Helicopters and more


Pretty flat conditions yesterday for the 6M competition but it gave me a chance to try the steeper on 6m. And it works.

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Go Box Update

Now the 991 has arrived i have started to revamp the go box so that io can slot it in when i need to for mobile ops


Despite every thing that i have tried I still cannot get the BHI noise cancelling speaker not to feed back RF audio so have decided to junk it as far as the go box goes
I will have the radiosport headset from the 5000 that works with it


I have been able to dispense with the CAT controller as the 991 has direct CAT built in to it. in its place will be the Spid rotator controller for the mobile mast that will have the rotator at the base.


Reel in those cables

Found these on Ebay for £8. Great for rolling your co ax on


Burnham Beeches RC 144mhz UKAC

BBRC Soar to 39th after the April 2015 results are announced for the UKAC.

With the highest placing yet of 55th for G8AJM/P

We are on a roll….possibly

Join in if you can

New Lights

Found some leftover LED light strip in the garage and it makes for a much better atmosphere than the fluorescents.

No noise from the transformer but maybe when I stick a dimmer in it will cause some problems. We shall see


Had some fun after getting back from work last night and worked 58 into western Australia and managed to crack the pile up with J52HF in Guinea-Bissau working split.

911 Update

I have had a reasonable play with the 991 but the real test will come with the UKAC where it will get used in earnest.

If you are familiar with the Yaesu menu structures then this radio will immediately seem familiar. There are essential two menu structures. One that you scroll through pages of buttons on the touch screen which has things like the RF power mic gain etc. Basically all the things that you use frequently. Tis is accessed by the F button. Then there is the traditional menu structure by numbers where you find the set and forget type items like vox gain and equalisation.

I have it set up with the stealth inverted 40/80m dipole and the receiver is sharp and there are the same filters that you find in the rest of the range , but out of the box it is pretty handy.

You have split functions with a quick split and then using the clarifier to adjust the vfo B frequency for chasing this split Dxpeditions.

Station Update

The Shack has been tidied up and the 991 all plugged in. I have to say I am very impressed with it. The receiver quality is pretty good. Not as good as the KX3 but then nothing is IMHO.


I have treated myself to a new white board (Ebay seconds = cheap) and a nice map of the world from Stanfords. I am making some magnetic map pins up with bulk buy magnets and supergluing crystals used for reply playing games on top.

The StepIR still amazes. I is quite happy working 59 into the east coast of the States whilst parked. Even with the poor conditions yesterday I go a first into Guatemala with the mast down as I was too chicken to put it up in the wind!


Off to the rally this morning. Another first for me. I haven’t been to any yet. I shall let you know how it goes.

Heat Shrink wire markers

Great for re wiring at some time in the future


From good old EbaY

Cable trunking

Here are some picures of the galvanised trunking that take the cables around the workshop to the mast



and here is the box to stop the mice coming in


It's Up

Dem tree fellas came round today and gave the ash trees a short back and sides so the mast could finally be raised to test the Stepir.


isn’t she a beauty.

The antenna can be tuned for each band and all were pretty much spot on and the only high SWR was on 6M.

To say it is chalk and cheese with the vertical is an understatement. But thats what you expect with this much technology. So how did it perform. Well I had a couple of hours on the 5000 and had qso’s with, Japan, South Africa, USA, India

57 into Japan with 50w can’t be bad.


991 plugged in

Another lucky winner.

The ticket cost me £1250 but I was glad to be one of the first 4 winners of the much awaited 991.


No time for a proper review yet as i am dashing to get the Stepir done before the scaffold goes back on Monday. But the 991 got plugged in and tested. What a lovely radio it is to operate. All touch screen and for Yaesu fans everything in the same place as the larger rigs like the 5000.

I hooked it up to the Gap and gave a quick QSO with Emmanuel CT7AFR who was kind enough to record the audio and send it to me. He was pretty impressed. Less so about my forgetting his call sign. You can hear it HERE


I will do a run through it in a few days when my feet have touched the ground.

Its up far as it will go

The stepir is up.

Well on the mast. It needs the trees to be trimmed to go all the way up and as it was windy today I stuck with it at shed level.

To get us there first job was to test the motors and the wiring. You can run a setup programme and check they go in and out as they should.

Then the fibreglass arms need extending and fixing in place with adhesive filled heat shrink


Tubes are then shortened to the right length and prepared for the standing on the roof fixing technique that will ha[[en later



With 26kg of it . (the stepir not Martin) on the mast we tested that went up and down. (down jerkily)

Then wrapped the cables in spiral wrap. What a long job that was. But worth it.



Couldn’t have done it all on my own.

It was getting cold so we called it a day.

Today i got the trombones on. There was a lot of fiddling on the roof so no photos,, Just the majesty of the thing now it is up.

It works pretty well at roof level as well.



See it blends in a treat.


It's Here

The 991 has landed.

I have been busy finishing off the stepir ready for the scaffold to go back tomorrow so haven’t even plugged it in yet. Hopefully I will get round to that later tonight with some pics.

Have a happy sunny Sunday

991 Delays

Well it’s still not here.

Martin and yours truly have one on order. Hopefully this means that we will have a bug free batch when they do eventually turn up.


Mine will be replacing the c7000 in the go box. With the 7000 going into the truck for mobile ops.

Double Check those Logs

Bah …. thats the problem with my writing.

It turns out that I had another square. Cheers Dave for pointing that out. In fact by doing a double check against the QRZ pages for a non portable should be able to point that out.

Anyway here is the updated map. Which gives another multiplier. It beats me though how some can get double the numbers of multipliers. More work needed!

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Competition ASSISTANCE

You will have seen me going on about multipliers and maidenhead squares. So my thought was how do you know which direction to beam in, quickly, during the comp.

So I had a quick google and came to this site where you can put a compass onto a map

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Then you can look at the squares on google earth with an overlay. If you need that you will have to email me.

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Then you can put them all on a spreadsheet…….or let me know and i'll mail you one

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That obviously only works if you are in the BBRC area as the bearings are taken from SL2 area


Last night say the first outing of the new G0KSC designed beam for the UKAC comp.

Boy it makes a difference over what I had before.

Following Uri's advice I tried to get as many multipliers as possible. I don't seem to be getting further north than 83 but we can see where we need to concentrate next time. JO02 should have been easily possible.

and sorry to Dave for not recognising your call in the heat of the moment.

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2M Beam is up (and down)

Sorry I missed out on the Fox Hunt. A combination of feeding the bees, doing some home stuff and showing my face kept me home. Which also gave me change to put the scaffold up and plonk the 2m beam onto the rotator.

there is more fiddling to do but it is up, and a quick test shows that the beam works. The proof will be in seeing what we can do in the comp tonight.



Above is the top that takes the skull and crossbones.

Below …yes it clears the trees just. not sure the Stepir will though.




4M Competition

Some pictures just in of the 4M beam used in the club comp at the weekend.

It seemed to work very well, despite being compact. (PS: there is filter on the pictures, the weather wasn't that dark!)


Oh and here was a very special old Lady who came to visit and check we were doing ti right

Rotator Cage Ahoy

Back from Uri’s, unloaded and up the ladder for a fettle of the mast.
I let each section up cleaned it and gave it a quick grease. Not satisfied to leave it at that I bolted the rotator cage on and put in the short stub mast. This is lighter gauge that the ali scaffold pole and I think will still give sufficient separation from the HF beam to the 2M, whilst keeping the weight down.
In the Down position Mrs LDZ says it “looks quite smart”. I haven’t ventured asking her what she thinks about it when it is up. That it yet to come!


Oh ….it’s bigger that the vertical that was the cause of it all.


But it does go up and down. Which is great fun.

Tomorrow we need to get the 2m beam on to it for the comp on Tuesday. Hope you are all going to join in.


DX Picknic

Then on to Uri’s place with the trailer for a day and a half of radio fun.
The weather was a bit grey but us hardy ones that toughed it out had a great evening. The wood burner came into its own for a nice warm place for a meal and a chat,
I set up my go box with the trusty hyendfed wire between the buddipole stand and a Sota pole. The Sota pole is a great bit of kit for fifty quid and I came up with the idea of using the springiness of it to keep tension on the wire. worked a treat and stood up to bit of a wind.
I also put up a 6m beam made with Buddipole bits. needless to say it looked better than it performed as I didn’t get anyone at all.

Not the case, however, for the end fed. Without much hope we gave HS7BHK in Thailand (I know its a Panama call but he insisted he was in Thailand). We got a 59. On the next QSO he gave a 57 to someone, so proper reports and a good result. We also worked Brazil PY2PT. All on a wire you can put in your pocket!

The conditions for the competition were not brilliant but with the beam Dave sorted out we were getting some amazing distances given the conditions and the fact it is 4m!
Yours truly had a quick go and got a couple of squares before Mrs LDZ turned up to rescue downed dove. Turns out Charlie’s caravan is an fact an animal ambulance in disguise.
Last night was really one of the best I have had for a long time so if the opportunity rears its head again. Come on down for the DX Picknic.



Saturday Morning Erection

Ever had the urge to leap out of bed on a Saturday and get it up?……Yes. Thought so. Must be something in common with radio amateurs.
So before loading up the trailer for the DX Picnic Greg, my pal from across the road came over and together we managed to get the 50kg mast onto its framework. and after a quick adaptation of the compressor it was on its way up.

there is one particularly sticky section which I will need to look at but it goes up fine and straight. To let it down there is a valve on the side that lets a regulated amount of air out for a gradual decent.


Didn't quite get it up

Today was a full on construction day. I needed to make the stand off backed to clear the gutter and sort out the mast head fixing.

Luckily I had some square section steel from the roadster build in the shed so that got pressed into action for the framework for mounting the mast plates. I mocked it up and them sat the mast on it before tack welding it.





Then i welded it up and gave it a spray with hammerite.


Whilst that was drying I turned to the top mount. As these masts seem to be used for cameras the heads have an interchangeable spigot arrangement that didn’t look too got for what i want to put on top of it.

So I added some plates onto the stub which goes (with much swearing) into the rotator cage.




I then drilled out some holes so i could bolt it onto the mast head

Here it is mocked up


Then a tricky bit of welding the plates onto the stub and tapping threads for some M8 bolts into the head


Not the neatest welding I know but only birds are going to look at it. Thats the problem with spot welding in an attempt to keep everything flat

Then a call to Mrs LDZ for a helping hand to bolt it all to the shed with ply spreader plates to both sides and the load being taken onto the concrete slab



Thats as far as we got with mounting it as both of us (Mrs LDZ with her titanium back operation) couldn’t lift it into place.

So whilst I pondered on that problem I spent an hour swearing at the stub again as it is not the size of a scaffold pole, which all the rotator cages are made for, it is 50.8mm . As opposed to 48.8.

So a big hammer and a clamp eventually sorted it .


So that’s all for today folks. Hopefully I will come up with a cunning plan for getting the mast on the bracket involving scaffolding in my very odd dreams.

See you at the DX Picknic providing we are not flooded out.


Mast Ahoy

So the rest of the day was spent traveling to Total Mast Solutions in Loughborough to collect the mast.

Simon has loads of interesting still there and this one is nice chunky example.

So we loaded it up and when we got back had a quick pump up to see it inaction. You will have to wait for that.

There are some jobs to be done first, The stand off brackets that were supposed to clear the gutter don’t. so I need to make up some sort of spreader system.. And the top the fitment for the rotator cage, which is made to fit standard scaffold tube which is 48.8mm needs to adjusted some how to suit the 50mm dia stub.

So a trip to B&Q in the morning for some bits and then on with the installation. Enjoy the photos.






Progress on the StepIr

Before Martin came over I wired up the driven steppe motor and the relay box that controls whether the antenna is looking forward , backwards or both ways






Db11 a bit more

I managed to get a bit done on the Db-11 last night wiring up and fitting two of the EHU's .


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