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Topics - Andywragg

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General Discussion / Passed my Intermediate Exam last night!!
« on: June 28, 2018, 04:22:43 AM »
What it says above. Did quite well with the questions, only dropped one out of 45.

Just got to wait 10 days now (for the 6 working day grace period) before I can get my 2E0 or 2E1 callsign, and start to use a bit more power on my QSO's. I can also then complete the TX testing of my uBITX.

Happy Days.

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 / 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?

General Discussion / Just got my long promised Yaesu 450AT
« on: March 28, 2018, 11:05:27 AM »
Hi Guys,

Finally I have a decent HF (+6m) base/portable radio system to use. I picked up a used FT450AT from the radio club last night. One of the old members has been silent key for 6 years and the surviving family have been meaning to clear the shack ever since. I had been told it was just a FT450 but on collection from the family it turned out to have had the AT fitted as well. It's in great condition as it hasn't been used much since 2007 (it wasn't used for nearly 2 years before the poor chap went SK). I've paid 250 for it in it's original box, with power cable and standard mic.

Just need to sort out a permanent place for it in my shack now, plus create a cable duct trough the outside wall, and install an RF earth link to the patio outside. Going to use a piece of RG8 shorted at the earth end with a 0.02uf 1KV capacitor at the other end to prevent the earth link radiating. I also need to put up a horizontal delta loop to use as the antenna. Going to be a busy easter weekend.

VHF and Above / New Toy - TYT MD-380
« on: February 16, 2018, 02:38:30 PM »
My MD-380 (non GPS Variant) arrived today via the slow boat from China. Ordered and dispatched on 19th January.

First impressions.

It's built pretty solid, although I don't care for the belt clip being mounted to the battery pack so much. If I buy another battery, I'll need to buy another belt clip also, so I'm not swapping them over all the time and wearing out the screw threads.

I've loaded the KD4Z MD-380 tools (firmware) to enhance the GUI and applied a code plug developed by one of my club members.

I've tested access to my local digital (DMR) and analogue repeaters and all seems to be in order. Good clear n crisp audio, and good reports into the analogue repeater front end (via the guy that hosts the unit).  These repeaters are co-located about 10 miles away on the other side of the city. Signal in the house on the hand held is poor unless I go and sit on the other side of the house to where my shack is. I could plug the HT into my X50 col-linear but I don't want to mess about unplugging my Leixen vv-898S. 

I may invest in a hot spot at some point to improve coverage in the house.

One of my club mates demo'd his hot spot the other night. His hot spot runs off a USB power bank with a solar panel attached and uses the data connection on his phone. The phone links to the hotspot via wifi. All in all a nice little set up and it uses very little data from his allocated tariff.

If any of you overseas chaps fancy a chat at some point let me know and we can arrange something. I'm still learning about Zones,  time slots and colour codes, so please be patient.

General Discussion / Had my first solo /P contest yesterday
« on: February 05, 2018, 12:44:52 PM »
Hi Guys

I took part in the RSGB 70cm AFS Super League contest yesterday. Using a borrowed FT817 and a ZL Special 12 element beam yagi with one of the 3m tripod stands I use with the band for the lighting gantry.

I managed 33 QSO's in the session with my furthest QSO 120kms away. Had a great time but made a few mistakes along the way. I was 417m ASL. I know many of you don't like or partake in the contests, but since joining the local club it's been good experience for me, helping me with civilian radio etiquette and to get to know the local operators in my area and beyond.

Here's a short video I made of the experience.

Antennas / Been Given a Windcamp WA-4 Balun.
« on: January 22, 2018, 07:21:11 AM »
I was at my Radio Club yesterday helping to troubleshoot some interference issues we have on certain bands, and I've been given a balun for the Windcamp WA-4.
The antenna elements and winder are missing but the banana plugs are still there so all I have to do is make a couple of wires up, and terminate them on the balun. The website gratuitously shows the measurements for the elements on its product page.

Does anyone have any experience with this specific antenna?



Antennas / My Take on The NVIS X-Pole
« on: January 19, 2018, 05:37:04 PM »
Hi Folks

Finally finished my attempt at an NVIS antenna for use in the field. Based on a mashup of designs from the military, Commsguy (via another social medium) and a paper by DX Engineering, here it is...(see attachments)

The X-Pole as I'm calling it is good for 80 and 40m and is self supporting. The mast (a lightweight fibreglass 6m telescopic flag pole) threads through the hole in the middle and stops at 15 feet where the diameter of the pole equals the hole in the middle. The 2 inverted V dipoles at 90 degrees support the mast when pegged out at 42 feet from the mast centre.

Made from 6mm Perspex (from my radio club), M6 stainless wing/nuts and bolts, and some bits from SOTABeams, plus a bit of 2mm Grizly Cub cord. I've got 30m of feeder cable to go with it as well, just need to put the BNC ends on it.

I hope to test it out once the weather calms down and gets a little warmer.

Design Doc from DX Enginneering can be found here...



General Discussion / Ordering from QRP Guys
« on: January 15, 2018, 06:02:56 AM »
HI Guys

I placed an order last week from QRP Guys, and got a transaction receipt from Paypal, however I have yet to get any emails from QRP Guys re shipping Etc.

I know Gil has ordered from them before, what was the experience like?

Best regards


General Discussion / Field Radio/SOTA Training Day
« on: December 17, 2017, 08:57:04 AM »
Hi guys,

So yesterday I went to one of the local public areas/parks and did some set up and comms training to identify any weaknesses in my gear and technique. Whilst the gear performed sadly my poor technique was exposed.

Heres the video of the experience



General Discussion / Hi - I'm the new guy M6UAW
« on: December 11, 2017, 11:56:28 AM »
Hi guys, Just received my UK Foundation Callsign over the weekend - M6UAW. I only have FM capability on 2m and 70cm at the moment but looking forward to moving into HF comms when the finances allow.

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