Jason NT7S just embedded into this blog post a YouTube video of the receiver section of his upcoming transceiver project in action. As a kid, I remember visiting the shacks of local radio hams and feeling the excitement to hear the sound of the bands on their “big rigs”. There was something about the rush of band noise coming through the speaker that was exciting to me. It sounded even more compelling if reaching my ears through a narrow filter. Yes my friends, my name is Dave and I’m a licensed radio amateur. Anyway, Jason’s receiver sounds great, and flashes me back to those teenage moments.
The finished project will be available as a kit with a PCB and will be a transceiver. Video of a QSO in action will hopefully follow once the microcontroller is fully operational. Stay tuned.
My faltering steps towards improving the HF antenna situation here are temporarily halted while I prepare for a trip to England. On previous visits, I have usually taken my decent camera complete with flash, spare lens, filters, battery charger, spare battery etc. This visit is due to family health issues and I’m travelling light so that I am not distracted by all manner of electronic paraphernalia. However, there will most likely be a few spare moments, so I thought I’d take a little 2 meter HT with me. On a future trip I’d like to take a small HF rig so that I can work CW in England for the first time in over 25 years but the mission this time is not to be distracted by extraneous stuff, so this simple little HT is going with me:
This radio is QRP even by 2 meter standards. The output is 340mW on high power and just 50mW on low power. It uses 3 AA batteries that last for a long time – one set will be enough for the trip, negating the need to take a batterry charger. If the batteries do run out, I can buy replacement AA’s almost anywhere. If the radio gets damaged, lost etc, used versions (it’s not made anymore) are cheap. It’s an ideal travel radio for some non-serious chatty FM fun. The factory version of the model came with an integral fold-out whip antenna which in my opinion, was the weakest part of the radio. If you’re going to make a 2M HT with just 1/3w output power, why hobble it’s capabilities any more by including an inefficient whip less than a quarter-wave long? I got mine from a ham who modified it for QRP mountain-topping by replacing the integral whip with an SMA connector to which can be screwed a light-duty quarter-wave whip, or other external antenna:
I do very little 2 meter FM in the US. The chatter doesn’t really interest me, but I have fond memories of 2 meters (2 metres for my UK friends) in the late 1970’s when I was first licensed. I did a lot of chatting on the simplex channels and made some good on-air friendships. GB3MH, the Malvern Hills repeater, had very wide coverage, a fabulous signal, and was easy to access. I could access it with one watt to a small paper-clip held in my finger. I even tried a short length of wet string (really) once, and it worked. I don’t know whether times have changed, or just me, but 2M FM just doesn’t do it for me now. However, I haven’t worked 2M FM in the UK since probably around 1982, so this will be fun. I’ll be in 2 places – the Redditch/Worcester area, and in the city of Bristol. I have the following repeaters already programmed in:
GB3WK (Leamington Spa)
GB3WR (Penn Hill, Somerset)
I’ll also be squirting my 1/3 watt of FM on 145.500 from time to time. If any UK amateurs are reading this (not sure if any do) will be in either of these areas and fancy a chat, then drop me a line. I’ll also be in London for an hour or two and plan to listen to the London repeaters for a bit.
Next time I’ll take HF and pound some brass!