Sunday, 27 May 2007


ok, were in business!

after a couple of hours of sheer terror up Micks rickety ladders, and 20mins or so explaining to my little boy what i was doing whilst wedged in a tree, the G5RV is up. Ive had to use the coax that was feeding 2m, so im now QRT on 2. But the MFJ tuner and the Alinco DX-70TH, G5RV combo is working fine, already getting me several special events and IOTAs in the log. Im still calibrating the G5RVs tuner settings, and this ive only completed on 80m, 40m and 20m, so these are the bands im active on. Conditions on 80m are abysmal, the QRN is very strong, so 20m is prefered.

It doesnt help, whilst trying to work a special call (in this case GB100TT) to have more than the usual number of lids who insist on tuning up on the frequency (like a 3kHz QSY is really going to affect the SWR!) or those who insist on calling the station even though they are already in QSO. Its not difficult to tell when a station is in QSO or when ready for a call, if the last thing from them wasnt QRZ or CQ, then DONT call!!! Its just pure ignorance, and spoils it for those without 3el triband beams on 100ft towers and who cant run a 1kW amp. I at least can command 100W, but i do feel sorry for QRPers trying to work against such ungentlemanly conduct.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Wood, Sweat & Tears

The shack move is coming along nicely. This is how it looked in the spare bedroom

quite a shambles as you can see. Being that close to the computer wasnt good for my signal to noise ratio, and even a mild 10W on HF would knock the ADSL modem off-line.
And this is where im moving to -

There was a tall narrow cupboard in the corner, but thats now providing material for me to build a custom desk with

the main desktop is 24" deep, enough for equipment and writing space, so long as theres nothing jutting out the back. To accomodate wiring etc, the desk is mounted forward from the wall with a 2" gap. The same gap is to be maintained for the shelf above the desk (the VHF/UHF shelf). Eventually, the whole of the under side will be shelved (again with a cable gap), and a cupboard door fitted, apart from a 9" space next to the wall. This will be open and will house the high current PSU and battery chargers.
For now the shack is temporarily squashed up even more-

My new logbook, and the G5RV have arrived. Im now working on getting hold of a couple of scaffold poles for use as masts for the yagis for 6m and 2m.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Shack Movin'

At present, the shack is one half of the spare bedroom. It is also a computer room, and an office. This is not ideal, and if we decide to have another child, then it will become a nursury, and i would be forced to vacate.

So, thinking ahead, ive decided to relocate the shack to the downstairs backroom. When i think about it, this makes perfect sense -

It shortens all the feeder runs considerably (except for the cable to the WX sat crossed dipoles);
It drastically shortens the ground connection;
It puts me, when operating at night, diametrically as far from the missus as possible, so i wont disturb her sleep;
It means that i can use the radios and still be near my family in the front room;
It also means i can customise the shack furniture

It involves some quite serious woodwork, and rearranging the room, but i can make it neat and tidy.

On more directly radio related notes, Ive got a G5RV on order, which should be more effective than the random wire, and a logbook is on its way. Ive also secured an exchange of FT-290s, giving me a unit with a MuTek front end (and working backlight!). This and the 30W linear are going to be mounted on a wooden carrier, so i can rapidly move them for mobile or portable use, as well as base. Im also in the process of ordering the aluminium stock to build a 3 elelment 50MHz yagi.