Click here for the Ban PLT website.

Sunday 24 October 2021

Yaesu FT818 or FT991A? The decision I have to make

So I have a good pay packet on its way on Wednesday and a surprisingly large tax refund imminent I want to buy a set that can do HF and also 2/70 all modes, as I like Yaesu equipment I narrowed my choices down to two, the FT818 (which is effectively an 817 but 6 watts out at full power) or the FT991A which I have been after for some time, which as a nice colour screen, supports all the bands and modes I want except 4-meters, and also supports System Fusion which is my main digital voice mode of choice, as well as allowing USB connection to a computer rather than the specific cable used on the FT818, and also capable of 100 watts out on HF (50 on V/U).

I am really keen on the FT991A because I've been after one for some time and the space in my shack has always been set up with a FT991A in mind, if I choose either radio though I will be free of one issue at home on 2-meters that has plagued me for so long, pager intermod, I also plan to test out the flowerpot on 2-meters with the final chosen radio, which I strongly think will be the FT991.

Operating HF from the home QTH will pose some challenges, an antenna and possibly noise, which I know there is plenty on 27MHz so the rest of the 1-30MHz spectrum will probably be bad as well, however as these radios run of 13.8V DC then they can effectively be run from a battery so I can go somewhere relatively free of noise with a portable antenna (I am already equipped with a mast stand and SOTApole to do this).

Also I have seen these sorts of radios used on 27MHz on YouTube, this is something I won't be doing as I always run legal power, on 27MHz this is 4 watts, a now not so regular commenter on my videos claims I effectively moan on about CB users running higher power, I do often express my dislike of the practice yes however I also say that if people want to do it the it is up to them and I do not endorse it and I also find it is a waste of money to buy something like a Yaesu HF set to solely use it on 27MHz but again it is their choice to do this.

My initial plan for HF was to get something like the uBitX or similar however with this unexpected financial improvement I think something reliable and robust is in order and a Yaesu radio is definitely the way, and already owning 2 Yaesu sets and not ever had any problems means it is justifiable too.

A YouTube video will be done as well, and hopefully I will find a way to do HF from here as well as the usual 2-meters and 70cm

73 de M0WNU

Tuesday 7 September 2021

3D printer now here and a couple of other things

 On my last payday I purchased a 3D printer, specifically an Ender 3 Pro which I ordered with a suitable amount of filament to get going, though it came with some filament anyway but only a small amount compared to what I ordered, in both Amateur and CB radio circles a 3D printer is very useful indeed as you can 3D print things like antenna parts and other useful things, one of my first designs was an adaptor to allow my 7-meter SOTApole to sit in my drive on mast stand, I also had a look on Thingiverse and found some SO239 cover caps which are ideal for my radios that are on the display shelves in the shack, though do consider that these radios do get put on air from time to time.

The prior payday I ordered in some Motorola T62 PMR446 handhelds, these seem to work ok and I did a video on the YouTube channel about these, they meet the newer spec of allowing 16 channels here in the UK however that needs activating as they are 8 channel by default.

I also ordered a TinySA which I have yet to finish the video on, and an antenna from Wish that is designed for CB handhelds and is telescopic, which I will be pitting against the Albrecht CL27, the stock antennas on both modern handhelds and the comparable antenna found on my 1980s Realistic TRC-1007, it also came with a magmount so I'll be putting it on the car roof and connecting it to a radio and an analyser to see how it fairs in that regard.

I also hope to look at the new Thunderpole T-600, which I have seen pictures of and know full well who makes it, I already own the PNI Escort HP7120, which is electronically the same radio, but the T-600 appears to use different firmware to allow AM/FM switching on the CEPT channels while in the UK mode, this will possibly be featured after my next payday.

I'll also try and update this more as like everything I have been doing it has been disrupted by a hectic work schedule

73 de M0WNU/26CT730

Friday 2 July 2021

After many years it may be I get a go in the 144MHz FMAC after all

 So it has taken a few years now however luck has it that on Tuesday I will not be working and therefore can take part in the 2-meter FM activity contest after all, this is of course subject to a lot of things, but I will not be changing job, moving house, or suffering clutch failure on the car (the clutch was changed in November due to bearing failure).

I have logging software on my Hi10 Air tablet ready to go and just need to set up the log for the day, filming will be taking place for YouTube and will be on the channel afterwards so you can see how I got on.

Antenna wise I hope to use my tape measure Yagi, radio will be the FTM-400XDE unless for some reason that is not possible in which case I'll use the FT2D handheld which will make me a QRP station in that case however there is some gain on the antenna which may help should the FT2D be needed, I will also be putting a bulletin of my participation on the contest onto APRS earlier in the day.

As every other time I've wanted to do this contest something has gone wrong I have missed out a lot, this is my first go at a contest if it happens and even though I know full well I will never win it at least I can say I've done it.

looking forward to doing well.

73 de M0WNU

Friday 11 June 2021

There be pirates Cap'n transmitting SSTV on 27.700 MHz USB rendering UK CB channel 11 unusable

 Yesterday before work I noticed the conditions down on 11-meters (and presumably 10) were good, tuning to UK channel 11, as you'll see in the attached video clip, I heard SSTV transmitted using USB, which is illegal to do outside of the normal CB frequency range and also on 27/81 which is strictly UK use and FM only (no laws state SSTV cannot be used on CB at all however that I know of), naturally pirate operators generally do not care until the authorities actually catch them, at which point the pirate operator is stripped of all equipment and prosecuted.

So while CB does have its uses, in the UK it is authorised as licence-exempt non-interference non-protected, in short you cannot cause interference to others and you cannot report interference as no action will be taken, so these European pirates sadly will stop channel 11 in the UK from working until they realise this channel is active using FM all the time in the UK.

73 de M0WNU/26CT730

Friday 28 May 2021

Beginner's guide to CB radio videos now live on YouTube

So I finished up with the beginner's guide to CB radio videos on YouTube the other day and got them all batch-uploaded to YouTube, each covering a different subject, I would have liked to do a demonstration of installation in a vehicle but as I don't have a vehicle to do an install in at the moment I can't obviously do this right now but once I get a vehicle I can do this I will do a demonstration of this.

In the mean time here is the playlist so far

If you are new to radio communications and need an effective useful radio setup CB radio is your answer, these work where mobile phones do not so if you are in a group in separate cars you can keep in touch, legally while driving too.

73 de M0WNU/26CT730 (or just the red squirrel will suffice on CB)

Wednesday 26 May 2021

5 years since I was betrayed

 So here we are at 5 years since I went to Staines to go to Martin Lynch & Sons for my Yaesu FTM-400XDE, Diamond NR770RSP antenna and Sirio magmount which that antenna is screwed into, unfortunately this day 5 years ago I was stabbed in the back by a fellow ham as you know, Chance Callahan KD0MXN (or is that ex KD0MXN as his licence seemingly expired in November according to the FCC ULS), my belief now is he did it because he believed in his own little sick twisted mind that I was stalking another IRC user that lives in that area which is utter rubbish, why would a ham be in Staines? ML&S of course (unless they actually lived in Staines too).

As you know I feel this young man is unfit to hold any kind of radio transmitting licence (he also holds a GMRS licence which is not something that I am too bothered about because that is not a service used worldwide and cannot propagate worldwide), so why do I feel he is unfit to hold any kind of licence, Amateur or otherwise? here's the list again.

Apart from stabbing me in the back when I went to ML&S 5 years ago he also:

As Chance Callahan has made countless accusations against me as well that are unfounded and untrue I worried up until November, when his Amateur radio licence appeared to lapse, that I'd have to deal with his abuse on the air, if I do hear him now I am now in a position to report him as a pirate as he does not have a valid Amateur radio licence at this time, and since the last time I posted this to work at the fulfilment centre I was at for 7 months I had a criminal record check, it came back clear thus proving Chance Callahan to be the liar and deceitful person that he is, and I have the British Disclosure and Barring Service to thank for that, and if he calls a British Governmental department liars then that proves my point about him.

My time in the radio hobby has been great since I passed my foundation exam 6 years ago, and my Advanced in 2019 has given me a lot of confidence to continue to pursue such a great hobby where people like Chance Callahan are, happily, in the minority.

73 de M0WNU

Sunday 16 May 2021

YouTube channel project, Beginner's guide to CB radio or at least my way of doing it

I am planning on putting together a series of YouTube videos on beginning in CB radio as I would like more people to take it up again, there was a slight resurgence during the COVID-19 lockdowns imposed on us by Boris and his 'friends', and I have seen in the past couple of years some of the local boy racers using it in their cars (and on occasion impressed by my larger Sirio Hi-Power 4000 whereas they all have Orbitor/Stinger type antennas).

I plan to go into radios, antennas, feeders, power supplies and also what is legal and what is not legal including how CB radio is NOT covered under the mobile phone laws which means you can use it while driving, and sources of the equipment, and clarifying what the various terminology means.

I might also do something similar for those that want to move to Amateur radio however unlike Amateur radio CB radio does not need a licence and has not done since 2006 and you can just use it to talk amongst a group of you, and I'll cover it all in full in the various videos I plan to do.

73 de M0WNU/26CT730

Saturday 15 May 2021

Moonraker Micro CB radio

My recent main YouTube video was on the Moonraker Micro CB radio, which is indeed a compact radio, based on an AnyTone chassis as it turned out so has the 10-meter mode and the naughtiness inside, though of course I have no issue putting this set on 10 it does not have SSB capability and being channelised may require a frequency counter to get an idea what channel is associated with which frequency if you want to use it on 10.

The radio came to me with bare ended wires so I fitted a cigarette lighter plug, rated 5A as this is ample for this radio, to be able to plug it in in the car to do tests, the radio seems to do well, and is good when put against a comparable set, which in my case was a PNI Escort HP7120.

When I did the original bench tests on the radio the power levels were reading lower than expected, however later testing showed it was in fact fine.

Both videos are below

73 de M0WNU/26CT730

Friday 30 April 2021

A wee bit of an update

I haven't posted for a while and thought I best do, it's been very busy since the igate went on air, which is working great, however it came around the time I finished 7 months at my last job, about a month of unemployment later I found my way back to pizza delivering and have felt a little more inspired to do a bit more.

So I have started up a podcast and am up to episode 3, in the process of recording episode 4, this is called the Ham Radio & Pizza Podcast, which I discuss amateur and CB radio topics and in most episodes review and taste test a pizza, it makes sense as I am a pizza delivery driver and am partial to pizza, after Covid-19 I hope to expand the podcast a bit to include interviews.

I also have started a Patreon to help towards the running of my YouTube channel and the podcast, as I fund both out of my own money and also any radios I have bought in have all been reviewed using my own money, also it will help towards getting better filming and editing equipment so I can eventually migrate over to 4K filming, I currently use 1080p in my main videos however the short ones filmed on my Oppo A72 phone tend to be in 4K as Open Camera can see the resolutions for the onboard camera without resorting to a hack in the Open Camera options unlike my Samsung Galaxy S8 which only allows 4K from the native camera app.

Also during the time between my last post and this one I have had my first coronavirus vaccine and due my next one in 17 days as of today, the first one did make me feel bad for a few days so I am not looking forward to it and that may result in a slight slowdown in video and podcast output.

With the coronavirus situation in mind, as well as work commitments, I hope to attend the National Hamfest later in the year and also perhaps do a meet and greet with Patreon supporters and also fellow YouTube creators while at the event, of course the state of the pandemic and whether I am able to get holiday for the weekend of the Hamfest remains to be seen, I plan to wait until June before I make a firm decision as that will be when the Hamfest will also be decided.

So if you like my content on YouTube and/or my new podcast you're more than welcome to optionally become an official patron, the link to the Patreon page is here if you would like to do so, you don't have to be a patron, it's completely optional, and all funds from it will go back into the channel and the podcast, whether that is for radios for review or equipment involved in the production of videos for the channel and audio for the podcast.

Don't forget you can subscribe to my YouTube channel and also my podcast is being rolled out across the usual podcasting services so you can also listen and subscribe to that too.

73 de M0WNU/26CT730

Tuesday 16 February 2021

MB7UCG goes live on Thursday

 I am pleased to announce that MB7UCG will be on air from Thursday, Ofcom confirmed today that they received my email so I can run it from that date.

I was of course planning to run a walkabout test with my FT2D however that cannot happen until the following week as I am doing overtime that day, however I can test it using my car, though this will not be filmed as it is on my journey to work and I have not set up a camera that exclusively looks at my FTM-400XDE's display

I look forward to hopefully running a successful igate.

73 de M0WNU

Saturday 13 February 2021

Catterick Garrison APRS igate ready to go

 I have finalised everything for the new Catterick Garrison APRS igate to go live very soon including the NoV, the callsign for the unit is MB7UCG, the setup is located in my kitchen  with the antenna outside on the window ledge on top of a Fray Bentos cheese & onion pie tin, once I have the ok from Ofcom I will be doing some tests however I've not heard anything from Spectrum licencing since they sent the NoV.

I have already put one object onto the igate already and previously placed this on the map using my own callsign and that is the location of the local club, however of course due to COVID-19 we cannot meet physically.

I have remote access to the power supply, as required by Ofcom, to shut the unit down in the event that it is required to do this, and the switch that controls the socket has been clearly labelled, the socket is under the counter with a WiFi controlled socket plugged into it and power to that is switched by a fused spur.

I am reworking the website to hopefully reflect the new igate and when Ofcom clear me to switch it on, I have emailed them but I don't know if they got my emails so I will give them a call Monday morning just to find that out, giving their staff levels will be low due to COVID-19 it might take a while to get a reply.

And there will be YouTube videos coming up on MB7UCG.

73 de M0WNU

Monday 18 January 2021

First post of 2021 (and in a while), some updates, sterile UV5R, and a livestream on Wednesday

 I have not had the time to update this as my work went through its peak period so also that means little in the way of radio.

Firstly the radio camper project is on hold as my spouse has told me I am not to own any product of the Ford Motor Company possibly because of some fire incidents with the Pinto, a US model from around the 70s I believe, so I have to start again from scratch with a vehicle available in the UK that we both agree on, add to that a £300 garage bill for my car in October/November time for a clutch change.

Videos have been coming in short burst and I've started to try and fit in some livestreams where I can, though it's all a learning curve, including trying to keep RF out of the audio chain, I have one coming up on Wednesday.

My latest video has me sterilising a UV5R with a handheld UVC steriliser (which is indeed the real deal) and of course I was very copious with the warnings of the danger of UVC radiation, I am impressed that I managed to find that in a local shop but also worried that people will buy these things and harm themselves due to a lack of understanding of the dangers.

I am still in contract with my current employer for another month at least which is good as I'm putting £10 a week away in my savings (every pay day) to try and save for a 3D printer for both radio and non-radio related projects, watch for that one in the future.

Also hope to get my igate on air under test then unattended NoV in the next few weeks if I can.

That's all for now guys, have a good 2021, hopefully it will be better and rallies will once again be held.

73 de M0WNU