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Sunday, 28 May 2017

Even less chance of entering the 2m FM Activity contest

As is known, I want to enter the 2m FM Activity contest in June, unfortunately for me another issue has come up, the clutch in my car has failed, I thought it was either a pressure plate failure or a linkage issue, I called the roadside assistance who sent out an AA patrol, they confirmed my worst fears, the pressure plate, this now means that the chances of me operating the 2-metre FM Activity contest are closer to nil as they have been.

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

A year since I was betrayed

As you may be aware, a year ago I was down in Staines picking up a Yaesu FTM-400XDE from Martin Lynch & Sons, before I could so much as set foot in the showroom however I was betrayed by Chance Callahan KD0MXN, who to this day believes he is innocent of any wrong doing and considers me the guilty party.

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

FM Activity contest participation in doubt

Yesterday I discovered there may be an issue with one of the rear brakes on my car after having it examined by the garage, and they want to look at it on the 6th June, this adds to the already growing issue of participating in the 2-metre FM Activity Contest.

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

Search for a new QTH.... beginning the process

Tomorrow at the first opportunity I will be going to the letting agent to arrange the process that will begin the move of QTH, as the property I looked at meets my requirements, a separate room for the shack, a place to locate the webserver responsible for hosting most of my websites (this blog will remain online as it is Google and not run from my server during the move), a living room that will be just that, a living room, having it combined with the shack for as long as I have has been a pain, and if I am allowed a nice high antenna for 2-metres and 70cm, looking forward immensely to hopefully getting a new QTH.

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

Bicycle mobile revisited.

Having given my bicycle a test run prior to moving to a new QTH I have thought about fitting a mobile set up to it, a 12VDC (or 13.8VDC stable preferably) generator to run a HT with a battery eliminator, perhaps into a SLA battery that is charged as the bicycle moves.  A CB install is certainly doable with sufficient grounding to the bicycle frame (SWR will be checked with myself sat on the bicycle anyway), 2-metres and 70cm should also be possible, though I intend to use the UV-5RC Plus solely for APRS, I can use one of my other 2/70 HTs for voice, the APRS HT can be equipped with a high gain antenna and the voice HT can use a mobile antenna if the logistics of this can be worked out, the CB setup will use the stinger/orbitor antenna that was originally found on the roof of my old car.

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 search for a new QTH... update

With my search ongoing for a new QTH I had a call from the letting agent I made contact with last Friday, they checked my interest in the property in question and informed me a second identical property was also available, however on the first rather than second floor but this is a minor detail.

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

Search for a new QTH... the beginning

Today I have found a potential new QTH, though antenna prospects are smaller having the shack away from the living room is possible. I would probably be back to the magmount or get permission to have an antenna put on the building.

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, 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

Follow-up to the neighbour trouble I have had.

So, having had trouble from an until now unknown neighbour and having to cut the coax to my antenna, I have wondered who was responsible, what I did not mention in the last post was someone knocked at my door while I was otherwise engaged, I heard them get up and down the stairs quicker than the person who lives across the hall from me and the person underneath them, leaving it to potentially be one neighbour in this block, the person below me, a theory I held but could not prove until this morning.

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

Neighbour troubles

Now I enjoy the radio hobby immensely, not just the talking but the technical side, and as you know I like to build antennas rather than buy them, and over the weekend I tried out my latest creation, then just imagine how upset I was when I went outside this morning to find a note attached to it, handwritten and on a scrap of old envelope, that read "REMOVE YOUR STUFF TO YOUR OWN FLAT ASAP!!!", what was the problem? none that I can see, was it in anyone's way? Not at all, it was placed between two inaccessible sheds, I am no closer to finding out who did this.

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

Weekend of radio - Sunday update

Well the weekend has drawn to a close, and I didn't get as much radio in as I hoped, first off I attempted to raise the height of the antenna but this proved to be an issue without adequate support for the antenna at that height, so a new approach to getting it high is needed and I have until the 6th June to figure this out as it needs to be high for the 2-metre FM activity contest (which I intend to live stream my participation of on YouTube), of course once I safely get the antenna high I will test run it again at the new height (should be around 4 metres up as I bought 2 lengths of 2 metre pipe).

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

weekend of radio - Saturday update

Today the antenna went out and up, it is hidden between the two locked sheds but it is working, worked 2-metre FM simplex with Chris G4FZN, who was at a higher location than me and heard me better than I was hearing him, so that paves the way for the antenna to go on the air on the FM Activity Contest on the 6th June as it has been proven to work, also there is slack in the coax to allow the height to go up for the duration of the contest.

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

Weekend of radio - pre-weekend plans

Given I have no plans for this weekend at all, I intend to put up my homebrew groundplane antenna, all being well, and play a bit of radio on 2-metre simplex, hopefully this will give my QYT KT8900D a chance to show how well it works, it has had little airtime since I got it, and it will hopefully give me a good indication on how well the antenna works as well as I intend to use it on the 2-metre FM activity contest at the beginning of June if I find it to work well.

I should be heard calling on S20 (145.500MHz) on Saturday sometime in the afternoon if I get the antenna up, we can find a free channel once contact is made.

73 de 2E0EIJ

Saturday, 6 May 2017

progress with the groundplane antenna

As you may or may not be aware I am building a ground plane antenna for 2-metres, which could potentially work with 70cm as well, today I visited a certain DIY store for some parts, these were a drill bit to make a hole for the SO239, 2 2 metre lengths of waste pipe, a T section (compression fit for ease of assembly/disassembly and has a handy curve so as to run the coax round it), 2 couplers (also compression fit for same reason) and a black end cap as well as some extra Sugru for waterproofing.

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

more Hamfest camping preparations

In the last week I have replaced the ink in my printer meaning I have been able to print off the form for the National Hamfest camping booking, it is part filled in though I should be able to fill it out fully today, however in light of this I am looking into buying what I need for the 2-night camping.

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