Helicopters and more

Shack Stuff

991 up for grabs


See the for sale section

Driven Element Box


All downloadable for free on Thingiverse


Top Band Antenna

I made up the top loaded inverted L antenna that I circulated plans for and eventually got it up a tree.

It is quite hard to see


Which is good.

Here is the 5’ loading inductor closer up


And if you look carefully you can see the end fed wire and the top band one heading off to another tree


I had my first TB QSO with Andy YGB. Not DX but it works. dead easy to make as well at no cost.


Give it a go.


New Radio

I have gone mad and brought myself a nearly new and unused K3S from a SK sale. I have lusted after one having used the KX3 for a while so when there was a deal to be had it was too good to miss.

Of course the beauty of the Elecraft range is that you can fiddle about with them so not content with the original I took it apart straight away and added in the voice recorder board - for contest calling. and a few filters.

I also had the K-pod turn up and had to do some soldering to the main control board to get power to it. A brave move with such small surface mount components. Anyway it worked.

The Kpod is not totally programmed yet as Elecraft have yet to release the utility for Mac so it has limited functionality at the moment but when it is running properly it should have 16 macros that link commands. For example one button push to run 5 up . Another to S&P 5 up. you see the logic.





And here we are for the 6M UKAC disaster.


Apart from terrible terrible conditions with noise. Every time I had a QSO it was fine until half way through when the mic cut out. I didn’t work it out until No70 in the log. It was Skookum logger turning off the TX when I clicked the mouse. That was only after I had got the other radio out to try and work out what was going on.

Not one of my best. But the Skookum boys were working on it after the contest at 1am in the morning so I hope to have a beta version to test later in the week. Brilliant result in the end. Not points but nice people.

Get Some Boost

With thoughts of getting out there in the sun the battery booster from Tim in the good old US has arrived.


It has a manual as well as auto on transmit mode and essentially boosts up to whatever you set it to. IN my case looking for 13.8v for the IC7000.

The Pic above is with it off and below on.

There is an adjustable cutoff which I have set at 10v

The picture shows it running with the 12v Lipo.




How brilliant is this

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 08.30.31

Bill, of Skookum logger fame, has written a bit of software to connect the winkeyer to the Mac so you can type your CW and programme the keyer box.

Works first time and is highly recommended.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 08.30.39

Didn’t mean that I was able to make Spratley last night though. But I did have my first QSO on it.

The great thing over the programmed keys is that if you get asked something that is not on the key you can resort to good old typing.


7000 back on the road

I have put the ic7000 back in the landrover again and this time, without doing anything else, it is pretty much interference free.

I did re wire the Tarheel but that's it.

I have also put the CB back in…but don't drum me out of the brownies… i can chat to good buddy MP. who has the same initials as the UKAC site…..just realised that!

I managed to works Russia and a few others whilst broken down the other day o the way back from Kampton Park.


Power Draw

With plans of an assault on 1O73 later in the year I had been trying to work out what sort of battery to taks.

Thanks for all who sent in calculations. I had a quick test on the 991 to see what the draw was

Here on receive


Here at 10 W



and here at 50W



Landy Install

Here is a shot of the 991 in the back to the Landy ready for the 144mhz tomorrow.
The next upgrade is a Green Heron controller.



Here are the (badly) painted stabilisers to stop the car rocking on its suspension.


And a handy idea, for making sleeves to increase the diameter of tube.

In this case the HexBeam so that it will slot into the rotator on the new mast.


Cut some plastic tube to makeup the difference and split in two.

Mask the gaps and epoxy it into the scaffold tube and leave to dry overnight.

It works! I will need to drill a bolt hole to stop it rotating but that’s it.


Air to Spare

This is now moving from a radio blog to a Landrover modding blog I fear.

Two deliveries today. One from Matt Savage which had the air reservoir



I have an ARB compressor in the truck but that doesn’t have enough reserve to pump the mast up. So I am adding 2 gallon Vair tank. That goes under the drivers side.


The pump feeds the tank and I have moved the pressure switch to the tank from the pump.


The tank also has a drain valve and a pressure release valve as well

Here is the pump with the plastic pressure hose going off to the tank


Now the pump is not that great a capacity and takes a couple of minutes to fill the reservoir so we will see tomorrow how it works with the mast.

The tank feeds another outlet, this time regulated, at the rear


Then the steel came for the supports to stop the truck rocking so much.


the idea being that it pins to the tow bar thing and has a couple of bars that go into the jacking points


Its being painted overnight so hopefully tomorrow we can test it all together and decide if another higher volume pump is needed.


Thanks / Sponsor Bar ------>>

I have added a thank you bar on the right ————————>

to offer thanks for those who are helping out with radio stuff. So far there’s Justin for the aerials, Middx Dx for letting me use MP (mind you I have promised to help out on the DX days as well) and of course BBRC, without whom we would not be here (and be a lot richer).

If you think you something that needs a test and feel like sponsoring something then get in touch we, me, BBRC will be very happy to hear from you.

991 Woes

My 991 is in for repairs again at MLS

The ALC display has stopped working which I use to set the mic gain for each band.

Hopefully it will be resolved soon as this is the second time it has been in for this issue.


Car Mast carriage

It’s been a long job but once the bolts for the roof rack arrive it can be tested.


Here is the principle mocked up in wood.


I looked at getting the mountain plate for the bottom and the top mount from TMS and Clark. TMS don’t do them and Clark were going to cost more than the mast.
So I turned up the top one in walnut. You are not relying on the wood to hold it all together there are some stainless rods for that


The rest is welded up in stainless 25mm box sections with some 30x30 angle for the sliding rail things.

Not doing much welding it amazes me how much to all moves when you weld it. Hence the sliding bit, at the moment, is not sliding as well as it might.



Now to find some stabilisers to stop the car rocking from side to side

Time for a new Mast

In looking for another option apart from falling off the top of the car I have found a secondhand Racal pneumatic mast .

It needs a bit of a clean up and one of the seals seems a bit dodgy but for way aI paid for it that is not an issue.


It is 2.6m closed


and I have yet to put up all the sections together. There are another 2 to go in this photo


12m total.

Now to design a roof mount system for it

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 09.45.32

Gemini Input

Dave would be around of me getting in to a bit of electrickery.

I have changed plans a bit and need to up the input power into the Gemini 2 amp. It was set up for the KX3 but that isn’t working so well basically because of the compromises in the transverter.

So I got in touch with Roger at the DX Shop and he sent me the attenuator required to up the input to 25w.


open the top and unsolder the screen can


thats the chap - out of focus


undo the hex head and solder the replacement in


and then replace the can with the two blobs of solder


All done and it works. Will be much better the I get a decent transverter though



At the weekend we spoke on the net about ongoing interference
I was getting this on 18 and 21Mhz

I have some video files but these don't seem to upload to the website





Old QSL's

Don't give up hope of those old QSL's turning up on LOTW.

I just checked in today and saw one from February 2015 on my old call sign appear……Brilliant as it was another DXC that I had not accounted for from Mauritius.

I must remember to send off all the cards I have for checking as well.

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 10.13.22

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 10.13.46

HyEndfed multi band

I had the HyEndfed wire left over from past installations and now Martin finished using it I thought I would string it up as a fall back if the beam can’t be up.

So using my patented pole and lead weight method I got the feeder end up one tree and then using the fishing rod and lead weight method cast the other end over another tree, When it is up it is invisible so there was no point in trying to photograph it. It us at around 12m AGL.

It is resonant on 10, 15, 20 & 4o plus a bit on 80. At a push.

It is a bit noisier than the beam but not a bad performer.

Here is the StepIr, Up


and here is the end fed.


The antenna CCTV got a makeover again with a replacement dome camera - which I guarantee will start misting up soon. Anyway the picture is great to start with. If it mists up we might need to put a heater in to it.



Times Technology Analyser

I have had to return my T100+ to the manufacturers as it seems to be performing very oddly.

It doesn't seem to recognise the antenna when it is connected and give me very odd readings even when there is no antenna connected.
I have re calibrated it and re set it to no avail.

Hopefully the chaps in Honk Kong will be able to sort it out.







Green Heron

I use Spid rotators. One at home and one for the portable setup.

The controller for the one at home has been playing up loosing its place and as the Spid does not have endstops it is very easy for it to wind your coax and cables up round the mast. So I had a look at whatever everyone else was using and ordered a Green Heron controller from Jeff.

It arrived after our wales Trip, where incidentally the portable buddipole vertical worked ok. I got to the US and Canada on it. Anyway I digress. After confusing myself comparing the spid instructions with Jeff’s and an email dialogue with Jeff I finally got to connect the wires the right way round! Thinking too hard rather than just following instructions!

Anyway, Jeff’s support for us intermediate numpties is second to none. It still amazes me how people in this hobby provide such a brilliant service.

I will report on it after a bit more of a trial but so far I could not be happier with it and it had stayed synchronised with the beam- that’s the important thing.

Here is whats inside it

So what are the advantages over the standard Spid one.

1 there is a knob you can turn to point and shoot where you want the beam to point

2 it is configurable to allow you to set end stops to stop it where you want
3 It ramps up to speed and slows down so it doesn’t shock the mast or antenna
4 it interfaces with Maclogger DX to show where the beam is pointing (see the green line on the compass - the grey one is where the station you are trying to contact is). It also gives you a green line on the world map to show where you are pointing


Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 17.53.12

Here you can see the green line pointing at Bob VP8LP

There is a programme that goes with it but for that i need to invoke the dreaded windows so I will persevere with it for a bit as I might have to succumb to set the end stops as the rotator is set up, cable wise for 2 full rotations.

It connects to MLDX as before the only issue I am having is that it looses the USB connection when I turn the power off and on again. So I think i need to clear the Mac’s cache….or something technical like that.

Here it is in the shack. A quick test got us the US and Canada on 20m just as the band was vanishing. So all of you who know, from the UKAC, that I wang my beam around with gay abandon missing QSO’s from most of you, can be assured that the same is likely to happen from home as well!



SOTA Backpack

I have been working on the backpack for the portable operations seeing as I was getting loads of individual bits to carry it made sense to get it all onto one pack to grab and go.PC060357

I brought, on the Commanders advice, a 5.11 tactical back pack and with Colin's old sewing machine have set about adding bits to carry all the gear. And boy there is a fair bit of it.

To be fair i won't be carrying it all up a mountain the idea is that one gets to base camp and then select what you are going to take for the trip.

Side bags for wire antennas and sandwiches


Two places for Sota Poles or longer antenna bits like the Buddipole rigid whip.


First section is the KX3 section with bags that are held in with velcro so you can rip them out easily. They are fixed to the pack so they stay in place when you walk and when you open the second section of the pack.



The KX3, PX3 and headset plus Piglet wireless node that allows you to connect an iPad to the KX3 to log and use PSK and CW



The radio section then opens up for the power section. Here we either have the KXPA100 and power supply or this can be substituted for battery packs for SOTA ops without the KX3 falling out.


The rip out mesh packs have the Sark meter and cables in.


I am going to try out the KXPA100 with battery power but I am not sure how long the LiPo will last but the good thing is that you can dial the power down to extend battery life.

Now we nee the weather to be able to try it all out.


Unbelievable Skookum Boys

If you want unbelievable help on a FREE ….yes FREE logging software you need look no further than Skookum Logger.

Since I started this contesting lark to get my weekly fix of radio, particularly when the HF bands are as pants as they are at the moment, I looked for a logging programme that worked with the UKAC contests and did it on the Mac.

Paul recommended Skookum and having not had too much luck with my general logging programme , MacLoggerDX at contesting, I have been using it ever since. It has worked brilliantly with the KX3 and FT5000 at home but when the chance to go portable came up I needed to take the 991. (great radio for portable use according to me).

As the 991 is very new not a lot of people support it on their software but a mail to Skookum boys Bill and Jonathan got them on the case. I mailed yesterday and Bill has worked on 5 iterations of the driver for the 991 and by lunchtime on Saturday he had it sorted. Now you are not going to get that response from anyone else I suspect. It must be, like me, they like a challenge.

So I am now set for Tuesday with full portable logging capabilities. And I do mean loads of capability - more than I know what to do with and most importantly easy to understand and use.

For those who haven’t used contest loggers before (me) Skookum gives you control of both your running frequency and your pounce frequency. So you can flick back to your calling freq once you have tuned around, in my case, usually to get GI4SNA. It exports cabrillo format that the RSGB accepts and tracks your score as you go along.

You need to make sure that you set it up for the right contest but you can see from the screen shot that your have all the information to hand. It auto increments and tells you what your exchange is. Over time it learns who you have worked and prompts you with their call. So in time my habit of mixing call signs up might improve.

So in short, give Skookum a try and if your radio is not supported…by tomorrow afternoon it will be!

Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 15.22.47

Windoze on a Mac

Having got some bits of kit that come with windows only software I have asked around for ways to run Windows on a Mac. I have ended up with VMware Fusion as you can install on a number of machines and it seems to work pretty well.

Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 12.02.02
I acts just like another Mac window and the desktop and all the other files are accessible to both Windows and OS X at the same time.

Here are some screen shots of the Sark Plot app. This one looking at the StepIr on 6m

Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 11.44.35

And this whirly one showing goodness only knows.

Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 11.39.04

There are some glitches though. When trying to run the PowerMaster through the virtual machine it requires a USB that is converted to a COM port. Windows does this but it is a bit flakey. Sometimes it will connect and sometimes says the COM port is un available.

Actually that is no real hardship in that you would not really use the computer to monitor the PowerMaster as it has a more responsive display built in to it.

Here is a screen shot of it when it did actually work for a bit

Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 11.59.48

So thanks for all the advice. It seems to have paid off


Where is Scotland

I am venturing off to IO94 for the next 6M UKAC. which is in Yorkshire. So my thoughts turn to the crib sheet that i use here to tell me where various squares are. Of course when you go off somewhere else all that changes.

There are no map apps that I can find to do this however if you copy this compass rose which is a .gif file so it is transparent


Get yourself a map of where you want to be as a screen shot from google or some other map on the internet.

Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 13.53.51

copy and paste the gif onto the map and move and scale it to where you are going to be.

Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 13.48.01

Simples as the markets say……

Graham's KX3

Graham M6FJK has just got himself a KX3. A great choice, if I might be so bold, for a first radio.
2 receivers and SDR architecture.

HE came over so that we could check and upload the latest firmware that gives 10W output with down to 10v in.

We tried it on the StepIr no problems and with the SuperAntenna set up in the garden we were getting 1:1.3 VSWR and first try got Switzerland on 14mhz. He was well chuffed.

So now it has been proven to work it is over to you Graham to get some contacts on it.

es - 1

A proper Ham

I feel like a proper radio ham now I have used some “test equipment”.

Oh yes. A signal generator no less. Wow, I hear you say………possibly.


The KX3 is a SDR radio and comes in kit form so there are various combinations of boards that you can put in it. All of these affect the way that the oscillator performs in relation to the temperature of the radio (watch out we might be getting out of our depth here).
Mt Athos - 7
You can calibrate an offset to adjust what the oscillator is producing against the temperature. Because this is a long winded process it comes with a standard calibration which is ok for HF but on 2M SSB which comes via a transponder board and narrower modes such as RTTY and PSK you can find the radio drifting off. A couple of people have mentioned this when I have operated on 2M SSB for any length of time on it.

There is a calibration process built into the SDR ….how brilliant is that. So I borrowed the Sig Gen (got the lingo already) from Jeremy, many thanks. Basically what you do is inject a 50mhz CW carrier into the radio and set is calibrating as you change the temperature. You cool it in the fridge and then get it out and warm it up with a heat gun.

Mt Athos - 4

Here you can see the temp pf the oscillator at 35c and the actual frequency of it. 385 thnigamijigs.

When it is all calibrated you can watch , and hear, the frequency stabilise as the temp drops.

The proof of the pudding is yet to bake as we go and plug it in and search very hard for someone to speak to on 2M to test it out. I will let you know.

UPDATE: yes it works. just had a nice QSO with wales and didn’t drift off a bit.

Just wait till I work out what to do with the oscilloscope!


A much less saucy QSL card

Today I received a QSL card to redress the naughtiness of the last one.

It might be of interest after the article in this months PW.

This was one of those where you just happen to be there when it happens, not out shopping like someone! In fact I didn’t know how sought after it was until I was told later

Much less saucy but much the better for that.

Mt Athos - 1Mt Athos - 2

Best QSL Card so far ?

Received today from Macedonia


It is good to see that some places have yet to catch the politically correct bug.

I suggested to Mrs LDZ that she could help me re do my card………..I might be walking again in a week or so.

Testing Testing

Ok so we have got the beam down again and the balun off

hex - 1 (2)

Chickens mind your heads!
hex - 2 (2)

Thats the balun which I have taken off and put the beam back up. And a check on the meter with the balun shows no resonance and a short.

hex - 10 (1)

See the comparison without the balun below.

The fix was super simple. I thought I was going to have to take it all apart but it was just a strand of the centre core touching in the PL259 .

hex - 11 (1)

I have pushed it back and bingo we are in business. I will check again and it might be sensible to re do the connector but there is little movement in it as it is fixed to the centre post.

Here is the overall plot without the balun for these readings

hex - 9 (1)

and if we look at the individual plots you will see they are spot on

hex - 3 (1)
hex - 4 (1)
hex - 5 (1)
hex - 6 (1)
hex - 7 (1)
hex - 8 (1)

So there you are a quick fix and we are ready to take it down (again) and put the balun back on for a test. Although the impedance looks pretty fine to me without any help.


It's Arrived

Oh yes.. we have all been waiting for the hex beam. And it is finally here.

I had intended to make this my home base antenna when I ordered it at the beginning of the year but could not bear the wait to get a better performing antenna than my trusty Gap Titan, which the neighbours said had to go, came down.

As you know I was forced into a planning application for a telescopic mast and with no Hex in sight went to Ron at Vinecom for a StepIr DB11. Which is brillinant. No doubt about that so I will say it again. It is BRILLIANT.

So question, if I can get any sort of comparison set up here, can we see how the Spidex hex beam performs using the DB11 as a comparison. Of course coastwise there is none. The hex is sub £500 and the DB11 tops £2.5k. (no telling Mrs LDZ now).

So here is what you get in Waldi’s hex. and if i remember correctly the one I have is the light version. It is eventually going to be put to use for field days and the mini dxpeditions.

hex - 1

Here are the contents. the fibreglass spreaders in three parts each, the centre hub and the centre post to school you connect the wire elements.

hex - 2

hex - 3

hex - 4

The first job, which gets done only once is to put the plastic hooks onto the spreaders and Waldi has done one of each for you to follow. So just use a marker and mark each tube, wine a bit of tape around it and put the clamp and “D:” ring on. This will take an hour or so. Make sure they are lined up on the one with 4. Otherwise this is straightforward. It all is really.

hex - 6

hex - 7

Right, you are back with me after having done that. Now here is the fun bit. Slotting everything together.
Sit the hub on a stand of some sort to stop it rolling about and put the post bit into it.

Then you are free to slot the spreaders (possibly not the right technical term) in. They are numbered but as far as I can see are all the same so I doubt if is would make any difference where they went.

hex - 8

One thing that you might want to do if you are going to be taking it apart a lot, like me, is to treat the aluminium to aluminium connections with some anti-seize.

hex - 9

hex - 10

Now simply take the lines already on the end of the spreaders and hook them onto the eyelet on the top of the centre post.

hex - 11

hex - 12

With that done, and it takes seconds to do the whole thing, you are ready to thread the wires.

Now this is where I am going to work on making this easier for the portable work. With the design as it is you have to thread each element through each D ring. What would be good would be to be able to clip to the d ring as you go round thus not having to feed the whole element through each ring. I will let you know who that idea works out.

hex - 15

That is the 6m element on. Basically like a folded Moxon. You cants see the orange bits which is where the driven and reflector are separated.

hex - 16

hex - 17

Thats the connection to the centre post. Again to make it easy in the field I will swap the just for wing nuts.

hex - 19

And that’s as far as we have got before having to go out. All in all a couple of hours and its done.

It is bigger than the DB11, which surprises me but much lighter.

I have the Spidex aluminium pole as well so we will be diving that a whirl and trying to get the thing up in the garden to evaluate it soon. Check back and see as we will cover a quick test as well as taking it apart and any modifications for quicker field assembly.


ML&S R 50

Great second trip in two days to ML&S.

This time to take the sick c7000 in which is suffering from the same problem it had 6 months ago finals or pre driver failure.

Luckily the nice chaps from icom were there and have taken it in to have a good look at. My thoughts are that there might also be a problem with the fan which means it is just overheating and then killing the transistors. But what do I know.

And doubly good news, I got a celebratory T shirt as well to go with my burger.

It nearly made the M25 worthwhile.


Rotator Base Takes Shape

Here is the rotator base for the bottom mounted rotator.

Why a “T” shape I hear you shout. Well if the hex beam ever gets here from its disastrous trip from Poland, which has now taken 2 months due to the driver having a hear attack in Belgium (good place to have one knowing their hospitals) it will need the base to tilt over for the beam to be put on. And seeing as this is only to keep the rotator from moving three pegs should be fine. I am not relying on it to hold the mast up it has lower guys for that.

Hopefully if Mr Nevada get the adapter here today (should have been yesterday) then we will have it tested this weekend

Well the Nevada adaptor was not the right size and I had forgotten I had some wood and a lathe.

mast - 3

This is the adapter for the mast to the rotator turned out of a bit of spare timber

mast - 4

mast - 5

mast - 7

And the good news is that it works. I had the 2m beam up at 10M in bit if a wind and it turned it fine. It was a bit jerky in the stronger gusts as I expect the flexing of the mast against the guys give is a bit too much resistance.


Go Box 2

With the 991 in the car now the go-box can be finished off with the rotator cable that Charlie delivered from ML&S.

Box 2 comprises the 991 with a nice neat Alnico power supply.
The radio is connected vial a laptop to a Spid rotator controller and a signallink sound card for digital modes.
I have got rid of the noise cancelling speaker and put my old CB one in which is fine and most of the time it will be used with the headset in any case.

I have put a USB distribution block in to link the laptop to the radio, the rotator and the SignaLink so there is one cable out of the front and thats it.

I have removed the 240 power distribution as the problematic BHI speaker is no longer so that might make it a bit lighter.

The cooling fans are retained on the back
sotapole - 1 (2)

sotapole - 6

sotapole - 5

sotapole - 3

I have tracked down a good location for a portable station so fingers crossed if I get permission we might get the show on the air for the next 144mhz contest


Mobile Install

Now the 991 is here the ic7000 can be installed in the truck. Having spoken to a few people the key ingredients seem to be

1 Tarheel screwdriver antenna
2 MFJ Battery Booster
3 Target Tuner
4 good bonding

The mfj battery booster is a complicated bit of kit that ensures that you have 13.3v to the rig even when the battery power is down at 10v. This way everything stays stable and power is maintained. Be warned though it does drain the battery as you carry on for longer than you would have without it. I have a twin battery setup so hopefully I won’t get stranded.

bolog - 12

Here is the kit all mounted so it can get some air.

bolog - 4

and the business end of it

bolog - 1

The target runner from West Mountain Radio is an interesting bit of kit. It measures the swr and tunes the antenna to the best possible match. You need to key the radio to do this so on 10w am or fm does the trick.
Once you have a good match you can memorise it and with a CAT connection cable the antenna then follows the radio. So foe example if you switch bands the antenna goes to the nearest match on that band.

bolog - 11

It is built into the centre console
bolog - 9

I have put the BHI noise cancelling speaker in to the car as I could not get rid of the feedback in the go box. I have separated out the power to the speaker and so far it is not too bad, BUT there is an issue with these powered speakers and RF feedback through the common feed which spoils a rather good idea. Unless I just have a duff one.

bolog - 6

Tarheel for the HF and Martins magic wand for VHF

bolog - 7


Vantage Vue

I managed to pick up a bargain Vantage View weather station on the bay and have the ISS sensor station mounted on a pole on the house. That measures wind, rain, temp and humidity and sends the information the 40m wirelessly down to the shack.


There is no RF interference from either the HF or VHF signals and it just gives the confidence that siting inside on the radio that a gale has not suddenly blown up to whip the mast down.
Plus the forecasts are more accurate than the BBC so far.


Need a good app for the iPad that shows you all the terrain so you can find where you want to plonk your aerial.

Ukmaps seems to be the one.


BBRC Club Comp

Yes the day dawned bright. Lovely and sunny and yours truly trooped up a nearby hill with the KX3 and buddipole ready.
At 6.45pm, as I am told is tradition for this particular competition, it chucked it down.

So I had to say goodbye to the buttercups and cows and get into the car.

With the buddipole lashed to the back of the Landy I had a go but managed 6 poor QSO's. I had betted on some sort of propagation to give me a chance on 2M SSB but with flat conditions and only 2W from the KX3 I was not even in with a chance with the FM boys on their verticals.

So I need to get a rig installed in the Landy for these sorts of low power HF comps and luckily now the 991 has taken over from the 7000 in the GoBox it won't be long before we have that in and working.

Nevertheless is was great fun and just a pity more did not hide under and umbrella to give it a go. Mind you can you blame them with the weather!


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


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.

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


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

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.







Not really radio but……


Is on 12-14th June this year in Leicester


Looking forward to the weekend

Not long now till Mr VineCom gets a visit from yours truly for one of these.

F6BTR_Montage Steppir

Comments Now Possible

Iv’e updated the site to that comments are possible as are subscriptions via RSS.

So if you want to subscribe to the posts or discuss anything it should be possible. Let me know if any of it doesn’t work as this is a bit like the blind leading the blind here!

Keep an eye out for next week when we are off to Oswestry to collect the StepIR and then Leicester for the pneumatic mast.

What fun…

A good read

Want a good radio read.

This is recommended. And as I have now finished it you can borrow it if you want. Let me know



CQ CQ CQ....and welcome to the radio blog.

Tonight is the first time we will be trying out the two operator approach on the RSBG 2M competition with 2EØSUR Martin.
As yet the monster beam is not ready to unleash. That will have to wait until next time.

wish us luck

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