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G8PYT England flag England

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Early days

I've been interested in radio one way or another since I was about 7 (a long time ago!). I think it all started when I was bought a Triang Trionics kit for Christmas. This comprised a number of then state-of-the-art components; transistors, resistors, capacitors and inductors; all mounted in colour-coded plastic 'blocks' with pins that plugged into breadboard-style Paxolin boards in order to build a few different designs of receiver, from the classic crystal set upwards ending with a regenerative superhet. It was radio by numbers really but was a good basic education nevertheless. I was hooked from then onwards and my first soldering iron was purchased very soon after.


Radio for a living

A childhood of tinkering with electronics naturally led to a career in the same and my first job found me working for a local firm who basically would take on anything that involved electrons flowing one way and holes the other. My boss there was an ex RAF WT Operator (although not a ham) who could send and receive Morse Code at ridiculous speeds, something sadly I never really mastered despite his best efforts, however he did lend me an HF receiver and my interest took a quantum leap to the next level.

VHF/UHF came next by virtue of a contract to fit early 1970's Pye equipment into transportable cases for use by local government-sponsored users, thus came my first exposure to the world of emergency services radio, something that has drifted across my career-path several times, culminating in it becoming the main-stay of my employment in the mid-1990's and remaining so ever since.


Amateur Radio

I got my licence in 1978 and have kept the hobby going one way or another since then although there have been long-ish periods of relative inactivity mainly due to work commitments. I do own a few 'black boxes' but my main interest is converting ex-commercial equipment and that is mainly what I operate on 4m, 2m and 70cm which are the bands I'm most active on.

The home station in Stourbridge currently utilises Pye/Philips FX5000's on 4m and 2m and Tait T800 on 70cm, all rack-mounted ex-commercial base stations. Unfortunately my QTH isn't ideal for radio as the take-off is quite poor in most directions so I only really achieve local coverage from there. Due to this I also operate a Remote Station which is near to Junction 2 of the M5 Motorway. It's only a few miles from home but is much higher up and gives good coverage in most directions. The station there comprises Tait T800 base station equipment for 2m and 70cm and is fully remote-controllable in every sense. The antenna is a dual-band collinear giving me an ERP of about 80 Watts on either band. There are plans to add 4m and a couple of scanners.

I'm usually monitoring 4m, 2m and 70cm FM calling channels if I'm at home.

I also occasionally operate on 2m Amplitude Modulation using Park Air Electronics 5000 Series equipment previously used by the emergency services.


ComNet V-ICCS (Virtual Integrated Communications Control System)

I have designed a system which allows multiple operators access to a virtually unlimited number of physical radios and radio networks which can be located anywhere there is a Broadband Internet connection.

Each operator may monitor up to 25 radios and/or networks concurrently with full control of any radio (Frequency/Channel, Mode, Bandwidth, etc.) being available at the touch of a button where appropriate.

The operator graphical user interface (GUI) is designed for either conventional keyboard and mouse and/or touchscreen operation. This presents a common unified set of controls rather than trying to emulate specific radio front panels.

Operator's audio is presented via a binuaral headset plus optional loudspeakers and/or desk/fist mic.

With RAYNET and similar organisations in mind, radios may be interconnected to provide cross-band and same-band talkthrough facilities where licencing permits.

It is a constantly evolving system, the latest additions being gateways for D-Star reflector direct access, access to the AllStarLink system and to the Yaesu Wires-X system. I am currently developing over-the-air access to the DMR world via remote controllable fixed-mobiles.

 

Other interests

Outside radio, I have an interest in old boats, particularly the handful of surviving WW2 Royal Navy Coastal Forces Fairmile B Motor Launches (only 7 or 8 left in the world - 4 in the UK) and have been actively involved with a campaign to encourage their preservation.

73, Steve.

7731433 Last modified: 2016-12-01 12:35:16, 4893 bytes

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