Ham Radio

Saturday, November 30, 2013
Homebrew Microphone Mast

I can't quite remember just how many years I have been planning on replacing my prototype microphone mast/stand,  yesterday I finally made myself a shiny new one!

I engineered my latest home brew microphone stand to house my HEiL GM-5 studio mic at the perfect height for my operations. The early design was made from 6mm round bar making it heavy so this time I opted for some 3mm TIG welding wire making the new mast very light. I cut my wire to the required lengths during the assembly, which I carried out with the TIG Tungsten Inert Gas welding process.
Once completed, I gave it a coat of aluminum aerosol paint and left it to dry overnight.

This afternoon my daughter/apprentice and I began to assemble the microphone head mount and PTT switch to the new mast which also involved getting the soldering iron out (-: more fun :-). We checked the soldered joints with the multimeter which was the best thing ever for my new tech especially when I found an old electrical switch to hook up to the meter for her to play around with.

Whilst designing the latest microphone mast I included a fixing point for a push button PTT switch to be mounted. It worked out well allowing the switch to fit neatly on the side of the mast nicely secured with fused welded TIG joints seen below. 

Not the clearest picture but if you look carefully I included a Call Sign plate which rightfully is stamped up as 2e0HTS

After a final inspection by my up and coming Ham Girl not forgetting the vigorous azimuth rotation and elevation checks to the microphone mount. I received the go ahead to hook up the new homebrew microphone mast to my trusty Yaesu FT-1000MP MK-V.

All thats left to do now is have some fun making some QSO's on the bands with my new mast in my hand or at my side. 73 enjoy your weekend.


posted by Simon Davison @ 8:54 pm   2 comments
Monday, November 25, 2013
AO-73 Loud & Clear Into IO93CU
I have just made my first FUNcube QSO at 11.05 utc using my FT-847 and Satellite array. I thought I would see how well I could receive the very recently launched Cubesat and to my pleasent surprise I could hear lots of activity via the SSB/CW transponder of FUNcube AO-73. I found it very easy to get into the tiny orbiting funcube at around 15° and had a good first contact with Walt - ON5NY who is a regular for me via all of the satellites I work. Walt was a nice strong 5/9. 
As I made my first QSO via FUNcube (AO-73) the satellites pass peaked up to 20° elevation and as I lost the pass I heard CW signals down to around 5° elevation at around 330° azimuth, then I lost reception. Not bad for my first go!


FUNcube (AO-73) Operating Frequencies.

 145.935 MHz BPSK Telemetry 300 mW or 30 mW when the transponder has been activated
 Inverting SSB/CW transponder 300 mW PEP
 435.150 – 435.130 MHz Uplink LSB
 145.950 – 145.970 MHz Downlink USB
posted by Simon Davison @ 11:36 pm   0 comments
Friday, November 22, 2013
HF Mobile Is The Best Way To Travel
.

I parked my motorcycle up a couple of weeks back due to the wet and slippery dark mornings and nights during my daily commute to the works QTH. This is the time to enjoy the comforts of four wheels and the added bonus of my mobile HF station the Yaesu FT-857 mobile transceiver, Maldol and Hustler mono band antenna's.

Over the past few weeks I have made lots of great QSOs /M and heard plenty of VKs, ZLs as well as many other DX stations on the morning run in to work with signals often over the 5/9 mark. The return evening journey has not been quite as good but I still hear activity and  have made a few nice contacts usually in and around Europe.
For the best results I have been operating mobile mainly on two of the HF bands - 15m and 20m. Its been great fun as usual playing radio /mobile with my little FT-857 and with a quick change over I can experiment with my various mobile HF mono band antenna's.
40m is also very good for mobile operation and I have worked some fantastic DX from my earlier HF mobile stations.
I still get the same buzz if not a bigger one hearing the signals flood in to my latest mobile set up. It sure is surprising how well you can get out from a simple mobile setup with a good instal and 50 watts, if you are thinking about it you should do it. Its the best way to travel and hear the rare DX.

73 have a good weekend.
posted by Simon Davison @ 10:48 pm   0 comments
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Solar Max - Good DX Opportunities?


As we reach the midpoint of Cycle 24 we may experience disturbed or "wide open" band conditions when operating our Ham radio stations. This is due to the effect on the Earth's ionospheric layers being battered by lots of flowing electrons more commonly known as solar flares. The sun's magnetic field has been reversing over the last few months and will shortly experience a complete flip of polarity. This event now known as "solar max" happens every 11 years and like our treasured DX delivering solar cycles is subject to random peaks of activity (solar super storms). The last super storm happened back in 1989 resulting in a massive geomagnetic storm caused by a coronal mass ejection during solar max.
Solar max is a term used by scientists to describe the sun's 11-year cycle. During "Solar max" our sun's magnetic field reverses polarity, typically spawning sunspots, flares, auroras and geomagnetic storms. When Solar max takes place, fields are produced which are large enough to disrupt satellites, effect the HF bands and fry power grids on Earth.

 I found the video below very interesting lets hope we experience some great DX conditions over the next few months! 73..

 
posted by Simon Davison @ 10:14 pm   0 comments
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