A Station in Minimal Space October 12th, 2014
Many will be surprised at the simplicity of my present ham radio station, as the picture above shows. My recent work with the simple Mosley Mini-31-A was done in conjunction with the little KX3. The whole station sits on a window ledge. The picture shows the KX3 with AC power supply to the left. This particular KX3 has no internal ATU and feeds the Mosley dipole direct. I would normally have an internal ATU fitted as this enable me to achieve a perfect match for the transmitter section right across the bands.
The station is simple, but it works well. Today for example I worked CO6 in Cuba running just 12W SSB on 10m into the dipole. This is bordering on QRP although many would argue that anything above 5W is not QRP!
I hope that this will encourage others that you can have fun without loads of gear. But there are a couple of tips I would pass on, that are particular relavent to the Elecraft KX3. The first is to use the internal compressor as this certainly raises the talk power. The second is to buy the matching Elecraft (MH3) microphone, shown in the picture. It is not the cheapest of microphones, but it really does punch out a great sounding signal. I reckon these two suggestions are worth around 3dB or more of gain, making your signal sound like 25 – 30W! Peter G3OJV
The Mosley Mini Dipole October 11th, 2014
The Mosley mini dipole offers some interesting possibilities for those with small gardens. I fall into that category and so I decided to install one recently.
The total length of the antenna is just under 20ft and is a significant reduction in size over a more traditional triband dipoles. This antenna covers the 20m, 15m and 10m bands, missing out the two WARC bands in between. But in doing so it does offer extremely clean lines. Mosley are famous for their dual trap design and so achieve three band resonance with just a single trap in each leg.
The antenna is designed for the usual 50 Ohm feed. Cable is attached directly to the antenna via terminals. The coax connection to the antenna requires the cable to be correctly connected as one side of the dipole element goes directly to the metal work of the mast. This is the traditional way of almost all Mosley antennas. It seems to do the job and with this system you cannot use a balun as it would be partly shorted out. If you doe feel the need for a balun, then use the popular method of making a coil of the feeder immediately prior to the antenna feed point.
The assembly is simple, although you are required to drill a couple of holes to fasten the ends of the elements, once you have adjusted the optimum length for the part of the band that you wish to operate in. VSWR at resonance is very good indeed, with 15m and 10m coming very close to 1:1, whilst 20m’s best point is 1.4:1.
I chose to mount the antenna as a fixed dipole. After all, most dipoles are in any case fixed. The result is a single mast that supports a horizontal dipole, a tidy arrangement that can be fixed in the desired direction. You could add a rotator in order to cope with the nulls that are present on the ends of the antenna but that ads cost and weight,
It works fine and as with any such antenna, the higher the better. Mine is just 25ft up, but I had no problems with SSB QSOs using 12W from my KX3. Bandwidth is a little narrower than on a larger antenna, but if you wish to move from band edge to band edge, then an internal ATU will easily cope with minimal loss on the average coax feed length. It’s a great little antenna. Peter G3OJV
Elecraft PX3 Arrives October 10th, 2014
The new Panoramic adaptor has arrived from Elecraft and is ready to ship. We are now fulfilling orders and if we have missed you, then please call us now. It makes a great mate for the KX3. Peter Waters
Farewell to G89GWP – A Faithfull Friend October 4th, 2014
Some of you will know that I have owned a Morgan 4/4 for many years – well over 20 years in fact. G89GWP has taken me all over the UK including two trips to the Highlands of Scotland. She’s has been absolutely no problem at all, other than a battery failure that was fortunately close to home.
But I decided that it was time to part company with her as in the past two tears I have not used her nearly as much, and it seemed a shame to just leave her under the covers in the garage. So in mid September i took her for her last drive to the Morgan garage in north Essex where she now awaits a new owner.
The final drive was not as emotional as i thought it might be and whilst it was sunny, it was also quite chilly, so I donned my flying jacket for that last trip. She drove beautifully with no hint of her age and as I turned the ignition key for the last time and the engine came to a halt, it was the end of a long and enjoyable relationship.
Elecraft KX3 on 144MHz (2m) October 1st, 2014
The 2m transverters have arrived for the KX3. So I decided that I had better try and install one to see what was involved.
Like most of the Elecraft instructions, they are very detailed and much of the time is spent in reading the pages and studying the photos. Actually the process is very simple and I could install the next one in a fraction of the time!
There are two versions of the transverters. The basic model is designed to fit above the optional internal ATU. The ATY in effect provides the platform on which the transverter is mounted. If you do not have the optional ATU installed, then you need to purchase the version that also has a blank ATU board in the packet.
The most difficult part is snapping the two coaxial connector lines in place. These use micro coax connectors that require some positive pressure to snap in place. A test of confidence I thought as I snapped them in place. You need good eye sight or a strong pair of reading glasses.
That apart, there is no real problem and the only thing left to do after the installation is complete is to set the KX3 up in the menu. One thing that did throw me for a few minutes was when the dipslay showed 122MHz. This proved to be normal and all I had to do was to retune to 144MHz. It subsequently appears that you can also monitor the air band!
As yet I have not tested it on the air. It indicates 3W output and I could hear signals that base transceivers could hear. In fact it seemed very sensitive. But I really need to do some further tests. In the meantime I am quietly confident that this is another Elecraft winner.
National Hamfest 2014 held at Newark September 29th, 2014
The end of September heralded the annual National Hamfest. Once again the weather was fine and this meant that both outside and inside, visitors were able to enjoy the offerings. It’s a big event for us and involves more work than some may realise.Tuesday evening the lorry was picked up. All day Wednesday was spent in packing the lorry. A 6am start on Thursday with a stop for breakfast, meant we arrived at 10.30am. The unpacking and erection of the stand took until 7pm. Then it was back to the hotel.
At the end of Saturday it was time to pack the lorry again and make our way south down the A1. A stop for a meal and then onto Hockley where we had to unpack the lorry again and put things back into the warehouse. We got back to our homes at around 11pm. Sunday was a day off and then most of Monday was spent in putting all the stock back on the shelves. Yes it takes nearly a week’s work to achieve two days at the Show.
It was well worth the effort and we met many old friends as well as some new ones. Elecraft probably provided the biggest interest and I personally enjoyed talking about and demonstrating this great range of equipment.
The only regret that I had, and I know that many have the same view, is that this year they had no lecture streams. Many visitors find that this provides a welcome break in walking around the hall. Whether you enjoyed the subject matter or the opportunity to sit down, this really needs to be brought back for next year. Peter G3OJV
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.
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.
2m Transverter from Elecraft Arriving Soon September 9th, 2014
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
Jaycee Open Day 2014 September 7th, 2014
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