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
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.
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.
Look for us on air with our club calls M0HRF, G3RAT and our contest call G2D.
JARTS is the annual Japanese Amateur Radio Teleprinter Society contest: http://jarts.jp/
I wasn’t taking the contest seriously this year, the focus was really to experiment with some new antennas. 10m was surprisingly quiet (noting that there was quite a bit of 10m FT8 activity through much of the contest). 15m was noticeably better than the band has been in contests for some time (although not sure if that is down to better band conditions, improvement in the antenna system here – or a combination of both!). Typically I would expect to do a big session on 20m during JARTS but it didn’t feel like I was on the band much at all.
It’s a struggle with 100W sometimes and was noticed on 20m and 15m in the morning when JA stations could be heard but not worked. Apart from that, pretty much everything which could be heard was worked with VY5 on 40m a got-away despite many attempts.
Despite some strange conditions on the bands today (including a pretty major geomagnetic storm), I managed to work the DXpedition callasign 3DA0RU (Kingdom of Eswatini – otherwise known as Swaziland) on 3 bands: 10m, 12m and 15m. I hope they are QSLing via ARRL LOTW!
Hans Summers has done it again with an amazing new product for kit builders, QRP and digital enthusiasts with the new QDX transceiver. News of the new product release broke last week sending QRP Labs fans into a frenzy on the QRP Labs Google group. An initial batch of 450 units was released on at 1800Z on 11 October with all units sold in 12 minutes! Wow, that’s popular!
The initial batch has been limited in number due to a current global lack of semiconductors although Hans has promised at least one further batch will be available once his supply situation improves. In the meantime, I was pleased to get my order in (despite a number of glitches caused by the online sales portal being overloaded by the sheer number of folks trying to secure their QDX).
All being well the QDX will be here in the UK in a week or so and I will then, as time permits, document the build and operating on here.
Outline details and specs are here:
Four bands 80, 40, 30 and 20m
5W output at 9V supply (can be built for 4-5W at 12-13V supply)
Single signal transmission (zero unwanted sideband, zero residual carrier, zero intermodulation distortion)
Solid-state band switching and transmit/receive switching under CAT control
High performance embedded SDR SSB receiver with 60-70dB of unwanted sideband cancellation
Built-in 24-bit 48ksps USB sound card
Built-in USB Virtual COM Serial port for CAT control
Si5351A Synthesized VFO with 25MHz TCXO as standard
Easy to build single-board design, Professional quality double-sided, through-hole plated, silk-screen printed PCBs
All SMD components factory assembled
Connectors: 2.1mm power barrel connector, USB B (for audio and CAT control), BNC RF input/output
Built-in test signal generator and testing tools
Receive current 100mA, Transmit current 1.0-1.1A for 5W output with 9V supply (around 0.7A for 5W with 13V supply).
QFU firmware update for lifetime free firmware updates, easy installation on any PC without drivers, software or hardware e.g. programmer
Optional aluminum extruded cut/drilled/laser-etched black anodized enclosure
Happy with with placing in the Batavia (QSO with Indonesia) contest considering I was only using 80W and wire antennas (and no resonant antenna for 15m at the time!), most QSO on 20m with a handful on 40m. Second in UK.
Attached the QRP Labs QLG2 GPS unit to the QCX Mini 20m this morning (see additional post).
A nice set of signal report for the first WSPR transmission, 105 spots from one burst with the top ten (by distance) listed below. Best DX was KL7L in QRA Square BP51IP (Alaska) – just NW of Anchorage: