate my radio safely I won't operate the radio at all.
On a side note, I should have been attending this year's Bishop Auckland rally at Spennymoor, however it is early this year (today) and I have not been paid, so it looks like the next rally I will be at will be either Ripon or Blackpool next year, whichever comes first.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Sunday 12 November 2017
The antenna in use was one of the NooElec supplied ones on the supplied magmount, through an open window on the car, I mostly checked amateur bands, particularly 10-metres as it is the only HF band I can get on my existing equipment, for below this I'd need equipment for it which as you know I am saving for.
I will follow this up in due course.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Sunday 5 November 2017
In order to do this I have connected an SDR to my laptop, my NESDR SMArt rather than my basic RTL-SDR as this would not have done a good job and currently I have no way of putting my antennas onto the basic one, and it is prone to drift and interference, whereas the NESDR SMArt is not as it's very well engineered, software side is SDR# as usual as it is my preferred choice, antenna is the shortest one that came with the NESDR SMArt as it seems to be the most effective, after some playing about the mode to receive all this appears to be AM, not FM as I initially thought.
The energy monitor is a cheap one I bought from the local Poundstretcher shortly after moving into the previous QTH, though it is based on an old design Efergy unit circa 2009 (possibly earlier) I see no information on what corresponding Efergy model number it is nor any means to reverse engineer the RF side to receive it and decode the data for putting into a graph or chart which the newer Efergy devices can do anyway with a simple add-on, though why buy it when you can build it yourself, I'm a tinkerer and radio Amateur, so why not play about with it, after all I do like taking stuff to bits, and no big loss if I break it as I can simply replace it with a newer Efergy unit.
Having not removed the covers from either side of the monitor, it appears to be a standard 433MHz TX/RX pair from photos I have seen online, the TX side has an unpopulated header on the main board (serial port maybe?) and so does the RX side (again, possibly a serial port), I've not got as far as finding any further information on what I should see on the SDR# waterfall nor have I figured how it transmits the data, aside from using, presumably, ASK which explains why I have to look at 433.92 in AM.
If I can figure this out it would be great, then I can hopefully extract the data and make it something that can be comprehended and put into a web-based graph or chart, all I need to do that is a 433 receiver, and a means to decode the data in the transmitted packets (Raspberry Pi would do a sterling job here and can run off a battery that can be recharged so it will read 0 in the event of a power outage), and then I'd be able to access my usage data from anywhere in the world
Let's see what comes of this then.
73 de 2E0EIJ
I have finally figured out how to get my energy monitor open and have done so, however all was not as expected
The CPU is in the centre as per the Efergy units however it appears that it is not the same device, the receiver is of a different type to the Efergy units as well, the unpopulated header is labelled differently and presents no real way to fit headers as a mounting screw fouls it, finding the embedded data in the radio signal from the transmitter will require some further work than I initially thought, if not I can simply buy a newer Efergy device and transfer this project to that as these are more common, though that would have to wait until payday methinks given I had to fork out for car parts and fitting last payday.
Sunday 29 October 2017
What is probably not well known is that I am saving up some money to buy 2 radios that I really would like to have, a Yaesu FT2D and a Yaesu FT991A (as I want brand new and the standard 991 is no longer sold), and to do that I am looking to make cost savings where I can.
The first thing I have done is fit an electricity usage monitor (also an LPD433 device), so I have an idea how much electricity I am using at any given time, I hope to have this replaced with a smart meter later on, this means a lower bill and more money towards things I am saving for, specifically the two radios mentioned above.
The next stage in this is automation, most of the ways I have seen this done, by the foolish, is hard wiring mains leads onto relay boards, which is extremely dangerous for obvious reasons, so I thought let's see if someone has done this wirelessly before I have to start from scratch down that route, and happily someone has done.
This would involve using off the shelf remote control sockets, most places sell these, and though these sockets would draw a very small amount of current themselves to run their radio receiver (probably in the range of a couple of milliamperes), they would assist in saving money on the electricity bill, it also involves use of the Raspberry Pi (a Pi 3 would work but in my opinion this is overkill so a Zero would be a better option), and the TX module of a LPD433 TX/RX pair, also a bit of sniffing of the remote control with a receiver so the RX module can be used for this or at least according to several sets of instructions I have seen.
When implemented I can control what I don't need running from elsewhere in the house, or outside if I put up password protection onto a web interface, thus allowing me to save money when I can.
Another LPD433 project I'd like to do is somehow reverse engineer the codes sent out of the transmitter of my energy monitor and put that up onto a web page as well, not sure if anyone has done that and I'll need to sniff around in the LPD433 band on 433.92MHz where all this traffic sits.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Saturday 21 October 2017
The repeater is connected to a JOTA conference server as I type, I am aware that an event is being held locally and the repeater has been connected to the conference specifically for this.
This is a very wonderful event in the radio and Scout calendar and I hope that some of these Scouts go on to get their own Foundation licences (or their country's equivalent) and I wish them all the best if they choose to do so.
A nice way to end a week I think, again another thing that makes me proud to be an Amateur radio operator, not sure I'd get my nephew interested when he is old enough but you never know, he might like that.
I noticed the transmissions when I turned on my car this afternoon just as I was about to depart from work, having put some overtime in this morning, naturally it was hard to make most of it out due to my broken exhaust, however once I got home I put the Wouxun KG-UVD1P on as it was tuned to IR anyway from my walks to work when I had took it out to use it, much easier to hear the stations.
I hope the Scouts are having a wonderful time, and getting a go on the air no matter what band, mode or system is in use.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Thursday 19 October 2017
Edit: I did not read the information correctly and he plans to target 5GHz WiFi routers as well as the exploit I alluded to effects them also, this means that he could be constructing more than one antenna, bearing in mind the information was given out between 6:30 and 7:00am BST today he may well be well into building the antenna assuming he started then (they are 5 hours behind so he may have been asleep for a couple of hours since), readers of the blog in Garden City and Savannah, GA, keep an eye out for suspicious activity on your WiFi
Sunday 15 October 2017
The noise the car makes right now due to the hole in the exhaust system is what prevented me from entering October's contest, as it is loud even in the car with the engine at tick-over, as it stands it seems that car is doing everything it can to stop me entering as I can't enter from the home QTH as I don't have an external antenna and this is what I need and such a thing is fitted to my car and parking up at a high point local to me would do it nicely.
I have seen a part on the Internet to get the car back to normal for around £80 with all the nuts and bolts and gaskets and seals, the fitting charge will be down to the exhaust fitter who I intend to fit this as most of the existing bolts are in fact rusted and if they break while I do the work I'd have to arrange the car to be towed and it may also mean missing the contest for another month, getting an exhaust professional to do this will hopefully allow me to enter the contest as planned.
Of course I stand no chance in getting a high place on the scoreboard, but if all works out well for November I should at least make the scoreboard, I will enter the FR (FMAC restricted) which will allow me to use my available 50 watts or if I choose 25 watts.
I plan to take the computer with me to log with minos as before, and also stream the event to YouTube as before, though with the loss of my Huawei tablet this will have to be done on my phone as the computer would not be able to stream and log together.
Hope to work you in the contest on the 7th November, all being well
73 de 2E0EIJ
Saturday 30 September 2017
I picked up the Advanced book from the RSGB book stand and had a look at a smart phone DMR and various other bits and pieces useful to Amateur radio operators, unfortunately I wasn't able to get the handsfree mic for the car as this was unavailable, and other items such as a base antenna due to financial constraints.
Needless to say, the car chose the journey to develop another fault, initially detected as a developing oxygen sensor malfunction (on the sensor post-cat), however when I had chance to look under the car at the exhaust this revealed a massive leak in the exhaust system as the centre pipe (which includes the post-cat O2 sensor) had parted company with the catalytic converter, so my car sounds very much like an old motorcycle or tractor, and I will keep the car off the road until I can fix it unless I have to use it, ruling out October's 2-metre FMAC.
Otherwise I have had a good time at this year's National Hamfest and hope to do it all again next year.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Saturday 16 September 2017
I am trying to find out the purpose of this new feature, though I cannot seem to find information on it it however I am hoping to speak to the Yaesu representatives at the National Hamfest in 2 weeks time regarding what future improvements are heading towards System Fusion, they may even be able to shed some light on this interesting update.
All that remains for me to do is just keep using the radio.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Less than 18 hours before I go to the National Hamfest as it so happens, I have a photograph of the display as I described
The radio is currently set to AMS as I prefer this, the selected repeater, GB3IR, is an FM-only repeater located about 2 miles away from my current home QTH, I may ask the Yaesu reps at the National Hamfest what the "ID:TXnn/RXnn" means as I have not found any information on it yet, otherwise the radio is working as it ought to ready for the drive to the Hamfest and hopefully also for participation in October's 2-metre FMAC.
Friday 8 September 2017
I was originally intending to camp at Newark and have a portable station however with the clutch failing on my car earlier in the year along with the QTH move the camping had to be put on hold however I intend to get all the camping gear I need during the off season and go next year, I still have my drive-on mast stand yet have not put that to any use at present, it was intended to get an outing at Newark this year but of course with all that has gone on this has had to wait.
Of course I do not plan to leave the National Hamfest empty handed, I am working some extra hours and hopefully will leave with another radio, a Diamond X50 antenna, and some more PL259s, particularly of the compression fit or crimp fit variety, as well as a right-angle connector for the antenna port of my Yaesu FTM-400XDE as there is very little room behind there for plugging in and disconnecting the antenna when I want to connect the SWR meter for tests, and maybe some freebies if possible, and also the Advanced book so I can get on and study for my full licence as soon as I can.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Friday 1 September 2017
While the car was in for the MOT, the mechanic found the gearbox to be leaking oil from a seal on the offside (driver's side, right in this case) driveshaft coming out of the gearbox, this requires urgent attention and the car is booked in for this repair on Wednesday, I will have to drop the car off on Tuesday night and this means I cannot take part in the 2m FMAC this month, much to my disappointment, however this gearbox issue cannot be ignored as if the gearbox loses a large quantity of oil it could potentially seize which could cost more than what the car is actually worth to fix, fortunately it is being repaired under the extended warranty.
Once this oil seal is repaired this will then give the car the all clear for the 2017 National Hamfest at the end of this month, as usual I will be in attendance.
I aim to take part in the October 2m FMAC as all my car troubles should then be resolved.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Sunday 27 August 2017
The story is that of a youngster camping on Exmoor with friends and family, one of whom holds the callsign G6ASK, the youngster had an epileptic seizure and thus needed immediate medical attention, with no phone signal on Exmoor this would have been impossible had it not been for G6ASK, who had his mobile setup in the car, putting an emergency call onto the closest repeater GB3WR, the call picked up by an operator in Bristol, M6MGE, who just happened to have the radio on and heard the call from G6ASK, and called 999 (the UK emergency service number) and subsequently relayed information between G6ASK and the 999 operator, thus getting an ambulance to Exmoor and saving the youngster's life, she has since made a full recovery.
This story got the attention of the BBC, including a segment on Radio 2 on The Jeremy Vine show, this was some good publicity of the hobby and has made me rethink my opinion on Jeremy Vine as I didn't really like him that much, I have listened to the segment in question which featured all parties involved.
Knowing what happened in the West Country I want to say that I am proud to be an Amateur radio operator, and also stress that I will equally respond to emergency calls if I hear them, I consider any emergency call priority one and do what I can to assist.
I keep an active mobile setup as you know, some people who I know who have no clue about the hobby may claim that my car looks like a dodgem but in fact that antenna and the radio attached to it could one day be what could save their life or even what could save my own life when the mobile networks simply cannot be relied upon.
I have since decided to keep a radio on at all times, you just never know when you may hear that call for help.
Below is a video filmed from M6MGE's side in Bristol as events unfolded, I cannot fault his professionalism and calm manner during all of this.
Saturday 19 August 2017
Only trouble was that when I went to the self-service warehouse to look at the size of the desk parts flat-packed it appeared that the top bit may be a bit too big to fit in my car whereas the desk section was to fit just fine after I again checked the size first.
Although the current metal desk that I use was adequate for the old QTH (where a separate shack was never going to happen) I feel that now I have a larger space I should be able to have more room for radio operating
I did not leave IKEA empty handed, I left with a £6 clamp-on light that I plan to use as shack illumination, it is currently clamped to my current shack desk, I may get a couple more of these for the bedroom as they'd make good reading lights as well as a shack light when the dark nights get here.
While I was up there I called into the Metrocentre for lunch and on passing into PC World to look at a Gigabit Ethernet switch, they had one but it was a managed switch rather than an unmanaged one, making me think it best going to the big PC World at Teesside Park, as I want to get the shack computer back onto wired Ethernet as soon as possible.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Sunday 13 August 2017
The radios are still the QYT KT8900D for 2 and 70 (into the small magmount antenna on top of the radiator as this QTH has no windowsills, but I get no movement on the SWR meter at both 10 and 25 watts so it is matched well), the CRT SS9900 for 10 metres (into the orbitor/stinger antenna on top of some old computer chassis with a reasonably good match in the FM portion of 10 metres, have not tried the SSB portion to avoid interference with it being an indoor antenna) and, of course, the President Grant II for CB (though the orbitor refuses to match properly at 11-metres for some reason I haven't worked out yet).
The shelving unit has the chargers for my HTs with the exception of the dedicated PMR446 radios and the handheld CBs (I have the handheld CB chargers plugged into the shack main extension lead), as well as space for my copy of the radio communications handbook, radios I am not using at present (all the other CBs and my Midland BaseCamp446, not my MT-5050 though as that is for reasons unknown in my backpack down in the car at time of writing).
My shack desk has the addition of a pair of PC speakers manufactured by Philips (these are the speakers supplied with the machine used as the shack computer though I have never plugged them into it since it had the motherboard replaced a few years ago until now), these allow me to use Echolink without headphones if I choose, though I can use headphones if I require to do so, for example late at night or early mornings, the homebrew extension speaker, as it can no longer be fastened to the wall as this isn't allowed at the new QTH stands on top of the left speaker (though the cable still reaches the SS9900 no problem and that also has a headphone jack for private listening with the adaptor), the CB mic converter is cable tied to the side of the desk near the computer, and the programming cables for various radios are plugged into a USB hub, the USB to RS232 adaptor is directly connected to the computer though this doesn't usually get used.
Seating is another issue, as my only desk chair is in the living room and it would need moving to the shack if I want to use it in there, I do plan to get another chair for the shack as soon as I can do so.
There are still a couple of odds and ends relating to that room to address, there are some bags of random things, two storage boxes, and my old TV (which I did bring from the old QTH and did not scrap given that it has sort of failed) to still find a home for but that probably will not happen until next weekend when I sort out the cupboard opposite the shack, but apart from that I believe it is ready for some radio.
I hope to get back on air properly from home in the coming week, been mostly performing test transmissions since I moved in and connected things up and they seem to have gone well.
Also I can now get that video for the NooElec NESDR SMArt done, hopefully that too will be this week.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Sunday 6 August 2017
So I need a new tablet and decided my next tablet will be a Windows tablet, specifically the Linx 1010 as it has 2 dedicated USB ports and can be charged with USB devices plugged in, and as it is a Windows tablet I can use APRSISCE32, this has of course been done with a Windows tablet, a video on this topic, though it seems to have focus on the USA, had been made 2 years ago by Dallas Clements K7DCC.
The tablet used by K7DCC was a Windows 8.1 tablet, the Linx 1010 is a Windows 10 tablet, though as far as I can tell APRSISCE32 runs on Windows 10, though of course I need to reconfigure my laptop installation of this very same program to my new callsign (which requires authorisation to APRS-IS as I have not done this since I got my Intermediate).
Of course my car has limited room in which to add things, the tablet would need to be positioned in a location where it would not impede my operation of the car, it would need to be placed so as not to distract my attention, I can reach it while I am parked up, and I am still able to apply the handbrake and change gear when needed, also it needs to be in reach of the charger as it won't last a long journey when not on charge.
Mobile Internet is not available built into the Linx 1010, as I can buy myself out of my tablet contract between now and December (it will be cheaper as each bill between now and then is paid), I should be able to get hold of a 4G WiFi adaptor from EE, the cost to me should be similar than what I pay now for the tablet that I lost.
The Linx 1010 does not appear to have GPS installed, and it may not get that information direct from the radio in APRSISCE32, so I'd need an external GPS device, I have a Bluetooth GPS device that I bought some years ago for a Windows Mobile device to use with TomTom Navigator, I plan to test the unit with my laptop first to ensure it works as I hope it does (using APRSISCE32 as I have this on my laptop as alluded to above).
Hopefully I can start work on this next month after my car gets through its MOT, though it may not happen until after the Hamfest, but we can see what happens.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Tuesday 1 August 2017
Apologies if you did hope to work me in the contest tonight, I will do what I can to be on air next month, MOT pending of course.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Sunday 23 July 2017
I started by trying a NooElec suggested SDR program, CubicSDR, this only detected my sound cards and thus did not work, even when I did some test transmissions on PMR446 channel 1, so I switched to HDSDR, however the waterfall displays in that program left me with a headache, so I looked for SDR#, which is now an Airspy product, and this worked after I downloaded and reinstalled RTL-SDR drivers, and Airspy have made some improvements to SDR#, including identifying bands and using the correct mode and frequency for them, or at least I think so, without an antenna connected at all I scanned through everything, it suggested military aviation is NFM, which makes no sense to me as civil aviation is AM, it also identified CB at 26.965-27.405MHz, again in NFM however AM and SSB are also legal to use in that band (the UK portion was not labelled, 10-metres was, and default set to SSB).
This worked well up to a point as during the second tune cycle (with a rubber duck antenna on the stick) the computer presented me with a BSOD, only the second time that machine has thrown one and only the second one on Windows 10 that I have seen, I let the computer reboot and I have not tried again yet.
The antenna I attached was not one of the supplied antennas but instead the Nagoya NA-771 antenna, using an SMA to BNC adaptor which I have to hand, the reception wasn't brilliant without turning the RX gain up, the tests I did for receive were performed in the FM broadcast band and PMR446 (though this was identified as 70cm as 446MHz is part of that allocation in the US and Canada), and it seems to work well.
I will get a video on YouTube in the next few days, and afterwards try and find an environment where there would be lots of radio activity (not counting pagers as they seem to be everywhere) for a proper field test of this stick
73 de 2E0EIJ
Tuesday 18 July 2017
I did this as I intend to show it on the YouTube video of the new one when it arrives and the fact the can is leaking oil as the sealing I did to it did not work as intended, also I plan to take it along to the amateur radio club.
I first want to test the stick with my tablet on the USB-OTG, I know the OTG will work for flash drives but will it run the RTL-SDR without complaining? one way to find out is to plug the stick into the OTG connector and then onto the tablet, if successful I will see if the new stick will also work so I can do some field tests for YouTube in an RF busy environment without having to lug a computer around with me.
Before any of that can take place of course, the stick needs to be tested on a normal computer to ensure it is actually working, this will be done using the modified USB cable that I use for the stick (also degreased), and a Windows machine, possibly my laptop, and SDR# if it is still on the laptop which it appears to be.
The tests will cause the stick to pick up some noise, an antenna may be fitted for testing purposes but this depends on many factors, the coax for the antenna was also degreased along with the BNC connector and should in theory still work, the MCX connector at the other end was also subject to this, though I probably won't need to use this much once the improved NooElec unit with an SMA connector arrives in the next couple of days, time to see what happens next.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Monday 17 July 2017
Though that stick is still very much usable, once salvaged from the tin and degreased, I have purchased an improved one by American company NooElec. they have taken the basic design and improved on it, replacing components, and removing redundant components, even going as far as to replace the MCX antenna port with an SMA (which I have a couple of adaptors for to allow use of any external antenna I see fit), the unit I have ordered is in a much different case than the original one I bought, and comes with a selection of antennas for different jobs, and as it is the same chips for USB and tuning as my existing stick it should work in a sense with the software that works with the old one with little change.
I partly bought this to use as a reliable scanner receiver, as I knew my existing RTL-SDR was not cut out for the job, and I hope to have it by the end of this week and will be doing a couple of YouTube videos on the stick all being well.
I'll see what happens with this
73 de 2E0EIJ
Sunday 16 July 2017
Saturday 15 July 2017
I suspect I know two reasons as to why he intends to do this, first and foremost is because he is now aware that I have my Intermediate and he feels that I should not be better than him in all things Amateur radio given his extreme pathological hatred of me, second is because his current callsign has been pretty much outed as bad.
So what can be done? Seeing as the FCC will not revoke his licence despite all the evidence I handed to them there is nothing that can be done, and with me moving QTH I have not been able to study for my Advanced yet, but I certainly intend to at some stage, something I have made very clear.
Despite a monumental pile of evidence against him and even his local Sheriff's department watching him due to other crimes why is he still licenced and allowed in our community? I guess we will never know, he will be ousted, and that is certain, as the Amateur radio community has no time for people like him.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Thursday 6 July 2017
I still need to set up the rig in the car as I can't put the antenna onto the roof of the car while it is wet as it has been raining heavily lately and my car is full of all sorts of things including my bicycle which has been removed from my shed while work goes on.
I have not had a lot of time on air with the move either and my shack is still not set up, as I have some finishing works at the old QTH before I hand the keys back to the local housing department, I still have all my HTs at the new QTH but I don't have the chargers plugged in as these normally go in the shack.
I should be operating again in the next few days all being well.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Sunday 18 June 2017
With the closing door it will allow me to operate without other noises in the flat being picked up, the room is also close to both the main entrance door to the flat and the room containing the circuit breakers and electricity meter so shutting the shack supply down in an emergency should be no problem, I will need to make a set of emergency procedures to back this up, I will fit an easy to access emergency stop on the extension lead supplying the shack when I upgrade the desk for a bigger one now I have the room.
My licence has been updated with Ofcom, and my RSGB membership also changed after I found the latest RadCom at my old QTH, will need to inform the club if they need my address.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Sunday 4 June 2017
I wanted to enter the contest's restricted section, which would allow me to use anything up to my legally allowed 50 watts, though I could easily use 25 as my FTM-400XDE has that at it's mid setting and my QYT KT-8900D has that at high power, hence why I require at least an external antenna or my car, as neither are available to me right now (the magmount is in fact in my hallway and so is the antenna) the contest is not realistic to enter in June, though back in May when I did all the planning my car had a fully working clutch and simply a rattle underneath.
I have updated the upcoming events on YouTube to allow for the live streaming of myself taking part in the contest, my laptop will be used for logging and I will be changing Minos to reflect this as well so the contest date is correct for my uploading of logs.
The QTH move will begin in the next week or two, so I may not be on air or updating this often during that time
73 de 2E0EIJ
Friday 2 June 2017
So I will be at the new QTH for July's 2m FMAC but I intend to still operate from a higher point than the top floor flat I move to (this one does not have a loft though).
So what does this mean for me, an external antenna possibly for 2/70, the shack in its own room, the shack computer no longer having to stand on top of my NAS box which I intend to locate to the same location as my webserver, as well as a closing door that will reduce any unwanted noise.
Of course I will be starting out on my biscuit tin antenna but that's a situation that I can rectify later on.
So the time at this QTH is now measurable in days rather than months or years.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Sunday 28 May 2017
Because the car now has to be towed to the garage for the clutch to be fitted I will be disconnecting the antenna from the radio and removing the magmount, control unit, and microphone, the main unit will need to stay in situ as it is difficult to remove.
I will do this as I need to remove everything from the car before returning it to the garage, I could remove the main unit of the 400 as well for Fusion operation from home as a stop gap but I dare not risk it on my biscuit tin antenna as this is an expensive radio and naturally the finals also expensive to repair.
maybe it will work out that I can operate but unfortunately needs must that I have my car back before then as of course as you well know a neighbour forced me to remove my home antenna which I hoped to use.
I will update this further as time progresses.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Friday 26 May 2017
During this last 12 months I have done all I can to protect the rest of the Amateur radio community from Callahan, that has not been an easy task as part of this relies on the FCC who aren't that forthcoming or helpful, and various other organisations, however it seems that whatever I have done at some point in time is working, as the Sheriff's department local to him is watching him very closely as there are a lot of things he said he would do which are beyond the scope of this blog and are certainly not welcome in the radio hobby.
From the information I have gathered, it seems his local Sheriff's department had, in plaintext, the decryption keys for the Project 25 (America's answer to TETRA) radios used by the Civil Air Patrol squadron of which he is a member, I do not believe that his local Sheriff's department would have held these keys, let alone in plaintext, unless they were monitoring something out of the ordinary, it is for this reason I believe they were watching him, unfortunately someone made a cock-up, the keys made it to an affiliate of the American Broadcasting Company, and anyone equipped with a scanner was able to listen in, bringing the attention of this to Callahan, and subsequently to me when he himself told fellow hams that this happened, he now controls the keys himself, but it proves that the Amateur radio community will oust people like Callahan pretty quickly, it just leaves the FCC to do their part, if they will do their part, I have yet to hear back from them but it's a US government department and it may take time.
With this latest chain of events, I have faith that Chance Callahan won't be KD0MXN for much longer (or be allowed to hold any type of transmitting licence ever again as he openly admitted to not following protocol using the P25 radios issued to him by the CAP), I have held this information for some weeks but did not desire to post it until the first anniversary of Callahan's attack against me, which as you can easily tell has not stopped me being active in Amateur radio, in fact I enjoy radio immensely and feel very welcome and no one on the bands yet has said otherwise as I am a very good operator and am eager to learn more.
73 de 2E0EIJ
If the problem is minor and can be fixed then I should get the car back for 5pm that day and be able to get to a high point in time for 6pm though I intended it to be a little earlier, however if the problem is worse than it seems then I will more than likely miss out and have to wait until July, though this would never have happened had my unruly neighbour not forced me to cut the coax to my groundplane antenna.
So the chances of me participating are a little bleak, and with a move of QTH now into the early stages I wonder if I'll get on in July as well, I will keep you posted on this as I really want to give this a go and hope I am in fact able to do so.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Wednesday 24 May 2017
I will still be active on Amateur radio while the move takes place, but it will of course be mostly from HTs and mobiles, I also plan to use PMR446 to co-ordinate the move between myself and those I get to assist me, proving the worth of radio to the non-licenced and how it can be a valuable asset.
Hopefully a move in date will be given soon, I'll let you know, there are of course a few other hurdles to overcome.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Tuesday 23 May 2017
The idea seems sound as I've seen a few videos involving an individual who fitted a CRT One CB radio to their bicycle (which of course is unusable while riding hence why I picked a handheld such as the Midland or Intek with a a suitable headset and PTT) however before I do this I'll need to move QTH first as the idea is I ride my bicycle to work or to the gym or even the shops, all of which are within cycling distance of the potential new QTH and the current one though the current QTH is on a hill, the bicycle itself needs attention to its brakes and more than likely a new set of tyres before I start attaching radios to it.
I'll keep you updated
73 de 2E0EIJ/26CT730
Monday 22 May 2017
The layout of both properties is identical and the shack will therefore be in the same place, my only issue is an antenna, I have looked at the Diamond X30 and X50, Martin Lynch & Sons sell both these antennas with N type connectors on them so a change of plugs on one end of some RG213 is needed, though I cannot seek permission to put the antenna up until I get it, I chose these two Diamond antennas because they work well and don't upset neighbours unlike other antennas, I may choose the X50 over the X30, this demotes my homemade groundplane antenna to portable ops once it has a plug on the coax again, I still can operate 2 metres with my biscuit tin setup or one of my HTs or my mobile setup, the biscuit tin setup will need retuning however.
10 and 11-metre operation won't be possible immediately until I have ascertained the possibilities there, my focus for now is 2-metres and possibly 70cm operation but I rarely hear anything on that band.
I may even get a bigger desk for the shack should it be warranted in the future as my small metal desk is a bit cramped but I can work on that.
So, I move forward towards moving to a new QTH, of course this will take out my ShackCam website which is currently down however the ShackCam itself will not be rebuilt until after the move now.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Friday 19 May 2017
Other possibilities for this QTH include moving the server used for my websites and the shackcam out of the living room and into a cupboard, reducing noise for both it and the shack, the shack itself can be put in another room away from the living room.
I would like to get moved soon, and with better protection of my address my location will not be known, as I only put a rough location on QRZ.com, this of course will annoy the likes of those that in the past have caused me many issued because they'll no longer have information on me such as this, it is fortunate that only one of these people is part (albeit questionably) of the Amateur radio community.
Well I will keep you informed.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Wednesday 17 May 2017
So, my usual routine now, wake up, breakfast, shower, dress for work, pack up gym gear and go down to the car and make my way to work, I was accosted by this neighbour who asked if he could have a word and I feel he was not polite about it, I declined explaining that I needed to be at work, and left quickly before the situation could get out of hand, the gentleman in question has only lived here a matter of months.
None of my other neighbours have complained ever about my antennas, in fact when I erected the T2LT a couple of times some have been curious as to what it was, and approached me directly, this is the only neighbour that has shown intolerance from a radio standpoint.
If this gentleman had approached me rather than stuck bits of paper to my property I'd have happily come to a reasonable compromise, however as he did what he did I feel that this won't go well at all, I am very reasonable and will happily discuss problems, anyone in the estate that felt there may have been a problem only had to come and discuss those with me, be it interference (as I was transmitting at 25 watts) or the antenna itself, all these I'd happily rectify, however the damage has been done and I feel that time at this QTH can be measured in weeks now not years.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Monday 15 May 2017
I was forced to go out with my heavy duty cutters and some self-amalgamating tape to cut the coax as close to the antenna as possible and waterseal the outside end, the antenna end is in the dry and will be receiving a PL259, or a crimp on inline SO239 if such a thing exists, in due course when I have some suitable for RG58 in stock, the coax will also receive a PL259 at roughly the same time, as I intend to use crimp-on type connectors I will not be able to get this antenna running again in time for the June 2-metre FM Activity contest, so I may have to go to a high spot and use the car set up.
I feel that I am yet another Amateur radio operator that is a victim of intolerant neighbours, my thoughts are now looking at moving to another QTH where I may have more antenna possibilities, I have respect for my neighbours and would have gladly come to an understanding should they have come over and spoken to me, not took it upon themselves to attach notes to my property, I think it is time to move to a new QTH, the current one just may not be suited anymore.
This does not mean my QYT KT-8900D is off air however, it will be reconnected back to the magmount antenna in due course and I can still operate mobile and I will still take part in the FMAC in June, and it will still be on YouTube, just not from home sadly, as my FTM-400XDE is connected to the car battery I will probably need to run the car as I'll be using the radio above 5 watts as I intend to enter the contest's FR section which allows me 50 watts, I can only use one antenna and am debating on if this will be my homemade dipole or the car's NR770RSP, though I think for operating convenience it will be the NR770RSP, and all of this comes because of one intolerant neighbour, but as it is known once one moans they all do, especially in this town and especially on this estate as a lot of old people live here.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Sunday 14 May 2017
Running 25 watts has not caused any issues that I am aware of yet which I am pleased about but of course as this is the first time I've gone anywhere near this kind of power level I have to, of course, make sure it stays that way, though I doubt all that 25 watts is even making it to the antenna, especially with the CTC-50 introducing some losses in the feedline.
With the band being relatively quiet I decided to shut down the station earlier than I planned.
Well I have a week off coming up and any spare time I have will be dedicated to radio
73 de 2E0EIJ
Saturday 13 May 2017
Most of the day was in fact spent getting the antenna working, rather than QSOs, I did put one call out earlier on 145.500 but had no reply to it as I was having some strange SWR issues that turned out to be the coax between the Comet CTC-50M and the SWR meter, replacing this cured the SWR issues.
So tomorrow I shall do more simplex work with the antenna, though I will have to take it down overnight tonight just to show it is temporary.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Thursday 11 May 2017
Saturday 6 May 2017
The first job was to bore the hole into the end cap, this went well until the hole was made and the hole bit injured my hand, as I was using the bit with a ratchet screwdriver handle and had my hand on the other side of the end cap, holes were made for the bolts, then the screws passed through, a fiddly job, then the connector placed on the end cap, the 4 groundplane radials have been reattached, the whole lot then waterproofed with Sugru, and the end cap sealed with the same on a cut off piece of one of the two lengths of pipe, the other end of this had the T piece fitted with the coax threaded through and connected to the antenna before it was all sealed, helped by pliers as there is little to no room.
The part built antenna was then tested with 10 watts from my Leixen VV898, on 2-metres the needle barely moved for SWR, 70cm showed similar results suggesting this antenna could be used on 70cm as I alluded to above, how this will work outdoors with 25 watts from my QYT KT8900D remains to be seen, tomorrow I will get the Comet CTC-50M jumper in place, and the antenna itself should be ready to go on air tomorrow or Monday.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Friday 5 May 2017
So first and foremost I will need a tent, that is a work in progress though I have found an ideal one from Go Outdoors for just shy of £100 that has exactly what I need, a rearmost sleeping area with a canopy area at the front where a small table or two can be placed, next are cooking facilities, perhaps it is possible to get these items from B&M for as cheap as possible, the stove, the pots and pans, a kettle (I am not going without tea), gas, utensils and a camping table, I have my mini fridge to store milk and other things that need refrigeration over the course of the 2 days.
A generator is required for electricity during the day (my mini fridge should run off the jump starter at night (though when I measured it's DC current draw this may be for only a few hours) and run off the generator by day, which will also charge the jump starter), the selected generator has an output of 2.2kW which is more than enough to run my radio power supplies and the fuel tank is rated at 15 litres capacity with an 8 hour run time, as I am aware of a petrol station near the showground I will fill fuel cans near the site rather than drive the whole way with filled petrol cans in the boot of the car, the generator may have fuel in it from initial testing as I plan to do that on or soon after delivery of this unit, and because it uses the blue CEE socket rather than a traditional mains socket then a flylead is required, Go Outdoors sell a long lead fitted with the same type of MCB as a house breaker box, a mains conditioner is also required as generators aren't always a clean and stable output.
And in the last 24 hours my Intermediate licence came through so I can now up my power to 50 watts on most bands and have access to bands I didn't have access to before, and I've pretty much configured everything including the FTM-400XDE in the car, all that involved was writing a pre-prepared file to an SD card (after updating the callsign in the file) and doing a restore.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Saturday 29 April 2017
Secondly, progress to an external antenna has been ramped up a gear, I ordered a Comet CTC-50M from Nevada (IHS Group) on Thurday, I expect to take delivery of it either today or Tuesday at the earliest, and a video of my first impressions and test into a dummy load after installation will appear on my YouTube channel in due course, being a council tenant putting a hole through the wall appears to be a no no, unless of course it's for television reception, but as I am putting my homebrew 2-metre grounplane antenna on the end of this thing I expect it won't be questioned too much as it's made of the earth conductor of 30A rated twin and earth and at a distance would be barely noticed from the flat, and if anyone asks it is for receiving, 2-metre FM usually is pretty benign but you just never know.
Thirdly I have been looking into crimp-on PL259 connectors again as I feel the solder-on type are too much hassle to work with and I strongly suspect a dodgy one is causing high VSWR on my loft CB antenna (but have no way to prove this without plug replacement), the plug on the antenna end has close to fell apart, a crimp-on plug would solve this issue on the lead but whether my suspicions are confirmed or denied will be a different matter, I can get 10 of these plugs from eBay and I have a tool that should work to fit them onto the coax as I plan to move over to crimped connectors anyway as I can give them a professional look, be sure they're reliable and ease the waterproofing of them, important considering I plan to use these in the outdoor environment.
That should cover everything, hopefully by my next blog post I have my intermediate licence or the CTC-50M, whichever comes first.
73 de M6RSQ
Wednesday 26 April 2017
As this antenna is not large like the majority of HF antennas performance would probably be down, though it would make for an excellent stealth antenna, it doesn't really look like one, and one of these should handle 50 watts no bother once I have my intermediate licence, as they are rated for about 1kW CW though that power level is not really legal here on any licence, my HF setup is mostly limited to 10-metres and CB, both of which aren't generally active and CB has it's own legal limit of 4 watts ERP AM/FM and 12 watts PEP SSB.
The drawback of this antenna appears that you'd have to order it from the US, shipping will probably take a few weeks unless it is shipped air mail and it may hold a customs charge, the antenna appears to be available for a few bands, 40 up to 10, so us in rented accommodation and especially us flat dwellers can in fact get on HF, I think this antenna may be worth a look.
73 de M6RSQ
Monday 24 April 2017
The locks are padlocks and no keys have been issued to tenants, this is what I thought may happen and as such can use the space in between the two sheds to erect an antenna in a plant pot, this gets around planning constraints, and it shouldn't stick out like a sore thumb either, my groundplane dipole uses stiff copper wire and as such from a distance should be invisible, though the coax won't but that is the least of my worries right now.
This comes as welcome news so hopefully I can get my 2-metre groundplane antenna up and working, how much power I will put through it (10 or 25 as that is what my shack rig can do) will depend on what I tell you on Thurday night.
73 de M6RSQ
Sunday 23 April 2017
Naturally we all want me to pass as I have put in so much work and revised where I can, and passing will be a good thing as explained above.
For now however I shall let only those that need to know at this stage know, except for the invigilators on the day who already know if I have passed or failed.
73 de M6RSQ
You should also be aware that 2 weeks ago I bought a QYT KT-8900D 2/70 radio that can output 25 watts on 2-metres and 20 watts on 70cm, coincidence is that before I took my foundation exam I bought my Leixen VV-898 and my CRT-SS9900 in preparation for entering the Amateur bands for the first time after my pass, the VV-898 gave me 2 wonderful years of operation until I replaced it, the CRT-SS9900 is still in my shack but otherwise not used as there is no suitable 10-metre antenna connected, I posted about building a groundplane antenna to place outdoors for 2-metres as well, as I aim to finish that next weekend I hope it can be ready in time for my intermediate licence coming through, which whether I pass or fail today's exam it will be ready regardless, I bought the QYT radio as it would allow me to make the most of my Intermediate from home once a suitable external antenna is set up and operating.
Also I have sat down when I can to read the book to ready myself for today's exam, hopefully this revision has helped, though I feel confident that things should be pretty much there for me it is best to revise.
I shall post a little later on to let you all know how I got on
73 de M6RSQ
Friday 21 April 2017
The changes I made were:
- The channel description
- An introduction/promo video for new subscribers (which will be changed after I get my 2E0 callsign assuming I pass my exam this week which I remain confident that I will)
- Adding a section to my channel showing my subscriptions, so far this is only TX Factor at time of writing but it will certainly increase as time goes on
Saturday 15 April 2017
In the early days of this blog I posted about building a homebrew extension speaker out of an old shower radio that bit the dust, I have had this speaker in service ever since and it has only let me down on a couple of occasions, today it received it’s first major upgrade in almost 6 years, a headphone jack, this is in the hole where the original AM/FM selector was fitted when it was a radio, I still have room to fit a mute and volume control, the headphone jack itself came out of an old speaker mic I disassembled, and is a mono jack as fitted to the rig at the other end, my CRT SS9900 at present, this was done after something else.
I had previously built a mono to stereo converter to run my stereo headphones (well both pairs of Sony over-ear headphones) from the socket on the back of the radios without losing audio in one side as these are mono, the previously built circuit was destroyed unfortunately, and had slightly too high resistors that made it so I had to turn up the connected radio to full, this new one was rebuilt using the same jack plug and lower value resistors, all this does is ties the left and right sides of the stereo part together using a pair of resistors for each channel, theoretically it should work in reverse but I’ve not tried that as I intend to use this solely with my radios, it works with them all and my improved speaker as noted above.
Earlier in the day I had run a test of a 2-metre groundplane antenna I had built a while ago, or part-built as it will be mounted atop some plastic waste pipe, it seemed to work ok though I did test it on a bed with a metal frame and mattresses are full of metal springs, so a proper test outdoors is needed, the test was done at 10 watts on my Leixen VV898 powered by my jump starter, the VV898’s first time on air since the QYT KT-8900D replaced it in the shack, needless to say the fact the antenna radiated at all (verified by my field strength meter I posted about) was impressive as the radiator is simply a piece of copper wire on the centre of an SO239 socket.
Well it’s what Amateur radio (and the radio hobby as a whole) is all about, making it yourself and tinkering with it, as well as the communication aspect of course.
73 de M6RSQ
A basic field strength meter does not require a battery, it works similar to a crystal set but without the tuned circuit, I had an old unreliable SWR meter for CB and set about salvaging components from it, 2 of these components were germanium diodes (silicon diodes won't work as well if at all), so I found what components I could close to the values specified from a particular circuit (some of these were from the SWR meter I had disassembled) and assembled a crude field strength meter onto a veroboard, in close range of an HT at full power it swings the needle on the meter display fully over to the end stop, a potentiometer reduces sensitivity so I was able to bring the needle back over to the end of the "FS" markings (this SWR meter had readings for field strength but they were not used in the meter as it was a basic CB SWR meter and the majority of CB users usually don't need to know more than if their antenna is working and not going to kill their radio's finals).
I built the meter as a proof of concept and just to practice my soldering skills, as I've not soldered anything in a little while and am a little out of practice, I plan to build a proper one, in a metal box, using exact value components for the circuit, at some point in the future, I could have built one of these for my Intermediate but my instructor had other things he wanted me to do and it didn't really occur to me at the time.
73 de M6RSQ
Friday 14 April 2017
As you are no no doubt aware, I have visited the National Hamfest every year without fail since being licenced, this usually takes place at the end of September, and I got the dates this far in advance from the latest RadCom.
My plan for this year is to stop overnight so I can be there both days for a change, I have already got the form to arrange this and this just leaves me to take holiday from work on the Thursday and Friday of that week.
I downloaded a form from the website but obviously need to print this to fill it in, then I can mail this to the Hamfest organisers in good time along with sending payment to them.
As I intend to stop overnight I intend to do some radio activities on site as well, this is where my recently purchased drive-on mast stand will come into it’s own, as I will be able to put up antennas for 2-metres and 70cm at the very least, I probably won’t do any 10-meter operation unless I can get hold of or build a portable antenna for that band in the interim.
Another issue I will have is powering rigs, the FTM-400XDE requires the car be running in order to run it at full power (which as I’ll have a 2E0 by then I should be able to do), though I’d be sat in the car when operating this radio anyway from the magmount on the roof (and I should be able to hit the Lincoln repeater from the Newark showground no problem), for analogue 2-metre operation I can use one of my HTs, as the 10-metre rig is also quite power hungry with the power turned up I would normally run this off my jump starter but I may not have a means to power the jump starter when it needs to be charged again, so I am looking into the possibility of obtaining a generator if possible as the Hamfest doesn’t allow the use of the site’s electricity hookups.
So, I have a lot to plan and 5 months to plan it in, time to get to work.
73 de M6RSQ
Monday 10 April 2017
The drive over the previous day was good, the drive over on the return journey was not so good as I got held up in traffic on the M55, I spent most of this monitoring S20 though it seemed quiet for the most part,
The new radio, the QYT KT8900D, works well with my current 2/70 antenna and appears to have better rejection than the Leixen does.the QYT mic has bigger buttons on it and DTMF can be sent with the PTT pressed again unlike the Leixen, allowing access to Echolink and IRLP on repeaters, though for me at my home QTH this is just GB3IR, HG is seemingly having a repeater keeper change and from what I am aware currenlty lacks an NoV and has no linking anyway, and CD is screened by the buildings behind me.
I of course need to try out the radio further, assemble the mast stand and have a look at the capacitor properly before soldering it to a mag loop.
And my replacement radio also allows higher power, it's currently in low (10w) mode, the radio is 25w, great for my intermediate pass in the near future all being well and getting my intermediate licence.
73 de M6RSQ
Sunday 2 April 2017
With a week to go preparations for attending the Blackpool rally are now well underway, today I have programmed the frequencies for both GB3FC (which like the Blackpool rally is at the Norbreck Castle Hotel), and GB3OA, located at Southport, a short way down the coast, the former is a 70cm repeater, and therefore seems only to cover Blackpool sufficently for HTs, the latter is on 2-metres, the coverage map shows good coverage into Blackpool, this will be ideal as this year I intend to go on the day before to avoid an early start and be at the rally in good time to get parked.
I have also bought some stick on letters and numbers from Halfords and now my car has my current callsign on it, as I run APRS this will allow any other Amateur operator to know it’s me, also I don’t make a secret of being a licenced Amateur radio operator for the most part, however this will be the first Blackpool rally I have attended in which my car is equipped with APRS
This leaves a few final jobs to do, first of which is to have the oil level of my car checked, as at the home QTH I have to park my car on a slight incline I will enlist the help of Halfords, the next job will be charging of the jump starter in case the battery is flat at any time, and finally if I have the chance it will be to wash the car.
I also need a battery box for the capacitor tester I acquired and since modified to run off a PP3 battery, these are cheap and available from Maplin, and I will need a capacitor tester for testing of any variable capacitors I can find, both the tester and my multimeter will be called on for this task.
This week will go quickly, and on closing I hope the sun is out again going over to Blackpool.
73 de M6RSQ
Sunday 26 March 2017
The capacitor can probably be sourced from the Blackpool rally, the copper tube to make the main loop is available from Wickes as it is the cheapest I have seen it, Homebase don't sell it for some unknown reason and B&Q sell it for more than Wickes, I hope to get the tubing this Saturday for both the loop itself (copper) and the support (plastic), the coupling loop can be made out of RG58 or some other coax with the braid and centre shorted together, or the same copper tube as the main loop.
The design I had seen by Larry WD0AKX also incorporated a meter, though I plan my final build based on this design it will have an enclosure over the capacitor which will contain a motor on a gearbox to tune the loop with the capacitor and I will keep an SWR meter on the feeder, for initial tests though tuning will be done with the capacitor and a plastic tool to avoid stray capacitance from my hands, my final build will also be suited to 50 watts (maximum on the Intermediate) if I find a capacitor that can handle the resulting voltage but until I get my intermediate I would only transmit at up to 10 watts, for CB use I'd always be at 4 watts or 12 watts PEP for SSB on the midblock.
Naturally I also want both my CB and my 10-metre rig to both be connected so I don't have to go behind them to swap the coax over, this requires a switch, preferably one capable of dropping the output of the "disconnected" radio into a dummy load and the "connected" radio onto the antenna, such a switch does exist, my good dummy load is, however, rated only to 50 watts, though this would protect the finals of both radios, though the SS9900 does have a HI-SWR function that prevents TX if SWR exceeds a preset limit however I prefer the reassurance of a load always being there, as repair of the finals is something I have no time to do, this idea makes sense as the President Grant II does not have a high SWR safety cut out, much like many off the shelf CB radios.
Hopefully I can start gathering what I need to build the magnetic loop antenna this week save for the capacitor which I hope to get from Blackpool or Ripon if it comes to it.
73 de M6RSQ
Sunday 19 March 2017
For a time, the parasol base, as it is heavy, and the near 2 metre antenna pole have both lived in a shed that is incorporated into the building for the storage of conventional dustbins, this arrangement suited me well until I received a letter from the district council along with a black and white photograph of the contents of both sheds, demanding the tenants in this block cease storage in these sheds and remove anything they have stored within by the 31st of this month, after that date the council would dispose of anything still left in these sheds and fit locks to prevent further use in this manner, I had to act and today I finally rescued my temporary mast base, both parts, from the council’s mercy.
With the pole and base both now safely within my flat, I am at a loss as to where to store these, so in the mean time I’ll look to put them under the bed until such times I can do something about storage outside again.
The securing of these sheds gave me an idea however, if they are to be permanently locked, with no bins stored in them as wheely bins are too big to store here, I could mount a plantpot mast containing a magnetic loop at the top and get on the air from home at last on 10-12 meters, even CB/11-metres, which I have not played with since I took my old car to Tan Hill.
Something good may come out of something bad.
73 de M6RSQ
Thursday 2 March 2017
Externally the camera, when finished, will still appear the same, and should still function as intended, it just means now that all I need to complete the job is one power cable, one Pi Zero, the current version of the camera and the adaptor cable to connect the camera to the Pi Zero.
This comes as very welcome news because it means not only don't I need a WiFi dongle but I also do not need a USB-OTG lead, two purchases I no longer need to make.
Hopefully I will have this built after my planned 10-12m magloop.
73 de M6RSQ
Wednesday 1 March 2017
Manual tuning is not always ideal if the antenna is some distance away, a remote tuner is needed and this is usually two parts, a motor with a reduction gearbox and a remote control with electronics to control the motor.
I have found a suitable circuit that can do this and the majority of the parts and the motor can be obtained from the same place, there is a transistor in the circuit that has been discontinued so I have to find a suitable alternative, which I am working on now.
Obviously I have yet to buy a tuning capacitor to build my loop but I have an idea where I can obtain these and can test the controller before I connect the motor to a capacitor.
further research is needed but I should be able to begin construction by the end of the month.
73 de M6RSQ
Sunday 26 February 2017
As I have mentioned previously I have a desire to build a magnetic loop antenna for HF use, primarily with my CRT SS9900 on 10 metres, though something that could cover 12 through to 10 metres meaning will work on CB as well as I still have a keen interest in that side of things despite holding an amateur radio foundation licence and hoping to go for my intermediate exam very soon, as alluded to in my last post.
My antenna situation as you know is very poor right now, made worse due to the fact I live in a first-floor flat, though I have a CB antenna in the attic it functions very poorly with high SWR readings and the need of a tuner to prevent damage to rigs connected to it, though this antenna works on 10-meters as well the tuner does not and to get the SWR to safe levels requires it be tuned with both sides turned all the way up to 10 (the unit is a Euro-CB EM-110 and is really suited to 11 metres rather than 10 metres), 2 metres is currently done with an antenna on a biscuit tin, also poor but it does work.
This is where the magnetic loop comes in, and I saw a YouTube video showing a design made out of copper tubing, with a power meter on the larger loop itself, a variant of this design was also on YouTube by an English member of Charlie Tango (of which I am a member with the callsign 26CT730) for CB use, with the right capacitor and correct dimensions I should be able to build a loop to this design (without a power meter fitted to the loop itself as I intend to fit the loop with a remote tuning system utilising a stepper motor and gearbox) and be able to start using 10 metres, despite the poor conditions at this time on that band I am eager to give it a go, also as I have not played with 11 meters since I scrapped my old car this would be a good opportunity as I understand CB is alive and well and there are regular nets held now, even on the midblock using AM and SSB since those modes became available to UK CB operators in 2014, but naturally I am keen to give 10 metres a go, whether I get a working magloop before or after I get my intermediate remains to be seen however I intend to make sure I get on 10 metres regardless, I have invested in equipment for that band I may as well use it.
I know I can get copper and plastic tube locally but for a suitable tuning capacitor I may have to look to rallies to do so, the requirements are that the tuning capacitor will work happily up to 4kV (though I suspect 50 watts is far below this but I like the idea of a safety margin).
The antenna will be connected with a suitable SWR meter in line almost permanently, my Zetagi Mod. 203W is perfect for this as it covers a frequency range of 26-30MHz for TX power measurement and 3-200MHz for SWR measurement.
I will post more on this subject as it progresses
73 de M6RSQ