September 20, 2010

More adventures from the Isle of Arran

Hello Folks

Monday has been a good day, not only for the wx but also the contacts. Ian G0VGS started the ragchew station by making contacts with the Coast to Coast net on 3.662MHz where he was able to make contact with stations back home and Scarborough. Ian went on to take over the frequency and worked a pile up from many areas of the country.


The day started with a good shower but once that was out of the way we had a gloriously sunny day. This allowed Martin M0ZIF to get his 6m antenna up completing a series of beams covering 2m 6m and 70cm.

The Weather today has been glorious with the last of the rain falling around 10am. This allowed for some more work on the antennas.

Martin M0ZIF and Damien G0LLG

The VHF Antennas

Pictured above are a couple of pictures of are some of the Antennas Martin M0ZIF is using on VHF/UHF

Martin has been running on a TS2000X on 70cm SSB and FM, 2m SSB and FM and 6m SSB. We have also been running 15m SSB from a K3 in the downstairs shack.

DXpedition Focus

During the course of the this event I am going to focus on one or more stations to let you see the setup.

I am going to focus on Brendan's CW station today to give you an insight into the equipment and activity. Brendan is the shy and retiring gentleman in the photograph with the sunglasses on.

Brendan's antenna (30m vertical) was one of the first to be put up on Saturday and he wasted no time in getting his station operational. Since then 2 beverages have been added for receive.

You will see from the blogs to come that the DXpedition has been close to becoming an Elecraft K3 convention with no less than 4 K3's in operation during the event. All operators brought their own equipment as a complete standalone station that could be setup by the owner and used by all 12 operators.

Begali Keyer

Brendan did not just bring this Key for show, he uses it on air and what a key it is to use. I first heard about Begali via Ian G0VGS who has owned one for a few years now. When he told me how good it was to use I had to give it a try and I was not disappointed. The key is a Rolls Royce of keys with very high standards of engineering.

The Simplex Mono is a single lever key with a heavy (1.4 kg or more than 3 pounds) gold or palladium plated base and gold plated components. This photo shows the palladium plated base - for a visual impression of the gold plated base and the dust cover, take a look at the Simplex on the Begali site. Like the other keys it is manufactured using NC machinery for absolute precision. Micro-threaded screws are used for all adjustments. The pivot uses ball bearings that are imbedded in the base and the moving components are made of a light-weight alloy. This key uses a novel approach with a segmented lever that provides decoupling of the two sides and an exceptionally well defined neutral position. The contacts are 925/000 silver. The key comes with a protective dust cover.

If you come from a history of using mechanical bugs or straight keys you may find the operation of a single lever key easier than the "squeeze" mode of iambic paddles. Even if you are using a dual lever key today you may want to get this precision key for its sheer beauty and the occasional diversion to create dits and dahs in a more old-fashioned way.

( This information was copied from the Martin Lynch & Sons Website where information can be found on a whole range Begali Keys )

Brendan also uses the Winkeyer to good effect where it works well with the N1MM Logging Software. Here's what looks like a unit un-boxed
  • WinKeyer2 Controller IC
  • USB Interface to any PC
  • Supported by all major logging apps
  • Key by paddle or by PC
  • Built-in iambic A/B and ultimatic keyer
  • Autospace
  • True adjustable weighting
  • Keying Compensation
  • Two output ports with PTT
  • Low power standby
  • Optically isolated, solid state relay outputs
  • HSCW and QRSS
  • Speed control 5-99 WPM

Elecraft P3 Panadapter

I have placed a link below so that you can see the Panadapter in action similar to the one used by Brendan. I understand that there are more downloads to come making this unit even more useful than it is now.

From my few days with Brendan, I have found he has a very good a sense of humour that shines out along with his personality. I only really get to speak to him at meal times because once the cans are on and he smells the blood of a CW contact, he's in the zone and making as many contacts as he can.

Well that's about it for now

Take a listen out for all the stations on air from Arran, and you will also find two more DXpeditions worthy of your interest taking place on the Isle of Mull and Isle of Skye


Brian G0RDH ( The Reluctant Contester)

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