Wednesday, March 23, 2016


So in the UK the clocks go back this weekend and British Summer time starts. Time to start some serious radio work, have a Summer restart! For too long I feel I've been under some kind of cloud ever since last year. Well last year didn't really happen for me, so I think it's officially done and dusted, I need to put it down as a bad experience and start reliving.

The other thing that has been the winter, I hate it, you can't get outside experiment and play antennas, it's very annoying. But now the weather changing, clocks are springing forward and hopefully there's a definite buzz in the air!

To celebrate I've raised the cobweb antenna from its winter position of about 30' to about 40', not much, but it does make some difference and at full height its a bit precarious for winter. I'm going to try and do at least one QSO everyday for the next month, especially in CW just to hone my skills and up a bit of speed. Also my SSB capabilities have been somewhat lacking for the past six months having concentrated on CW after the stroke to get myself back up. I'm going to try and get outside Europe with the QSO's, again the last six months have been mostly local chit chat, time for a change and a bit of a challenge.

The QRP side of the hobby is taking a back seat for a while whilst I concentrate on these tasks. I don't think it will suffer too much but I'll do the odd QSO in QRP now and again. Which reminds me of another task I have which is to purchase the USB kit for the K2 something I've been meaning to do for ages but just not got round to it!

I'd like to get in to the magic band a bit more. Six meters is new to me and of course it's now available since I got the FT2000 D, so I'd like to experiment with some antennas and see how I get on I think it might be some fun. Some kind of directional antenna might be good but I think I will have to search the web first to find a good example.

Monday, March 14, 2016


As you no doubt have read in previous posts I like to try to and do as much QRP as possible, especially on CW. I have a number of QRP rigs, 3 Rock Mites, an OHR 100A and a K2, all these I consider reasonably good little radios for me especially with the added bonus of having built them myself.

QRP is not just the Radios though, much is to do with the station set-up, I have a good area as a take-off point no hills or trees are in the way and my antenna system is either the Cobweb up forty feet or a Hustler 6B vertical. I live in an area of outstanding natural beauty so I can’t have a rotatable Yagi or some wonderful antenna system, but hey the Cobweb does well considering. I'm not in a built up area I don't have any serious interference and I have two neighbours; one right next door who’s hardly ever at home, the other is five hundred yards down the road.

One major gripe though, the Yaesu FT 2000D minimum power is 10 watts. Why would Yaesu build a rig with a minimum power of 10 watts why not start at 5 for QRP work , just seems stupid or is it me? I use the FT 2000D quite a lot and I’m stuck on ten watts, surely it would have been fairly simple to have this wonderful rig set at five, I just don’t  understand this, such a missed opportunity with semi QRPers.

So far my record is 1464 miles using a Rock Mite on 0.5 watts this was to Finland, but I have to stress radio conditions were good. The other record I had was reaching Japan on 5 watts with the K2 using CW. I'd contacted the JA station on the FT 2000D using about one hundred and fifty watts and was busy telling him about my K2, after the QSO had finished I decided to try and contact him with the K2 with a "what the hell" attitude as I thought "he'll never hear me", but he came straight back with a 559 report, I couldn't believe it one of my highlights in amateur radio!
But I don't count that as a real QRP session because initially I was on the higher power.

If you never tried QRP I'd recommend you give it a try and see how far you can get out on the lowest power, it's definitely an addictive part of the hobby!