Friday 29 June 2018
Wednesday 27 June 2018
The Pi Zero W is currently running as a WiFi hotspot using the Pi-star software, this allows it to be configured over the web interface, though from what I can tell connecting it to the Internet is not possible in this manner, once it is assembled as a hotspot then I hope to take it out of the mode it is in and connect it to my WiFi and my phone and get on the air on DMR from home.
I have had a listen to the CQ-UK room on Wires-X by way of MB6RY, the local gateway run by Andy M1SDE, the gateway, though dropping out for me while I was driving around last night, gave me an insight as to who uses CQ-UK, and I should be able to access that using the complete hotspot by means of DMR (Phoenix, not Brandmeister) and Fusion.
With the Pi Zero arriving (and making it my second Pi Zero after the one that runs my IRC bouncer) attention turned to the rest of the hotspot, with the MMDVM board (one with an OLED display) ordered hopefully to arrive before the club meeting on the third Thurdsay of this month (if so it will mean I can assemble it and video it for YouTube).
Now for the Activate all Counties event, I did not get this filmed to go onto YouTube sadly, this was due to a few factors, one of which the complete failure (my fault) of the Grant II, fortunately for me an emergency radio was to hand and I was able to participate in the net, I managed to get into a net on Channel 37 midblock, confirming my T2LT was getting out and that Tan Hill is an ideal spot to play radio.
Initially it was planned I run the radio off a newly acquired generator, sadly my proximity to the Tan Hill Inn (literally across the road from it) prevented me using the generator as it was loud, but it was there should I have needed it, the mast was bungee corded to my car's wing mirror mount on the passenger side, the coax fed into the car through the window (which did not matter as it was a hot night) and connected to an inline SWR meter, SWR was spot on.
Another test I performed as I had the CRT SS9900 with me as this was not unpacked was to see what it was like on 10-meters, as the T2LT is exceptionally narrow banded the SWR was in the red there, not to worry, it gave me an excellent idea and that is to make a wire antenna for 10, not sure I could base this on the T2LT design however I shall get another dipole centre at some point.
Conditions improved as the night went on but the band was getting swamped by German stations operating FM, I flicked through to another net close to my location however it was right in the back of the box, so my T2LT reached out to Northumberland and Tyne & Wear from my location, on receive I heard two stations in Morpeth, one of which was the famous Delboy, probably the first time I had heard his voice, this was on flicking around, not during the time I called into the net.
This is the first time that I have managed to get my CT call logged on 11-meters successfully, it was a worthwhile event and I am glad to have been a part of it.
All in all I am impressed and by what I understand the Activate All Counties was a success, shame I had to leave Tan Hill at 9:30, as I did not fancy driving down from there in total darkness nor taking the antenna down in total darkness, and on the drive back down it was back onto 2-meters and putting a few calls on GB3IR once I could hear it, as I remained in that radio mood.
Doesn't matter if it's 11-meters or the Amateur bands, it's still radio and it's what we all enjoy, and I say enjoy it
73 de 2E0EIJ/26CT730
Tuesday 26 June 2018
The HAT is yet to be ordered, this should happen later this week if all goes according to plan, and though the Colburn and Richmondshire District Amateur Radio Society is doing a talk on System Fusion (of which myself will take part in) that may cover DMR and hotspots as well my own cheap hotspot may not be ready in time as it takes a while for items from China to reach the UK, though I still have my FTM-400 in the car for the talk.
I have also sourced a power cable for the Pi Zero W as I have a few cables lying around, where in the shack it will go I am not sure as yet though I can easily put the hotspot in the living room I'd rather it be in the shack.
I know the Pi Zero I use as an IRC bouncer draws very little even with a USB hub with onboard Ethernet plugged into it, switching out the LED status doesn't make a lot of difference and it is powered with a 700mA charger, as the Zero W has WiFi onboard it will draw more power, how much more shouldn't be too great as long as the signal to the WiFi is good.
more to come
73 de 2E0EIJ
Monday 25 June 2018
A kit like this is just what is needed to bring the true meaning of the hobby back, in the earliest days of radio all transmitters and receivers were built from the ground up, though this has near enough all the PCB components soldered onto the board there is a little bit of work to get it working, it also requires an enclosure (metal of course) and a speaker, ventilation should be provided near the finals to help with the cooling.
This kit proves you don't need an Icom, Kenwood or Yaesu radio to get on air on HF, you don't even need an Elecraft for those SOTA activations, just one of these kits fully assembled, a suitable antenna and tuner and you're good to go, and of course batteries, even AA batteries, and you can get on HF from a hilltop, away from that wretched QRM that all today's modern consumer electronics generate, and if you do accidentally cook the PA transistors, they're of a common type and you can replace them for pennies.
The full details of this kit and how to order it are here, and I am very tempted to order one myself and start getting out there and getting on HF.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Looking at his pre-made T2LT I thought "why not order one and run it against my own T2LT, on the same day using the same radio and the same mast and see which fares better", and this probably will take place after the celebration of legal AM/SSB on the 11-meter band, and after this purchase one of his antennas that can work both 10 and ll meters, put that in the tree outside and have only one feeder back to the shack with a switch in the shack between the Grant II and the CRT SS9900 which may get me on part of HF from home at the very least and may well eventually be swapped by the CRT SS6900N as that has CW whereas the 9900 does not, to do the shootout I may well need a second SOTApole from SOTABeams, as the current one has proven successful already on tests prior to its first official use.
If the 10/11 1/2 wave antenna proves a success from home I will order a second for portable ops to be able to use 10 and 11-meters in the field, this may well prove beneficial for the National Hamfest 2018 in which I plan to run a station from.
I will of course need an antenna switch for the shootout as well
I'll update in due course
73 de 2E0EIJ/26CT730
Thursday 21 June 2018
QRM is a major inconvenience for the modern radio operator, the vast majority of electronic devices sold are compliant with the rules that prevent them generating QRM, however there are certain things such as solar charge controllers and, worse, PLT homeplugs for networking over the mains that can potentially wipe out most if not all HF bands, the latter are well known examples of devices not complying with the directives in place and being sold regardless, most solar charge controllers are usually cheap units from China and in most cases quality control leaves a lot to be desired.
So I am going to repeat the tests another day when I know that many people will be on the Internet, this may take place after the celebration night on Wednesday, perhaps the Monday night after the celebration night, this will make this test fair.
The next 11-meter related post should be on the subject of the celebration of legal AM and SSB,
73 de 26CT730
Wednesday 20 June 2018
First impressions were that it was a good quality product and I expect it to perform well, the bottom of the mast however keeps coming off and thus risking me losing the mast sections, this can simply be glued back on with a bit of superglue.
I took a drive up to one of my usual local radio testing points later on in the day, about 3pm, got the mast up, and into my drive on mast stand and fastened to the driver's door of the car with the radio on the bonnet rather than a fence post as at this location there weren't any readily available.
The band was open but as I caught it starting to close, I managed to catch a station in the south of France on UK40 channel 40 but could not work him, though he was operating at 15 watts and also I was getting more local transmissions on top of him, I heard a station to the north of me as well on the same frequency but quieter than the French station, by the time I tried again the band had closed so it was at this point, as I had other things to do, I decided to pack up.
SWR as reported by the Grant II (I forgot my good HF SWR meter) was spot on, though a test on a proper SWR meter is always a good idea (I am not a fan of built-in SWR meters) and will take place on the day of the celebrations next week.
Overall I am pleased, the antenna is working and is bringing in stations, and tunes and transmits just fine.
73 de 26CT730
Tuesday 19 June 2018
Should the mast arrive tomorrow in good time this will allow me to get it up to a high point locally and get it out on the air with the Grant II, which will run off the battery power supplied from the jump starter, I don't expect there to be many stations on 11-meters during the day tomorrow as it is a weekday.
I hope to film this for YouTube as I would like to show a bit of success with the antenna, the Big Multimode Nets/Activate All Counties next week will definitely make it to YouTube, and SSB contacts as part of this would be great.
I hope band conditions on the day of testing are desireable
73 de 26CT730
Saturday 16 June 2018
Of course it does, he has a track record of false accusations against people, and this is the latest on that list, though this is a minor infraction and does not breach Part 97 of the FCC rules in of itself it is another clear hint of his bad personality.
As far as I can tell, anything posted to Reddit becomes public domain, same as it would if you posted it to any website where anyone can access it and their are no privacy settings, only when the privacy settings are on is when there would be an issue, seems Chance Callahan has completely disregarded this and of course made false accusations like he is so good at.
The sooner he is out of this hobby the better, he ruins it for every other Amateur in the world.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Edit: 18/06/18: I have revisited the thread on reddit and it has been conclusively revealed that the picture that Chance Callahan KD0MXN was claiming to have been 'stolen' was in fact not so and was not originally from /r/amateurradio but in fact posted there as a joke thread some months prior, so I am now 100% satisfied that Chance Callahan KD0MXN is one again accusing an innocent person of crimes they did not commit, and he is allowed to hold an Amateur radio licence... why?
Edit: 19/06/18: I have dug deeper into this, and confirmed the original image is in fact a screenshot of a click bait ad, thus confirming what I already alluded to above, this picture was absolutely not stolen from /r/amateurradio at all as the source of it is in fact the very click bait ads it came from, and already being satisfied that Chance Callahan KD0MXN was making false accusations, I don't need to say anything further on this
Though the news I posted yesterday is still fresh in my mind I understand that the hobby must go on and though the net on the 27th is for 11-meters (CB radio) it is still radio none the less, and I will operate that day as 26CT730/P from, I hope, Tan Hill, and hopefully achieve something I've wanted to do for many years, work Roy in Corsica if he is listening and the conditions are good on the day.
The radio I hope to use is my President Grant II, it has had very little airtime since I bought it, and it's legal for 11-meter SSB use.
Of course the mast I've bought will be grand for portable HF ops when I have some portable HF gear (I've been looking at Yaesu FT-817s as these are becoming available a little cheaper due to the 818 but still outside my price range), I will still, however, use type approved CB equipment for 11-meters even in portable ops so anything for Amateur HF will be for exactly that, I believe that the SOTABeams masts are good for long wires, though I suspect two spaced appropriately can support a full sized G5RV when I finally do get the portable HF on Amateur radio off the ground.
The Big Multimode Net is a good way to get interest in the radio hobby, no licence and no special equipment, just a normal AM/FM CB radio and an antenna is all you need to get started, you can power a radio easily off the car cigar lighter socket if it's a normal CB.
There is a second "Activate all Counties" event on the same day as the Big Multimode Net at the same time to get all of the English Counties on the air, if you have a CB setup I urge you take part in this, also if you want to do more than what a set of 80 channels on 27MHz and 16 channels on 446MHz allows you to do then go get your foundation licence, it is worth it.
If you're a CB/11-meter operator I look forward to working you on the air on the 27th June
73 de 2E0EIJ/26CT730
Friday 15 June 2018
Though Charles was not my inspiration to get into the hobby, he was an operator I wanted to actually make contact with on air, as I only ever chatted to him over the Internet, he didn't think it would be possible for me in the early days when I had my foundation license as I suspect he was unaware that UK foundation licence holders were permitted to use HF where CW operation takes place, as he was a CW operator more than anything else.
In his memory and honour I plan to learn morse code and operate CW, as I feel that, as a licensed Amateur, the old ways shouldn't die out with the older generation, and also push to get my full licence, and also pass what I know to the younger generation once I have a full licence and help them to get on the air, I can of course still do this now but I cannot supervise those that would be under training, as I want to do this in Charles' memory as out of all the Amateurs I know it is he who I had the most respect for.
My thoughts are with Charles' family and friends at this very difficult time.
RIP Charles, you'll be very sadly missed.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Monday 11 June 2018
I managed one QSO, and almost got another one too but there was some confusion on S20 as to who was calling who, no matter, one was better than none at all.
This has drawn me to the conclusion that I must now build a notch filter (or spend US$90 or so on one pre made which I'd rather avoid), as my intent is to block out pagers I can use the pager frequencies and the RTL-SDR to tweak it and suppress the pager transmissions so they don't cause intermod.
Looking online there are some designs for these, some use a coil of wire and capacitors and screened enclosures, of course what I need is something that can basically work to TX on 2 and 70 without any issue so I will look at that of course, however the ultimate aim is to stop the pager noise dead in its tracks.
I will obviously test the final design with the worst offending radio, the VV-898, in the field at the old racecourse.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Thursday 7 June 2018
I will of course be doing a test with my QYT KT-8900D to see if it has better rejection of the paging traffic or not in the same location, and will also make a point to promote the hobby at that time and also the local club to try and get some more numbers there, after all it makes some sense.
I have a video of how the VV-898 was swamped by the pager noise in the pipeline, a short one but it gives you an idea of what the problem was, and I will do some footage of the KT-8900D when I go up next to the location to show if the KT-8900D is a better radio or not.
I am also looking at fitting a notch filter to the VV-898 to see if that helps get rid of the pager intermod as that seems to be the worst problem for it.
The pager issue itself will not go away, but there are means to help prevent it interfering with Amateur radio operations.
The video should appear on YouTube and here in the next day or two, and an update regarding if the KT-8900D is also suffering intermod from pagers will be posted as and when.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Edit: the video is live on YouTube and is also available here, comment on YouTube if you have one of these radios and have suffered the same intermod problems
Tuesday 5 June 2018
The VE variant is only £60 and both are available from good Amateur radio suppliers, it was brought to my attention on twitter via Martin Lynch and Sons, who no doubt are as shocked as I am that these radios are cheap but Yaesu radios.
On another blog Simon the Wizard commented that they are made in the Anytone factory (he used the name Qixiang which I know is actually Anytone, owning two Anytone made radios myself), though I wouldn't see how or why Yaesu would subcontract manufacturing to the Chinese, though these radios are placed in the budget bracket.
I am tempted to get one of these radios for review, as it is in a price band I can stretch to and justify, I rarely review radios but this is a cheap Yaesu and I feel is worth reviewing.
I shall keep an eye on this one to see how it sells as well.
73 de 2E0EIJ
Sunday 3 June 2018
I have spent today rebuilding my homebrew 2-meter dipole, previously it was just a dipole centre made with the neutral conductor of twin and earth cable, and it did fail at some point before the QTH move, yesterday I went out and got some parts and today I have got it assembled to somewhat functional, or at least receive anyway as I’ve not had opportunity to tune it
As should be known with me I prefer to build my own antennas rather than buy them, though I make exception for mobile use, and I feel building antennas is in the true spirit of Amateur radio, and my eagerness to build rather than buy antennas would make Marconi very proud indeed
I hope to finish and tune the antenna tomorrow, it will have a pair of clamps fitted to the support to allow it to be attached to anything that can support it, though it is lightweight in general, and I plan to give the support structure a little more rigidity as at present it is a little more flexible than one would like.
The antenna will spend its time connected to my QYT KT8900D and will be used with at most 25 watts, and spend most of its time being used on FM, the inspiration to build this antenna was down to me discovering a net on S12 at about 9pm or so every night, as I have the FTM-400 in the car I tend to listen while I work and am in the car, I don’t transmit usually while working, except in exceptional circumstances, and once this antenna is working I would like to maybe join in on this net on S12, assuming from my home QTH the other stations in the net can actually hear me.
I rarely work simplex given my current antenna situation but this should be set to change, especially with an antenna I can install and remove very quickly indeed.
I will post more as progress is made
73 de 2E0EIJ