Saturday, 28 January 2017

Well done kiddo!

Well, today is #1Son's day.
Congratulations for passing the Advanced exam......I am really pleased and very proud of you.

Nuff said!!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Xmas was great!

I went home with a half empty car only to return with one filled to the gunnels!

#1 Son enjoyed stepping in to the 21 century with full CAT control, auto logging and filters! He is now the proud owner of a TS-590S.....and I have to say, what a nice radio it is too. The old FT-767 will go on the market, hopefully to give someone else the pleasure of it.

I didn't really get anything in the line of radio stuff to talk about.....a replacement 2m/70cm antenna was all. I installed it on the car this afternoon and am very pleased it adjusted perfectly and looks nicer than the replaced item.

That's it so far!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Where have you been? It's been at least four years!!

Yes.....no excuses...I've just been too lazy to write something! But with time passing I now have more snippets to divulge.

Radio wise, the Flex became an ANAN and the ANAN became a K3. I really should have gone straight there in the first place as I always wanted a K3 for many years but was seduced by the whole SDR/no knobs thing. I bought the kit and built it over a weekend and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was simple....basically just plug 'n' play, although the initial power up is definitely a 'heart in mouth' moment.

The P3 quickly followed to give the spectrum view I had become use to.....the finished combo looking something like this...


#1 Son is doing well. He is now a 2E0 and studying hard for his final exam and, hopefully, the M0 call. The DStar handy is great for keeping in touch, either when out and about portable or via the DVAP / Pi in the house, but having something when in the car was a welcome addition. I travel back and forth to the UK, usually for Xmas, and like to have the ability to chat to him on my journey. I chose the ID-5100....

...so both radios in the car now looks like this...


So that's where we are now as far as mobile and fixed stations go......."but Rob, I heard something about portable operation"

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Early morning drive to Berne

My passport has been in the renewal process for a few weeks now and, typically, I have an urgent need to travel. The passport service on the internet is one of the most "round and round in circles" web sites I have ever been on...such contradiction from one page to another. After finding out the requirements on obtaining an emergency passport and booking the only available time slot for an appointment, I had to plan for an early drive across the north of Switzerland to the capital city, Berne.

Phased? No chance! The opportunity to see what might be about so early was likely to be fun. And it proved so too! 20M hadn't opened when I started driving so the first half hour of the drive was listening to a band slowly coming alive. And then, very audible for me, was what turned out to be my first contact into ZL. I was really chuffed and now only have Hawaii to complete my "you really should have done these by now Robert" list.

Radio wise, the drive back was not as busy. I did have a great chat with GB2012OLY. It turned out that Chris was on the mic (M0DOL) and we nattered on for a few minutes........me wondering how annoying it must have been for those waiting to exchange with the Olympic station :) 

Friday, 10 August 2012

VKs up the ying-yang

I have to say, I am really pleased with the FT857D and LT2 antenna!

For so many years I had to make do with so many restrictions that hampered my radio experience and chipped away enough at my enthusiasm that I eventually found other pastimes to engross myself in. Here in Switzerland, not being in the best location and having neighbours that don't take too kindly to their surrounding blighted with metal (or wire), I have to make do with a compromise antenna. Even so, with this short vertical dipole, I have managed to work several stations from locations I had never heard before.....including a couple from Australia. I know that's probably not a big deal for some of you but we are not all blessed with space to take advantage of.

But from the car....WOW....what a difference! The mornings have undoubtedly been good over the past months, so good that VKs are predominantly the most common callsigns I hear on my drives to work. I am sure the /M has a lot to do with my success in managing to get their attention....and I am not complaining :)

I have been totally enthralled with the 2012 Olympics and, as a Brit, I am really proud of what the country has produced and the superb efforts of all our athletes. With such excitement and euphoria, it makes me really miss home. So, in an attempt to try and stay close, I make a real effort to exchange with as many UK stations as I can. The Olympic special event stations are currently the focus of my attention and I particularly like the 2O12 prefixed calls (2O12L from London, 2O12W from Sth Wales). I hope to work a few more before the games finish.




Footy season only 1 week away.......hoorah!!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

HB0 mobile

I had a few days off work and decided to pop over to Liechtenstein for a few days. I was hoping for some good conditions and some good height which would make for some interesting mobile contacts. Height wasn't a problem.....but it was dreary weather for both days with the the odd hour of sunshine chucked in.



It was the weekend of Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee so there were many UK, and commonwealth stations, with the Q prefix to be heard. I had a brief chat with several stations but the ZQ prefix was the nicest as it was a new one for me. I managed to exchange with another G station, who I can only assume was trying to escape the festivities, was portable on several islands off the coast of Brittany.

A week or so back I emailed a Tasmanian station, who I happened to hear on the way back from work one afternoon, and informed him I would be in HB0 these few days in the hope of a quick exchange....unfortunately, the weather put pay to that.

The wife, a budding photographer, enjoyed the opportunity too......


This was the view from our hotel. The river that cuts the valley is the Rhein....which also makes the boarder between Liechtenstein and Switzerland.


Vaduz castle is the palace and the official residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein.


We were just short of 1.5Km up at this location. 
Notwithstanding the disappointing radio conditions, we had a great few days and look forward to possibly returning again.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

How far will 1 Watt go?

After the constant concentration during this weekend's contest, it was nice to settle back to something a little more relaxing and sedate. I am not normally overly active on the macro based data comms we have available but wanted to try something new. This led me to venture into an "odd" but fun digital mode, JT65-HF.

The software is freely available and setting it up with the Flex5000A was an absolute doddle.


After watching things develop on the receive screen, I guessed it might be worth my while quickly reading the manual so I didn't make too much a fool of myself when finally hitting the ENABLE TX button. I set the Flex to 1W and checked the ALC, -4db should be enough not to upset anyone ......then waited for the unfortunate guinea pig who was to be my first.

I think the DF station soon figured out I was a novice on the mode and quickly scarpered.  So another quick read over the correct protocol and I was ready for another go.


Thankfully, the second station was a little more patient with me and a successful contact/exchange was made. I was surprised, using PSKReporter, which stations were reporting they could hear me. My antenna is not in an ideal place and, as previously mentioned, I am surrounded by some hills on all sides.....so 1W wasn't doing bad.