|Posted on January 10, 2011 at 5:55 AM||comments (1)|
Gosh - two entries in two months! - I must be off work sick again.
Quite true actually, and I truly find these "bloggers" who manage to update daily inspirational. Sure, I've got a lot to say (always have done) but I doubt it will be of interest to many. Perhaps I might add another page to the site showcasing my other hobbies as I tend to drift from one to another.
My latest hobby, well not really a hobby, but more of a lifestyle change is walking - rambling to be more specific! I recently joined the local ramblers group in order to get fit and maintain strength and weightloss. I'm not going to count losing weight as a hobby as that is just a necessary evil really, and unless you're into the occult and devil worship that can hardly be classed as a hobby or pastime!!
I have combined my hobbies - sometimes several of them at once! As I now include Walking, birding, radio, photography and Sunderland Football Club (watching) more often than not I can include seeing birds on high ground whilst playing radio - often with splendid views for photography, for example. Or how about a nice walk to a high point with a SOTA kit in my backpack.
Not sure where the footy fits in. Perhaps my idea of trying to gain a bit of street-cred? - nah! not with Sunderland! - I would have had to come up with something a bit more convincing than that really....
|Posted on December 1, 2010 at 12:31 PM||comments (0)|
How do people manage to keep blogs up to date? - I never seem to have the time. I think, as I have mentioned before I have too many hobbies, and too little time. On the plus side I am now only 19 years from retirement! - actually that is not a plus at at all - it means I am getting old!
So the latest plan is to streamline the shack inb a bid to have a one with gear that actually gets used, rather than a pretty showcase for black boxes with bright lights. I plan to remove them all and put them inrto storage, with 1 scanner, 1 HF radio and a dualbander for 2&70 (FM only).
2&70 SSB can be kept for those portable hill-top trips in better weather. - I can/will rotate radios to ensure they all get some use. I may even have to do the unthinkable and sell some of them - especially some of the older models, but that is probably an over-reaction.
I have a discone antenna (Uniden Bearcat 785)
Diamond X50 (Yaesu FT7800)
G5RV & I-Pro portable (in garden). - Yaesu FT1000MP
Oh and a D-Star radio with access to local repeater.
That little lot will hopefully keep me entertained and bring some fun back to the hobby as i go for the "less-is-more" approach.
Even the Christmas Radcom couldn't tempt me! despite them nice Christmassy sparkly adverts lol.
|Posted on July 2, 2010 at 3:36 PM||comments (0)|
Finished up with a homebase radio while the whole plan for this month was to add a portable antenna for 6m use circumstances meant that never happened! I also enquired about a few other bits and pieces but never got a reply from my favourite emporium (W&S) in fairness, they were at Friedrichshafen last weekend. I'm still looking for a drive-on mast and probably 20ft of pole and I think that will complete the portable kit for now. It also means my poor old FT857 will see the light of day again as a 2m/70cm multimode.
Quicker the world cup is over the better!
|Posted on June 13, 2010 at 8:59 AM||comments (0)|
Finally got out portable properly for the first time in forever. Drove into the County Durham hills towards a usual haunt and en-route discovered another one! Not as far to travel and just as remote. Of course with HF the surroundings hills are not such a problem. VHF might need a bit more care though.
I was trying out my new I-Pro portable 3m vertical dipole (see my review on latest links) but what struck me was how peaceful and qite it was up there - not just the surrounding area, but the radio was without noise, QRM PLT static - I guess it is so much part of our daily lives now that it really hits home when you are portable and using battery power and nothing to plug in.
The only noise in the vicinity was from the bird life. I am also a birder, so that was very acceptable to me. The ground up there is very good for Grouse - and indeed Red Grouse were seen. I also had the evocative call of Curlew - clearly nesting in the vicinity and the haunting call of Golden Plover the smae. Added to that the odd Meadow Pipit and it was a case of who needs Springwatch!
I've never thought about this combining of hobbies before, and as a third hobby is photography it would be quite easy to tie three pastimes together. The danger there though would be me wandering off looking for birds while the radio stay quiet. Hmm rething required.
|Posted on June 5, 2010 at 1:27 PM||comments (0)|
This month's Radcom duly (July edition) arrived and on P70 was a fantastic review for a new(ish) portable antenna - a centre-fed vertical dipole standing at 3m (10ft) tall. Moreover, the antenna requires no radial or earthing system, so was immediately earmarked for portable duties.
Further inspection reveals it uses capacitive loading and minimum inductance to keep losses low. A capacitive hat tunes the antenna simply and without fuss. No ATU needed at all - It means my analyser may get some use, but a small price to pay. I can hereby officilly confirm it is idiot-proof. Yes, even I managed to tune it 1.5 or better across all bands. If desired, individual or "spot" frequencies can be tuned too!
|Posted on May 9, 2010 at 8:27 AM||comments (1)|
Spent most of yesterday trying to avoid being blown off a hill! Although pretty to look at, and a very sunny day, at around 1700ft those North Pennine hills are extremely windy! - The reason for the trip was to try out a 9ft whip antenna. At times its appearance resmbled a loop such was the ferocity of the wind and the flexibilty of the top section! Paradoxically (is that a word?) once inside the vehicle, the wind was gone and the sun warmed the car. Such is the joys of hill-topping.
I struggled to light the stove for the kettle - well it lit, but the wind savaged the flame. No shelter up there so carefully used the boot of the car!
The 9ft whip works extremely well on RX - not so sure about TX, but I was using a mere 4w from the Maycom and it seemed everyone I spoke to used a whole lot more - inc. those who couldn't hear me! - Oh well.
|Posted on April 11, 2010 at 7:43 AM||comments (0)|
Have recently begun and overhaul of the shack. Even having a full room is just too little space! I have already started spreading into other rooms, so now, and inventory check is required! - it may even result in some of the gear being boxed and put into storage as quite simply there is insufficient time and space for everything.
This way I get to rotate radios. Meaning one is put away to make way for another - means I can continue my policy of collectiong radios and not having to sell. I also find I have 1 45A PSU and 4x 20A+ PSU's which are not sufficient to run all my radios, let alone antennas & feeds.
Plan is a more structured approach might even see some of the stuff being used instead of the "kid-in-a-sweetie-shop" approach which is all well and good within reason.
|Posted on March 15, 2010 at 10:53 AM||comments (0)|
I have never tried this band - I have only briefly listened on 4m with a scanner listening to a local talking to another local - dunno why they used 4m when both 2 & 70cm are dead in this location.
Ayway, an old radio friend has invited me to accompany him at the end of March to the 70Mzh UKAC contest. As it is only a short drive away to a local hill, seems like a good way to spend an evening. If nothing else, I can keep the log! I may even purchase a 4m FM set to help give these intrepid activators a few points.
|Posted on December 27, 2009 at 1:41 PM||comments (0)|
A year since my last update - shameful - too much time on the internet. Too many hobbies...... I added two more to them in the past year - Fly Fishing, but I'm no JR Hartley - problem with this is I am not a lover of trout or salmon to eat, and the terrain where it takes place is more suited to birding or birdwatching. Probably my greatest passion!
Radio has taken a back seat - I listen more than anything these days, as posted elsewhere, I have added a digital interface to enhance the hobby or listening/receive side of it. RTTY, PSK31, SSTV & even CW if so inclined all on a small well-crafted bit of kit - see links for Alan's website (M0AQC)
I also tried the Norfolk Broads for the first time - so much so have booked again for June with a crew of 5! - something from the "I-always-wanted-to-do-but-never-got-around-to" list. A great way of relaxing and letting the world go by with a maximum speed on the river of 3-6 mph - depending on what stretch.
Next year I plan to do more birding, photography and travel in my new car - might even throw a bit portable/hilltopping in - a great excuse to get out of the shack and get some fresh air and leave planning problems and neighbours behind!
|Posted on January 13, 2009 at 1:33 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on September 21, 2008 at 2:28 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on June 26, 2008 at 12:01 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on June 24, 2008 at 6:47 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted on June 22, 2008 at 6:43 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted on June 17, 2008 at 12:35 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on June 9, 2008 at 11:46 AM||comments (0)|
Well over the weekend I was in the vicinity (purchasing a new laptop for stepdaughter as it goes) of Argos. Not the first choice as a radio store but it was very much a spur of the moment purchase and I got me an internet radio - now have many thousands of radio stations at my fingertips - great fun for about �70 - A Bush 2015WIFI. Yes I know they are available free of charge online, but this is wireless - connects to existing wifi and much more convenient.
Also arrived this morning - were 1000 freshly-printed QSL cards. I've also added the CobbWebb antenna to the list of possibilities!
|Posted on June 6, 2008 at 2:47 PM||comments (0)|
Just noticed - nothing added for a while. Nothing happened same old same old. I half-heartedly went looking to replace my little Micra - I neither want or need a big car. I looked at a Citroen C1 - I loved the idea of �35 tax and well over 60mpg if driven sensibly. Sadly, said Citroen even at the bargain price of �5995 was just too small. Never even had central locking, let alone remote central locking. Made the Micra look like a stretch Limo!
Not really radio related, but it will play the central role in future mobile/portable ops. A camper van was suggested by my father, but it would really only be used for radio play and therefore not the best idea.
Still I've narrowed my search down to approx a dozen "Superminis" - main criteria is 50mpg plus!
Still undecided about vertical antenna for home/portable use - decisions decisions. Will have to make one soon though!
|Posted on May 27, 2008 at 10:35 PM||comments (0)|
Being off work for 5 weeks now - and probably at least another 4 weeks to go (at least!) might sound like fun, but boredom and a constant round of hospital, dietician, diabetic nurse etc. as well as daily visits to the treatment room, home visits etc. It's not as I'd hoped.
Fortunately I have full pay - meaning I have more to spend on toys & gadgets. Have purchased 3 radios in the last few weeks and now looking for a multi-band HF antenna for home and portable use - at least I have time to search and research.
|Posted on May 26, 2008 at 10:20 PM||comments (0)|
It's no fun having a shack full of radios, and plenty left over to use mobile and/or portable. Sure. it is fun collecting them (until the credit card bill arrives - ouch!) but ultimately I will need to find an antenna which covers plenty of the bands and is a good compromise between performance and keeping neighbours happy - as well as the local planners.
I'm torn between 3 antennas at present.
The CobbWebb manufactured commercially by G3TPW covering 10/12/15/17&20m - �260
Sandpiper's MV6+3 - covers 6/10/12/15/17/20/30/40&80m shortened vertical - �125
Force 12's Sigma 5 - almost �350 for a 9ft vertical which apparently really works. Ideal for small locations, no groundplanes or earthing required, easily assembled and dismantled for portability and packs down into a tiny space to throw in the car.
There are many advantages and disadvantages for all antennas. Main ones are the compromise MV6+3 requires earth spike and or radials - in my experience satisfaction won't follow (just my experience).
The CobbWebb - a tired and trusted nest of 5 dipoles has much to recommend it except the optimum height of 33ft (half a wavelength of 20m) which means upsetting neighbours or the expense of a mast/tower affair.
The Sigma 5 seems only hampered by the cost! - almost treble the price of the Sandpiper.
Hope choosing a portable 2m and 6m get-up isn't so difficult!