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Topics - solaris0121

Antennas / Tent Pole antenna - could it work ?
January 24, 2019, 03:53:40 am
I do a bit of wild / ultralight camping with a mate of mine and have been thinking about antenna solutions when up on the hills.  I got to wondering, if I had a small QRP CW rig in my bag, but no way of setting up an antenna, would the metal tent pole tune up for emergency use ?  Imagine you are caught in a snow storm on top of a mountain and have to get into your tent quickly......

My tent has a single folding aluminium lightweight pole, about 9 feet long, that arcs from one end to the other, im sure a Z Match type tuner would tune it up ok.... although it wont be particularly resonant so close to the ground and being so short.  But who knows ?  You only need one person to hear your distress call.

So if any of you are off camping, be sure to give it a try and report back.... im off in a few weeks hopefully to North Wales and will give it a little try.  Possibly worthwhile as an experiment.
I'm officially excited - I emailed Hans at QRP labs about current draw - although he wouldnt commit to an answer he did say he was working on getting it as low as possible.

The perfect prepper radio ?
Ive been thinking (dangerous I know !)  - I'd like a QRP portable end fed halfwave thats reasonably short - so the 40m band to 10m band ones seem perfect for when I'm out camping and hiking (being about 20 metres long).   Very manageable and easy to sling up over a tree or with a mast.   But I also really want to be able to work 80m as well.......  So now Im wondering is there a way to get a 20metre wire resonating on the 80m band ?

Maybe a bypass switch on the feeder box that ?  maybe a coil that can be switched into the circuit.   If the end is high up wired to a tree then the match box will be closer to the radio, so flicking a switch is quite easy.  So , over to you technical bods to discuss the possibilities !!!  I dont mind a bit of higher SWR, as long as its about 2.5:1 or lower, I can fix the rest with a z match tuner.   Interested to hear your thoughts if something like this is possible.

Nabbed an eBay bargain I think - £207 for a mint mountain topper mtr4b, a new palm paddle, SOTABeams mountain tuner, qrp guys tuner kit, mini speaker, 20m SOTABeams efhw 20m antenna and a 7m SOTABEAMS pole..... phew... and after all that, he threw in a wonder wand tuner and telescopic antenna.  Chuffed to bits.... the guy lost interest and wanted rid of it all.

The radio is a lot smaller than it looks in the photos and easy to use..... I'm still learning the code so more of a push now to get on and have a 1st qso.
So I've decided I really want an mtr4b...... but I'm struggling with the fact that it won't take over 12 volts like most others do.  Being able to plug into a car battery would be a key factor for the "prepper" side of my brain

Can it be modded easily ?  I was thinking I could add a second power socket for 13.8 volts but not sure exactly what parts are needed to drop the voltage.  I'd like to add a couple of banana plug/screw terminals for easy field use.  I'd keep the original power socket for smaller batteries and maybe add a switch to flip between them ?

Love to hear your thoughts.  Regards, sean.
Morse Code / Finally Started learning CW
May 02, 2018, 03:57:03 am
I passed my Foundation several weeks ago and seem to be drawn more and more towards CW (I notice when the bands look dead on my PRC320, theres always some CW down there in the mix).  Ive ordered a QCX 40m kit that should arrive very soon.  No going back now.

I should say its been largely encouraged from watching Gil's videos and seeing the logical arguaments laid out - and of course his clear passion for the mode.  But lets not blow too much smoke up his derriere  ;D 

I also picked up a free key ( a nice solid WW2 vintage) at radio club last week, and also from Ebay a couple of used keys, oscillators and the little MFJ practice box , with the built in speaker and LCD.

So far, i know several letters by sound - ive set the letter speed to 25wpm (hardcore!! lol )  and delivering around 15 wpm (lightweight) total to give me enough space in between.  The MFJ trainer is quite useful walking around the park, it just plays and plays (unlike my iPhone apps).  Ive been listening at bedtime while reading, not with a view to deliberately trying to pick out the letters, just letting my brain take in the speed of the dits and dahs...... tuning my ear in to the speed.  Its a niuce surprise when a letter pops into your head without thinking about it.  My little tecsun receiver sits on the office table if im working from home during the day and i tune in on 40m to the CW bands and have a listen.

I play classical guitar (badly self taught) and its a little like that - 2 months ago I decided to learn Cavatina (the deer hunter).  Its way above my level but I wanted a challenge and the first few days my brain just didnt know where to put my fingers and everything was a muddle.  I thought at 1st , this is impossible !  Its just not physically possible to move your fingers to those positions and do it at any kind of speed.  But several weeks later, I can just do a passable version of the song (someone listening would recognise it, but probably ask me to stop playing  :) )   Now my fingers just drop to the right place, my brain is thinking 3 steps ahead, the fingers are almost doing their own thing in the background - good old muscle memory !

So learning CW is the same I'm betting - its just a case of taking that "its impossible - how can I ever do this ?" brain set and just slowly working through it..... bit by bit..... letter by letter...  From the chaos, order will come.

I'll update in a few weeks where things have progressed to.

Atb, Sean.
I tried a little experiment yesterday - I made up a little wire from my clansman radio that connects into the outer braid of my tv aerial socket, so I can use the co-ax cable that runs up the side my house onto the roof as an HF antenna.

It worked - kind of...... I didnt have enough time to try any contacts.   But more importantly,  its good to have it as an option in case a time ever came when i might need to get rid of the antennas in the garden that can be seen by everyone.  Or a time when I might be out and about or staying at a relatives house.   I'd be interested to hear if others could try it and let us know what results you get - maybe arrange a CW or SSB sked one morning or evening with everyone plugged into their tv aerial stealth antennas !!!! that would be a blast.

(PS - make sure your aerial isnt plugged into any kind of distribution system (active or passive) in case you pick up some nasty voltage or static that fries your radio)
Hi guys, my 1st post here as newly licenced ham in the UK (M6OLR).  I have a couple of PRC-320 radios ive had for a while and with the new licence i installed a 5band EFHW antenna from the chimney to a pole down the garden.

I noticed on 20m and 40m i dont really pick up any local stations in the UK and I understand to do this I need to mount the antenna for NVIS use.  As I understand it, is this simply a case of LOWERING the antenna and ensuring its horizontal ? *eg to fence height, a metre or so off the floor. 

Im thinking that when im out and about portable i will get a 3 band EFHW and use a fishing pole with it mounted vertically for DX and horizontal (low down) for NVIS - or is it more complex than this ?  Tactically, I like the option to change my radiation pattern when out in the field portable.

Interested to hear your thoughts...... M6OLR