Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Today I rigged a G5RV jr at the back of the house.

The centre is highest, attached to an eye-bolt on the bathroom dormer that's about 4m above ground level.

One end slopes down to the ridge of the shed, about 21/4m up

The other arm of the antenna is at 90 degrees out over the hedge to another eye-bolt on a 5 foot 2 by 2 in another hedge.

the feeder hangs down the side of the house to coax along the side of the building to my radio room at the front.

I HAD asked around to see if an angled G%RV was ok......

a contact into Slovenia on 20m says yes!!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

 Latest Aquisition, a frequency counter and SWR meter.  The IDEA is to connect it up to the FT-101B to get an accurate idea of what frequency I'm actually on.  I THINK it needs to be connected via the phono port on the back rather than inline with the antenna (for the SWR meter)  Not sure yet as to WHERE to connect it to the back of the Yaesu.  There IS a RF OUT jack, which according to the manual is "Signal frequency output from the driver stage may be obtained at this jack for use of optional equipment, such as the FTV-650 6 meter transverter"

now, in a perfect world, that would mean buns a jack plug on the end of a phono cable and this will connect the two boxes nicely.

but for fear of doing damage, I'll get on the forums first!!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Well, this morning got the FT101B attached to a 5/8 silver rod CB antenna and tried my first attempt at 10m DX.

the band was fairly quiet with a few stations coming in, in particular UT7ZZ in Ukraine who was risking breaking my S meter needle all morning!

so, contacts made to:
UT1ZZ Ukraine
RU1ZC Russia
SX100TSL  Greece
YO5TP Romania

I'm a happy DX camper!!

in the post this morning came a G5RV jr antenna and a 20m length of coax.  now I need a roll of Para cord to get it up in the air.....  not sure how I'll rig it, but it'll be going up soon!!
is it really 31 years since CB was legalised in the UK?

OK, the govt didn't legalise the thousands of American AM sets, rather they brought in the FM that meant that everyone had to buy a new set (and pay VAT on it of course) but still!  and now we hear that by this time next year it's likely that AM & SSB operation will be legal to at least some extent on the band.

good news says I, it'll get folks interested in the international side of things and channel more people into ham radio too.

as the pic above says, there will be an "all aboard" net on UKFM ch 31 on the 2nd of November.  As of today, I don't have a UKFM CB, but who knows what might happen between now & then!!!!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Freecycle/Freegle is a wonderful something you don't want any more?  too good to scrap, but couldn't be bothered to ebay it?

go to freecycle or freegle, put on a listing and some punter who fancies what you have will come and take it off you hands, saving you a trip to the dump, and saves a bit of landfill too.

individual areas have thier own groups so you don't get messages about someone 2000 miles away wanting to offload a single bed frame.

I've used our local freegle to clear out a load of stuff when we converted our garage into a living room, moved on kids bikes when they grew out of them, and I've benefitted from a few guitars and a banjo over the years.


our local freegle lets you post wanted ads.

so I posted something along the lines of "Wanted, any Ham or CB radio kit to get a new licencee on the air"

Time marched on and I had bought a few goodies when I got an email last night from GI1WYZ Bertie who said he had some goodies for me.

Wonderful thought I,, and off I headed thismorning to a few miles up the road where I met a very pleasant gent who only really uses radio these days for his RAYNET activities as a steward at motor racing.  he handed me a Boots poly bag and said "here y'go, hope its of some use"

and here's what it contained......

an ICOM ICB 1050 FM Cb radio which has been converted to 10m

a BOXED antenna matcher

a Low pass TVI filter

a CTE 30w linear amp

and a bit of coax with a PL259 on it.

Haven't tested any of it yet, but not a bad little haul! 

Thanks Bertie, You're a true gent.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Back in 1983 when I was playing with CBs there was an object of lust among all CBers. 

The holy grail of homebase radios.

The Yaesu FT-101.

for those of us who needed the digital readout, it was the FT-101ZD that we all dreamed of.

but today, I fulfilled my dream.

today, I received from the nice Parcel Force man, a 1974 vintage Yaesu FT-101B

Sadly, I wont get the chance to connect her to an antenna before tomorrow, but I can't wait!!

maybe I'll work out what's up with the 2m set too, but I suspect that once the Yaesu gets switched on, everything else will pale into insignificance!!!!

here's the shelf now......

Why do I get the feeling that She Who Must Be Obeyed is going to kill me?

Monday, 22 October 2012

so.... progress on antennae....

a copper J-pole for the side of the house.

a 3m length of 21.5mm copper pipe, a T, 2 caps 2 angles (only need one, but they come in pairs), and some support brackets.  total cost, £14.

 Dimensions are all over the net, so I'll not bore you, but here it is all soldered up.  I used my blow torch from the kitchen.... the one for melting the sugar on top of a creme brulee.........

and a tv antenna bracket holds it onto the side of the house.  some plans suggest a choke so I thought, why not?
 have to arrange with somebody local to have a wee net to get radio checks sorted.... I'm waiting for an adapter for the boafeng to a regular coax plug so I can connect it up to a "real" antenna... as it is, I can HEAR on the Piezo, I can even hear the piezo on the baofeng, but as I'm on my own, I cant dissappear up the road in the car with the piezo mic keyed now can I?

so, here's the shack as it is now......

Piezo PCS-2000, Baofeng UV-5R a couple of SWR meters and a power supply culled from a PC.

also in the pic is a silly receiver that I paid £3 for..... I can detect a signal from the 2m sets on it, and get the automated weather signal from Belfast City airport, but that's about it......
I'm waiting for some stuff to arrive from ebayland, but I'll spill the beans on them when they get here!

I've joined eQSL and posted all my QSOs so far.

as I'm only using a 5w hand held with a rubber duck, I'm not expecting huge DX, but via the GB3NI repeater I've made it out of Northern Ireland to EI4DP Tony in Drogheda and MM6CTH in Girvin, Scotland.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

today, those lovely peoiple from the Carrickfergus Amateur Radio Group ( CARG ) had thier annual rally.  I was in Lisburn with one of the kids for a football match early this morning and the GB3NI repeater was jumping with folks coming up to get it set up.

Well done all concerned.  As someone who has never been to one before I wasn't sure what to expect, but it looked well put together to me!

and the difference between a Carrick Ham Radio rally and the cast of Chuck?

well, fewer Asians and fewer stunningly beautiful blonde CIA agents, but PLENTY of  Jeffs!!

Lots of folks catching up with old pals, and a range of stalls.  the swapmeet stall had some good stuff, but some of the dealers were charging INSANE prices for some used gear.  OK, there was somewone to reach over the counter and take by the throat if anything went wrong, but used CBs that can be got on Evilbay for £25 inc post at £60?  really?

All I bought was a mike plug for the Piezo radio I bought last night. 

£15 for a 2m FM set, sadly no repeater tones as standard, but who knows........  I tried it last night with a home made J-Pole leaning against the wall, and a power supply culled from a dead PC.

SOMETHING wasn't right.....  There was a carrier going out but the one station who answered me said it was all white noise. confusing as mu Boafeng to an earpiece was fine.....  so when the adapter arrives form ebay land to allow me to connect the Baofeng to the J-pole, then I'll be able to check the antenna and work back from there......

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Many years ago I had a 4 element beam antenna for my CB radio.

it was HUGE!!!

now that I'm tinkering around on 2m, I fancy the idea of a mobile beam to take to the top of a local hill and reach the scottich repeaters

so, after a think......

I gather together some bits and bobs from B&Q.  all under £10......

I bought another tape measure and will be keeping the new one, and retiring this one.......

now, those lovely people at buxcomm have a yagi size calculator......

so, using that, I place the clips on the pipe and mark them

Some plans for the tape measure beam have a choke as a balun, so I thought, better safe.......

two holes, one all the way, one just one side

Coax in from end and out 1st hole

then 7 wraps and through the double hole to hold it all tight.

How easy was that?

now to support the two sides of the driven element, I'm using a bit off the end of the pipe with a notch cut in it

and held in place with a screw

the tape is SO easy to cut to size.  no saw needed, just fold it over and squeeze.  Seroiusly, no tools, just finger pressure!  so these two elements held in place with Jubilee clips

the other elements need holes for a screw.  I just poped them with a nail.....

and then put in a screw.  so here it is so far.  I still need to attach a hair pin matching element and a PL socket on the end of the feeder coax.  but so far, including the mug of tea and a scone, this is about 45 mins work. 

More to follow!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

So, battery all charged up, and after a few minutes reading up about repeaters and how to negociate the complicated menu system on the Baofeng, I programmed it for  the GB3NI repeater up on the craigantlet hills (54.617591 / -5.810721), about 10 Km away and clearly visible from the upstairs windows on a clear day.

And within a couple of minutes had my first QSO with 2I0HRV, Tommy in Carrickfergus.  3 km closer than the repeater....... but still! 

after a few minutes chatting I noticed that the rubber duck antenna was getting warm.....  I HAVE ordered another, longer, antenna so hopefully it'll sort that and improve the signal too, but so far, nothing to camplain about at all!!

a few more contacts, all mobiles, through the afternoon, so I'm happy!!


In 1984 I was in 6th form, studying for my A-levels.  Technical Design & Graphic Communication, Biology and Physics.  I was also an avid CBer, and living on a farm I had space to play with when it came to antenna possibilities, and regularly built my own, including wire dipoles, a 4 element yagi beam (mounted on a pole dropped inside a sawn off grain silo leg, tethered with a piece of string for direction control) and a 5/8 omni made from a snapped off GP27 ½ wave antenna, 15 feet of 3 core copper wire and an aluminium shower curtain rail.  With a Ham Multimode 11 and a Stalker 9 I had contacts all over Europe, central America and the USA. 

On the back of this, along with a pal, Tom Cox, I went two nights a week to Bangor technical college to study for the City & Guilds Radio Amateur exam.  We did the work, and we both passed.  And we both forgot about it.  I haven’t seen Tom in over 20 years and I have no idea if he ever got a licence….. maybe once I’m on the air I’ll find him…..

Next step was naturally enough ebay where I found a job lot of CB kit.  I bought it and sold on the other bits and ended up with a few bits left over…….  Then I bought a 5/8 silver rod antenna…… and cobbled together a power supply from a PC………  and since I was there, CB is now u8nlicenced, so I’m free to go play!!


While rummaging in the roof space looking for a platter for a school function I found an envelope with a bunch of certificates, including my RAE cert.  well, I thought…. I wonder…… so a bit of googling and I find that it’s still valid and I can cash it in against a full Ham licence!  So off it goes in the post..........

Time for another wander into eBay land because back in the 80s, the untimate object of desire in radio terms was the Yaesu 101ZD.  EVERYONE wanted one, but they were serious money, and I was a school kid, and therefore skint!

NOW I see that 101s of various suffix are going for under £200.  I already have a guitar on ebay to sell, which will hopefully fund a purchase in this direction!  I never had much interest in VHF because there was little or no skip involved, but I see now that used sets are as cheap as used CBs…….. Hmmmmmmmmm…..

 then I spot the buzz about a tiny little handset from China called the Baofeng UV-5R.  covering 2m and 70cm as well as a whole lot of other stuff besides.......

delivered new with an extra big battery for £42.........

wouldn't it be great if there was a radio ready to use when my callsign arrives?


so, yesterday, the Baofeng arrives.  it's about 1/4 the size I was expecting it to be, and I spent the afternoon listening to a 2m net through the Belfast GB3NI repeater   and even a little listen into the folks chasing shoplifters in Belfast up on 453.775......

sounds great but I want on air!!!!!

so today I phoned OFCOM and a very pleasant lady there told me that my callsign had been issued and should have already arrived.  she'd resend it, but in the meantime......

MI∅OIM is all mine!!!

now to get some antennas built!!!!!