Welcome

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 2021

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.

UPDATE: S9OK – Eventually broke the pile-up!

Looks like he didn’t get his signal report the first time!

20+ stations calling S9OK in Sao Tome & Principe on every ‘over’ (and that’s just the one’s I could decode!)

David was using FT4 but on two frequencies (NOT F&H so I assume he was using MSHV to get two transmissions per over.

More information on the S9OK DXpedition is at dxnews here: https://dxnews.com/s9ok/


Checking the log I see that I have actually worked the island twice before (both 2019), the previous QSO were on 20m and 60m.

Interesting article: https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/sao-tome-and-principe-africa/index.html

Ten things you didn’t know about Sao Tome and Principe:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Bu88Qwx_Rk

UPDATED!

Also worked on 20m, nice to see the QSO in ClubLog Live!

New Digital modes transceiver from QRPLabs – QDX

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

See Hans’ website for more details: https://qrp-labs.com/qdx.html and the DRAFT manual here: https://qrp-labs.com/images/qdx/manual_1_00.pdf The ordering page is here: http://shop.qrp-labs.com/qdx2?search=qdx

Finally, to whet the appetite, here is a YouTube video outlining the new kit: