W&S Ham Radio Licence Workshop November 25th, 2015
Above is a picture of students attending an intermediate licence workshop held in our demonstration centre in Hockley. This was the second part of a two week workshop organised by the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society. All students completed the course successfully. This involved building a simple receiver and calibratung a VFO.
Above is a one to one session involving the calibration of a VFO.
Peter Waters G3OJV
ICOM Top End Products November 25th, 2015
There has been a bit of a gap in this blog, for no other reason than we have been pretty busy with all kinds of changes and a bit of personal holiday thrown in for good measure.
Here at W&S we are seeing more and more “top end” sales of Icom. The introduction of the IC-7851 has created a great deal of interest. In fact we are selling more than any other dealer. You get a lot for your money and it is probably the leading radio for HF operation. It is big and it is heavy, but as soon as you sit in front of it, you get to see why it is so popular.
I have been licensed for 55 years and been in the industry for 43 years. When I sit down in front of a radio it only takes a few minutes to arrive at an initial impression of performance, capability and design. I have spoken to others of similar vintage and all agree that with experience you do have a “feel” for a radio after only a short while of operation. And I can tell you that there have been some that I have not been impressed with and long term use has confirmed the first impressions!
Here at W&S, we are fortunate in that we have the best antenna system of any dealer in the UK. All the designs and manufacturer was carries out by G0KSC. So we can get some pretty hefty signals into the front end. And of course, we have a wide range of radios that we can use as comparisons. Oh, and by the way, G0KSC now works from here at Hockley, because his production has now been transferred into our building. So if you are passing, pop in and have a chat with Justin.
Another facility we offer is the ability to allow customers to sit down beside any radio and use it on the air, no matter what price bracket you are looking at. How many dealers can sit you in front of an IC-7700 or a IC-7851?
KENTWOOD Added to our Remote Possibilities October 16th, 2015
We have been carrying on with our work on remote rigs and the latest addition is the TS-590SG. This has proved to be quite straight forward and as before, simply requires a USB lead from any PC to the radio. We are using an old laptop with an early version of Windows. With this simple setup it is possible to operate this radio from anywhere in the world. And we have even managed to remotely control the power on / off button.
Even More Remote October 14th, 2015
Here at Waters and Stanoton we are continuing to work on the remote control systems for ham radio. The picture above shows just how simple the base station control system needs to be. The laptop is responsible for interfacting between our Elecraft base station and our wiifi system.
We have now configured our base station so that it works with the matching KPA-500 amplifier. We are also able to remotely switch the amplifier on and off. Visitors to the shop have been very impressed with our demo facility of the remote control of our base station. Almost any computer can be used. We are currently using £150 type laotops to demo the station. Provided wifi access is available, it is possible to achieve full transceive from anywhere in the world.
Justin, G0KSC, has been experimenting with mobile phone control and is now able to demonstrate control of the Elecraft station using an Android phone. What is more, this system will work on 4G networks. So if there is a 4G network available, it is now possible to operate our demo station using a mobile phone via 4G. That opens up all kinds of possibilities. Mobile operation from a car running 400W to a 70ft dipole!
More reports to come. Peter Waters G3OJV.
Remote Operation Update October 11th, 2015
Justin, G0KSC and myself have been carrying out further work on remote operation using the Elecraft K3S as the main transceiver located at Hockley showroom. We have now got things working pretty well and our tests have all been carried out on 40m because the band is open for most of the day and night. The antenna is a rotary dipole at 70ft.
Today, Justin is away at the RSGB Ntional Convenvention where he is giving a lecture on antennas. He has reported back that he is able to operate the K3 using his smart phone. For my part, I am able to listen to 40m anywhere in my house and indeed anywhere, where there is wifi.
The picture shows my own current station and the Laptop PC above which cost me £129 from Staples and runs the remote connection with a touch screen skin of the K3S. That is pretty neat I think you will agree. It means that if I take my campervan to any site that has wifi, I can operate on 40m with a big antenna, and all with a cheap laptop.
A Remote Reality October 7th, 2015
The photo shows my laptop with the K3 displayed on it and this forms my remote control for the K3 located at our demonstration centre at Hockley in Essex. I can’t take all the credit for this as a part of the work was done by Justin G0KSC.
I used a low cost laptop with fold back screen. This gives me comprehensive receive and transmit control with RIT, NB, NR, filter mode and band selection etc. The system works well and the next step is to use a hardware controller instead of the PC. However, with the touch screen on my PC it offers the possibility of excellent remote operation from hotels etc.
A Remote Possibility! October 6th, 2015
We have recently been looking at the way forward with remote operation of ham radio transceivers. A meeting we had with Elecraft a few weeks ago prompted us to use our K3S line up as the test bed. We have today completed the initial phase of the set-up, which enable us to remotely operate the K3S from anywhere in the world. The benefit is most likely to be for those who have for one reason or another, no access to decent, or indeed, outside, antenna systems. Anybody with a Windows based PC or laptop, should be able to operate a station remotely.
We intend to publish fuller details once the work is completed, and to also encourage clubs to make available a remote station for those who may live in flats or restricted locations. This will enable many to continue with the hobby, even if they no longer can operate from home.
Big Operator’s Antennas – Share in Their Performance! September 30th, 2015
I recently returned from an 8-day stay in Texas and spent some time operating the station of Dick, K5AND. He is an Elecraft enthusiast and has a superb antenna system. I won’t list all the antennas, but for me the highlights were 4 elements on 40m at 135ft and a 6 over 6 array for 20m. You can work an awful lot of interesting stuff with arrays like this. I was working g station mobiles on 20m and getting S9 plus report from all over Europe on 40m. And having 1.5kW output helped as well! But these big arrays that most of us can only dream about can be of benefit to us all!
Most stations are able to run 100W and many stations around the world run this power, even some with big antennas. A big antenna works both on transmit and receive. So not only does the array add dB to the transmitted signal. It also adds dB to your signal! In other words you are benefitting from this big antenna that has cost you nothing. So what about the guys that are running 1kW? Well you can of course add a linear and then you will only be down 3dB. The point is that in reality, if you can hear them, you can normally work them. So although we can all dream of big antennas, very often we should be thankful of the fact that they exist because without them we might not be able to work a lot of the DX.
SP3 New Elecraft Speaker September 19th, 2015
In Texas today, Elecraft officially showed their new base station speaker. This features dual inputs fir separate transceivers. The speaker has an ultra smooth response with acoustic internal damping and a high quality driver. I tried this speaker extensively on the air with a K3 connected to a 4 element 49m Yagi at 130ft. At no time were there any resonance problems or vibrations. Even on stronfpg CW tuning from 0Hz to 5kHz at loud levels, I could not induce any resonance problems. It really is the best base station speaker I have heard. Available lat October.
Jaycee Open Day 2015 September 8th, 2015
On Saturday, 5th September, we held our annual Open Day at our Scottish branch in Glenrothes. As has been usual in recent years, the weather was lovely and sunny. This really is a social occasion as well as a display of ham radio gear. The lecture sessions were once again repeated with talk by Justin, G0KSC, Mark from Kenwood and Peter G3OJV. We must thank Kenwood and Icom for travelling all that way to represent themselves. There were also a record 6 transceivers given out as prizes.
It was a long drive for us all, but a very enjot=yable event and we must thank Scott, Bill and Betty for the organisation.