Mosley Antennas Arrive   September 16th, 2014

All being well, we should have deivery of the Mosley antenna range tomorrow. One of the most exciting models will be the mini beans that have a boom length of just 6ft and an element length of less than 20ft. That makes them ideal for many of us with small gardens. These antennas have extremely low profiles and use the patented dual trap system that enables just one trap to provide element resonance on three bands. That means that a 10-15-20m Yagi looks really tidy. For those who want the WARC bands, there is a model that adds a dual band dipole onto the boom, but preserves the single feed system, providing useful gain and F/B ratio on the 10-15-20m bands and significant directiviy on the two WARC bands. All models can handle up to 1kW of power on SSB.

For further details please check pur web site.

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Yaesu FT-991 Delivery with 4m   September 9th, 2014

The latest news is delivery is expected early 2015. This model is almost certainly a replacement for the FT-897D. Pressure is on Yaesu to include 4m and this new seems likely, though nit confirmed.

Yaesu have seen ICOM dominating this sector if the market and will want to plug the gap. Kenwood, having started in the race with their TS-50, are now currently out of the race.

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After a period of no news regarding the Elecraft 2m Transverter, I can now tell you that we just may have some for sale at Newark. Those who have pre-ordered will get theirs first. If you have not yet ordered yours, then get in now as there are not many left from the first batch shipping to us.

The 4m versions is around 6 weeks away, as is the new PX3 panoramic adaptor.

The KX3 transceiver is continuing to sell extremely well and we have had to order more stock to cater for anticipated sales at Newark. If you want to pick up a ready built one then please get your order

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Jaycee Open Day 2014   September 7th, 2014

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Saturday 6th September 2014 was the day for Jaycee’s Open Day, in Glenrothes, Fife. The location is the shop of Waters and Stanton @ Jaycee, but augmented by the hall across the square where the Show and lectures took place. The trade exhibitors included Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu, Elecraft and Innovantennas. The lectures included Antenna design by G0KSC, Raynet by GM4TNP and the latest ham gear by G3OJV.

This Show is becoming the “Scottish Show, but with the accent very much on meeting fellow GM hams. It is a big social occasion. This year’s Show owes much to Scott who organised it, but Bill and Betty, were as ever, also there and many will be ever thankful for them providing Scotland’s only Ham RadioShop.

The weather was once again nice and sunny and warm. Visitors freely walked between shop and the Show Hall. Many sat in the square and enjoyed the sun and the opportunity to just chat and swap stories. If you didn’t make it this year, you really need to put it in your diary for next year. It is not like any other ham radio show. Peter G3OJV

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New FT-991 At A SPECIAL PRICE?   August 30th, 2014

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Yaesu displayed their new FT-991 this month in Tokyo. There are no firm dates for arrival in the UK or indication of price. It covers 160m to 70cms. There is no mention of 4m. If they have not included 4m, they have seriously missed a marketing trick.

The price could be sub £1000.

Peter G3OJV

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Key Log go

I can’t really remember the last time I tried RTTY. It was probably when I was trying out data modes a good few years ago. But I have just been trying out our new accessory for the Elecraft series of radios. It is known as the Key Log Go. In effect it is a very comprehensive electronic keyed with 20 memories and display facilities that also offers PSK31 and RTTTY. The latter is achieved by plugging in a keyboard that also permits the sending of CW.

What I really liked was the fact that I can now display up to 4 lines of text on its screen. This makes data operation much easier. Any PC keyboard with the right connection will work just fine I managed a few RTTY contacts without any problem and without a PC. PSK31 was just aseasy. Power can be from an internal PP3 battery or an eternal 12V supply. With the internal PP3 and the internal AA cells in the KX3, I am totally portable and what is more, the LCD screen is just fine in the daylight, which is more than can be said for a PC.

Peter G3OJV

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Bicycle Mobile with KX3   July 31st, 2014

Cycle Antenna

The picture above shows my latest set up for bicycle mobile. I hasten to add that I do not operate on the move as I don’t think it is practical or indeed safe. I use an Elecraft KX3 transceiver powered by AA cells. That way I operate in the lightest possible way and use the Elecraft dedicated paddle key. My bike is a Tern Link7 that folds up really small, yet is very rugged. That way I can easily put it in the boot of even a small car.

For the antenna I have chosen the Buddistick with their clamp p[tion arrangement to attach it to my cycle carrier. The complete antenna set up can be purchased as the Buddistick Deluxe kit. I run a short earth wire from the bike frame to the base of the antenna feed socket on the Buddistick clamp. The whole antenna system together with the KX3, easily fit into my pannier bag which in turn easily detaches from the bike. For more information on the bike, check Evans Cycles on the web.

There are a number of considerations to observe when using the setup. The most important is the earth counterpoise. I try to keep everything simple and compact. A separate earth counterpoise does the job but is a bit of a nuisance in laying it out, particularly in public places. Setting up the resonance, even with the counterpose, can be unstable. The whole system VSWR can vary depending on whether you are touching the transceiver case or not. At first I failed to resolve this issue, but some thought and some tests resolved the problem.

Firstly try and find the best tappings for each band on the Buddistick. You can fine tune with the whip and then make a note of the settings. The coil taps can be fixed so it is only the whip length that needs to be recorded. Do all this without an antenna tuner. This is very important. On the KX3 you can programme one of the short cut keys to bypass the internal ATU for you. Now once this is done you really do need that antenna tuner to stabilise the VSWR and make the system less “touchy.” I love the internal ATU for the KX3 as this is just amazing in the way that it matches in a fraction of a second, even wide impedance ranges.

The bike metalwork does not provide enough earth for bands below 21MHz. I found that the easy and most effective way is to simply use a fairly long feeder to the transceiver which also acts as a counterpoise. Mine is about 15ft long. A choke formed by a few turns of coax on a ferrite former at the transceiver end will make things even more stable.

The beauty of the system is that it is very simple, very efficient and very compact. It is possible to consider using a radial stretched above the ground as a resonant counterpoise, but it does mean a little more work in setting up. I prefer to use just the bike frame and the coax feeder. The KX3 has super low battery consumption. If you really wanted to raise the power you could use an external 12v supply and run up to 12W. The KX3 still works at battery levels down to 8V so there is no sudden death. The radio also has very comprehensive system monitoring so you can watch the battery volts very easily.

Give it a try.

Peter G3OJV.

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Ten Miles and Three Watts   July 22nd, 2014

I spent another day in the Peak District of Derbyshire, with my bike and my Elecraft portable set up. It was hot, very hot. I used my Alex Loop as the antenna. Conditions were not great, but that does not detract from the fun.

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I have been based in Wirksworth and decided to cycle to Duffield, a route which allowed me to take a look at some old railways stations. The road distance is just over ten miles.

P1010717 I stopped at Idridgehay station, long since vacated by British Rail. But interestingly, the line is now in private ownership and has been brought back to life. In the summer months there are 4 return trips a day between Wirksworth and Duffield. This suited me fine because it enabled me to continue by bike to Duffield and then get a lift on one of the rerun train trips to Wirksworth. They kindly let me put my bike in the luggage area which saved me having to fold the bike. A great day out.Peter G3OJV.

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An Uphill Struggle   July 21st, 2014

I am in the Peak District and it is very aptly named! Having ridden around some portable sites and clocked up 10 miles, I appreciate how flat, by contrast, Essex is.

The weather is fine and conditions on the HF bands are good. But oh, those steep hills. I suppose if I was to be operating on VHF, I might feel a little different about the Peaks! Peter G3OJV

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QRP with No Outside Antenna   July 20th, 2014

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I have come up to Derbyshire for a few days and my usual travel companion is the Elecraft KX3 coupled to the Alex loop. This time I erected it indoors and my first QSO was on 15m with DM5EE.

It is not the first time that I have used the loop indoors but it does prove that even if you cannot erect an outside antenna, and even if you run QRP, it is possible to enjoy ham radio.

I also have ny fold up bike with me, so if the weather is kind, I wmll try some portable operation.

Peter G3OJV.

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