Welcome to my amateur radio and electronics Blog. My name is Carl and I live between Northwood and Rickmansworth on the Greater London / Hertfordshire border. This new blog was started 26th December 2020 although I am in the process of transferring some of the more interesting posts from my old Blogspot pages. My main radio interests are:

* VHF to SHF DXing and contesting
* HF Dxing, digital modes and contesting (particularly RTTY contesting)
* Equipment and antenna construction, including homebrew and kits

My personal contest callsign is G2K. When contesting with ‘The Rats’ you may hear me using either our club call G3RAT or our club contest call G2D, we also have the club call M0HRF but that is used somewhat less now that we have been issued G3RAT.

Despite the fancy Icoms etc and potential to operate up to 400W on HF when the situation is appropriate I still very much enjoy operating low power low cost radio. I am a big fan of Hans Summers and his QRP Labs enterprise. You can find Hans’ website here and his QRP Labs shop here. I particularly enjoy the QCX Mini range of CW QRP transceivers owning one for each of 20m and 40m. See Hans’ QCX Mini Youtube video here.

Drowned Rats Radio Group

I am proud to be a founding member of the Drowned Rats Radio Group, if you want to know more about the Rats check out our webpage at About Us | Drowned Rats Radio Group (g3rat.com). We are VHF and above enthusiasts (although we also do some HF!), we do contesting and more. Recruiting now!

We are always looking for new members to join the team

We welcome newcomers and old-hands alike, full training is given and we have a lot of fun! If you are in the UK and would like more information including how to get involved in the weekly VHF-SHF activity contests and/or to come out with us on one of our field events please contact us on the link above or feel free to email me direct. If you’re new to VHF and above contesting in the UK check out my beginners guide here.

Getting Started on 6m

During these tricky conditions on HF I have been enjoying a little 6m activity as we start to see some Sporadic E appearing. Sadly, most activity seems to be on FT8 these days, but I have managed a few SSB QSO also, including some shorter range inter-G stuff for VHF WAB square.

For those who are not aware, these are some useful 6m resources:

Make More Miles on VHF: https://www.mmmonvhf.de

Jim Bacon’s 6m Blog at Propquest: https://www.propquest.co.uk/blog.php?date=2024-05-13

DX Maps: Real QSO mapping https://www.dxmaps.com/spots/mapg.php

6m Desktop: https://uksmg.org/desktop.php

The 6m desktop is hosted on the UK Six Metre Group pages (membership of the UKSMG is highly recommended if you get bitten by the 6m bug)!

RSGB 2020 Convention Online presentation – The magic of six metres

Please note that the views expressed in the presentation and the Q&A don’t necessarily represent those of the Radio Society of Great Britain. Chris Deacon, G4IFX Why are people so keen on the 50 MHz band? It’s not HF, it’s not really VHF. Or is it both?

Aurora in NW London – from the front garden!

10th May 2024. Like many others across the whole of the UK I was amazed to see the light show!
Some CQA calls heard on 6m.

Northern lights illuminate the skies across the UK and the world

Skies over the UK and across the world were turned shades of pink and green as the Northern Lights produced incredible displays for skygazers. The impressive Aurora Borealis, usually only visible from northern parts of the British Isles, was visible across large parts of the UK overnight, including Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and, unusually, southern England.

Newbury Rally

Enjoy rally / radio flea market this morning at the Newbury Showground.

Very hot, must have been over 30deg C by the late part of the morning. Picked up a few baragins, pictures to follow:

  • Heil Pro Set Elite headset (for Icom) with adapter cable
  • Daiwa DC7055 rotator controller, for the 6m beam and to replace an identical controller in the shack which recently went kaput!
  • Small Wonders Labs 40m QRP CW transceiver
  • QRP Labs Ultimate 3, don’t really need another and this was a bargain, think I may put this one on 630m
  • 70cm transverter
  • A massive bag of capacitors (for £1!)
  • A few vintage ARRL books
  • Mini ATU Kit
  • A fex project enclosures
  • A bag of used 18650 batteries
  • A WAB Book, mug and newsletter sub
  • DG1JAN Balun PCB

St Helena on 20m SSB

Tuning across 20m this morning and trying to work MM0PLX/P in the Shetland Islands, probably a bit close at the moment for 20m. Nevertheless, tuning across the band I was very pleased to find Peter in Jamestown, St Helena. Good copy 54 both ways.

St Helena …