Friday, June 28, 2013

Magnetic Loops

Time for another antenna project I think, but what to build?
Rummaging around the shed in the garden I noticed I have two 12' copper pipes roughly 1/2 inch diameter that have been sitting doing nothing for a number of years. Since they are not needed for plumbing I’m sure I can put them to good use.
I was thinking about making a small magnetic loop antenna, the measurements seem pretty straight forward  but at the moment I have little knowledge about what variable capacitor will be required and how it’s all connected up. I guess it’s a matter of searching the net and see what I can find.
A quick search has revealed a lot of theory but nothing substantial on building. I prefer something with pictures and an easy explanation to all the “geeky stuff” (not that I’m against it) it’s just I like to see everything laid out in front of me and easy to follow.
If I could build a reasonably small antenna hopefully that would fit in the attic it could turn out to be a fun experiment. Anybody who has details or knows of a website with fairly easy instructions I would be “mucho grateful” if they could let me know. In the meantime I can get on and figure out what band I want to use and see about measuring up the copper pipes.

Monday, June 24, 2013

K2 Update Sunspots and Other Hobbies

Well it's been a while since I last wrote so I thought I'd better give an update with regard to what's happening in M0AUW radio land!

I've been playing a lot with the K2 getting to understand the different filter settings and the manual ATU settings. Setting up the correct filter settings is really important and can alter the operators outlook on how they perceive this wonderful radio. Mucking up the settings can make the receiver sound dull and noisy and you have to be very patient and thorough otherwise you may start wondering why everyone is saying it's such a good rig, when you find it, well, just ordinary!

But once you have spent the time getting everything right it really is a good little transceiver, the receive quality is outstanding certainly matching the old FT1000 MP V although I have to be honest for day to day use I still prefer the FT, I find it much simpler to work, probably because I don't have to mess about with manually adjusting the ATU.

I've learnt that it's not always good to have the preamp turned on, it does tend to raise the background noise. Finding a weak signal and then using the filters can bring up the signal without the need for the preamp, it is really down to just lots of practise and playing with different settings.

Contacts have been good but the DX has been appalling when you take in to consideration that this is meant to be the peak of the cycle, some days there's just nothing going on with regard to DX, unless of course you have a massive yagi sitting on your tower out in the garden! The cobweb is no slouch when it comes to DX nor is the 30m vertical I have but lately it's just been dead which is very disappointing. However I get by and am happy to be contacting various stations in and around Europe with the occassional DX thrown in.

I watched a very good programme on the BBC last night all about the sun It explained about sun spots and radiation patterns and also discussed about a much longer cycle (the 300 year cycle) and the possibilities that we maybe approaching another of these, one of their reasons being the change in the weather conditions over recent years, all very interesting stuff and well worth a view.

Thinking ahead I will definitely be upgrading the K2 to SSB and I have a contact who has the spare option so hopefully we can do a deal and I can install over the winter which will give me something to do.

In the meantime besides the radios I have other things to play with and am in the process of building a touring bicycle for my future attempt at riding the "end to end" run which is John O'Groats in Scotland to Lands Ends down in Cornwall, some 1000 odd miles riding.

I'm quite a keen cyclist not by any means a gung ho speedster but happy to do a 2 hour ride round the Cotswolds on a Sunday morning which keeps me reasonably fit. The plan would be to cycle approximately 50 or 60 miles a day and take in the scenery of the English countryside at a reasonably steady pace.

But like all things it's finding the time (at least 10 free days) to carry out this little jaunt and working out where to stay and what route to take, maybe next year or possibly when retirement is looming!

What would be be even more fun it to do the cycle ride and have a mobile attachment on the bike, hmm could prove interesting!