QRA JO01OX, WAB TM23, Fists #16909 GQRP #15161 DMR-ID 2342670

December 30th, 2014

Been playing with SSTV! There is a program called MMSSTV that is freely available that does all the necessary decoding of the signals for you all you have to do is connect it to the radio via the soundcard. My radio, an icon ic-e208, has a PS2 keyboard socket on the back that provides access to the data signals; all I had to do was connect this to the microphone socket of the pc. Luckily, in my bit box, I found an old PS2 keyboard with the correct plug on the end so connecting the radio to the computer was easy. The source of the sstv pictures in the sstv repeater MB7TV located at clacton and transmits on 144.300mhz. The resulting images are not brilliant but they are images!

December 28th, 2014

I was lucky enough to receive a SOTABEAMS HF VSWR Bridge kit for Christmas. Christmas being Christmas my soldering skills were not up to the job on Christmas Day or Boxing Day so the build was delayed for a couple of days. Before building the kit I printed off and read the instructions, it all seemed to be very straight forward and I foresaw no problems. Opening the kit revealed that all parts were easily identifiable and complete. I followed the instructions to the letter and took photographs at every stage. As you would imagine the most intricate part of the build was winding the coils and cutting the small length of coaxial cable as required. The build took around one and a half hours which included time to make copious cups of tea! I calibrated the bridge using my FT-817ND connected via the bridge into a dummy load. At 5 watts I got a reading of 0.645 volts each way which I’m happy with as I plan to interface the board to an Arduino ADC pin. On the whole I’m very pleased with the device. My only comment would be about the use of a 9 PIN connector. I feel that a simple 3.5mm stereo socket would have been easier as most people have such plugs to hand or possibly just a 3 pin header connection.

December 21st, 2014

Today I built a 20m version of the G4FON Magnetic Loop Antenna using thin antenna wire, an FT50-61 toroid and a recycled 50pf variable capacitor. All the bits were mounted on cardboard to allow for a quick build and to see if it worked. I managed to get 559 from OE3HKA in Austria (just over 1000km / 640 miles away) on 2.5 watts with the antenna hanging from the bookshelf!

December 4th, 2014

Interesting paper seen on that auction site! Correspondence paper from the RSGB. BERU is the "British Empire Radio Union" that was setup in the late 1920s to support radio amateurs in the Empire! I say!

November 24, 2014

Things don’t always go the way you hoped! My plan was to build a copy of the Hendricks SOTA Tuner. I had everything in stock, the core, a poly-varicon and the necessary connectors. I built the prototype on a cardboard former. I though the build went well, the coil was easy to wind and the soldering not too fiddly. The tuner was tested on an MFJ Antenna Analyser and sadly did not provide better than an SWR of 3:1 using a 4.7K resistor.

November 10, 2014

I'd like this on a mug!

November 3rd, 2014

Joined the Royal Navy Amateur Radio Society London (H.M.S. Belfast) Group. One of these days i'm going to go down there and operate.

November 2nd, 2014

Entered my first competition! I'm not going to win but it's the taking part that counts!

October 26th, 2014

I tried putting up the LINEAEFFE telescopic 10m fibreglass pole today. The first problem I hit was me miscalculating the lengths of the supports lines. They actually go up the mast 5 metres and not 4 metres. Consequently I had to length them from 5.64m to 6.4m. Once this was done it went up a dream and was very easy to put up single handed.

The second problem was the weight on the antenna that I tied to the end of it. The last section of the pole is very thin and flexible. As you can see from the image below it is too flexible. Not sure how to resolve this yet?

October 18th/19th, 2014

JOTA Weekend! Spent two days at Hollowtree, the Scout campsite in Ipswich, helping scouts obtain their communication badges. The most exciting contact was with 2SZ on 40m. Peter (G8BLS) organised a very nice HF beam – see below - and a multi band doublet.

The pictures below show a very sun rise - and the HF beam, my Morse operating position for a quick FISTS QSO, and all the 'stuff' goinf back into Peters' car!

October 4th, 2014

I wanted the end of the three lengths of cord holding the pole up to be adjustable. Reaching for the boys bumper book of knots - "The Complete Guide To KNOTS AND KNOT TYING" by Geoffrey Budworth - I chose to try out the "Prusik Knot" that should allow the tension to be adjusted. I'll let you know how it goes!

September 28th, 2014

The next thing I need for the LINEAEFFE telescopic 10m fibreglass pole is some way of holding it up. For this I’ve made a three sided guying ring that will slide down the pole and stop about 4m above the ground. I’ll then have three ropes, one from each corner, going to tent pegs or large weights approximately 4m from the pole. The angle between the guy ropes will be 120 degrees and the ideal distance between any two guy points is approximately 6.92m (calculated as the length of a chord from a circle with the given radius and a given angle. C = 2.R.Sin(theta / 2)). The material used was my favourite – recycled uPVC window-sill board.

The calculations are best described by:

September 25th, 2014

New toy and a new contact!

Starting with the new toy. I'm now the proud owner of a LINEAEFFE telescopic 10m fibreglass pole. These are originally intended to be used for fishing but double up a support for flags and, more importantly, a support for aerials! My plan is to use this to support simple wire antenna when out in the field!

To date I've not really been sure what to expect from the FT-817ND but tonight I was pleasantly surprised. I started calling CQ but got now answers. I was only putting out 1 watt as it was powered by the internal batteries and I was starting to think about an external power supply. Shifting down the band a little I heard LB1KG calling CQ so I replied - Bingo! I was very pleased to be working Norway on 1 watt!

I need to design myself a QSL card next!

September 23rd, 2014

I’ve recently acquired a Yaesu FT-817ND with the intent of using it for portable CW operating. Instead of carrying around a heavy Iambic paddle I chose to build and use the Capacitive Touch Key designed by M0UKD. This, along with the internal keyer, seemed to work quite well. I then built the ZM-2 Antenna Tuner Unit and tried to use them both at the same time – this is when it all went horribly wrong! The FT-817ND has no built in tune mode – you simply have to key the transmitter using a Morse key. This is all very well but if you’re using the internal keyer then you’ll get a series of dits or dahs which is not very helpful when you’re trying to dim the led indicator of the ZM-2. The only option you have is to turn off the internal keyer and touch the dit paddle to get a continuous tone. The problem with that is you need three hands – one for the dit paddle and one for each of the tuning knobs on the ZM-2. Once tuned you then have to turn the internal keyer back on.

All in all this is not very satisfactory. What to do?

September 17th, 2014

Suffolk is a very flat county but where is the highest point?

It turns out that it is Great Wood Hill near the village of Rede. It rolls in at a whopping 128 metres above sea level. It can be seen here. Spot the radio communications tower near by!

September 7th, 2014

Operating /P from my parents garden in Congleton, Cheshire. The antenna is a borrowed turstile, it could have done with being a little more level but conditions did not allow!

The final image shows a SpecJT snapshot taken by G3ZOD showing my CW signal being reflected off aircraft in the vacinity of Manchester airport. The siganls received from G3ZOD were also being echoed.

August 15th, 2014

When you reach 50 this is what to expect - "TOP SECRET THIS OLD RELIC IS HALF A CENTURY OLD". Perhaps I need to get the iron out.

August 5th, 2014

This was the first outing for my new FT-817ND and my first /P operation for many years. I was operating on the sport field at Holbrook Academy while Nathan was playing Badminton. I was very pleased with the FT-817ND, conditions where excellent and there was no noise on any of the bands! I had a Morse QSO with Chris G3XVL and managed to participate in the Tuesday evening Morse lessons. Then the battery died! Note the touch keyer - first time that I've used that too.

August 2nd, 2014

It's official, I'm now a members of the Fists CW Club!

July 28th, 2014

Found in the shed an antenna that I made back in 1982! It's my interpretation of F.C. Judd G2BCX 144Mhz Ring-base. It still works too! Article Page 1 Article Page 2 Article Page 3 Article Page 4 Article Page 5 Article Page 6 Article Page 7

July 27th, 2014

I may not like watching the Commonwealth Games but it's handy that they have a special event station to work! http://www.ga14cg.com/

July 17th, 2014

A new PIC bases Iambic Keyer, designed and coded by G8MXV, built by Moi!

June 10th, 2014

Always good to see your call sign appear in other peoples log books!

April 29th, 2014

This may be old hat but it's new technology to me. Reverse Beacon Network http://www.reversebeacon.net/ can be used to see your own transmissions and visualise how they are being received around the world. From a single CW CQ call it showed my signal was picked up by 5B4AGN in Cyprus http://www.5b4agn.net/No_frames/index.htm.

Quite correctly the Morse was decoded at 15 words per minute!