I passed Intermediate license level mid-2013 and have since been operating from my QTH on the south east coast of England a bit more and experimenting with a variety of homebrew antennas including a 70cm and 2m Moxon, 1/4 wave and 5/8 wave 2m ground planes plus a selection of dipoles with fairly good results.
Currently running a 70cm shorty ZL special for 70cm on the local repeater (GB3HE) and a 66ft end fed G-Whip Widebander end-fed for HF work where I will usually be operating various digital modes on 20m/30m/15m/10m plus SSB. I just can't get enough of wire antennas and will be trying a couple more designs very soon. John Hey's (G3BDQ), a club member who has RSGB publications including "Practical Wire Antennas", never ceases to inspire with his articles and has me champing at the bit to reel off more wire than the garden will take.
73, de Steve.
Having spent the evening moving my radio gear out into the conservatory ready for the darker months which are now starting to creep in I finished off the evening reading up on my current Advanced course subject and spent some time practicing Morse using an online application which so far has helped me up to a whole 6wpm (yes, I won't be breaking any speed records just yet!). Jakey, G3JKY who is an avid Morse fan very kindly donated some Morse tapes to help me practice, and have already been put to work. On occasion I am finding that the code makes a musical sense, and that feeling suddenly dissapears not to be seen again for some time. I just need to keep up the practice! I should also mention Richard G1ILN who also gave me some useful confidence building advice some weeks ago and hope to make contact with both of them on CW in the near future .. and anyone who doesn't mind slow Morse of course!
I spent some time trawling my logs and spent a little time putting all my eQSL cards which other amateurs have kindly during the earlier part of the year when I took my first good stab at working on HF. In number, the QSL cards look quite colourful and you can find the collection of them (and maybe your QSL card!) on my Amateur Radio FlickR account if you care to look.
With my HF rig set up again ready for use I am going to reach out as best I can with my station and see if I can get out as far as Canada/USA with some adjustments to my end-fed antenna which currently needs a bit more elevation to get over there but we will see!
Update: 18th August, 2014.
With my Advanced licence training being well underway now with the Bath Advanced Distance Learning course led by Steve Hartley G0FUW, has meant my head has been buried in training materials and revision in what little spare time I have had over the last couple of months but I have spent some time researching some interesting audio topics alongside the coursework.
As I have always been a keen fan of most things audio I spent some time educating myself on acoustic resonance which runs alongside the principles of resonance found in electronic circuits.
The Kundst Tube video demonstrates standing waves in pipes very well, the harmonic frequencies of which fall in line with the length of the tube in question and whether the tube is open or closed. Interestingly after some experimentation I found that a the main 8 inch waste water pipe as used in most domestic plumbing applications is around 20-22 feet long when run from a first floor (with an ambient temp. circa 20c), which produces a sub audible resonant fundamental frequency at 25hz, with harmonics on 50hz, 75hz, 100hz and 125hz. After some testing using an inexpensive subwoofer speaker found that strange additional artifacts are caused which sound very much like whistling, chirruping and other unusual sounds, some of which are quite unpleasant to listen to, which vary according to the frequency applied. The video above demonstrates this in places and makes for a good primer in understanding acoustic resonance. The following video showcases acoustic levitation and standing wave manipulation is well worth a look too, it certainly helped to connect the dots, haha!
One other interesting point is that if one so chooses, the position in the pipe where the standing waves are caused can be controlled by frequency alone, so co-resonating an object on the first floor using an pre-selected frequency can be achieved from the ground floor with some practice.
In other news, I laid in a new counterpoise for my 66ft end fed which was dug into an 8 inch deep trough with the radiator raised to about 12 feet at the end of the garden so I am now set for operating on HF again and put my TenTec to work alongside the FT-450D which has turned out to be a great rig to start out with. I have also started to get more comfortable with Morse and have been practicing up to about 7-8 wpm though still needs a lot of work but practice makes perfect.
Until next time, good DX and 73!
Update: 28th June, 2014.
The last few months have been very busy having attended two RAYNET local emergency comms support events in Hastings and Eastbourne and set about developing new web sites to assist my local clubs and radio organisations to work better on the web and attended several meets at the local radio clubs one of which was particularly interesting recently, a talk about WW2 Royal Signal Wireless Operators given by Mike Hedges (G0JHK).
I've been playing with Morse code at home for a while using various tutoring programs to help me get to grips with what still is very hard work for me. Fortunately the Hastings Electronics and Radio club are in the process of starting a Morse code learning 'school' designed to assist new Morser's like myself into CW. It is a daunting prospect. With so many experienced CW'ers around me in both HERC and BSARS, the ex-signalmen tap away at baud-rate like speeds which I simply cannot keep up with at the moment. Since I purchased my first 'scout' type straight key, a tiny wooden based unit which put too much pressure on the finger joints to use well am now seeking something a bit larger, possibly an ex-British Navy Morse key if I can find one that is still in good workable condition.
The recent HERC annual BBQ field day took place at Fairlight, its usual venue, where club members operated on HF and VHF for the whole day into the evening.
The day went well from what I have heard so far and in the morning when I was present several younger local amateurs were present (much like myself!) who were toting their rigs and quite game for an afternoon of operating. The Wx held up and it was fine and plenty of operating was done. Rob and Phil did very well and it was also good to see Wilf there too, and according to inside sources (sauces?) the BBQ was rather good too. Isn't BBQ *always* good!?
My good friend Rob (M0LYD) brought along his self-built ILER-40m radio to the BBQ field day as well as home made DDS to widen the frequency range and from what I heard it was working very well for him. Rob also entered his ILER-40 transceiver into the recent HERC Construction Evening and came in first place, quite unsuprisingly as the build was excellent. Robs effort has inspired me since to get more involved with construction myself.
My first radio project was a small mint-tin cased 40m QRP TX and looking back at when I built the little rig originally know that the project was far too small to work with for a first time project as much as I enjoyed building it. The next one will certainly be a bit more user-friendly to construct and could be a VLF receiver which has tempted me for some time as well as a 40m TX for outdoor opping. At this point in time the thought of travelling around with my FT-450D and using it for field use is just a bridge too far so a small self-constructed rig seems like the most sensible way to go.
A few days ago while at the Brede Steam Amateur Radio society shack the other day, Dan (M0HOW) a good friend of mine kindly donated a 3 EL tape beam for 2m for me to try out for RDF and simplex/repeater use to see if I can find my way into the local 2m repeater (GB3ES) which has proved to be elusive due to my QTH's geographic position which sits down in a built up area in a dip, with the repeater being situated low on the other side of a reasonably tall hill. There is talk of GB3ES moving to a suitably elevated in the near future but 6 months have passed and nothing has happened or any communication to do with it which is a shame. This hasn't impacted the popularity of GB3HE infact quite the reverse. Dave Williams and his repeater group RILGES recently aquired the NoV to GB3HE, upgraded the hardware significantly and installed it an excellent site at one of the most elevated positions in Hastings. Despite the fact that it is currently is operating on low power its range is very good indeed and is fast becoming a popular place to monitor and use.
There is a lot more planned this year for both the Hastings Electronics and Radio Club and the Brede Steam Amateur Radio Society including special events. The Lighthouses and Lifeboats on the Air is always a good one and now is just a few short months away. If it is anything like last year, it will be a real corker.
Having used a homebrew 66ft longwire and counterpoise for a few weeks and getting fairly average results I picked up a G Whip Widebander 9:1 UnUn and 66ft kevlar radiator with 60ft counterpoise and have since made very good progress on 20m and 10m. The FT450D tunes the antenna easily on most bands with a low SWR and has made working datamode contacts a breeze using HRD's DRM 780. The next step is to elevate the antenna further from 2.5m to around 4m-7m in a sloped configuration.giving some push towards the South. Some experimentation is required to make the most of the Widebander and although I have yet to try it in the field believe that one is a keeper being bulletproof in most respects and easy to rig up and take down in just a few minutes.
Pictured below are the internals of the Widebanders 9:1 UnUn buried in resin and insulated with PTFE, the UnUn really is a fine performer. Long live the wire antenna!
73, and good DX! de Steve.
Hastings Electronics and Radio Club
If you are interested in my home radio club, then visit HERC () where the clubs commitee members maintain the monthly events, contributions and news. I am also the clubs webmaster and have a position on the committee and have recently attended (June 2013), the clubs annual BBQ field day at Fairlight where the members operated from a very pleasant location close to the South Coast in Hastings, East Sussex, England.
Brede Steam Amateur Radio Society
I joined BSARS in June 2013, a club which has it's own shack located behind the First Brede Scouts facility in Brede which is just a few miles north-east of the Hastings Electronics and Radio Club.
BSARS operates at the shack almost every Tuesday, where members are able to visit, socialise and enjoy the use of the clubs equipment including a 160m Carolina Windom and a tri-band beam on a 40ft mast as well as VHF and UHF using the clubs TS-2000 and other rigs for data modes/CW.
The club often operates special events including the Armed Forces Day at Alexander Park in Hastings, and Lighthouses on the Air among others. They are *always* enjoyable days out with the ops often making some very interesting QSO's along the way. You can visit the Brede Steam Amateur Radio Society's website and find out more about the club, it's events and of course the members.
I have been working on a personal AR website which is almost complete and can be visited at Amateur Radio Ham if you would like to stop by and have a look.
Some of my affiliations.
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