Saturday, 27 December 2014

Post Christmas Ramblings.......

Well, festivities continue at the Home QTH. After a shoulder operation on Christmas Eve, the XYL is still in a bit of pain but functioning, we spent Christmas Day eating and eating a bit more, inbetween bouts of eating, with a modicum of drinking thrown in for good measure.

Santa didn't bring me anything radio related but i did receive plenty of socks, soaps and deodorant - were people trying to tell me that I smell?? One of my gifts was an electronics toolkit with everything needed for those winter projects.

Reading for my Intermediate exam has hit a bit of a hiatus as I'm currently nursing my XYL, serious reading will recommence imminently. I think I should be ok but I don't want to count my chickens so will be burying my head in the book during my quiet moments.

Last night's snow proved eventful with my mast - snow gathered on the guy lines, making them wet and heavy, resulting in an alarming lean of 35 degrees off vertical. I was dancing with the mast at 11 pm and have today re-located the mast and tightened the guy ropes. Note to self - check the guy lines regularly to stop it happening again!

Listening in on the repeaters this morning, there appears to be a slight lift on as there have been some stations accessing GB3LM from as far away as Derbyshire. Yet to come across anybody on Simplex - I suppose it's still early and Christmas activities are probably still in action. I have noticed that the usual mob of mic-keyers are out in force - I do wish they'd say that they're just checking or testing, instead of just opening up the repeaters.

At the moment I'm sat in the shack/kitchen with my radio on, contemplating whether or not to have a wee drinkie - I don't think my services will be required as driver today so just might have a little snifter.

May I wish a Happy and Prosperous 2015 to everybody and may the coming year be filled with nothing but good.If the New Year is anything like the previous one, I for one am looking forward to a productive and harmonious one..

73's to all and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Even more rambilngs

After months of waiting I have finally persuaded the Station Manager (She who must be placated) that a dual band collinear is not the eyesore she perceived it to be.

I have acquired an ex - military hf antenna which came with a very handy 8 metre mast. Last week I erected the mast and placed a Sharmans X-50 Collinear atop. Using a massive run of 30 metres of coax, I connected up my little cheap, cheerful and Chinese Leixen VV-898 and was finally properly on air. Having made a few QSO's I set off for my Radio Clubs Christmas buffet. I returned later to find the mast still standing and played radio for a while.

A week on and the mast is still vertical and the antenna is still in place. The mast is great and will form the mounting position for my mil-spec doublet once I have saved my cash and bought an HF set. I really like the Kenwood 480 sat but I will probably opt for a Yaesu FT-857.

The shack 2m/70cm radio is an Icom IC-E208 and is a huge improvement on the Leixen, which is now in the car. Finding a suitable PSU for the Icom was easy - 15a required and my existing one was only 3a (plenty for the Leixen) Amazon coming up with a reasonably priced 15a 200w unit.

So there you have it, no longer mobile only. Must remember not to neglect my domestic duties..........

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Continued Ramblings......

Having ranted recently about the cheap Chinese equipment available I have still bought yet another Leixen radio. This time it's the VV-808 UHF version, to go with the VV-808 VHF set that I bought several months ago. This joins the Leixen VV-898 dual bander that I also bought some months ago.

My collection of Baofeng and Wouxun handheld radios increases almost daily. I now possess :

1× Baofeng UV-3R
2× Baofeng UV-5R
1× Baofeng UV-5S
1× Baofeng UV-82
1× Baofeng GT-3
1× Wouxun KG-699 4m
1× Wouxun KG-689 VHF
1× Midland CT-410 UHF

That is the current list of Chinese stuff, add to that my Icom IC-208, Yaesu FT-60 and Alinco DJ-V57 and you could say I have UHF and VHF covered!

The next thing for my attention is a decent collinear for V/UHF then it's on to the HF stuff.

I'm studying for my Intermediate exam at the moment so once I  have that under my belt it's a Yaesu FT-857 with a good quality wire antenna from Nigel, M0CVO,  and all the accoutrements involved with HF (ATU,  etc.).

I shudder to think how much more I'm going to spend on this hobby - probably a small fortune, but hey, there's always something to add to the list. Santa,  if you're reading this that Yaesu would be nice..........

Monday, 17 November 2014

Musings of a Radio Enthusiast

Well, having been licenced as a Foundation Level Radio Amateur for about seven months, I have a few observations to note about the hobby.

First, it's a fascinating hobby, highly addictive and consuming - perfect for the inner Geek. There are many facets to the hobby and some are of interest to most and some have no interest for many, but they are all relevant to somebody and those who pursue certain aspects of the hobby certainly enjoy them. I personally (at the moment) have no interest in data modes, although I may pursue this in the future. I also have no interest in competitions, again maybe for the future. At the moment I'm just keen to get something working where I can actually talk to other people,  this being an achievement in itself.

I notice that VHF and UHF are not used much at all, except for repeater use, and I feel that this is something of a shame as it's great experience to make it work well. It would seem that the emphasis is on HF which has its merits but it isn't the only mode. I can't afford an HF set up at present - having spent a small fortune on VHF and UHF equipment. That isn't to say that I don't crave HF capability as I do (very much).

There seems to be something of a "holier than thou" attitude when it comes to newbies. A lot of the M0 and G operators look down upon the lowly M3 and M6 guys and take every opportunity to "put them right". Whilst this in most cases is helpful we are somehow expected to revere them and stand in awe of their superiority. I have passed an exam and have displayed competency to operate and am currently studying for my Intermediate Certificate. I'm a 48 year old, fairly intelligent individual and I certainly don't appreciate being looked down upon. Just because my shack is not possessed of 14 laptops, SDR radios for man and boy and an array of antennas to put Jodrell Bank to shame it doesn't follow that I am any less enthusiastic - it merely displays that I'm operating on a budget and simply don't have the disposable cash to splash on expensive equipment (yet).

Having said all that,  I do find that members of Radio Clubs are very helpful when discussing problems and amongst the gentlemen that attend my club I cannot say that there is a superiority attitude. It seems to manifest itself when on air in the main. Brief QSO's when they realise that you're only pushing 5 Watts,  or that you're mobile.