Monday, 8 December 2014


Having never been a DX chaser as such, this year I decided to try and get to 100 Dxcc countries worked and confirmed to celebrate 10 years at this qth.
Readers of this blog will probably be aware that I am located in a modern, closely built housing estate which includes restrictive convents ; no outdoor, visible antennas being the worst restriction. On the plus side there are no overhead telephone/power cables, so it has a relatively tidy skyline.

The above restrictions encourage a ham to operate using indoor or/and hidden, stealth antennas; which necessitates, or is sensible to run low power.
So the set up at present is a 44ft attic mounted inverted V doublet for 30m-10m bands and a 20m long endfed wire, via a smartuner for 80-30m bands. Hardly a DX busting instillation but VK and Japan worked amongst some other surprising results.

So, 100 CW Dxcc worked using mainly QRP and indoor antennas with the occasional QRO burst of 25w or so. Getting 100 confirmed Qsl may take another 10 years or so ;-) 

100 CW DXCC worked
10 year progress

Attic Doublet feedpoint

Saturday, 27 September 2014

It's been a while

As the title suggests, I've rather neglected this blog for quite a while.
Things have been quiet in the shack but now into September, things seem to moving forward a little.

A few ongoing projects with some new ones too..

  • VK3XU 80/40m simple superhet
  • A matching CW TX for above
  • Attic doublet mkIII (40m-10m)
  • Attic delta loops for 4m & 6m vhf *new*
  • CB aerial modified for 20-10m bands *new*
  • Arduino projects *new*
  • APRS *new*
  • EI9GQ 2m transverter
Plenty to write up and hopefully with better photography.. 

Monday, 20 January 2014

Junkbox desk Microphone

Amplified electret desk mic

Not really ever using ssb or other phone modes, this is a strange project for me. When I saw an abandoned, novelty usb desk fan in the bin at work, I could not resist making this little project.
It is basically a electret insert and a single transistor pre-amplifier for which I claim no originality. In fact it is based on a pdf download from Waters and Stanton's website some years ago. A BC182 provides the gain and a few components combined with capacitors for a suitable ssb response, also supplying the voltage for the electret insert, which was bought in a lucky bag at a rally for a pound.
The rest was just a case of squeezing the ugly pcb into the old case and fitting an electret insert onto the boom. This is  a piece of plastic tube (empty till roll) into which the insert was bonded, a piece of foam on the end acts like a pop filter. Underneath the battery case supplies the power and there is access to a pot for gain control. The original button on top is used as a push to talk and on the rear a slider switch has been fitted to switch power off when not in use. The mic when powered will also work with a Vox equipped rig.
The gain control has to be carefully set as not to overdrive the rig.
A nice, simple project using a load of old junk!


Transistor pre-amp and gain pot 

Battery case, gain pot access and power switch 

Pop filter!

Original circuit by Bob Boddy G6AKL 

Rockmite40 QRP Kit

Having read and heard much about the Rockmite range of xtal cw transceivers by Dave Benson K1SWL, I was disappointed to find these kits had been discontinued. Then, good news, Rex Harper of QRPme fame, has decided to reproduce the kits with Dave's blessing.
The kit has been revamped slightly with standard 612 mixer instead of surface mount job on previous kit, this make it even easier to build. There are no toroids to wind so quite a possible evening project, though I spent an hour or so over several nights. The kit does not come with an enclosure, most people use an Altoids tin but it is complete with all necessary connectors, wire, plugs etc. It also uses a specially produced version of Hamgadgets Pico keyer which has a two memory keyer and adjustable speed up to 45wpm! and is suitable for straight key use amongst other features.
Having ordered one direct from the US I have since found out the KangaUK are going to distribute this kit in the UK and Europe.
I would happily recommend the Rockmite as a kit for beginners in radio kit construction, the end result is a simple but quite usable rig.

Rockmite40 Qrp
A couple of UK contacts have been made to test the radio which hopefully will be used on a camping trip or two this Summer..

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Alinco DX70TH Multi-Function control problems.

Alinco DX70TH

Although a great rig and normally available at bargain prices second hand, mine had a niggling problem..Used mainly as a back-up HF rig and a driver for transverting to 2m and 4m, also the occasional portable outing.
Since I have owned this rig I have noticed a rather annoying skipping fault on the multi-function control. This has various uses the main one being sequential band changing. A quick turn of the knob would cause a 'random' selection of band but persistence would select the band required.
Researching this problem  most people point to a faulty rotary encoder which I have tried a couple of times to source a replacement without any success.
Reading August 2013's Hints & Kinks in the Arrl's QST magizine, I found reference to a similar problem with an Alinco DR610T's main tuning control. The author , Kirk Ellis (KI4RK) found that adding a couple of 0.1uF capacitors between each output terminal and ground seemed to cure the problem.
Always looking for easy, cheap solutions here so I had a go with my alinco. Please see picture below. Smaller caps would make a neater job..

Caps added between up/down terminals and ground
  Pleased to report this mod seemed to work on my rig and has done for a few months now.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Xmas Greetings

May I take this opportunity to wish everybody a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2014.
Hoping to melt a little more solder and keep this blog up-to date next year... we'll see.

73 Ian MW0IAN


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Attic Dipole

My attic dipole is now an inverted V for 20m with separate elements for 10m band.
I have decided to remove the 40m loading coils which, although worked were not really practical in such a small loft space. Noise was quite high and signals down too.
The 20m reception is really quite surprising and being a popular band , there are nearly always signals present.
As a simple test I ran WSPR on rx  for a while.

Wspr RX on 20m