April 27, 2009

Group Donation

A couple of our members went to do some antenna work for Darwin G3JAH this weekend. Darwin is a "white stick" amateur and is unable to sort out any work himself nowadays. He has very kindly donated an ex-army section mast to the group which can be used as two 19' sections or as a 38' mast. Our thanks to Darwin for his kind donation.

April 19, 2009

FT897/857 Meter (G4LDS version)

Recently I upgraded my station to a FT897D, which like most rigs these days are fully menu controlled and can be operated via your PC.

To ensure that I can fully understand and operate the rig, I not only read the handbook (how many can say that!) as well as joined the yahoo FT897 group. Having read on the yahoo group about the FTmeter from LDG, I investigated further. The 897/857 has an output of 1mA to drive an external analogue meter. The LDG FTmeter is a 500µA meter in a box measuring 3.6W x 3.0D x 2.6H with a backlight that requires 10-14V @100mA. The meter comes with a 3.5mm mono plug on a one meter cable for connecting to the rig. (The meter is in series with a 10k trim pot). There is also an on-off switch and 2.5mm socket for the DC supply for the backlight. Cost of unit in UK = over £42! It can measure on Rx: S meter, discriminator, DC voltage or 1 mA calibration “signal”, on Tx: it can measure SWR, Power out, ALC or DC voltage: selectable via the rigs menu.

My version.

I decided to make a version without a backlight so I then purchased on e-Bay a 1mA meter for around £5-00 a nip to Maplin’s to buy a suitable case for around £3-50. I downloaded a suitable scale from the Yahoo group and glued over the original scale. Connecting the meter to the FT987, the menu allows you to generate a 1mA source to calibrate the meter (ie if using the 500µA meter, set to FSD using the pot). As you can see the attached picture my meter.

The meter I used has a black surround and the option of a backlight is not possible. However if you use a meter that can have backlighting (like the commercial version of this meter), then a 2.5mm DC panel mounting socket (Maplin JK10L)

plug 2.5 x 5.5mm long (L49ay)

a push on push off switch (N91ar)

backlight (PG77Jr) and a series resistor of around 270-500 ohms and cable is all that’s needed.



April 07, 2009

A Fabulous Rally

We had a great time at this year's Blackpool Rally. This year it was held a month later than normal but was very well attended indeed. Our tables were very busy indeed and we managed to raise a good amount of money to pay for our repairs and other projects we have "on the go". Plenty of our members found time to help with the stewarding of the event and also to spend time behind our tables whilst other members were socialising or spending their hard earned cash. One of the star attractions was Ian's Begali Morse paddle which seemed to be the centre of attention. The Elecraft display was also much admired.
Everybody was very tired by mid afternoon but it was well worth it. For a couple of our members it was their first big radio rally and Faris was hardly able to walk under his weight of purchases!! Our thanks go to the organisers and everybody who made the day a great success!

April 03, 2009

Quad Bike Mobile

Here is a  photo that I took this afternoon at the Portable location on
North End Scar. I am using a 5 element 2 metre SOTA Beam vertically
polarised, as I only had my Yaesu VX7r with me. It will go up horizontal by
just changing it round on the pole, only takes a few seconds. I have just
lashed it to the back rack on the ATV with cycling toe clip straps, they are
very useful for portable work as they are massively strong and have a quick
release mechanism on them.

I was limited with time, otherwise I would have taken my 817 with me which
is much better particularly now that I have a power supply from the ATV,
next time I will get more organised.
Barrie G1JYB

Rally This Weekend

This Sunday is the Blackpool Rally at Norbreck Castle Hotel. Sands will be there with two display tables and a selling table. We will have a range of Elecraft Transceivers on show and also a collection of vintage radios. We are hoping to be in the main hall. Please come and see us, just look for our banner! It is always a pleasure to catch up with friends both old and new.
It has been a busy week for all of us. We have been back up to the contest site to recover the radios and antennas. We have also taken delivery of our Club Clothing, our thanks to John GW0SYN of Logo king for a superb job! Tomorrow will be spent sorting out various boxes to take to the rally!