My shack so far. a Yaesu FT817 ng has now joined the line up, but not shown in this picture, which is now out of date again. A new picture will be made sometime soon.
FT 817 and Yaesu
Julia M0LAJ is in the process of knitting a cover for the 817. I was not prepared to give mr Yaesu £20 quid for a plastic cover the didn’t even have a strap attached to it.
Unfortunately Where Yaesu are clever is for example if you buy an FT897 and I do not have a bad word to say to about the radio itself. But the accessories are way beyond a joke.
£100 odd for the Battery, around the same for the charger, £200 ish for the PSU, Nearly £200 for the ATU and it goes on. A £750 radio is just about double that price with all the kit.
Of course Yeasu would say that you can use the radio without these bits and that is true, but only if you already have a PSU and an ATU or even a manual tuner.
But you are still talking an extra £200 odd quid for Battery and charger. Which brings it dangerously close to £1000 which they obviously realise is a psychological Barrier.
Especially as the guts of the radio is an FT-857. The radio that forms the basis of my Go box, and this radio is a good £100 less than the FT 897 in the first place.
I really Like Yaesu radios, but I think they are like all the big manufactures getting way too greedy these days. And this gives the Chinese a loophole which I am sure before long they will exploit.
There can be no doubt that the influx of cheap Chinese HT’s has seriously hurt the sales of HT’s by the big boy. They would be daft to imagine the Chinese will stop at that.
They have already begun to make inroads into mobile radios and HF radios. With HF they have so far contented themselves with QRP radios. but they wont stop here.
BEWARE THIS SITE
I would like to mention this site http://www.hamqth.com/ and I would suggest all radio amateurs check to see if you have had an entry added about you on this site by the site owner.
A friend in Biggin Hill mentioned that this chap was transmitting using RTTY on 2om on a constant loop advertising his site. In this country that is against the rules anyway, but I can’t speak for the rules in the country he is in.
So being curious I went and had a look and to my surprise I found both my call signs were on this site and so were many of my friends. This I would not have minded, but my full postal address and personal details copied from QRZ (He denies this but it has been proved he has filched info from QRZ) and other places and all our full postal addresses were all there out in the open for everyone to see. I did not give this character permission to use my data and as it transpires nor did any of my friends.
Now to cut a long story short I mailed him and asked him to remove all data on me and he did so, reluctantly. I had to ask him twice to remove my m6 call. But I will be checking periodically to make sure my wife’s call sign and details do not appear and nor does the information for our group call. Many people including myself have told him he is treading on eggshells, but he will not listen. He doesn’t seem to care and makes out the people who ask for their calls to be removed as the villains of the peace. Many people wanted him taken to court under European law and he has come very close to being taken that route, but not I hasten to add by me.
I understand you now have to log in to see the full details. but they should not really be there at all, unless added by the call sign owners themselves
The RSGB just did not want to know unsurprisingly , no money in it for them is there? They said as he is based overseas there is nothing they can do apart from advice people to have him remove their data. This is yet another reason why I will never join the RSGB. Every time I have known anyone to ask them for any help (and I have known a lot of people ask them for help only to have the usual bullshit and eventually they say that they can find no record of being asked to do anything) they are just not interested they only care about money and not the Amateurs the say they are there to help. I have seen absolutely no evidence they help anyone except themselves to the contents of radio amateurs wallets. I have been on to this business for some time and no way I would give this organisation 50 odd quid a year to do absolutely nothing. Of course if they told the truth and said we don’t give a damn about radio amateurs they are just a meal ticket as far as we are concerned. I doubt they would have many members left.
I would be curious to know though that of all the people who signed up last year for a £1 how many have renewed? Not many I suspect?.
I notice with the closure of GB3CF overnight. Many of the people I will not speak to on CF (because should I do so I would be breaking my own licensing conditions) have been looking for somewhere else to go. I have noticed some of these have begun appearing on the channel used to use a lot along with a few others as our network channel and this is why not much has been heard of me on this frequency lately.
In fact I sometimes monitor during the day, but I will not come in generally until the night shift. I still use it occasionally during the day, but not so much now.
People who either do not give their call sign, or give it grudgingly and say something like my call for identification purposes is… irritate me. What is the problem with giving your call sign? We have to study to obtain our calls, surely we should be glad to give our call signs and remember while the people on frequency may know who you are, people sitting on the side waiting for a call sign often never hear a call.
I will not of course give any names here, or calls, but I was disappointed to find at least one of the folk I had a hand in training does not give his call sign, even when some fairly unsubtle hints were dropped,(but not by me.) In fact this chap came on some weeks ago while I was monitoring, while doing something else and he was there for 2.5 to 3 hours and not once did he give his call. The person who he was speaking to was not much better either ,as he only gave his call on entry and exit. As it happens both these people were m6′s, but I have heard or rather I haven’t heard the same from all licence classes.
Then there are the people who come on and start off fine. then as the audience increases they get more and more lackadaisical and in the end they degenerate to using ham radio effectively as CB, this is not what I took my licence for. So if I am on air and when called I don’t come back it might be that I am busy. or the person talking is breaking their licensing conditions. If I talk to such people particularly in the case of a lack of a call sign. I am breaking my licensing conditions by speaking to an unidentified station.
Everyone knows me, is not an acceptable response. The licensing conditions are quite clear and someone on the side may not know the unidentified station and should not talk to an unidentified station. No call no talk and the unidentified station should be ignored.
On the subject of call signs I err the other way. If anything I give my call to often. But I would rather be that way then not give it enough
And then I have to mention the small minority of G stations who come on and ask totally ridiculous questions. We used to say to our foundation students there are no ridiculous questions and at foundation level this is true. But I don’t expect to hear G stations asking m6′s on air for an explanation of Ohms law and even SWR. In fairness to the M6′s they gave very concise and a accurate answers. In one case only to be told that the G station didn’t believe them. I personally would not embarrass myself by asking such nonsensical questions. If I had forgotten something I would have looked it up in my books. I have to doubt if this is actually a G station because he was asking such basic foundation questions on ohms law and SWR perhaps he is a pirate. Or perhaps someone else took his exam for him.
At a recent equipment shakedown my go box performed very well, although one or 2 ideas for modifications surfaced. These included replacing the panels with Stainless steel. Partly for cosmetic effect, but mainly because I had the stainless steel and it is a lot firmer and more substantial than the thin Aluminium sheet I have so far been using this is now done.
Adding a dual display Ammeter and voltmeter (Done but Ammeter part of it not working properly yet and I can’t work out why it is not working if I am honest, not yet anyway.). Adding a couple of sockets for Morse keys (at the request of Kelvin and changing the antenna feeds. The so239 to n type adaptor was broken. Hence why we could not get 2m to work on the shakedown. It works well now.
The internal battery was all we used on the shakedown and it held up fantastical well. The external battery box was not needed. No Doubt this was helped by the Solar Panel, but It only dropped 1 volt over the whole day and it was not always used QRP. :D. However the charge controller and connections to the solar panel have also been subject to modifications. Also the Keyer has been removed.
The picture below shows the box almost as it is now there are one or 2 things more to be shown and the photo will be upgraded when they are complete.
See The Go Box page for more information.
Littlethorpe Miniature Railway
Left to right Kelvin G4ZTD, Julia M0LAJ, Steve 2E0SVT, Nessa M6NES, Mike M6MDR at a local Miniature railway owned and operated by John G1LTJ
Friends enjoying radio in good company and at a fantastic venue. Many thanks to John for putting up with us.
This was not a Special event station. By definition It could never be a special event as this was a private, invite only event that was extended to us and it was not open to the public. The event was held with great thanks at the invitation of the Railways Owner. And all involved seemed to enjoy the day. I know I certainly did.
My emphasis has changed. For the last 3 – 4 years I have been wasting my time by pouring my energies into a local club, trying to make things at the club better, but no more. Unfortunately though I could see this club had huge potential it was being wasted and I was with a few others trying to make something of the place, but In the end we had to admit we were banging our heads against a brick wall.
Because of one blinkered do nothing individual at the club, who I do not think has had an original idea since the 1950′s and he makes absolutely sure that he always has enough people in his back pocket, to get his own way and basically do nothing whatsoever to improve the club. All this chap wants to do is sit on his arse and do contests using the clubs equipment, regardless of what the members want to do. Quainntly I always believed that the members should decide what the club should do and not just one blinkered individual on the committee. But If this individual is asked to arrange something other than a contest he can come up with 100 reasons why it can’t be done.But if there is a contest in the offing the club will be dragged into it whether it wants to be involved or not.
There are many elements to radio, but not at this club there aren’t. Unless it is contests and it seems to me that this is all this so called club now does.
In the words of the dragons “I declare myself out.” It is no longer my concern whether this so called club survives or not.
But I will say this. Since a number of us turned our backs on that club our ambition is no longer stifled, most of us have gone off and done what we want to do and have found we were not alone in this and our projects in their turn has led to so much interesting stuff happening that is radio related that would never ever happen at that club. Shame, but not our concern. The term they have made their bed they must now lay in it springs to mind.
I am now looking to the future and this club does not figure in, or represent that future in any way. My future is among the genuine friends I have made over the years, some of whom can be seen above.
My feelings about contest are that I loathe them and will have nothing whatever to do with them. I am sorry but if you are looking for content on contests, you will not find it here.
Chinese mobile radio
Recently bought a new radio a Baojie BJ 9900 2m/70cm rig. Which while not suitable for a foundation licence holder, I do not know how they do for the money. You have to hand it to the Chinese. They can sell you a radio and ship it to the UK for around half the price you could pay for a second hand rig of similar spec. The downside is the 2 week wait of course. but I have to praise their customer services which seem to be very good indeed. I get all my Chinese equipment from the 409shop.com and they have never let me down.
I soon after receiving this radio ordered another for home. Which will save me one multi band antenna. I decided the Kenwood. as it does work with an SSTV interface that the Kenwood is going to be pressed into service as a local SSTV repeater.
The Baojie 9900 developed a software fault, but resetting it and reprogramming it seems to have solved the problem. Though only time will tell for sure. This is the modern problem with radios I guess. The software sometimes needs rebooting. The problem seems to be related to how long it has been on and how much use it gets. These radios are better suited to mobile use than home-based. However the cross band repeater facility is useful at home. I will say though the audio quality when listening to the rig is not as good in a direct comparison to the Yaesu’s, even through and extension loudspeaker, but again it is probably ideal for a car.
Also Now have a Yeasu FT7900 which was on special off on Martin Lynch. I Wouldn’t say the build quality is any different from the Chinese offering, but there are differences. Some good some not so good.
The radio does have ARTS which a number of us find a useful facility. I am tempted to get another of these for the car as the power range is handy and the old FT2800m that is in the car can go for another use that I have in mind for it. Well one of 2 possible uses actually.