Ham Radio

Monday, April 10, 2017
M0YKS Active OnThe Bands Over The Easter Holidays

M0YKS - Active Throughout Easter:
 Spring is in the air and I am about to start my two week holiday away from College for Easter. I have already worked some nice DX as well as European amateur stations and my radio equipment is working well and is in fine fettle. I tuned the length on my Carolina Windom 80 earlier this afternoon, I shortened the long end by 100 mm and it is now operating at a SWR reading of 1:1 on 40m and 80m. Yesterday I trimmed my hedges and cut the lawn and got the opportunity to tidy up the radials attached to my HUSTLER 6BTV, I made sure they were fully stretched out and I also cleaned the connections at the antenna base. My Cushcraft MA5B is also doing a superb job since I increased its height a couple of months ago, I have been much more successful in getting into distant stations during pileups. Finally regarding the station my FT-1000 is working well on 10 Watts into the KL405 amplifier giving me around 200 - 250 Watts out which seems quite adequate for now. I had a look at some recommended audio settings online for the FT-1000mp and then I accessed the extended menu on the YAESU Transceiver which allowed the adjustments to be carried out quite easily. The results with the HEIL GM5 studio mike inline have been pleasing with a lot of stations remarking on the nice sounding audio coming from my station. One last station upgrade this month that I nearly forgot to mention was a new usb to serial adapter (FTDI Chip Set RS232 BT232 Win 7, & 10 DB9) which connects my windows 10 PC to my RIGblaster Plus solving my recent problem since upgrading computer and windows 10. My old chip set usb serial adapter is not supported by windows 10 pretty much like the majority of amateur radio software that I have previously used and downloaded, but that is something I may blog about in a future post probably called - software for Hams that actually works on windows 10. Anyway on with the holiday and hope to catch some of you on the bands especially over the next two weeks. If any of you want to make a sked I shall try my best to work you, leave a comment or drop an email, G+, or Tweet. Have a lovely Easter!
Best 73 happy DX.

 


Our new Pup Finn is growing and is already very fast as you can see him playing with two other pups and my daughter.

 
posted by Simon Davison @ 12:26 am   0 comments
Sunday, March 12, 2017
M0YKS - 50 Years Young!

I do not quite know how it happened but I have seemed to have clocked up a few miles and have hit a half century already!

Oh well, it must be time to turn the music up loud and party on! And that was how M0YKS spent most of his day celebrating and giving thanks for 50 good years and still not counting.
It seemed a good idea as my girls had bought some some shiny new vinyl for my birthday to play on my old school HI-FI Reggae sound system.


Louise my loving partner got me something that she knew i would like a lot which was a nice neat little linear amplifier which works on 80m through to 10m with 200 Watts AM and 400 Watts SSB

The Amp came without the fan so I fit my own which just happens to light up red. I also wired a 30 degree temperature activating switch in line with the power feed to the fan which would prevent the fan from operating until the amplifier temperature begins to increase.


A close up of the thermostatic switch which rests nicely between the cooling fins of the amplifiers upward facing heat-sink 


The new amp is all set up, my Mum got me a 60 amp PSU to run the correct amperage which was another great present making my birthday one to remember every time I play radio. The amp puts out full power (400 Watts) on 80m and 40m, and around about 350 Watts over the rest of the higher HF bands which is more than enough as I have always operated low power since I began with radio.


Well that about finishes off my 50th birthday, all that's left is to scoff some more chocolate and enjoy the rest of the evening as I try to work out where the years have gone. 73 !


posted by Simon Davison @ 9:55 pm   4 comments
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Ham Radio Antenna's Vs Storm Doris
Ham Radio Antenna's Hold Up Through Storm Doris.

Storm Doris is the latest weather front to hit the UK with wind speeds of up to 90 MPH I have been keeping an eye on my antenna's and shed roof. Storm Doris was loud last night and there was heavy sleet in the early hours with very strong gusts of wind but so far so good on all antenna's shed roofs and not forgetting wheelie bins.


Storm Doris weather affecting a flight coming into Leeds Bradford Airport which about 3 miles away from my home QTH. Picture from the Telegraph, taken by: CHARLOTTE GRAHAM/GUZELIAN

I am off work on half term holiday having a nice time with the family. Elsie my oldest got chicken pox a couple of days before the holidays so we have been taking it easy in doors which has allowed me to be in and out of the shack quite a lot where I have made many nice QSOs on 40m, 20m, 17m and 15m with a new DXCC - Antarctica in the log. The HF bands have been quite good at times throughout the week and I have enjoyed catching up with some good DX conditions as well as some good short skip contacts.  Best 73 and good DX!

 BTW Elsie is almost over chicken pox and is happy enough. I suspect her little sister will be showing signs of getting it in the next few days, better to get these things over and done with as I got it when I was thirty and look what happened to me..CQ CQ CQ & 73!


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posted by Simon Davison @ 10:33 pm   0 comments
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
80M Sked With Fellow Blogger - Bas PE4BAS


This evening was the first time that I made QSO with fellow blogger and radio amateur Bas - PE4BAS. We have been following each others online activities for years and our radio contact was well over due. Bas suggested we try the 80 meter band at 21.45 utc, I checked to see if the frequency was clear and heard a big gun signal telling me to clear off h.i. It was the amateur station of PE4BAS who was coming in very nicely indeed. We moved up the band and managed to sustain a perfect QSO  for almost an hour with 5/9+ 20 to +40 db copies at both ends throughout the entire QSO. Bas was running an 80m Loop which was horizontally polarized with his ICOM and 100 watts out. I was running my FT-1000 MK-V and 100 watts into my Windom antenna. I checked the Hustler 6BTV during the QSO and found that I could hear Bas just as well apart from about 20 db drop in his signal strength with the vertical. All in all it was an excellent radio contact with plenty of information exchanged during some very nice radio propagation.

    The image is the signal received from PE4BAS at my station on Wednesday 15th of February

 I am looking forward to the next time I catch up with PE4BAS. Thanks again Bas and 73 to all!
posted by Simon Davison @ 10:56 pm   1 comments
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Family, Work, Shack, & Sleep!


As another weekend draws to an end I am once again listening out for any interesting signals coming through on my ham radio equipment before bed. Me recent antenna modifications definitely seem to have improved my station both the beam and vertical are working well. My next tweak will be shortening the Carolina windom by 3 inches or so to make it more resonant higher up on the 80m band. That will be easy enough and I might get it done one evening after work weather permitting, currently the windom is showing SWR at 1:1 on 3.6 MHz and reading 1:8 - 2:0 on 3.8 MHz which is where I want to listen for DX. Besides that I am active working random stations near and far in between family life and work. 73 have a good week!
posted by Simon Davison @ 11:23 pm   2 comments
Sunday, February 05, 2017
CUSHCRAFT MA5B - New Ally Mounting Pole


Last weekend I ordered a 50 mm / 2 inch diameter aluminum antenna mast from TLC electrical supplies, at a reasonable price. The tube arrived last Monday which was a very quick delivery, my YL Louise M3TLL knew I would be itching to put it into service so she sent me a message when it arrived at lunch. On the way home I asked my work mate Kyle who is also a neighbor if he was up for lending a hand which was fine by him. I have the Cushcraft 5 band mini beam mounted on a home-brew heavy duty tripod which is held stable with ground rods and large concrete blocks, I previously made a service platform above the tripod which allows the mast, rotator and antenna to be taken up and down reasonably quickly.  With the assistance of Kyle who towers over me at a mighty 6 ft 4 inch of height I knew the changing over of a short 2 ft tube to my new shiny 6 ft tube would be a lot easier than my usual one man struggle. Sure enough the extra pair of hands paid off and the Beam was up, down, switched and back up higher than before by a colossal 4 ft. :-) The new mounting pole is just what I was after as the antenna is now looking over the local roof tops. My QTH is situated on the edge of our estate/neighborhood, half way up a cliff side at 450 feet ASL on a elevated knoll surrounded by moorland and trees with a nice path to North and South America. I am now hoping that the extra few feet will improve the path to Japan and the far East.

Band conditions have been slightly better this week but I have yet to fully test out the stations latest updates to both the MA5B height gain and Hustler 6BTV radial install. However I have been active throughout the week trying my luck with one or two nice DX qso's entered in the log. 73 Have a nice weekend!

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posted by Simon Davison @ 12:12 am   0 comments
Saturday, January 28, 2017
Hustler 6BTV - New Radials

HF radio conditions have been pretty grim on an evening back in the shack lately so I decided to try and optimize my Hustler 6 Band Trap Vertical in the hope that I may get a bit more of a helping hand on the 40 meter band. My new Pup Finn is already showing interest in antennas and is inspecting the new radials for size!


I decided to go with the recommended radial sizes seen below taken from the Hustler 6BTV user manual. I used some 2.5 mm multi-strand PVC coated copper wire which is typically used in electrical installations. With the help of my larger soldering iron I was able to join three radials to two sides of the mount giving a total of six radials which worked out as, two for 40M, two for 20M and two for 10M. I might add some more bands later as the result so far are providing excellent SWR readings less than 1.2 without the ATU. I just need some half decent conditions to get some good DX signal reports down on 40M and I shall post the outcome. In the meantime check out the recommended radial sizes below. Best 73!





posted by Simon Davison @ 5:14 pm   0 comments
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