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I started in amateur radio with Baofeng UV-5R for listening in February 2013, took the exam in March and then got licensed April of the same year. I enjoy using a mix of commercial 'big-brand' equipment, novelties from China and a certain amount of homebrew.

I'm currently operating a Yaesu FT-450D through an MFJ-949E to hexbeam / G5RV mini antennas. The hexbeam antenna currently 'down for maintenance' (until I get a much more sturdy mast arrangement - I broke one of the spreaders last time I lashed it up at just 2.5m).

I'm mostly on SSB phone & sometimes PSK31.

I made and fitted a DH8BQA BX-814 'Voice Keyer' kit to save my voice when calling CQ - I'm delighted with it.

QSO's as of 26 April 2014 - mapped on my own Online QSO Mapping Tool. It's free - if you'd like a similar map of your QSO's please have a look.

If you're looking for my notes on using an RM Italy KL-400 on HF, I've moved that stuff to my website.

I use a homebrew, fully-isolated digital modes interface with its own USB interface. It's based on KK7UQ's design, but I use the 1kHz right channel PTT tone detected with my own circuit. Therefore only a USB sound card is needed (no serial interface). Below I've added a picture of the innards of the finished interface. You can see the 'sound card' on the right - about the size of a postage stamp after throwing away the plastics and desoldering the USB connector. The sound interface was about $1.50 direct from China including postage, not really worth making your own! The most 'expensive' parts were the isolation transformers which were about $5 each. The whole thing cost about $30 including cable, case, etc. - and I have a load of extra parts for other projects.

Here's the PTT circuit made with cheap discrete components - I was thinking about using LM567 tone detector chip but it was overkill and I didn't have any in stock:

Antennas: I'm not wildly enthusiastic about the G5RV mini; I don't know whether it's because I have it in inverted 'V', but performance on anything other than 20m is not good - high SWR that in some bands I can't tune out with my manual MFJ tuner and weak signals in general. On 20m it performs just about the same as a simple wire 20m inverted 'V' dipole - which isn't surprising. Although at the 20m PSK31 frequency, 14.070MHz, I can't tune to much better than 2.0:1 when on the KL-400 (wound down to below 30W). All in all, not that great. I bought a second hand he beam that needed a bit of repair and now have that on a provisional 2.5m high support - I will be putting it on a 6m pole with a rotator. However, even at 2.5m, it's already pulling in more DX than the G5RV mini at 6m.

I tried a VK3YE/Par End Fedz 10/20/40 antenna for portable but I can't get SWR better than 2.5:1 on 20m so I need to rebuild using the toroid that VK3YE specified and also pay attention to phase of input and output coils - it may not be a scapper yet.

Homebrew projects underway: a VK3YE-style magnetic loop and the mounting the hexbeam higher and rotatable and a tapped-coil loaded multiband vertical for portable use with a fishing rod.

My lab is equipped with a linear 0-30V, 2A linear supply, a 45A 13.8V switchmode supply, an Owon DS7102V scope (much maligned, about a million times better than no scope at all), a Siglent SG1025 signal generator (excellent although higher frequency range would be nice), some cheapo multimeters, a SARK-100 antenna analyser clone ('Mini-60') which works very well, usual handtools, breadboards, etc. and benchtop bandsaw, lathe + mill.

I received my first ever QSL cards printed by LZ3HI on 3 Sep 2013. Currently I have no bureau - I prefer LoTW but will also QSL direct. Here's the artwork for the QSL cards.


Finally, if you speak Spanish, please have a look on my pages at RadioClub San Javier.

1397217 Last modified: 2014-11-01 15:12:20, 4792 bytes

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