Friday, 24 September 2010

New Microphone

I noticed this base microphone on Ebay about a week ago, its a Yaesu MD-11ABJ. After doing a little bit of research (thanks Google!) I found that it had the same pin outs as my Yaesu FT857. As the price was very reasonable I thought I would give it a try. Its a fairly odd looking piece of kit, I think it was aimed at the PMR market, but it works well enough and I am told the audio from it is quite good. Since I mainly use the FT857 on 2 metres FM at the moment I don't know if the mic would be suitable for SSB work. One odd thing about this Microphone-if you look at the picture there is a "PTT "button, a "Lock" button and a "Monitor" button.
We all know what the PTT does, but if you push the monitor button the rig powers down and  switches off. The "Lock" button is not to lock the PTT it is to lock the "monitor" button down, as if you do not keep the "monitor" down the rig will not stay on. Not a problem of course-but I wonder what the purpose of this was?

My new inverted V dipole seems to work well enough. On 80 metres I have worked several G on SSB with good reports  and into Germany on 80metre PSK with 25 watts. If anything the dipole seems better than my old inverted L, particularly for inter UK on 80. On 40 metres I have heard VK and a couple of stations in the USA it seems quite lively and the background noise is noticeably lower than the end fed inverted L. I still need to get the match on 80 metres sorted out and one leg of the dipole needs to be brought  higher and into the clear.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010


Since I had a days leave from work and the weather was good today I set about making up a 40/80metre shortened dipole using two EL40-XC coils that are intended to allow a half size G5RV to tune on 80 metres.

First impressions are that the antenna works well on 40 metres, maybe not so good on 80 but time will tell, I haven't really had a chance to fully test it. It still needs some work I think and I want to re-position it slightly to get it a little higher. Overall it seems quieter than the end fed inverted L and still tunes from 80-10 metres using the internal ATUs of both my FT1000MP and TS450s

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Antenna thoughts

Before winter sets in I am pondering whether to try replacing my Inverted L that I use on 80 and 40 (and 30 metres) with  either a doublet or a dipole. The disadvantage of this is that half of such an antenna would be running through the empty field behind me would not be, as the inverted L is fully contained in my small 10 metres by 10 metres garden. The antenna would have to be supported at its centre in an inverted V style. At an old QTH for a while I used a half size G5RV. It worked fairly well and I even inserted traps and an additional length of wire to allow it to tune up on 80 metres. I didn't have that antenna up for long enough to properly evaluate it, so it may be worth another try.
Long gone are the days when as a young SWL I had a 100 metre long wire, even a 40 metre dipole is too big for my garden!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

The Story so far.

I am quite impressed with the way my mobile setup for HF is working. This week I have mainly been monitoring 40 metres on my travels. I have worked into Germany and the Orkney Islands despite 40 not being in such great shape. I also had a contact with a station in Cardiff who was able to give me a very useful audio report as I was driving nearby. It seems I don't have any nasty noises, no RF getting back into the rig or anything like that. I do get some QRN from the car on 40 metres but luckily the noise blanker takes care of it.
When I have been out and about earlier, around 7AM I have heard several VKs and ZLs on 40 at quite good strength, haven't worked them yet though, there always seems to be a pile up!