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Messages - Andywragg

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Radio Reviews, Questions and Comments. / Re: Got my 1st CW rig
« on: May 23, 2018, 01:55:35 AM »
That's a real bargain, well done.

Antennas / Re: Mounting Antenna for NVIS vs DX operation ?
« on: May 18, 2018, 05:24:06 PM »
Hi Gil,

The design I'm using is a Ham design, based on the military version. Its actually from DXEngineering (see my link earlier). To be fair I was only there, set up  for about an hour before it started to rain, so chances are with a bit more time on station I would have probably got a contact.

The FT-817 that I had on loan has now gone back to the owner and he's traded it for an FT-897 so my /P activities are somewhat curtailed until I can get my uBITX finished, and I'm still waiting for the case to arrive, or even be shipped. Alternatively I could go /P with the FT-450 and operate from the car but that would mean dismantling the shack.

Antennas / Re: Random wire antennas and tuners
« on: May 18, 2018, 05:12:37 PM »
I saw the other post earlier during my lunch break.

I'm assuming you haven't done this already...

The first thing I would do is take the wires off the "bobbin" PCB and using a multimeter  (set to check continuity) check the continuity between the BNC Outer and counterpoise bolt, and the BNC inner and the main radiator wire bolt. Also check for shorts across the BNC outer and inner. Do this in ALL switch positions, as you may have a faulty switch or you could have a dry joint on one of the toroids. I normally do these checks as part of the build.

Once you have verified the continuity of the PCB check the continuity of the wires, mainly the main radiator wire, but also the 4 counterpoise wires. Do the same check with your Coax feeder (Inner/outer/short test).

Lastly check your radio and tuner with a dummy load.

I scratch built mine and its pretty damned good for a homebrew antenna. No tuner required on any of the bands. And all I did was copy the QRP Guys schematic in the manual. But until I'd got the meter beeping on everything but the short tests I didn't hook it up to the radio.

Hope this helps


Antennas / Re: Mounting Antenna for NVIS vs DX operation ?
« on: May 14, 2018, 07:24:48 AM »
Nice link Andy, something g like that could be made up, rolled around your support mast and be slung in the car, ready made to guy out.....

I wonder what itís also like for dx when pushed up higher - and the wires are more vertical ?

This is me testing it out the other weekend.

Batteries & Solar / 18650 battery testing
« on: May 11, 2018, 08:48:04 AM »
So off the back of my 18650 bulk purchase, i thought I'd better get some means of testing them.

First of all I ordered one of these;

It came the other day, and I havent had chance to use it yet, but I kind f had a WTF moment when I thought about how long it would take me to process 40 cells using this device.

I also thought about how to charge them to enable the tests. I do have a number of the individual cell chargers that you get with the cheap ebay flash lights. I also have on of of the Xtar smart 2 cell chargers but that has developed a problem where only one cell charges.

I looked a couple of videos from guys that are processing a good number of cells and they are using the Opus BT-C3100 charger and tester.  So I've got a pair of them (the V2.2 version) on order from GearBest. This will allow me to test 8 cells concurrently, and also allow me to charge other cell types and chemistrys (secret switch inside alters the max charge voltage).

Obviously at some point i need to consider the solar aspect but this will do for the QTH. Once the chargers arrive I'll get busy testing the cells out and keep you posted.

Batteries & Solar / Re: Salvaging old Notebook battery
« on: May 10, 2018, 02:33:11 AM »

Anyway, if your cell wont load because the Voltage is too low, attach it parallel to a charged cell for few seconds and then put it in the regular charger again. Saw that on yt, seems to work.

Via TapaTalk

You don't really want to do this as without any load between the cells, you could end up toasting both cells. Use a resistor to throttle the in rush current.

Batteries & Solar / Re: Salvaging old Notebook battery
« on: May 08, 2018, 08:51:22 AM »
Cell voltages recover slightly when you take the load off.

Mine have arrived, not so many as I expected the ones in the advert appear to be the kind with 6-8 cells, as these packs are all 4S (rather than 3S2P or 4S2P) but they all appear to be at least 2500mAH so as long as I can get some usable ones out of them I'll be happy.

I'll take a look at that BMS.

Batteries & Solar / Re: Salvaging old Notebook battery
« on: May 08, 2018, 03:44:39 AM »
My Job lot of 10 HP laptop batteries arrives today. Let's see how many good cells I can harvest.

BTW what BMS is that?

Technical Corner / Re: Armored BitX40.
« on: May 02, 2018, 08:47:01 AM »
I've had the uBITX for some time now (just over a month) and have yet to make a start on it. I bought a pair of those plastic Banggood enclosures dirt cheap and started to mark out ready for cutting the face and rear plates but have had a change of heart and ordered one of those custom uBITX cases from India. $60 inc shipping for a pre-cut/drilled, painted grey aluminium case (note the correct spelling folks LOL) with a few extra connectivity bits included. Hopefully it should be here within a fortnight.

Antennas / Re: Mounting Antenna for NVIS vs DX operation ?
« on: April 27, 2018, 05:48:43 PM »
Hi and Welcome.

I'm in IO93 (South East Sheffield) I tried my NVIS  X-Pole (2 inverted V dipoles at 90 deg to each other) last weekend and didn't get 1 contact all afternoon. I'm using an old military design for the antenna with the centre/balun at 15feet AGL. The dipole wires are cut for 25' (40m) and 37' (80m), 4 wires in total. The radio is a Yaesu FT-817. The trouble with NVIS is that any receiving station also has to be working NVIS propagation to pick you up - or so I've been led to believe. 

Maybe we could work on a sched to try and establish a net. The trouble with 40m is that it's very popular with contesters at weekends and trying to find a clear frequency is a challenge to say the least. I found 80m to be really quiet from a noise/QRN POV.

Batteries & Solar / Kingsolar Panels -- Any good for emcom?
« on: April 27, 2018, 06:02:33 AM »
What it says on the tin guys. I have come into a little money and would like to get a panel for my radio and other tech. Does anyone here have any experience with Kingsolar products?

So has the challenge been set yet or am I having an (early) senior moment?

Digital Modes / Re: FT8 digital comms mode
« on: April 10, 2018, 06:06:38 AM »
Hi Gil,

It's installed I have yet to try it out though (APRS Messenger). BTW, all of my observed landfall so far has been well past your QTH, I only just got France in the log last night but that was JN23WD. I'm not finished testing the shorter bands (17m and up) so hopefully that might yield some shorter contacts. 

Finland on the other hand is well within my sights and I've already worked an OH station, just not the RIGHT OH station.....

Digital Modes / Re: FT8 digital comms mode
« on: April 10, 2018, 05:41:37 AM »
Now I've proven my QTH installation after several days of successful FT-8 operation I'm going to have a go at one of the live chat modes.  I found FT-8 very useful in being able to spot the landfall of my signals (using PSFKReporter), using a couple of bands at different times of day. And in establishing contact with other stations but as you say we need to be able to pass more information than location and signal reports.

Rather than ruling out any 1 mode I think using a combination of (for instance) FT-8 to establish a net  (probably to a prearranged sched) followed by a period of time passing live traffic using a live chat mode, would work to some degree.

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