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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.

Please note: I don't like doing QSL's via qrz.com any more. It used to be painless to QSL via qrz.com, but since I now need to re-enter the QSO information from my usual log system into qrz.com, just to acknowledge the QSO, I really don't like it. If you would like electronic QSL, I'm happy to do so via LoTW.

I'm currently operating a Yaesu FT-450D through an MFJ-949E to an inverted V dipole 20m antenna. My 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.  Also on my website you'll find some details on some other homebrew projects:

I also made an Ultimate3 MEPT beacon thingy which is great fun.  I added a GPS receiver module for correcting the VFO and getting a (very!) good local Zulu time clock. I'm using it on WSPR and FSKCW on 30m. With WSPR reaching VK and ZL (the opposite side of the world from me) with just 150mW from a single plastic TO-92 'power' amplifier and then barefoot to a G5RV mini is just amazing.

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 used a G5RV mini for a long while but I'm back to a simple inverted 'V'.  In short, my impression of the G5RV mini is: cheap, easy to erect in an inverted (shallow) V, needs lots of antenna tuner tweaking and so-so performance on anything other than 20m. I bought a second hand hexbeam 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 antenna projects underway: a Cobwebb multi-band, a VK3YE-style magnetic loop, mounting the hexbeam higher with a rotator and a tapped-coil loaded multiband vertical for portable use with a fishing rod.  The Cobwebb is the most likely one to get finished next. I plan to have it close to the shack and probably not very high, say, around 6m.

My lab is equipped with a fully-hack-upgraded Rigol DP832 programmable, no-name linear 0-30V 2A and switchmode 45A 13.8V power supplies, a Rigol DS1054Z scope (fully-hack-upgraded), 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.

7251978 Last modified: 2016-04-19 08:13:52, 5669 bytes

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