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Friday 28 December 2012

Flying Pig Rig #45 More debugging


Supply 11.90V

U2 Pin 6

DC RX 5.90V DC TX 5.90V
RF RX 247mV RF TX 247mV

Q2 Collector
DC RX 11.64V DC TX 11.64V

Q3 (Junction with R25) Emitter
DC RX 11.90V DC TX 11.89V

Q3 (Junction with C31) Collector
DC RX 12.16V DC TX 1.3mV

Not measured the RF voltages on Q2 and Q3 yet,,,

Wednesday 26 December 2012

Flying Pig Rig #45

OK no RF out... :-(

Done a bit of probing. Going to do some operating using another rig for a bit then will come back to this.

Supply is 10 1.2V NiMH batteries and supply is 11.29V.

At Junction of R12/C14 have nice clean 230mA 7.03070 MHz signal (after turned C26 a bit).

Just to make sure that on key down I get a voltage  to PA... R23/R26 11.15V on key down so the keying voltage is appearing.

Junction of C43/T1 11.05V and drops to 0V on key down

Junction of Q3/C31/T1 11.05V drops to 0V on key down

Q5 and Q6  (BD139)  collector on both 11.25V key up or key down and emitter and base both remain at 0V

U1 Pin 7 11.27V
U2 Pin 8 5.94V
U3 Pin 6 11.22V
U4 Pin 8 5.25V

Monday 24 December 2012

Flying Pig Rig #45 - Completed build (no case yet)

No case yet.

Powered by NiMH 10AA 12.6V

Turns on fine but no 'OO' :-)

Got to run but will come back and trouble shoot.

Doh,,, forgot to plug in battery!

Get the 'OO' big grin...

Flying Pig Rig #45 Build Part2

Got a few minutes so added the toroids, PA and heatsink.

I added the label to the rear of the heatsink.

Got to do some more tasks then will add all the other bits and align.

Sunday 23 December 2012

Flying Pig Rig #45 Build


The parts in plastic bags

All the R installed

The Transformer T2 is really big :-)

T1 and T2 mounted
Capacitors  and IC installed.
All the transistors

Got food now ... will complete rest tomorrow...

Friday 21 December 2012

Flying Pig Rig #'45 arrived...

As I am FP#2233 I will also get involved in trying to contact some other piggies this winter and next year.

Diz FP#1 has come up with a wonderful homebrew rig for all piggies...

There is no tuning... turn it on listen and if you hear anyone it is likely to be another piggie.

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Cumbria DSP

Just set sets to:

G3ROO (Ian got yours ready for your return from ZS)
G7VKQ (2nd set of discretes included)
Alan R ?? No contact
ZL2CCO got a set for you... send me an email please.

Monday 10 December 2012

Cumbria DSP Components

Those who expressed an interest in a component set for Ron (G4GXO) board please get in touch (do not send a comment it will not have your email on it!) the Farnell back order for the 470uF caps has come in and so I have sets ready to post out now.

Saturday 8 December 2012

160m antenna

Asked for some photos...

Looking down the rear garden.

The two lines yellow and white going across the garden are washing lines.

One end (house end) with an insulator.

 The end wire support is off a TV pole on the house so about 20ft agl.

 The wire is almost invisible looking up.

 The two garden supports, centre one and the end (by shack) the long wire is on small string loops.

Tuesday 4 December 2012

on 160m making qso :-)

Finally got the antenna and rig working nicely... cqing on 1.825 and just qso with S51EC and LA7AK.

I am QRP.


I am qrp into a 140ft inverted L abt 25ft AGL.

Sunday 2 December 2012

on 160m again

This time RBN IS picking me up :-)

I am qrp and into a 140 ft long wire and tons of radials!.

Inverted L setup with vertical section about 30 feet and rest going down the garden.

SK3W picked me up in seconds.

CQ'ing 1.822.50 for now... I'll be out every night this week.

Another beach and EU109 again in 2013

Another beach...

Looks like will be able to activate EU109 inner and Outer Farne this summer.

Sunday 25 November 2012

Tweaked HF antennas

Pruned and tweaked (cleaned and remade connections) for my other HF antenna at QTH whilst messing with 160m... so have a reasonable antenna on 80/40/30 and 20m

160m CQWW qrp

Well not expecting anything too surprising but playing with possible 160m antennas.

This is a 10m fishing pole, whole network of radials and I also connected to the shack earth side too.

The coil is wound ona 50mm pvc pipe and is bunches of 50 turns and some random numbers of turns in the middle, until it became resonant... about 1825-1850.

Anyway KX3 up and running and sending cq....

Ah well no response... so either antenna doesn't work, or noone hears me :-)

Monday 19 November 2012

qsl cards

Lots more direct cards arrived for KH8 today... and got the final proofs in from Geoff (FDS does my QSL cards), yes I know KH8 locator is wrong should be AH45pr





 General UK card:

Guess the shoreline?

Was going through the photos over w/e and thought I'd start to add a couple that show operating sites I have used when DX.

These ones southern hemisphere

This one had perfect take off to the North towards UK and EU (2007)

This beach was again north side towards UK and wonderfully soft sand

Saturday 17 November 2012

LED display

I have a homebrew bit of kit with a dodgey display, one digit (3rd)
has failed.... :-)

It is using a common anode 4 digit LED display. Rather than go buy a
new one (I know only about £2) I have some single 7 seg displays of
about same size and started to play about to do a swap and some
fiddling with the wiring. Then after a bit of playing I had an idea as
I also have some larger (4") ones that are nice and bright with 7.4V
and 40mA per segment I bought at Rishworth last year, one even has
RN1-4002LO8W on it so I found a data sheet!

The multiplexing etc is a bit of fun.

On the original common anode the digits are controlled with Digit 1
pin 12, Digit 2 pin 9, Digit 3 pin 8 and digit 4 pin 6.

a-g pins 11,7,4,2,1,10,5

The 7 seg are:

a-g pins 7,6,4,3,2, 9,10

I bridged the original wiring to the new needed.

12 goes to 1 1st digit
9 goes to 1 2nd digit
8 goes to 1 3rd digit
6 goes to 1 4th digit

bridge the a-g segment pins too 11 to 7 etc.

The original or the smaller uses about 2.2V forward and draw is about
25mA per segment.

If I wired in the smaller LED I do not need to do anything else, they
work. If I were to try the larger LED how would you safely raise the
voltage and current draw? I thought add in a simple NPN transistor as
if I were driving a relay and add a stable voltage of 7.5V (use LM317)
to the display pin?

BTW I will order 11 extra sets of components for the Cumbria DSP
boards from Ron I'll contact those who expressed an interest with
details tomorrow.

It is also valve day tomorrow so hope to find you on air.

Saturday 10 November 2012

QSL cards

Only proofs but these are what will go out (thousands of them so I guess I'll be writing a bit !) ... I'll add gqrp logo and my member number.

Friday 2 November 2012

Shack work this winter

Got to redo the operating shack, this summer other projects and trips took over but shack needs an overhaul and I am painting the inside white, putting up decent lights (had them from a car boot buy 2 years ago) and redoing the roof (had the 4" insulation and boards a while).

Two new desks will go in (made from 600mm wide sections of Sterling board (again had for a while) and the current old tables will go, MDF shelves ready to go in so the old metal ex-garage shelves will go too. The house loft reorg and 'stuff' sort out has provioded a number of deep clear A4 plastic boxes so I'll put these on the shelves with appropriate kit in them. All the 'components' should be up in the workshop now.

A new set of antenna feeders will be put in along with a permanent (yahoo) 40/80 dipole running NS down the garden. I also plan on putting up a directable 10/15/20 antenna of some sort and being nagged to put up a 6m/4m/2m/70cm antenna of some sort and so bought bits to build yagi from Harrisons.

I have a 1.2GHz project I want to have a go at building and that will require an antenna of some sort probably a 20+ el yagi.

The 500KHz NoV will get a dusting off this xmas about the same time as the GQRP xmas contest and I will put up an inverted L for this and/or a vertical.

If time allows I might experiment with SO2R and SDR RX & separate TXRX as I plan to be having some fun next year in the RSGB cumulative  and some QRP contests.

New KX3 kit arrived

My second KX3  a new KX3 kit just arrived.

Base model
Roofing filter
No ATU, this will be the DXpedition spare and the shack rig so doesn't need an ATU.
No key (I use K1EL USB Winkey or a paddle)
No battery charger (this one will possibly not even have battery holders fitted)

Will be built it next week.

In case anyone from UK asks... £8.00 Royal Mail handling charge and £144.37 VAT

Still way cheaper than if I bought from W&S in UK. 

QSL cards ordered

I have QSL cards for these call prefixes coming:

6W, 6W/P, C5, KH6, KH8, W5
I have several thousand to complete :-)
All directs I will send out first and there are a couple hundred of them.

Thursday 1 November 2012

Cumbria DSP

I will do another order with Farnell as there are enough enquiries.

I might (as asked) also add the other bits and connectors.

You will have to get boards from Ron (G4GXO) I will not stock them, as asked I will not build a DSP board up and I cannot program the chip for you either. I provide no support for the board and if you fry a component you are on your own.

To program the board the simplest option is probably to obtain MPLAB's PICKit3 which Ron referred to in his talk, it and the RJ11 ICSP cable will set you back £45 from MPLABS. Ron includes the HEX code in the Cumbria site downloads along with the source code for those brave enough to try and play. Please do not ask me for them.

If interested in a component set contact me but I will be picking and packing current sets right now.

I have enquiries from US and Australia as well as UK!

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Cumbria DSP

All bits for Ron's DSP boards have arrived... sorting now. (I have not ordered the jumpers or some of the discrete C and R I expect builder to either have their own or easy access to them).

If anyone was interested please get in touch. Should have 20 sets (minus mine so 19!) some are spoken for.

Looks like quite a bit of saving on the oneses and twoses prices.

I will contact Ron and see if he has spare boards.

Monday 29 October 2012

No comments with links to dodgy sites

Please note any comments to dodgy sites will get dropped as spam no exceptions.

Just had a dozen anonymous comments and they have all gone the same way.

Please do not include links to anything non amateur radio or I will not publish it. I cannot edit part of a comment so even though the rest might be useful information I'll still not publish it and report it as spam.
I really would prefer it if you do have a comment or link tag with your own blog and callsign (assuming you are a radio amateur).


DSP from Cumbria Designs

Any considering trying to build one of Ron's DSP projects

His Rishworth presentation is:
I picked up a PCB from Ron at Rishworth and want to do a group buy? He isn't doing kits at moment... you will have to get PCB from him.

There would not be huge savings as there are not that many components
but I have Farnell account so easy to add a few extras so if 10 were
interested would save maybe £4-£6 or so on the cost of the Voltage
regulators, DSP PIC, Audio chip TLV320AIC23BPW and MAX3221CAE.

I just ordered these:

1st number is Farnell Component ID
40MIPS £3.24
TSSOP28 £4.92
3221, SSOP16 £1.52
1842205  TXC 9B-12.288MAAJ-B XTAL, 12.288MHZ, 18PF, HC-49S £0.36
1842224  10      TXC 9B-20.000MAAJ-B     XTAL, 20.000MHZ, 18PF, HC-49S £0.36

1663356 LT1117 3v3 regulator £2.23
1759361RL 100nF 1210 cap £0.015
1833901 470nf 1210 cap £0.45 I only bought 5 of these for myself.

I have 10 sets of them.

The price is what they will cost me so I'll pass them on for same.

If interested let me know.

Thursday 18 October 2012

Stuff I am selling at Rishworth.

A list of all the goodies I'll have on my table (up on the stage):

A lot went.... those through lined.

Most if not all are built projects.

Item Asking (GBP )
23cm ATV TX 30
23cm ATV RX 30
G6ALU ATV Controller 30
Superdrug Radios 2.5
Howes 2m and 6m RX Converter 10
Fuchs Antenna Tuner 17.5
ADC-40 15
Mono Headset 2
Wood pieces Donation (10p)
Wires etc Donation (10p)
Wall warts 20p each
Laptop Power Supply 1
Printer power supply 1
Softrock 20m SDR RX 5
10MHz frequency counter 10
RX , TX PCB VK3XU 40m SSB CW - M1KTA Version 15
Notch Filter 10
Velleman Water Alarm 2.5
Velleman PMK125 light switch 5
Discrete AF AMP 3
SA 612 Detector 3
Frequency Standard V1.1 3
MC1349 IF Amp 3
500Hz Xtal Filter (5.0688MHz & 430pF) 4
RF Amp 3
SA612 HM Mixer Kit 3
Universal VFO 10
Softrock 160m RX 5
Softrock V6.2 RXTX 160m 20
Softrock V6.2 RXTX 20/30m 20
Softrock 30m RX 5
MKARS-80 CW Kit (Built) 30
MKARS-80 (Built) 50
ARDF-80 RX 40
ARDF-80 TX (x2) 5
Softrock V6.2 RXTX 40/80m 20
SnapPaddle 15
Softrock V4.0 40m ORIGINAL 20
Softrock V6 RX Various 5
FDIM2008 RF PA 5
KitsandParts 10W PA 30
SLT Tuner 20
Digital Dial 20
Tenna Dipper kit 20
Tenna Dipper Built 25
Miniboots 5W PA 15
Marker Generator 5
Softrock Ensemble RXTX 40/80 45
Norcal W6JJZ BLT Tuner 15
DDS Si570 28
DDS Si570 PCB 5
PFR-3 150
Frequency Standard (kits and parts) 8
Small wonder labs SW20+, Norcal Keyer, 10T 50K and AB13 box 60
DDS-60 (2 of) 10 each
BITX20A 90
JUMA Keyer 20
Softrock V6.2 RXTX 80m 20
433.9MHz RX and TX (2 of) 5ea pair
Norcal-2030 Part kit 45
VNA V1 70
BW Camera 5
Colour Camera 5

Tuesday 16 October 2012

KX3 Headset

Asked over and over what am I using...

Logitech  PC Headset 860
P/N 981-000094

This has a small boom mic and the leads are mic 3.5mm and audio 3.5mm The headset has an inline volume control and a mic mute. The mic is noise cancelling too!

The cost was £6.80 from ebay including P&P :-)

Did a search and there are similar headset on ebay

Now I didn't want something that looked like a 'tank commander' / ear defender type over the ears and wanted something light weight and fitting for use.

The lead is plenty long enough.

I carry one for use with the PC (older P/N 881-000033 no noise cancelling mic) for skype and I found on 6W or KH8 easiest way to let someone hear what I was up to is connect a Y adapter and the second headset and let them listen themselves.

A LOT cheaper than the Heil one that can be bought and whilst not in the same category I found perfectly usable.

W5/M1KTA QRV from AE5X shack

Ran a short pile in the QRP-ARCI contest from John (AE5X) shack. He collected me from the gate at Houston, breakfast and then operated (I setup the station as I had run it in KH8) plugged into his antennas and operated.

Great fun.

Note the large FT240-61 ferrite on the leads for the K1EL usbwinkeyer... doesn't matter what I do I keep getting RF even at qrp back into laptop from rig from this. I had to restart wintest and other laptop bits from time to time, most annoying.

Yes in contest/pile up I use cwget to help with the cw tune (last image). I do not use a hand key when running win-test either and send everything through the keyboard so you will not see a key n the picture, although I do have a palm paddle plugged in usually.

Sunday 14 October 2012

First direct QSL beat me home!

Got home at 11:00 UTC today 14th October and first direct QSL beat me home :-)

W6SDM... Not created QSL cards yet !

All qso in the log with KH8/M1KTA uploaded to LoTW.

Saturday 13 October 2012

Where to next?

Anyone got an interesting DXpedition coming up and need an op?

KH8/M1KTA sounded like this

So what does a QRP station sound like working EU from the other side of the globe?

These are not mine but




So I ask is a qro station is really essential for those DXpeditions, if so why ?

I do think some things are needed though...

1. Mains power not essential but makes life a lot easier all around.
2. Very well guyed antennas, if I had one major weakness it was this. WX was reported at Force 7 so winds gusting >35mph and I had two antenna supports snap in the winds.
3. Everyone said take a PA, not 100% sure needed after listening to many contacts, a PA would not have helped me hear the pile up stations any better and there were not many places I couldn't work... A PA might help me sound louder... not convinced of value except added other to the pile up. I took a pa (Homebrew ARRL design but it didn't last long, one FET blew as the bias resistor had popped and the PA current went high, zapped the car battery I had obtained for the North East shore site (no mains).
4. Do not believe the doomsayers or propagation predictions most are pure rubbish and I worked lots of stations when everything says I should not have... Why? Because the propagation predictions are just that predictions. The most time the low predictions is often due to the fact there just are not 1,000's of stations from that DXCC, I think I was it for KH8 when I was there, so if someone listened somewhere where I wasn't they have said no propagation... that said posting op freqs and sticking to them and then being asked for schedules and reverse beacon and dx cluster meant most just set alarms on the call appearing... I've done a bit of cross reference log to dx spots and there is a direct correlation.
5. More time? I went for the time I did as that was what was available never planned to set records etc, happy to work plenty of qrp stations from KH8.

Friday 12 October 2012


Might be qrv from Texas as W5/M1KTA as I have a 5 hour stop over. 08:10 to 2:55pm local time.

If I am expect will be qrv cw on 21.015, 14.015 or 18.075

KH6/M1KTA Mini pile

Landed in KH6 and rented a car and went up on NE shore, mini pile on 17m (W3EDP) qrp and worked stations from West to East Coast US for couple hours. Tried other bands but heard nothing. reverse cluster heard me on the other frequencies...

On another flight so back to airport now.

KH8 permissions

Came from the Sa'ilele talking village chief who is second to ...

The actual village chief... in case you don't recognise him...(T.T.A. Tulafono) he is American Samoa's Governor has been for last 16 years and is about to stand down in November. He is also the president of the local Rugby Union and sepnt some of the flight talking about the chances at the upcoming Oceanic championships, there was a kiwi coach on same flight.

I sat next to him on flight back to Hawaii I think he arranged that as my ticket should not have warranted the seat and wanted to understand more about radio as he had met a couple Swains Guys but was not really sure what they were up to and his family had briefed him on what I was doing. I had spent some time taking to the kids after I set up the first night and showed them the world map (on the PC) with the sun/grey line and where the stations I could hear were from.

Tnx fer contacts kh8/m1kta now qrt

qrt from kh8/m1kta

Wind snapped antennas support again guys were ripped out.

Hastily tapped up 'spare' also broken and put back up again, the broken one rested it against a palm tree.

Photo for possible qsl card

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Me recorded elsewhere whilst KH8

This is the antennas site:

The 15m antenna morning after 1st night's operating.

QRV 21.015 UP1

Sunrise view.