Monday, 15 June 2015

Garbled Ramblings

After setting up my HF station I am enthused with all that mode has to offer. I have made several foreign QSO's and had my share of initial ups and downs.

The X1M QRP rig has worked very well and with limited output I am impressed with the performance. Having acquired a Kenwood TS570D, the realm of HF operation has opened up exponentially. Being able to use the full 50W allowed by my licence has made a big difference and at the same time brought about one major issue. I am using an end fed wire with an un-un and it was mounted with the feed point  underneath the soffit at the home QTH. Whilst blissfully unaware of any issues I was operating a few nights ago and my neighbour came round to tell me that their touch lamps were going on and off with my transmissions. Gutted, I immediately ceased transmitting and became somewhat dejected. After consulting with my radio friends I formulated a plan to eradicate this EMC issue. One option I read about was to fit resistors in the lamps - out of the question. So, I moved the feedpoint 10 metres away from the house and ran the radiating element down the garden, also away from the house. I wound about 5 turns of coax into a choke at the feedpoint and then called on the neighbour to do a test transmission. Using 50W I carried out a few test transmissions on 40M and, hey presto, the problem was solved.

The lesson learned? End fed antennas that use the coax braid as a ground are susceptible to EMC issues unless precautions are taken. I intend to replace the aerial with an OCFD at some point and get it mounted a bit higher up. Performance was also increased by the addition of a counterpoise so now, for the moment, all is well and I have a functioning station.

Using Ham Radio Deluxe is a treat. Controlling the radio from the laptop is a cinch and logging via the program is also simple. I want to set to grips with data modes. I have downloaded FLdigi and a couple of other programs to try and to see which one suits me best. I already have a ZLP Minipro data interface and a suitable cable for the Kenwood so data and SSTV are within my grasp.

Better news for our local repeater, GB3GR, as the repeater keeper has installed better aerials and a cavity filter, along with a preamplifier. Access is greatly improved and with a link to the Allstar UK Hub, international communications are possible.

I am always astounded at the level of friendliness, helpfulness and understanding among the Amateur Radio community and especially those who have given me both advice and assistance - a heartfelt thanks to all of them.

Right, I'm going to sign for now, so

73 de 2E0ENN

Sunday, 7 June 2015

More HF Ramblings.

I'm beginning to think that HF radios are a bit like buses. You wait for ages for one then two come at the same time 😀

A friend of mine told me he wanted to sell his Kenwood TS570 and would I like it? At the time I just didn't have the asking price as car insurance had eaten into my radio fund. Fast forward to this weekend and I obtained two Clark push-up masts, complete with all guying equipment. These masts are superb (the military use them) and, although used, they were in good condition with no bits missing. I mentioned them to my friend and suggested a deal on his radio. He was somewhat unsure if he really wanted the masts but we struck a deal once he had a chance to inspect them. So, I now have a superb condition TS570. My plan is to keep the little QRP radio and buy an Ampro mono band vertical for mobile use, then go out and about.

The picture shows the Platinum X1M with MFJ902 ATU and SWR/PWR meter on the left. In the middle is the TS570 with the Standard C5800 atop. To the right, suspended beneath the shelf, is my trusty old friend the Icom IC-E208. The Magitenna works quite well but I'm looking into the idea of an OCFD, as my friend has suggested extending the long leg down the garden and the shorter leg to go over the roof of the house (just maybe the XYL will be OK with that) - thereby looking less obvious. We will have to see what comes of that idea, but I'm in no immediate hurry.

Spent a couple of hours at the Spalding and District Amateur Radio Society Rally in Spalding. Lovely weather and was good to put faces to names. A nice bacon roll and mug of tea went down well and the weather was brilliant, as I said. I now have burnt arms but it was worth it.

73 for now.....