31 Mar 2009

JF1OZL - still the best!

http://www.intio.or.jp/jf10zl/ is a magic site if you are keen on simple QRP homebrew radios. Kazuhiro Sunamura has such a creative talent and I just love his hand-drawn schematics and layouts. He has a unique ability to turn a few components into a fantastic QRP SSB, DSB, AM or CW transceiver. Not to be missed!

VLF resources

Radio Waves below 22kHz at http://www.vlf.it/ is an excellent place to find information on VLF and ELF natural radio. Renato Romero who hosts this page also has a book called Radio Nature on the subject.

At some point I want to restart my interest in this part of the spectrum but at the moment I am short of time.

DX Crystal sets

Jim's Crystal Radio Page at http://www.hobbytech.com/crystalradio/crystalradio.htm has some very neat crystal set designs with high performance receivers. These units also look like works of art as they are so elegant.

There are other excellent resources at Gollum's Crystal Receiver World http://www.oldradioworld.de/gollum/ .

27 Mar 2009

VHF AM controversy

This Sunday's RSGB News contains a piece about AM operation on 145.8MHz in Scotland and alleges that some AM operators have been deliberately interfering with International Space Station communications on the same frequency. I do not know if this is true or not. If it is, then it should stop: there is no place for such behaviour in our fine hobby.

What I do know is that the RSGB has been EXTREMELY slow in publishing frequencies for VHF AM in the UK. Although people have been urging the RSGB to put an AM "centre of activity" or calling frequency in the band plans, this has still not happened, although a brief mention of 144.55MHz has been added in the footnotes a few months ago.

My recommendations are:

(1) All AM users in the UK migrate to 144.55MHz.
(2) AM operation on 145.8MHz should be phased out as soon as possible.
(3) Use of 145.8MHz for AM should be done with care to avoid any interference with ISS operations.
(4) The RSGB should publish 144.55MHz in the 2m bandplan as the agreed centre of activity for AM users.

AM is a great mode allowing simple homemade gear to make useful contacts. It would be a shame if AM users got a bad name as a result of this negative publicity.

26 Mar 2009

S54S website

The website of Aleksander S54S has some great circuit ideas including many fine QRP transceivers such as the Tinka shown here. See http://lea.hamradio.si/~s57nan/ham_radio/index.html

22 Mar 2009

Ham gear reliability "league table"?

As yet, I've not had a single failure with any piece of commercial ham radio gear I've owned and operated in nearly 40 years. OK, the gear is usually QRP, working in a benign shack environment and not abused. Perhaps I'm just lucky.

I'm wondering if anywhere there is a "league table" showing how reliable various makes and models of ham radio gear are? It sounds like something that someone may have compiled but I've not seen one. The nearest are the reviews on eHam.net.

Back home again

Now back home after our holiday in NZ. It is a wonderful country with splendid scenery and very kind and friendly people. We felt very "at home" there despite being on the opposite side of the planet from the UK. It is good to know such nice places and people still exist in our crowded little world.

As yet, I've not managed to do any operating back home as we are looking after our little grandson. Hopefully I will get on the air this week in the evenings.

9 Mar 2009

ZL operation (more)

This is a picture of ZL/G3XBM/P operating from the hotel balcony in Queenstown, South Island, NZ. Nothing heard or worked on this occasion. Next real opportunity is Thursday March 12th when we get back to Christchurch. The far west coast of South Island around Haast is pretty remote with no mobile phone coverage at all, the nearest fuel 90-120kms away, nearest fire station 2 hours away and only one BC station audible on MW and Band 2 FM.

6 Mar 2009

ZL operation

Although I still take a listen most nights with the VX2 handheld, I have to report that sightseeing is taking a higher priority than QRP operation on 70cms FM in ZL-land at the moment.

The country is SO beautiful, so clean, so uncrowded and the people everywhere are genuinely kind, helpful and interested in you. New Zealand is a lovely place.

Next 70cms FM operation likely to be March 12th when we arrive back in Christchurch on our last night before flying to VK-land to see friends then flying home.