Support QRP CoA Everywhere

Saturday, 28 April 2018


Managed to get onto Longstone after the attempt to activate Inner Farne.

Courtesy of the Trinity Lighthouse Engineers and one of the boats from Seahouses (that support the lighthouses) and have a licence to land on the island.
Was only an hour so had to be fast... KX3, battery and buddipole.

Best DX was K4KLL and W1OW both with me just 3watts SSB (not CW). One of the videos is for K4KKL.

43 QSO (not going to break any speed records!). 27/4/2018.

I'll add all the call signs worked here soon...



 As left the harbour.

 Approaching... pretty calm conditions.
 The selfie.
 The station
 George (the boatman took this) You might see seals in the background.
 The antenna and the lighthouse behind (Few might recognise the spot.)
 On the quay for the sailing back to land.
 The lighthouse from the boat that took me out there.

You tube videos

Thursday, 26 April 2018

EU120 Holy Island/Lindesfarne

Was fun, some SSB and CW action on 20m.

Now that is a beach.

Antenna... helically wound wire on a 10m pole.

Just tested... KX3, battery and antenna... all working.

Wind got up and bit went from time to time so put tent/shelter up.

OS map view.
QTH was North Beach, almost centre of this satellite photo.

Videos will appear here/you tube when uploaded.

EU109 Longstone tomorrow (27th April)

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Bamburgh Beach

some photos of the operation.

Simple GP at high tide line.

It rained whilst was there.

KX3 and that's it.

Locator IO95DO

Sunday, 22 April 2018

EU-109 Inner Farne

Well that was fun... not!

Went on the trip about the islands much had done before and landed on inner farne to be met with pretty much hostility to the idea of amateur radio from the island. I even suggested operating from the beach area well away from the birds, seals etc (and where they use their own boats) and that wasn't welcomed at all.

The day looked a bit gloomy but looked forwards to it.

 As got closer to the islands thousands of seabirds.

 The transfer details.

 Ticket over.

The skies were full of birds, not a good omen.

So I have arranged to possibly visit Longstone on Friday, no bird issues. But will be dependant on the WX.

So I managed to get on the island so should have been an activation, but ended up being a non-activation.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Simply brilliant

ID stepper

This is the stepper used on CNC from China.

Going to try to ID it.

I *think* it is a NEMA 17 1.8 degree per step motor.

  • No. of Phase: 2
  • Lead Wires: 4
  • Step Angle Accuracy: ±5%(Full step, no load)
  • Resistance accuracy: +- 10%
  • Inductance accuracy: +- 20%
  • Speed: Various Speed (Low speed)
  • Step Angle: 1.8 Degree
  • Rated Current 1.33A
  • Rated Voltage: 12V - 24V DC
  • Holding Torque: 1.26N.m
  • Shaft Radial force: 2.2Kg/cm
  • Shaft: 5mm round shaft
  • Wire length: 30cm
  • Frame size: 42mm x 42mm

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

3D Plotter from 3 old DVD

At work was just grabbing something when saw some old PC's with old DVD in them and thought might be fun to make up one of these plotters so asked if I might have them...

I have a spare Arduino MEGA and a 3D CNC Shield and A4988 controllers.

Hardware :-
1) Arduino Mega -

2) CNC Shield (loads on ebay)

3) A4988 Stepper drive (one for each axis) (loads on ebay usually come with the shield)

4) 3 DVD drive stepper axis (donor from old ones, it doesn't matter SATA or IDE as long as work)

Software :-
1) GRBL -

2) GRBL Controller -
Trying a few, seem to like the browser based chilipepr when I wrote this.

3) X-loader (if uploading the hex to arduino when running Windows if not using avrdude or the IDE when running Linux)

This site is worth a visit

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Time to rework the bench

The 3D CNC is working and the 3D printer is too, albeit behind a pile of bits. I have all the stuff for a 3D scanner as well (got to build a bit of that).

I'll add sound proof boxing too but the shelf where the 3D printer is will have the box and the 3D CNC and printer in it. Along with an internal shelf for bits etc.

You cannot see behind some sheets of polystyrene but got lots of filtered mains sockets.

The cupboard under has the previous CNC thing in it... got some nice 5 wire steppers I note.

The dremel drill press will stay where it is. I have two rods with wire, tape and solder on. Tape measures at one end.

The tray with chemicals, iron, modified A4 laminator etc and bits for etching PCB should be a thing of the past so I'll put it into the cupboard below.

Looks like got one too many monitors for the printer, I have a wall bracket for it.

The workbench with oscilloscope is back in action again. behind the CNC there is left to right a PSU, SMT microscope, hot air rework station, temp controlled iron and the oscilloscope probes. I use a copper sheet and an anti static wrist lead over the green workbench mat. The bicycle isn't normally there.

Friday, 13 April 2018

CNC Arduino fail & Rebuild

Not lot can say...  the machine just stopped after only a few tests during build.
GRBL Control (Candle) says lost communication with port.
Windows (yukk!) device manager says.

It's one of these cheap Chinese GRBL Clones with all the CNC bits on same board. I estimate it's DOA. The sad bit is they have not included an Arduino bootloader so you cannot just re-flash the MEGA32P with updated code and carry on... yes I know I 'could' but suspect the board might be duff and no idea what else might be suspect, so might not be worth the effort. The support was really nice and they are sending a replacement but I will probably have all this completed by the time it shows up.

So going to look at using the current GRBL 1.1f and an ArduinoUno (Maybe Mega 2560 as I have one of those available too?) and a CNC 3D shield like this one instead.

I have a feeling it might be a bit better to move the electronics off the system anyway and place into own enclosure and make a plastic/perspex type cover and lid (sound box?) so the sound of the bit/tool on whatever doesn't drive me nuts (earlier CNC stuff says it will). I have a K8200 3D printer sitting next to it too so will have both running from same PC.

As have a 'spare spindle' I will print a bed vacuum and add it (thingverse has something I like) so that swarf or whatever gets drilled off the material will be kept off the work area.
It doesn't include any limit switches but GRBL supports them, so does the shield. As building the box I suspect an emergency off plunger type switch that just cuts off all power might be a good idea too.

Will it be RF noisy?

Just RX one of these, seems very small. 
What do we think... will it be RF noisy :-)

I'll take a look with FT817 and a field strength probe, as well as just see what the shack radio says.
Might alos use (if noisy) as test for the X-Phase QRM eliminator I need to test.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

QRM Eliminator X-Phase

Was asked to look at this so grabbed a few mins with new Tenma soldering iron station and played.

Turned up from ebay in a  few days. The components all look to be there, except the LED to indicate power.

 Nice simple PCB, The pads look a bit close for the SMT versions of the diodes...

 Populated, top is nice and clean. The transformer wire provided was not heat strip so had to manually strip the enamel.

 Underside, not cleaned up yet, so lots of solder spots. Yes the SMT diode pads were a bit close

Ticked off the components as installed.

The 12V connection is a pad on the bottom of the board, no hole so not quite sure how I'll wire this up just yet. I suspect a hole through the pad to the top layer and a 12V connection on top might have been better?

Will put this into a box and add some connections and give it a test... so more to follow.