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Messages - scarr

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Antennas / Re: My Take on The NVIS X-Pole
« on: January 20, 2018, 07:45:33 AM »
Nice work Andy - I'm working on something similar, basically a doublet cut for 80M with the legs in an Inverted-V config, also working from a 6M flag pole.

My yard is only 11M long, so this will mean putting a backpack on and finding a field!

It would be great to try and organise a sked at some point, since we're at a low ebb in the solar cycle, working other Irish or UK stations on HF is a real challenge. I think the low 1/2 wave doublet for 80M should allow it.

I don't intend operating in the dead of night, otherwise I'd probably need to look at 160M... that would be fun trying to set up.

General Discussion / Re: Crowd Funding The Perfect Survival Radio?
« on: January 06, 2018, 07:36:06 PM »
That's great Andy! I have ordered one too. Over time I'm hoping to be able to put a tuner, NESCAF filter and battery in the case, so the only wires outside will be for the key, headphones and antenna

I've got an aluminium tin that came with a present, which I'm going to use as the test enclosure. If everything works and goes well with that, I'll look at getting something a bit more solid afterwards.

The tin is gold coloured, so it's going to look eh.... interesting...  even without my dodgy slicing and dicing for the display etc  ;D

General Discussion / Re: Crowd Funding The Perfect Survival Radio?
« on: January 02, 2018, 05:15:48 PM »
Farhan is an RF wizard - he'll design and build the magic circuitry, but it's probably for another enterprising soul to make rugged aftermarket cases - there are nice desktop cases made for other members of the BitX range:

Ideally I'd love stackable components what would click on to the case e.g. ATU/Battery/amp/empty cases to roll your own add ons.

As others here have found out - loose wires are a pain in the butt and prone to failure in the field/backyard.

General Discussion / Re: Crowd Funding The Perfect Survival Radio?
« on: January 01, 2018, 04:10:20 PM »
For me (ymmv) the 817 is a great compromise due to its low cost, small size, available bands and modes.

Yes current draw is an issue if it's your sole radio - but, I think the issue is somewhat overstated: current draw in my experience is around 350mAh. Compared to a MTR trx, this is absolutely huge, but, the FT817 is not an MTR. How about comparing it to the Clansman RT320?

RT320 = 24 volts * 175mAh = 4.2 Watts for RX. Pro: 30 Watts out. Extremely rugged. Con: Big and weighs 5kg without battery or other options. 
FT817 = 12 volts * 350mAh = 4.2 Watts for RX. Pro: Small and weighs 1kg. Con: Max 5 Watts out. Not nearly as rugged.

In short, the 817 is a lot easier to carry around on your back - it's far from perfect, but given the choice it's what I have picked.

If I really was concerned about having a long term, portable, backup HF SSB rx capability, I'd have a relatively inexpensive radio like the Tecsun PL660, which will run off AA's for an eternity.

Elecraft radios are lovely but they cost a fortune in the EU. If I was taking part in SOTA, I'd grab an MTR.

I will be picking up a ubitx shortly, the plan being to put it in a rugged case and make a poor mans PRC320 :)

(A more detailed description of the 817's RX power consumption is available here: - which demonstrates that it's possible to power the 817 on RX at 7.5V, with 290mAh drain, for an effective power consumption of just 2.18W.)

I'm going to pick up one of these in the New Year.. would love to put it in a rugged case with built in ZM-3 tuner and a NEScaf filter..

Net Activity / Re: Radio Vacation and Update.
« on: September 21, 2017, 06:43:56 AM »
Will you be on the air today Gil?

Technical Corner / Re: Pro and Con of Various QRP Rigs as survival radios
« on: September 02, 2017, 07:03:04 PM »
Watertight radio would be nice but not a must have for me - if it will fit in a small watertight case.

I've been looking at getting a MTR 3b lately and had been thinking about mounting it with a ZM-2 tuner, 8AA battery pack and morse key semi permanently in a small watertight case like this:

I'd route the cables inside so that the only cables running externally would be the feedline and headphones.

Thinking about it more, I hate the fact that the radios themselves don't have an inbuilt SWR meter and it's making me reconsider the whole idea. I've had occasions where when listening with a resonant antenna everything seemed to be fine, but upon keying up, the SWR reading was off the scale - be it coax/connector issues, whatever. Using a tuner in-line with a resonant antenna is just going to result in pointless losses - maybe a tiny amount, but needless.

I dunno. The ideal radio is not out there, but the PFR-3B is the closest.

Net Activity / Re: Global Radio Relay Network
« on: September 01, 2017, 06:15:25 AM »
Yep, this discussion has also led me to RRI - very interesting and they're up and running now.

I think it's a good idea to get acquainted with their operating procedures and listening to them work.

After a while we may see that our focus is different than theirs and decide to set up our own group, or subgroup, but they are definitely an organisation to look to first.

Net Activity / Re: On the air..
« on: August 31, 2017, 08:12:33 AM »
Conditions are good today - 40M working for NVIS, 20M great for EU contacts... let me know if any of you plan to be on the air

Morse Code / Re: Q Codes, Z Codes and Battery Life
« on: August 30, 2017, 04:41:30 PM »
I love RadioRay and cockpitbobs Q-Codes - I can't see myself forgetting QPP in a hurry  ;D

SOS has two less well known cousins in radiotelegraphy - XXX and TTT.

XXX is the equivalent to PAN PAN - it's an urgent/important message (you can still hear this in use of HF by Russian military CW stations)
TTT  is the morse equivalent to a SÚcuritÚ voice message - it's a safety message/advisory

They're easy to remember and useful, but eh, unfortunately I think a lot of people would get the wrong idea if you started calling XXX on the ham bands!

Morse Code / That's a paddlin...
« on: August 30, 2017, 04:29:40 PM »
Folks - I've been licensed since late 2012 and have been using CW since then. I actually learned CW before I got my license, basically I had wanted to understand morse code for years and I figured if I could motivate myself to learn CW, then I could learn the syllabus to get licensed. It wasn't a requirement, just something I wanted to do.

But in all that time, I've used straight keys. With the talk of our relay net, I'm thinking about getting a paddle.

Does anyone have a recommendation?

I'd like something reasonably priced, that works nicely and would be suitable for portable operations - so something that doesn't weigh as much as my FT817, but is durable.

I have a Palm straight key and while it's very nice to use, I have concerns over its durability.

Net Activity / Re: Global Radio Relay Network
« on: August 30, 2017, 11:00:26 AM »
That's a good idea - I was initially thinking that contacts should have to be made using off grid power, but we want people to participate and any emergency, bar a total collapse, will leave the grid up in some/most regions - so there's no point in excluding people.

Simple map legend would suffice: 

Green    =  Battery + Solar/Wind
Blue      =  Battery + Generator/Car
Yellow  =  Battery only
Red       =  Mains only

Net Activity / Re: Global Radio Relay Network
« on: August 30, 2017, 07:11:28 AM »
RETRO Net: Resilient Emergency Telegraphy Radio Operators Network... CQ RETRO... play on using old school operating systems - that still work.

I was not aware of the Cascadia Rising exercise - brilliant information and thank you for sharing with us.

Net Activity / Re: Global Radio Relay Network
« on: August 29, 2017, 06:55:33 PM »
Sounds really good to me Gil.

Fallback/secondary paths are a great idea - I know where I am and given my antenna limitations, it's generally easier for me to contact stations in Germany or Poland, than reach next door into the UK - and those continental stations could serve as relay for me, or I could serve as a relay for them.

I'm in IO63. 40M and up.

Net Activity / Re: Global Radio Relay Network
« on: August 28, 2017, 06:25:50 PM »
My 2 cents:

1: If we were going to make this work, the first step is agreed net monitoring times/frequencies and it doesn't have to be worldwide at one time, on one frequency.

2: In my opinion, I think it's a mistake to narrow such a net to CW only and I say that as someone who operates 90% CW. Disasters, emergencies, etc. come in all scales. Not utilising data modes means not practicing and testing a skillset that is going to be preferable in passing information for the most likely scenarios. Likewise, that doesn't mean we shouldn't use CW, or SSB, or FM or anything that works. They all have a role to play imo.

This will live or die based on the number of people involved - we need to include the largest number of people possible.

But those are just my opinions, in short I'm willing to try and participate in this - whatever way it develops.

Call it the battery net - that's one thing I think we all have in common  ;)

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