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Sunday 30 September 2018

National Hamfest 2018 - Post Hamfest

So as you know I spent Friday and Saturday at Newark attending the National Hamfest, all the usual attendees were there and of course there was the big prize raffle, which I sadly did not win, however a big congratulations to the people who did, enjoy those radios, I had a look at all three (despite being familiar to some extent with Yaesu's FT991A) so as to get familiar with them, I also had a look at Yaesu's new FTDX101, named after their FT101 series from the 1970s (which they also had with them on show (but no one was allowed to touch those), they were also giving out hats again this year so I got a new one.

The camping arrangements this year were different, instead of across from the hall you'd enter the showground, stop at a wooden hut, get your welcome pack and pass, and make a left turn, as this was my first year I wasn't aware there had been any changes.

I was hoping to run a station but didn't get to do this, however I still had a good time, eating tins of beans and sausages, drinking tea and being around fellow Amateur radio operators.

I arrived on site at 6pm Thursday and got the tent up with some help, after that set up the table, the chair, the stove and filled the kettle with water and made a cup of tea, I had some milk and butter with me so was able to have toast and coffee on Friday morning (on Saturday morning the keeper of GB3IR, Chris G4FZN offered me a bacon sandwich which was very nice of him).

The drive down was beset with traffic jams, rush hour and an accident on the A1 near to Blyth services delayed me some, however the run back was smooth and not once did I slow down below 50MPH, I left the site at 2:15pm (or thereabouts and arrived back into Catterick Garrison at 4pm, a run of 1 hour and 45 minutes, only stopping at the roundabouts near the showground and the lights at Colburn Broadway, White Shops and Gough Road in Catterick Garrison, and the car handled the journey very well.

I had run my APRS beacon the whole way there and back, so click the link on the right of the blog (on the main website) if you want to see it.

I also purchased a Network Radio, I will be doing a video on it for YouTube as I mentioned this in previous posts, which I hope to get up in a couple of days, I didn't get the chance to film at Hamfest 2018 but I will do some in 2019 as I hope to have someone with me next year.

So now I must unpack the car, hope to see you all at next year's National Hamfest, or if not the Spennymoor rally should I get there this year.

73 de 2E0EIJ

Saturday 15 September 2018

Midland CBTalk and Dual Mike accessory for CB radios

Now we all know that Radio over IP exists, we so far have several systems that do this, with the latest crop of network radios Zello has taken off greatly, however Midland, the manufacturer of the Alan range of CB radios, have come up with two devices to include in this line up, the Dual Mike for CBs and the CBTalk app for smartphones.

CBTalk turns your smartphone into a kind of CB radio, the Dual Mike lets you use it like a CB radio, however with the crop of Network radios out there I see no reason why CBTalk cannot run on one as it is an Android device, however at present the app screen won't rotate with the phone so this would restrict it to handheld network radios, something worth trying when I get one as I hope to get one to review.

I also plan to do a full review of the CBTalk app and the Dual Mike accessory once the latter is available in the UK for my YouTube channel, most likely I will use a 6-pin variant as all my CB radios use 6-pin mic connectors except for my TTI TCB550, whether the mic will work with my Midland Alan 78 Plus Multi B remains to be seen, and I doubt it will work with my ancient Moonraker FA5000, the unit uses Bluetooth to pair with the phone the app is running on and therefore allows you to use the CB or the app (it could in theory allow you to use a 10/11-meter multimode rig as well however I don't advise this if you're not duly licenced and use such a radio on 11-meters).

The app is available on the Google Play store for Android so get it downloaded today and give it a try, I have yet to see the mic on sale as yet but I am watching the usual outlets.

73 de 2E0EIJ/26CT730

Monday 10 September 2018

National Hamfest 2018, just over 2 weeks to go

And in those two weeks I hope to finalise everything, I already have a tent, a sleeping bag, an inflatable mattress, a mini fridge for food storage (that I have had for years anyway) and a generator for electricity, all I need now is a table, a gas stove, a chair, a jerry can (though the generator's tank is full it's good to have spare), LED lighting (as it is power efficient) and batteries (assuming not AA batteries as I have those) and a means to run equipment off the generator by day and batteries overnight (my jump starter could potentially serve this purpose though would have to be charged up by the generator during daylight hours).

As most local shops will stop selling camping gear around about now, I will source it from Go Outdoors on my next payday as I will know then how much I will have to spend.

Radio wise I only need to take Amateur radio gear as I am travelling alone this year, obviously my FTM-400 will be coming along with me, the Jumbospot and the AnyTone 868 also (but whether anyone is actually active on CQ-UK remains to be seen on the hamfest weekend), if I can get an antenna the CRT SS9900 will also be with me, and most likely the QYT KT8900D (as it has the better pager filtering over the Leixen), and because it was a hamfest purchase my Pofung GT-5 will be making a return to Newark along with the Wouxun KG-UVD1P for analogue 2/70 while I'm wandering around, I'll keep the AnyTone for DMR use, I may even be active on Zello under my Amateur callsign so keep a listen out if you have a network radio or have it on your phone.

As for the Hamfest raffle this year, they have 3 really special prizes up for grabs, these are a Yaesu FT991A, an Icom IC7300, and a Kenwood TS-590SG, all three prizes come complete with an antenna, power supply, coax cable and SWR meter ready to go, as I am there for both days I obviously have an increased chance to win one of these, if I do I'll post after the event, I suspect there will be other prizes too as there are two raffle draws over the Hamfest weekend.

So with the two weeks left to run I eagerly look forward to my first "holiday" in a while, after a stressful year and not having had a holiday as such for a good few years this is perfect, I can be with fellow Amateurs, play radio and even buy some new toys and perhaps even win something fantastic if I am lucky, and those that go to the Hamfest and enter the raffle, best of luck to you too, you're going to win a fantastic prize if you do win one of the "shack in a box" prizes.

73 de 2E0EIJ

Tuesday 4 September 2018

Could the reign of terror by Chance Callahan KD0MXN be coming to an end?

This is a question that I hope the answer will be 'yes' to, as according to the FCC ULS his request for change of address and vanity call W4BORG have been dismissed, the former still puts him on the wrong side of Part 97 and the latter was expected anyway.

The FCC probably would have not done this without good reason, factor in his network-wide ban from Snoonet and a disappearance from freenode (or at least ##hamradio) in the last couple of weeks, perhaps things are looking up for the rest of the Amateur radio community in the fight to keep the bad people out of the hobby, I have also failed to see him in /r/amateurradio on reddit which may also be as a result of his network wide ban at Snoonet.

In any case, I see any action against Chance Callahan KD0MXN in a positive light, as he is a blight on every community he is in contact with and manipulates his way to power just to abuse it to get rid of those with the guts to stand up to him, however the only way he can get rid of me from the hobby is to report me to Ofcom for breach of my licence conditions, which he has no evidence for and Ofcom would need to see hard evidence regardless, and should I be subject to a station inspection because of him then this should not be a major deal, I have nothing to hide from Ofcom and am a rule-abiding Amateur operator unlike Chance Callahan.

His licence itself is still showing as active on the FCC ULS, only time will tell if it becomes inactive soon or whether that will happen in November 2020.

And don't let Chance Callahan or people like him frighten you away from the hobby, the rest of us are all very decent and civilised people, and I for one hope to work you on the bands real soon.

73 de 2E0EIJ