Click here for the Ban PLT website.

Tuesday 26 May 2020

Testing the boomerang antenna with a choke on it and the Zello gateway

I have put up the boomerang antenna for 11-meters today, being only possible to tune it for 27/81 or CEPT, not both, I opted to tune it for 27/81 as I wanted to run the Zello gateway experimentally on channel 11 (27.70125MHz), I filmed both of these for YouTube which will be hopefully going up tomorrow.

My choice of channel 11 may upset the European pirates who use 27.700 for SSTV illegally, given that it is .00125MHz away from UK channel 11, which is an FM only channel and UK stations are legally entitled to use it and any station outside the UK is in fact in breach of the rules in their country, though I am using 4 watts here which is the legal CB limit my transmissions could in fact cause the pirate operators issues during lift conditions if they receive me, or in this case my Zello experiments at a strong signal due to the nature of the 11-meter band during lift conditions.

I will be doing a little range test tonight while at work with my Sirio Hi-Power 4000 and my Thunderpole T-3000 and see what range I can get out of it, pirate SSTV pending of course.

73 de M0WNU/26CT730

4 years since I was betrayed

So 4 years now since I went to Staines to ML&S to pick up my Yaesu FTM-400XDE, Diamond NR770RSP and Sirio magmount, and unfortuately 4 years since I was stabbed in the back by Chance Callahan KD0MXN, and he was active on air sadly as recent as April this year, however using APRSDroid from a phone and he still has not changed his address with the FCC ULS putting him in breach of Part 97 assuming, if I read it correctly, that all hams out there in the states have to change their address when they move house, however his track record is grim and he is woefully unfit to hold an Amateur radio licence.

So apart from stabbing me in the back when I went to Staines in 2016 he also:

He also hoped to get back on air using a HackRF SDR at one point, the output of those is dirty so would not be possible without filtering and it can access bands he does not have privileges on as well. 

I meanwhile, still not deterred from the hobby by this horrible young man who has tried to break rules as he sees fit and harass me at every opportunity, have continued on and reached the full licence level here in the UK since the last anniversary of this terrible act, and I also run a YouTube channel on all things radio both Amateur and CB, and stay within the terms of my licence and also don't break the law, makes me a good operator and I am always happy to speak to people on air.

On the plus side I have more content planned for YouTube so keep watching.

73 de M0WNU/26CT730

Monday 25 May 2020

PNI Escort HP7120 on air test this week

I hope to get, on Wednesday, the PNI Escort HP7120 compact CB radio on the air from local high ground, the radio will be on the T2LT antenna, this will be the first proper use of that antenna since I had to cut some damage out of the feed section, and also since Activate All Counties in 2018, though it was up in my demo video earlier this year on deploying a CB setup in an emergency.

The radio will be run at the power output as it came, it has not been modified to do the 8 watts and this modification will not be made to this radio, the mic will be the stock mic as I prefer to use the stock mic where possible, the antenna will be on my SOTABeams pole.

I should be on air most of the day with it so if you do hear me feel free to have a chat with me, I will be filming for YouTube so do let me know if you do not want to be on film and I'll make sure you're not included on the final video.

I expect the video to be on the channel by Thursday, this is because it can take up to 5 or 6 hours to render a video depending on how long it is.

I also hope to get my Boomerang antenna back up this week and the choke tested out on it depending on the wind as it has been high lately and that has postponed it a little bit longer, if I do get it up I hope to set my benchmark for CB range testing as well as some other experiments.

I also have the radios on in the car and monitor UK19 (though I tend to hear the burner brigade for the most part) and also the local repeaters on 2-meters, these are GB3IR and GB3HG though in the main it's usually GB3IR which is also on IRLP and Echolink.

73 de M0WNU/26CT730

Monday 18 May 2020

The purpose of the roger bleep

This comes about after I picked up a member of what I refer to as the 'Cleveland Burner Brigade' (a group of people that sit on UK19 and don't move and TX at too high a power in the Guisborough, Stokesley and possibly Yarm areas) using an overly long roger bleep in the sound of the horn from the General Lee in The Dukes of Hazzard, the other station using a standard beep as is acceptable practice if you must use one.

Now roger bleeps are useful on 11-meters/CB if the mode of transmission is SSB as that has no carrier and no other way of knowing if the other station has dropped the key, in AM and FM they find another use, they stick out in the noise better than the human voice so you CAN hear the station when they drop the key even if the voice is unreadable due to a low signal.

I don't mind roger bleeps being used too much on 11-meters though most legal radios do not come with them as a standard option, the ones I do know of that do are all of the President radios released in the last 10 years, this includes the Lincoln II(+) despite that radio being a 10-meter radio and often unlawfully used on 11-meters, the legal 27/81 radios of the 80s I know of that feature a bleep are the legitimate Amstrad 901s (both the Japanese made and Hong Kong made variants) as well as the nasty copies from Hong Kong that became a SpinneyTronic/Harvard radio.

Roger bleeps find their way into every PMR446 set on the market, and usually they are on by default, given the short range of PMR446 this is acceptable so if you do walk a bit too far out of range you can at least hear the other party has transmitted, and that can be useful given businesses tend to use these, shops for instance.

Unfortunately roger bleeps find there way into Chinese made Amateur radio gear, as most of this stuff is aimed at professional PMR markets in those countries, however this extends to 10-meter radios as these are often easily unlocked to work on the 11-meter band, examples of this are the AnyTone AT-5555 and radios derived from it (which is a commonly used illegal radio on CB), the AnyTone AT-6666 and radios derived from it (which is also commonly used illegally on CB) and as alluded to above the President Lincoln II(+), roger bleeps are never used in the Amateur radio world, no standard Amateur radio equipment features such a thing, and with CB-like features in some of these radios including roger bleeps (which in some are programmable to what you want) makes me wonder if the manufacturer wanted to target these at the CB market but to get around compliance testing they were made and sold as "10-meter" radios (I use my SS9900, an AT-6666 derivative, on 10-meters only).

I will be doing a video on this subject so do stay tuned to the YouTube channel, I will stress again that I don't dislike roger bleeps, I just see no point in them being excessively long, used to play tunes or found in radios that are used on the Amateur bands primarily.

73 de M0WNU/26CT730

Saturday 16 May 2020

Keeping a CB radio in the boot of your car for emergencies

Back in the 80s it was possible to obtain emergency CBs that you put in the boot of your car and deployed if you had a breakdown, CB back then was in constant use and channel 9 generally respected as an emergency channel, the original Radiocommunications Agency leaflet, which predates Ofcom and also from the era that CB radio required a £15 annual licence to operate, stated to respect operating conventions and keep channel 9 clear for emergency use but it also stipulated the same thing Ofcom do today, that 9 is no substitute for 999 or marine channel 16, the document is RA369 and is on the UK National Archives, along with the rest of the RA website which includes that channel 9 be kept clear for emergencies but is was not a licence condition nor was is protected from abuse, though it was monitored, but today it is not so, or at least at present anyway and it is still traditionally seen as an emergency channel.

Today emergency kits are not made brand new or sold, however very compact CB radios are available and they generally have a cigarette lighter plug on them, a small compact antenna with a magmount is all you really need, and an SWR meter for tuning it initially, the compact Dial-A-Match antennas are ideal for this because they are relatively easy to tune, though the range is limited there is still a chance that if you need to call for help you WILL be heard.

I have put a video onto YouTube covering these points and it's included below for you to see, as I am trying to encourage people to use CBs mobile before I put my proposal to HM Government that these radios be made mandatory equipment, that way the benefits can be seen before I do so, however I'm keeping this on hold until COVID-19 is dealt with.

Do remember though that Channel 9 is an emergency channel it is not always monitored and calling for help on 19 may work as long as the burner brigade aren't jamming it but there are 40 channels in total on the UK block so someone will be there somewhere

73 de M0WNU/26CT730

Sunday 10 May 2020

Coming up on the YouTube channel

I have a few videos in the pipeline, and here's what they are

I go through the mic wiring of a CB microphone using a conventional plug (this is of a 6-pin variety), I will also be looking at the Albrecht CL27 rubber duck antenna for handheld CBs and finding out how it will fair against the one supplied on a handheld doing a test a-la "handheld CBs, are they any good", a video I will be reviewing prior to running the test, and I will also be taking a look at a Solarcon Dial-a-match type antenna (the A110) and showing you how to tune it and seeing if I can also get it to work on 10-meters without a tuner.

The CB mic plug video is also under way as there are parts I can do now for that video ahead of schedule, a small video showing what I ordered from Thunderpole, as I ordered these things together with some PL259s for RG8 mini and a rubber boot for my original magmount (which will be used to demonstrate the dial-a-match) as the current one was hurriedly repaired with Sugru prior to its 8 months on the roof of the Peugeot 106.

I will be paying close attention to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's message tonight regarding the lockdown and if certain restrictions are relaxed (which may not be likely) I will be planning an air test of the PNI Escort HP7120  from Hurgill Road in Richmond provided it is safe to do so and not in contravention of lockdown, I may even use the T2LT antenna for that one to see just where legal power will take me, this way I don't have to muck about unplugging the mobile antenna from the Thunderpole T-3000.

73 de M0WNU/26CT730

Thursday 7 May 2020

PNI Escort HP7120 & PNI Extra 48 compact compromise antenna now here

So I paid £56.95 plus postage (the postage would be the £7) for the PNI Escort HP7120 and the Extra 48 antenna, my first impressions of the radio are positive, it's very small and fits in almost all modern cars where space could well be at a premium, I own a first generation Toyota Aygo (a late one from 2013/14) and as anyone who owns that car or its Peugeot and Citroen siblings will know is that space is quite hard to find in there so this radio would fit those cars perfectly, however as I have a Thunderpole T-3000 in my car I have no plans in which to replace it with this PNI set.

The set uses a quick-release bracket for mounting, rather than the thumbscrew arrangement, and is supplied with a power lead that is not only fitted with a cigarette lighter plug it is also fitted with an inline fuse so no need to fit a fuseholder if you want to remove the plug and hard wire.

The Extra 48 antenna looks exactly like the sort of antenna you'd find fitted to a car for broadcast reception except it is a magmount and has thin coax feeding it, I tested it on my car and it seems to work ok on EU20 but a little high at the outer band edges and the UK band was a no-go so this antenna will be revisited in the future when lockdown is over.

I also plan to give the radio an on-air test when the lockdown finishes, I've already compared its audio with the Thuderpole T-3000 which I include in the attached YouTube video below, especially considering the sizeable microphone with the T-3000 over the small one with the PNI set.

The on-air test will also be done on YouTube.

And a radio for still cheaper than the cheapest compact radio alone you cannot go wrong.

73 de M0WNU/26CT730