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Sunday 21 December 2014

A different view when you get a "not in log"

I just couldn't stop laughing....

The german probably is not what the subtitles say but it is funny all the same.

Monday 15 December 2014

M6 and QSLing

This topic was being thrown about in discussions in local club as a new M6 friend of one was confused by all the options and wanted some advise...

Suggested maybe post this to the blog  in case anyone else wants the info...

So here goes... (Applies to UK only!)

Some definite do's...

Read this:

If you are not an RSGB member join or else you will not get bureau cards and remember to send a number of C5 envelopes with 2nd class LARGE stamps to whomever is the qsl manager for M6. Postage goes up every March/April so if you expect to qsl lots you can save quite a bit to buy some in advance.
(I buy 4 or 5 books of 50 2nd class stamps, if postage goes up 10p I can save £20 not heaps but every bit helps). Sadly they don't do books of EU or DX stamps any more just value stamps.

The QSL Sub-manager for M6 series RIGHT NOW is Mr R Taylor, M0RRV
Please send stamped, addressed C5-sized envelopes for your cards to the following address;
2 Chadwick Road
South Yorkshire
With each copy of RadCom you get keep the plastic wrapper with the address and current membership details on it, you will need it to send cards to the buro. No confirmation and they will not process the cards.... BE AWARE!

Assuming this is for static (i.e. the home station listed on the licence).
You should always include YOUR callsign, address and locator. I found adding the WAB square, WAZ and ITU can be useful as many ask for them anyway.
Make sure you include THEIR CALLSIGN (maybe a VIA), the RST exchange (received and sent), the time in UTC, the date, frequency (or band) and mode. Add a "73 tnx qsl" or "73 pse qsl" so that you can confirm you have a card from the other station or are requesting they confirm the qsl.

You do not have to but many include what the rig, antenna and power they are using is.

Some include a remark section for comments.

Some include their name some do not.

The RSGB buro notes say "Print the station worked callsign clearly in the top right-hand corner of the card or label, using clear bold print with a minimum size of 12 point to make for easy reading". I don't know anyone that does that!

Some definite do nots...

Do not hand write the IOTA reference EU005 or island name which is UK if this will be from mainland UK on the card any IOTA adjudicators will not accept them. You create a nice QSL card but right now they will not allow them for awards and you might find the RX station wants you to redo them (total pain believe me!) IOTA rules say you have to print them on the cards!

Do not include your email or telephone number on the card. Some do include email but be aware don't use a temporary email address as some cards take ages to get through the system. Especially students using an email that is not valid next year/term!

You do not need to have glossy cards, pictures or prints on both sides of the cards and most stations you send one to will not be concerned about this, unless you are running either a special station, location or have a particular artistic flare. The early QSL cards (i.e. Vintage) were monotone and had printing and writing only on one side.

If you are operating portable as well as from home then the easiest option might be to add a small check box that you put a tick/cross in if it applies. Watch out if the locator changes too if it is different to home, e.g Snowdon is not JO02, yes I have one qsl card that says it is!

Most of the places that will print QSL cards (I have suggested UX5UO and FDS before) that produce cards already know the correct size, paper and fonts to use and you can view examples, I'd look at what they are suggesting especially those from other M6 stations.

Also think if you are now an M6, unless you will want to remain an M6 or operate a lot and manage 100's of qso you will probably want to carry onto being an intermediate or advanced licensee if yes then do you really want a 1000 M6 cards probably not ?

Do not forget LoTW or ClubLog either as loads just use them these days.

Some others also suggested a few things (names omitted as not asked permission yet to reproduce):

No one writes the destination callsign on both sides, but do make sure your callsign is on both sides, in a clear, legible font. When the person you're sending a card to gets it, they want to very quickly be able to see what your callsign is, no matter which way up the card is :-). You'd also be surprised how many cards use supposedly artistic fonts which make the callsign almost impossible to decipher!

Obvious perhaps to older licencees but maybe not to new licencees... cards sent via the bureau take a long time to get back to you - two years is normal, three not at all uncommon, and five or more isn't unheard of.(I became M1KTA in 2003, last month I RX a QSL card for an M3KTA qso that was 11 years before!)

For special contacts, perhaps the first time you work a new country, it's normally much faster to send the card directly to the station you worked, including a return envelope with your address written on it, and funds to cover return postage. Obviously UK stamps don't work abroad for the return postage, so the normal custom is to include a couple of $1USD notes. Many stations will list their QSL requirements on their entry on

Sunday 14 December 2014

Operators should wear dinner suits shouldn't they?

As is usual at these gatherings we talk about possible wish list trips etc.

I happened to spot behind where I was sitting there was a globe so time to look at trip planning and pointing out those hard to work/get to places.

Yes that is be me in a dinner suit, jacket over chair (I'm ex-Cambridge uni so it is circa 1993 as seemed to wear one far too often and the trousers didn't fit so there was a last minute panic to find a pair that did). I'm reliably informed that  radio operators used to always wear one before going on air in times gone by. Anyway was given a bottle of pink bubbly along with another Gavin M1BXF who turned up in full Scottish garb for being the best dressed there :-)

Rob also posted about it

I'm not on Twitter!

Saturday 13 December 2014

HF Band pass filters

You only need these IF you will have another TX operating nearby either in contest, field day, some multi-op station or SO2R.

I was asked about these and the ones I use in the shack that I built into some small metal boxes were based on K4VX design here:

They cover 160, 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10m

I do not have filters to cover WARC bands but I might make up some based on the W3NGN ones.


at some point.

I have to finish a K2 build first.

Tuesday 25 November 2014

KX3 heatsink

Been asked to look at a heatsink for KX3.

Initial photos...

Package from Canada

 Plenty of packing chips

Bubble wrap contained the heatsink and mount screws (looks like will have to disassemble KX3 to fit)

The underside of the heatsink has been etched with the maker VE7FMN callsign.
I have a build for someone to finish first but will then fix this to #2334 or #1082 and do some tests.

Sunday 23 November 2014

Dual DDS Arduino shield

Interesting looking at the work from KO7M and his dual Si570 Arduino shield, used in the Minima... it is only a prototype currently but it is an intersting option.

The image is not mine but his, looks like an Eagle PCB layout (perhaps).

KO7M mentioned this is still a prototype that the SMA connectors kinda foul with the USB connector from the Arduino Uno underneath... I guess moving them down a bit (on the image) would work but too much and then Arduino power barrel connector socket then might foul with BFO SMA... I wonder if it might better if the SMA connectors were mounted 90 degrees to the PCB, the ability to stack the boards  might be effected (if another were to be added).

The pins would have to be cut very close to the underside of the board (unless SMT versions used). I expect LPF would need to be fitted to the Si570 outputs anyway and these might be better off board anyway.

I've seen a similar usage suggested recently using those little AD9850/AD9851 boards from ebay/china... one provides the VFO the other the BFO frequency.
These boards contain an LPF (a poor one) the little row of SMT devices between the blue output pot and the 1/2 size clock can are an LPF.... It is better to just remove it and use an external LPF.

These boards contain an LPF (a poor one) the little row of SMT devices between the blue output pot and the 1/2 size clock can are an LPF.... It is better to just remove it and use an external LPF.  

This is just a single DDS from Kanga and it is mentioned here

I picked one up at G-QRP Convention at Rishworth and looked over a dual DDS version (not a shield yet) that was being used with a clone of Drew Diamonds TCF Transceiver.

Saturday 22 November 2014

Minima - M1KTA bodges

As away from home at moment looking at the minima and the work from a few others... throwing my code bodges into github too

I am going to be looking at the I2C libraries for the 4x20 LCD and adding a VSWR, Power Meter and Supply Voltage to the LCD real estate.

I like the option of using dual Si570 for the VFO/BFO and using an Arduino Uno and not the original base Atmega328 chip. I might investigate the use of the Arduino Mega 2560 (as I have one) as it has extra I/O and I2C dedicated already.

Also I have some alternate IF frequencies (as have the crystals) so might play a bit, as well as ADE-1 and SBL-1 mixers.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Python Panadapter for KX3 and UHFSDR

This has been done before with a RaspberryPi... but I found it lacked a bit on raw grunt and the tiny TFT was, well tiny... the Banana Pi with a dual core 1GHz CPU and 1GB RAM etc is an interesting option as almost all hardware is an upgrade from the earlier RaspberryPi, who (whom?) have said they will not update the RaspberryPi hardware until 2017) So I will be taking a look at using it and I will also employ a more friendly 7" LCD (ebay) with HDMI and a touch screen.

I don't want to grab an image that belongs to anyone else however these are what I will use

7" screen + BananaPi + KX3


+ bit of Python and a BananaPi flavour of Rasberian OS and you get this...

Tuesday 11 November 2014

M1KTA 'library'

Asked recently how can I almost instantly recall or obtain details of circuits and designs....easy I have my own radio library. Quite a few volumes have been borrowed recently... No I do not post to anyone but I have found the odd thing for people (If I have time).

Bit of a shacky video (upside down as it happens!)

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Friday 12 September 2014

IOTA 2005 Trip with Clive M5CHH

Found some old photos...