Holiday In 2M Land

We spent last week relaxing at the Galloway Coastline in the south west of Scotland. We had a very enjoyable stay at The Isle of Whithorn just 7yds from the sea. Our accommodation was excellent on the Harbor row, which was only a stone’s throw away from the historic landing place of St Ninian We visited this area for the first time three years ago when we stayed at the Galloway Astronomy Centre and have been revisiting as regular as we can, ever since. The area has lots of historic sites not to mention the stunning views, large empty beaches and plenty of wild life which for us makes up a great holiday. One of our favorite beaches is at Monreith where there is one of Scotlands best kept secerets The Church of Kirkmaiden hidden away but easily found along with St Medana’s Well . The Church of Kirkmaiden St Medana's beach at Kirkmaiden During our many visits to the beach I was able to get some HF Mobiling done with the trusty Yaesu FT-100 on 20m, 40m and 80m with some great cont

Working The Satellite's From The Shack

Over the weekend I worked a few amateur satellites using my Yaesu FT-847 radio and home made IO-10EL Satellite antenna. Satellite & Station worked SO-50 - EA1JM . VO-52 - G0FGX, HB9OAB, G6NQO & SP3GAD . HO-68 - N1AIA & KB1RVT (FM Mode) . AO-51 - LY1R . HO-68 - M0ITF (SSB) . I still prefer working via the SSB transponders rather than the FM birds, however its all extremely good fun with plenty of fellow Satellite ops that are always very friendly and happy to work you. As usual AO-51 was the busiest of the birds with plenty of activity on each pass. I was especially pleased with my QSOs across the pond using FM via HO-68 which is proving to be a fantastic Satellite both on FM and SSB. I cant wait until HO-68 has been fully commissioned and is switched on all of the time. Check out the Oscar Satellite Status to see which Satellites are operational and have been heard recently by fellow Hams and SWLs all over the globe.

TREE Band Antenna

I just got out of my mobile ham shack and noticed that something was different about my dual band antenna? I soon realised it had been modified into a Tree-bander or perhaps a "Twig" (for all of you that can remember the old CB slang for antenna). So here is what happens when you drive down small country lanes with plenty of green scenery everywhere. Luckily no birds nests were harmed in any way and the antenna is still good.

ICOM Competition Win

I am very pleased to have recently found out that I had been chosen as a winner of a competition I had entered after visiting the Icom Web Site . I signed up to Icom's news letter a few months ago and have been enjoying reading the latest news from Icom and entering some of the competitions found on their web site. I didn't expect to be the lucky winner of the last competition prize, which is a well presented logbook & diary packed with lots of useful pages and an Icom pen to fill the pages with Call signs and DXCC. Thanks to Icom for this great prize that I won, I now can begin ticking the boxes of all the many different Pre-fixes I work whilst on the air. I hope to get some of you in my new Log soon!

/ Motor Cycle?

In 1984 I obtained my full motor cycle licence as soon as I turned 17, I had been riding dirt bikes and mopeds since the age of 11 and had developed a mechanical mind early. I have been interested in motor bikes for about the same time as I have radio and I can remember fitting my Honda C-50 out with a Binatone Speedway 40 channel CB and DV-27 antenna back in 1983. These Days I still have four motor cycles that I ride and maintain regularly but since I have been a licensed ham(2004), I have not yet operated amateur radio from any of the four machines. I might try something with the FT-817 on one of my bikes soon, but at present I'm enjoying the ride whilst the warm dry conditions last! For now the Toyota Rav-4 "Mobile DX Machine" & Yeasu FT-100 are both on standby. Right, where's my helmet and gloves........

YAESU FT-470 Battery Modification

I have owned my trusty FT-470 for over 6 years and have worked many DX with it whilst working through the FM Satellites. I’ve used it whilst out and about Mobile as well as lots simplex and repeater use for years with excellent receiving capabilities compared to the more modern Hand held’s. I have been running with AA, NiMH 2.300mAh 1.2V Rechargeable battery’s housed in a Yaesu FBA-10 Battery case, which still works very well with hours of quality operating time. About a year ago I managed to acquire a second FT-470 from a local rally for a bargained down price. The latest FT-470 came with an original FNB-10 - 7.2v 600mAh Ni-Cd Battery pack that held its charge for about 15 minutes whilst receiving and a lot shorter when transmitting. To get around the faded FNB-10, I have been using the latest FT-470 with the PA-6, Dc Car Adapter/Charger, fed with a 12v Motor Cycle Battery and the original FT-470 on the FNB-10 Ni-Cd pack whilst hooked up to the Arrow Sat antenna. I like the performan

Chinese Porn!!!!!

Just a quick post to inform any readers regarding the abundance of Chinese comments that have been appearing here at my Ham Radio blog. They seem to be just another source of spamming in the form of porn enthusiasts rather than radio ops/ engineering fans. Although I am quite open minded and allow all comments good or bad to be seen on my site I've decided to enable the feature that asks to Show word verification when commenting. This should filter out the Chinese Pornsters unless of course they are truly passionate about Ham Radio. For all those interested in Chinese porn, see the previous comments. For those who like myself will get battered by there YL's for going anywhere remotely near those dubious dodgy sites, I apologise for any unsuitable links they may have attached with the seemingly harmless if not slightly puzzling comments left by my new Chinese followers? Have a great weekend, hope to catch some of you on the bands!

10 and 12 Meter Verticals

Whilst having a sort out I came across some old mobile whips that I had stashed away. I found my old 9 foot stainless 1/4 wave 10M whip, a base loaded 10M whip as well as a 6M whip and a 2M whip. After playing around with the various 5/8 threaded antennas I decided to erect one antenna with radials for 10M and a second for 12M by joining two antennas (6M & 2M) together. Here is the 10M whip with radials. Here is the 6M joined with the 2M whip which is perfectly resonant on 12M I have been hearing some nice signals on both bands earlier today whilst using the FT-857 to listen on 12M as the FT-847 was listening on 10M. I will be TXing on both bands soon with more to come on the results of each antenna. The new mono band verticals join the rest of my HF antennas which still comprise of a home made delta loop for 80M, another home made delta loop for 20M, and one I bought which is the Hustler 6BTV.

On The Bright Side

After a week of holidaying at home in the glorious sunshine, our last day was spent watching the much needed rain falling hard up here on the moor top. During our travels I had managed to pick up some replacement 12V Lilliput LES lamps for my "in darkness" favourite old HF radio, the Yaesu FT-767GX. Once I removed the screws I managed to get the iron in and replace a couple of rather short wires that were soldered to the lamp housing close to the meter. The job was tight for space (for a welder) but easy enough once I got stuck in and as you can see from the above picture the meter has two new bright lamps shining once again. I have enjoyed using my regular Satellite radio The FT-847 on the HF bands but I have been missing my old mate the FT-767. Now that I have re-illuminated the good old fashioned mechanical meter, I am looking forward to many more hours of HF fun with the old beast.

Is This Frequency In Use?

The past few days has brought interesting conditions to most of the HF bands. I spent some time checking up and down the bands to find: 50Mhz - SSB Open 29Mhz - FM Open 28Mhz - SSB Open 24MHz - SSB Open 21MHz - SSB Open 18MHz - SSB Open 14MHz - SSB Open Its great to hear plenty of radio activity coming in on the higher portion of the HF bands, its been a while since I struggled to find a clear and empty frequency. Happy DXing have a great weekend!

Live feed from the shack

Over the weekend I was tuning around the HF bands from my shack when I came across quite a few special event stations. I decided to have a go at streaming the received signals live from my shack via the internet using Ustream. I started off with the odd viewer and once I announced my live stream feed on Twitter it wasn’t long before I had a reasonable audience (47 in total). I began streaming the live signals I was receiving on the HF bands which turned out well and allowed other operators to compare my received signals to the signals that they were receiving at their locations. I was pleased to hear that many signals were coming in on my amateur radio equipment very well compared to the sigs received at the viewers end as I was quickly informed by one of Ustream live feed viewers. I was then asked by Twitter pal and software designer Scott “Satscape” Hather to stream some live Satellite operations via Ustream demonstrating how to make qso with amateur satellites. This worked out very

Mobile DX

This morning was excellent propagation whilst driving to work in my Toyota 4X4. There were many VK's coming through very strong with 5/9+ signals all over the 20m band. At around 7.15utc I heard Ian VK3MO calling CQ around 14.178MHz, Ian was 5/9+30db in signal strength. I managed to get back to Melbourne and work Ian for 10 minutes as I drove to work giving him a 5/9 signal back from my FT-100 and Maldol HFC-20 mono band antenna. I love the early morning openings and I am always amazed how well the mobile set up always seems to perform.

NOAA-19 Over N.W Europe

With Iceland's Volcano Eyjafjallajökull causing so much controversy, I decided to track NOOA -19's latest pass with the help from Satscape . I wanted to see if I could spot the Volcanic ash that everyone is hearing about for myself. The equipment I used today was my good old Yaesu FT-2600M and a 137MHz vertical whip. NOAA-19 transmits APT on FM at 137.100 MHz. There are more NOOA Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellite(POES) which transmit images of the Earth and are simple enough to receive and decode. I am still using Radiocom 5.2 to decode the WX images as seen below. Image of UK captured by NOAA-19, Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellite(POES) received at my Amateur Station at 12.38 utc today.

Back From A Long Walk

Dudley says "Sorry I have been absent, I've been playing" The past couple of weeks I have been enjoying Easter break from the College where I work, it has been a fantastic holiday but unfortunately all good things must come to an end, as I will be working again next week. Despite my lack of posts here, I have been fairly active on the bands making lots of impressive DX both from the mobile and QTH. Conditions at times have been very interesting as well as totally flat because of the solar activity. One of the days when the propagation peaked, I was fortunate to be driving back from the East Coast when I made QSO with 9M6TMT - Tom, and HS0ZIN - Paul, both booming in 5/9+ signals. I shall be back to my usual blogging over the next few days as I adjust back to normality but in the meantime have a great weekend and hope to hear you on the bands.

HF Backpacking

Since I tested my latest project the miracle antenna mount, I decided to make another type of portable mount only this time I wanted something to house a mobile whip. I came up with a four legged stand which I made from 6mm thick aluminium as seen in the picture. Once I cut the aluminium, I was able to bend the four legs into the required shape fairly easily using a fly press. I then began to assemble the mobile antenna mount that would allow my vast collection of mobile HF antenna’s to be mounted securely as well as gaining a good RF ground through the mount. The next stage was to add wire radials directly to the aluminum which can be spread out into an X configuration. Once I completed the build I packed the gear into my rucksack and headed outside to climb the Moor top. After around 20 minutes of doggy walking, I found a bell pit where I quickly set up and I tried 20m and 15m out with some interesting results. Louise – M3TLL and or furry companion Dudley were kind enough to once aga