Monday, October 24, 2011

RSGB and finally Building My Antenna

Reading the new RSGB forum website I am somewhat dismayed. The site was set up for members to share views about various proposals the RSGB board is putting together to get them out of the very serious mess they find themselves in.

I am not presently a member of the RSGB I found it was too expensive for what it provided; it was run by out of touch/distant folk that either didn’t want or wouldn’t listen to their membership. Finally and more worryingly even back in the 90s it did not seem to have a structured future. Reading the forum seems to concur what I thought back in the 90s and nothing has changed. Indeed from reading some of the posts I really don’t think the RSGB has long to live.

I don’t know how they are going to get out of their mess and to be honest I really don’t care, I don’t want to be part of a LTD company that tries to represent the UK amateur population when in fact realistically they only represent about 40%, the other 60% have seen the light and stayed away. Don’t get me wrong I love my hobby and actively spend at least an hour a day on the radio communicating to various parts of the world. But to me that’s all it is, a hobby I’m not interested in the politics associated with something like the RSGB. I’d far rather start all over again and have a national club that deals with the government (OFCOM) in covering the basics of managing the frequencies, everything else can be extra or arranged separately.

Changing the subject I managed to put together a nice little dipole connector over the weekend following a very good instructional video off You Tube (see previous post). It didn’t take me long to put together but finding the PVC caps in the UK proved interesting but finally after much searching I traced some off Ebay. I now have a very nice 30 meter inverted V antenna that will replace the old antenna that presently hangs at the top of my mast. The past few days have been extremely windy and the poor old antenna is suffering somewhat and will soon break apart, hence the reason for building the new one. So far having trimmed it up I am getting good SWR readings of 1:3 across the band, hopefully provided I have the time I will hoist it up next weekend.

 An easy to build dipole connector

Monday, October 17, 2011

Work on the Antennas and Some DX at Last

I’ve been thinking about improving my 30meter inverted vee. Although it’s a great little antenna it was really built as a quick fix (it only took me an hour to build) and I would like to make something more substantial with 14gauge wire and a strong centre piece. I found an interesting site on YouTube which shows how to build a good strong feed point out of PVC caps and plugs, I’m hoping to have a shop this week and see if I can pick up the necessary bits and have ago at building one next weekend.

The airwaves were buzzing last week and besides numerous contacts with the States I managed at last to make a strong CW contact with ZL, the first for a number of years, more importantly to prove to myself that my home made Cobweb antenna is working well. It's amazing when you hit some DX, I was punching the air and shouting away, I suspect the next door neighboors were wondering what the hell I was doing!

Most mornings now when I switch on the radio before going to work I hear quite a few VK stations which just goes to prove that at last the bands are picking up. 10 meters was wide open this weekend and there were loads of stations calling from the US, I think there must have been a contest on, unfortunately I was busy with other things so could not get in the action but it's another sign that things are changing for the better.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Radio 4 and the Long Wave Band

Evidently only ten remain and if they were to be replaced with newer valves and these were slightly faulty then all sorts of problems could occur.

So how, does one ask, did they get round this in the old days? Presumably there was some test facility (a dummy load of sorts) or something similar. You’d think with all the thousands of radio Amateurs around the country or for that matter around the world who still use valves for their transmitters and receivers would be able to advise the BBC on valve manufacturing and service and would it really cost millions of pounds to build a new long wave transmitter?

I have to be honest here, I don’t trust the digital age, I don’t like the fact that the frequencies are pre set and that I have no choice in being able to wander the bands to select what I want, I suspect I’m not alone in this thinking. I for one will be hanging on to my old radios for as long as I can, so that I’m free to roam the airwaves and select what I want to listen to!