Support QRP CoA Everywhere

Thursday, 8 March 2018

On way to C6AKT

On way to C6AKT.

Antennas (2el 80m, 4sq 40m, VDA 20m, GP 15/10) in long bag, Station (QRP) in Orange Pelican case (carry on).

900m of radial wire!

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Last minute change of rigs for BERU

K2 has an intermittent fault on SSB (not needed for BERU but is for digital and SSB after) and no time to diagnose so reverting to KX3 I built #1082 and my ATS-3B. So still all homebrew :-)

Sunday, 4 March 2018

DPDT relay pin outs

Grrr assumed were the same but were different.

Found were these.... Common 2 and 7, switching 3 & 4 or 5 & 6

Thought they were these. Common 6 & 6, switching 2 & 4 or 5 & 7

Different subtle but BIG difference.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

ATS3B in C6 be careful else you'll kill the PA!

Had a quick email from another ATS3 fan, "please don't connect the ATS3B up to a poorly matched antenna it might result in tears before bedtime".

I built mine back in 2009. This was just before adding the C to the band modules. Added 60m as well to it since then.

So just to calm those interested, I have a nice phono to BNC adapter so I'll take the signal out from this and feed it into the £10 (what cost me see Elecraft T1 ATU I made up years ago with it so the Pa will be 'protected' to a degree.

I'll also take a few BS170 with me just in case Murphy becomes an operator.

The ATU will probably be a bit redundant though initially as antennas will be mono band & resonant too, I'll use a KD1JV, to be sure they are before use.

qrpkits photo I'll swap with my own this evening.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Glad I didn't try to activate E5/N

Just told
"Shipping would have been risky!!!  The MS Lady Moana made two attempts to get to Pukapuka but made it to Palmerston.  First trip it was too rough to put anyone ashore on Palmerston.  Second trip -- last week -- also very rough but the ship's hull got a hole -- rusted through -- so they dropped all the Pukapuka passengers on Palmerston and headed back to Raro with just the crew.  The ship has now got 3 holes in the hull and is on the way to Tahiti for repairs -- however -- I am not sure it is repairable -- and if it was patched, I would NOT travel on it.

The people dropped on Palmerston will likely be there for several months as Tapi Taio has only one small vessel left -- though he has bought another vessel in Norway and it is being refitted.

So be glad you did not make it to Palmerston!  You would likely be there for a long time."

Sunday, 25 February 2018


Need to be sure the ATS-3B doesn't get powered by more than 11V.

The homebrew PSU (ex PC ATX supply and switchable 110V or 230V) will go to 13.4V which would be terminal.

I used to have a QBSA but sold it (big mistake). Anyway going through setup for latest trip and realised need a way to control the voltage that the ATS3B will be powered with so built something based on the QBSA (from KD1JV) section. Where you take the main shack supply and use an LM317 to provide an adjustable output voltage.

Used part of an ebay module kit that uses the same LM317 and has a voltage display and has a handy 5V circuit. LM317T for ATS3B is good to 1.5A

I omitted the AC diode bridge (4 diodes) as I don't need them and just added a wire.

and squeezed into an Aluminium box (will add an arduino nano frequency display and VSWR later) with a set of DC leads (and 2 amp inline fuse)
 to the PSU and a 2.1/0.7mm barrel connector

to the ATS-3B.

Thinking might fit these bits plus the basic PSU and the basic SO2R into an EC2 enclosure (have one spare). Then if travelling with K2 etc again (likely) will reduce the number of units.

GP connectors

Thought I'd make up some GP base connectors after what learnt over time.

BNC for the RF and M6 BRASS wing nuts.

Reusable cable ties.

Inside the boxes (2" x 1" x 1/2" deep) connections are using solid wire that has been wound about a screw driver so it is sort of like a little spring, so if for whatever reason the connection goes loose the connection will still work.

As asked.... the vertical wire will have am M6 ring terminal soldered and crimped on on end that goes on one M6 and it is secured in place between the washers and the butterfly nut and the other end goes up the pole or whatever you are using to support it, the radials connect to the other M6, either bare wires just wound about the M6 bolt or M6 ring terminals. When they are attached to a pole I know which is which so have not labelled them but I might.
The boxes do have enough space for a T80 toroid balun to just fit inside but I have not done this. Nothing stopping you adding one outside or feeding differently.

Friday, 23 February 2018

M1KTA SO2R pt 2

Following on from as asked I will post some more details of the Arduino shield shortly.

Might not be until after C6/BERU trip mid March though as not as much time left before going.

As remarked yes only doing only simple cw and audio switching. NO SSB or PTT. You'll have to make sure you sort out PTT out so when one rig is keyed it sends a PTT lock out to the other so doesn't TX.

On C6 trip will be reviewing some kit

Been asked to review a bit of kit (rig accessory) and so will provide a link/updates on the blog once spoken to the vendor after trip.

Interesting option, so if any other vendors are ever interested in asking....

Sunday, 18 February 2018


Had these in the workshop for a while and thought was time to make then up.

Basically Butterworth band-pass filters for 80m, 40m, 30 and 17m.

Used T80-6 torroids and 500V (I think) SM caps.

Should be good to 20W at least, probably a lot more.

The 80m and 40m ones I used thin wire in the winding so probably not good for higher powers, the 30m and 17m ones used 16SWG wire should should be good for 100W

Monday, 12 February 2018

C6AKT now on clublog & LoTW

As I found out C6AKT was a reissued reciprocal SK call (Glenn W2CXX) and they had registered it through clublog and LoTW etc. So had to go through the steps needed and they are both now live again so requests for QSL will come to me.

Please make sure you realise I will not be dealing with requests for QSO or operation before my time there 8th March 2018.

"On 2018-01-13 16:31:45, Dominic Baines (M1KTA) requested that C6AKT be transferred to their account.

The allowed 28-day waiting period has now expired, and glen fadden (W2CXX) has not responded.
As a result, this Callsign Transfer Request has been automatically completed and C6AKT has been
transferred to Dominic Baines (M1KTA) as requested. The original log has been renamed C6AKT-1 and
remains under the account of glen fadden (W2CXX).

This resolution is now final, and the Callsign Transfer Request has been closed.

vy 73,
Michael G7VJR and the team at Club Log -"

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Keyers work in SO2R mode

Just tested, before going to the salt mines (sadly work still), that can use the keyers (K1EL Lite and WKUSB or K3NG) and the ATS-3B and K2 rigs independently of each other when switching manually and they are fine. In case ask/puzzled, the plan is I will using ONE manual key input through the SO2R and those will go into the 2 keyer paddle inputs. But I'll use win-test to key just ONE of the rigs the other will be manual.

Will be testing the win-test functionality and effect when change from rig1 to rig2 etc over the w/e.

Got to make sure the TX lock out works.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

A 5th 10m travel pole goes in the bag...

And still inside weight limit :-)

The suggestions are:

4SQ try 4SQ+1 so a 5th parasitic element might help in one direction or other.

The theory is to either place it in the dead centre or inline (along the diagonal) with the required direction.

IF there is 15m or 10m activity, add a second GP.

Friday, 2 February 2018

C6AKT 100% homebrew

As asked... Will be QRP.

The C6 trip will be 100% using home brew kit.

2el on 80m, Supports are two 12m poles from Spiderbeam, with top capacity hats. Directed end-fire towards UK/EU. Wires all new.
4-square on 40m, Four 10m traveling poles from SOTABeams will support the radiators, radials all new wires from CPC. Using a TK5EP based hybrid controller, same as used elsewhere, this time M1GEO made me up a QRP PCB and much lighter so will be trying that instead of the S2JW version.
VDA on 20m, 12m pole, Tesco chopping board and parts from two 4m poles. See details how to build one. TX6G David Aslin G3WGN also has excellent designs. There is a 1/2 wavelength version out there too...
GP's 15m and 10m (Not expecting much if anything on 15m and 10m)

Feed is NEW Aircell-5 with 75ohm webpro 100 between the phased antennas.

Taking coax stubs for 40m and 20m made from coax I picked up from SM7UCZ a while back (tnx G4BWP for the conversations and corrections)
W3NGN based BPF (but qrp versions) between the TRX and antenna

I'll use an SO2R arduino controller not really for running SO2R but to switch between the antennas.

Rigs will be ATS-3B and K2
Homebrew Softrock "Lite + USB Xtall" V9.0 Si570

I do have KX3 which I 'built' but they don't really fall into the hombrew category so they stay in UK

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

M1KTA SO2R controller

Asked if I could share details of the SO2R controller...

It seemed impossible to find a current project for this that was being kitted and pre-made commercial kit seems way too expensive so in order to make this as small as possible (using through hole) I've put together an Arduino Uno shield. This all started based on the work from NCJ July 2010 by Paul Young, K1XM and then the SO2R box YCCC created. All from a while back and discussions with a quite a few along the way going back a bit. I looked a bit at the stuff M1DST had done too.

Design choice was this absolutely MUST only use very common through hole components, nothing unobtainium.
Everything apart from plugs and sockets HAVE to fit on an Arduino Shield.
(I did play with a MEGA one too but no idea where that is right now.)
Design choice ALL connections HAVE to be on the outer edges of the board, absolutely nothing in the middle. Those square 4 pad switches definitely got moved.

Not complete by a long way and only really a prototype and being a cynic I expect it will get ripped off somewhere which is why not posted all the details this was an early layout and it 100% was re-organised, I just plonked the basic required components on the shield board to see if fitted, no tracks. This has tracks both on top and bottom of the board.

What does it do? Well if no PC or Arduino (I added an external power option) you got the ability to MANUALLY switch between 2 rigs .... PTT, CW key, Microphone and Headphones with AF control was all be off board. Honestly nothing is rocket science!

It can work like that all manually if you do not want to do anything else, it doesn't need the Arduino and the 'plan' was build it so manually I can switch from rig1 to rig2 if the PC is not there. In my case I used to see if there is an opening etc as I'll have the 2nd rig and separate antenna all setup. Now the extra bit is I kinda followed the OTRSP protocol so it should be usable by Win-Test by sending a command but I have not tested that bit in anger.

BTW ZERO band data, as this had to be small and I don't use it anyway so you cannot use this for switching antennas or BPF/LPF/ATU etc It could be added I expect.

After a chat with Ash, 3V8SS I added an LCD instead of the LED, meant adding to the Arduino code and only works if the arduino is present and powered. The LED work in either case.

The Arduino bit, I munged the code from K1XM and 3V8SS's versions into something this will work with.

I am sure using a Nano and SMT components this could probably be made even smaller (and lighter).

The isolation of the audio components from ground might be a wise choice if you have group loop issues but not added isolation transformers at this point.

My rigs are either separately CAT controlled (or not at all like ATS-3B) with either their own keyer or either a K1EL or KD1JV Simple keyer connected so I didn't include any of those bits either.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

SO2R based on SO2Rduino

For DX trips building an SO2R controller based on the SO2Rduino from K1XM NCJ Article by Paul Young -

Got the relays and other components so putting something together to see what is possible.

Will look at using with non CAT controlled radios as well as an SDR RX input.

As move long will post info.

The relays I'll be using at 5V versions...MCB-S-205-C-M basically as have them.
Pretty sure got plenty of some 12V versions as well.

In addition (as will use an Arduino MEGA will look at including an OLED display and possibly a VSWR meter, so don't have to have an extra bit of kit on trips.

One crazy idea is to use a K2 as one TRX and as have a spare K2 enclosure build the SO2R into it, along with the second TRX and anything else might normally require on trips.

Will probably be for CW only and I'll not bother with the mike/phone switching for SSB or data modes.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

C6AKT BERU Propogation (was from G3TBK originally)

From C6AKT I suspect I'll roughly follow this plan...
Z being 5 hours ahead of local Bahamas time.
So 10:00z will be 05:00 local time.

Was originally written when conditions were a lot better though.


       10:00z    3.5 MHz        VE, Other Carib, VK for first few minutes
       10:30z    7 MHz            VE, VK
       11:30z        14 MHz        G, VE, Other Carib
       12:30z    21MHz        Med,
       12:35z    14 MHz        G, VE
       13:00z    21 MHz        VE, G, Africa other Carib
       14:00z    still 21 MHz, as above + VP8 also wkd on 28 MHz
       14:30z    28  MHz        Short opening to VE, Africa
       14:45z    21 MHz        VE, G, Africa
       15:00 – 18:00z     Mostly 21 MHz, but short spells on 28 MHz to VE
       18:00        14 MHz        G, VE
       20:00        28 MHz        short opening to VE7, ZL
       20:00-22:00  14, 21, 28        short openings, VE, VK, ZL, Africa
       22:00        7 MHz            G, VE, 9M2,
       22:45-23:00 14 MHz        VE6, VE7
       23:00-23:45  21, 28    MHz        VK, ZL Short reliable opening
       23:45        7 MHz            G, VE
       00:15        3.5 MHz
       00:30        21 MHz        VK    Very short opening
       01:00        7 MHz            G, VE
       01:15        3.5 MHz        G Very fast rate
       01:40        7 MHz            G Very fast rate
       02:30        3.5 MHz        G, VE, Mediterranean
       03:30        7 MHz            VE, Mediterranean
       03:45        14 MHz        ZL, VK Short reliable opening
       04:00        3.5 MHz        G
       04:20        14 MHz        ZL, VK
       04:40        3.5 MHz        G, VE very strong
       06:50        7 MHz            G VE, Very fast rate
       09:00 until end 7 or 3.5 MHz    Very slow, VE, VK on grayline in last few minutes

As QRP don't think it will matter but if there are any sunspots there might be an opening to G on 28 MHz between 13:00 and 18:00 and another opening to G on 21 MHz. I'll also try to grab any other local stations at that time.

Advised that whenever rate slows it is important to check other bands,
especially during the night, as there are often short unpredicted
openings. I'll have a second KX3 and couple SDR's so might 'park those on the non active bands so can spot 'openings'.

Unless find out otherwise I should be the only C6 QRV in BERU which will make me an immediate multiplier for many but I need to watch out for others like V31GX who will be the same for me those QSO will effect scores.