My Amateur Radio Site

G0SLQ - George Zero Sugar London Queen


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Belated Happy New year!

Posted on January 10, 2011 at 5:55 AM Comments comments (1)

Gosh - two entries in two months! - I must be off work sick again.

Quite true actually, and I truly find these "bloggers" who manage to update daily inspirational.  Sure, I've got a lot to say (always have done) but I doubt it will be of interest to many.  Perhaps I might add another page to the site showcasing my other hobbies as I tend to drift from one to another.

My latest hobby, well not really a hobby, but more of a lifestyle change is walking - rambling to be more specific! I recently joined the local ramblers group in order to get fit and maintain strength and weightloss.  I'm not going to count losing weight as a hobby as that is just a necessary evil really, and unless you're into the occult and devil worship that can hardly be classed as a hobby or pastime!!

I have combined my hobbies - sometimes several of them at once!  As I now include Walking, birding, radio, photography and Sunderland Football Club (watching) more often than not I can include seeing birds on high ground whilst playing radio - often with splendid views for photography, for example.  Or how about a nice walk to a high point with a SOTA kit in my backpack.

Not sure where the footy fits in.  Perhaps my idea of trying to gain a bit of street-cred? - nah! not with Sunderland! - I would have had to come up with something a bit more convincing than that really....

5 months on and little change

Posted on December 1, 2010 at 12:31 PM Comments comments (0)

How do people manage to keep blogs up to date? - I never seem to have the time.  I think, as I have mentioned before I have too many hobbies, and too little time.  On the plus side I am now only 19 years from retirement! - actually that is not a plus at at all - it means I am getting old!

So the latest plan is to streamline the shack inb a bid to have a one with gear that actually gets used, rather than a pretty showcase for black boxes with bright lights.  I plan to remove them all and put them inrto storage, with 1 scanner, 1 HF radio and a dualbander for 2&70 (FM only).

2&70 SSB can be kept for those portable hill-top trips in better weather. - I can/will rotate radios to ensure they all get some use.  I may even have to do the unthinkable and sell some of them - especially some of the older models, but that is probably an over-reaction. 

I have a discone antenna (Uniden Bearcat 785)

Diamond X50 (Yaesu FT7800)

G5RV & I-Pro portable (in garden). - Yaesu FT1000MP

Oh and a D-Star radio with access to local repeater.

That little lot will hopefully keep me entertained and bring some fun back to the hobby as i go for the "less-is-more" approach. 

Even the Christmas Radcom couldn't tempt me! despite them nice Christmassy sparkly adverts lol.

Look for an antenna - buy a radio!

Posted on July 2, 2010 at 3:36 PM Comments comments (0)

Finished up with a homebase radio while the whole plan for this month was to add a portable antenna for 6m use circumstances meant that never happened!  I also enquired about a few other bits and pieces but never got a reply from my favourite emporium (W&S) in fairness, they were at Friedrichshafen last weekend.  I'm still looking for a drive-on mast and probably 20ft of pole and I think that will complete the portable kit for now.  It also means my poor old FT857 will see the light of day again as a 2m/70cm multimode. 

Quicker the world cup is over the better!

The Fool On The Hill

Posted on June 13, 2010 at 8:59 AM Comments comments (0)

Finally got out portable properly for the first time in forever.  Drove into the County Durham hills towards a usual haunt and en-route discovered another one!  Not as far to travel and just as remote.  Of course with HF the surroundings hills are not such a problem.  VHF might need a bit more care though.

I was trying out my new I-Pro portable 3m vertical dipole (see my review on latest links) but what struck me was how peaceful and qite it was up there - not just the surrounding area, but the radio was without noise, QRM PLT static - I guess it is so much part of our daily lives now that it really hits home when you are portable and using battery power and nothing to plug in.

The only noise in the vicinity was from the bird life.  I am also a birder, so that was very acceptable to me.  The ground up there is very good for Grouse - and indeed Red Grouse were seen.  I also had the evocative call of Curlew - clearly nesting in the vicinity and the haunting call of Golden Plover the smae.  Added to that the odd Meadow Pipit and it was a case of who needs Springwatch! 

I've never thought about this combining of hobbies before, and as a third hobby is photography it would be quite easy to tie three pastimes together.  The danger there though would be me wandering off looking for birds while the radio stay quiet.  Hmm rething required.

Radcom Made me buy again!

Posted on June 5, 2010 at 1:27 PM Comments comments (0)

This month's Radcom duly (July edition) arrived and on P70 was a fantastic review for a new(ish) portable antenna - a centre-fed vertical dipole standing at 3m (10ft) tall.  Moreover, the antenna requires no radial or earthing system, so was immediately earmarked for portable duties.

Further inspection reveals it uses capacitive loading and minimum inductance to keep losses low.  A capacitive hat tunes the antenna simply and without fuss.  No ATU needed at all - It means my analyser may get some use, but a small price to pay.  I can hereby officilly confirm it is idiot-proof.  Yes, even I managed to tune it 1.5 or better across all bands.  If desired, individual or "spot" frequencies can be tuned too!

The Fool On The Hill!

Posted on May 9, 2010 at 8:27 AM Comments comments (1)

Spent most of yesterday trying to avoid being blown off a hill! Although pretty to look at, and a very sunny day, at around 1700ft those North Pennine hills are extremely windy! - The reason for the trip was to try out a 9ft whip antenna.  At times its appearance resmbled a loop such was the ferocity of the wind and the flexibilty of the top section!  Paradoxically (is that a word?) once inside the vehicle, the wind was gone and the sun warmed the car.  Such is the joys of hill-topping.

I struggled to light the stove for the kettle - well it lit, but the wind savaged the flame.  No shelter up there so carefully used the boot of the car!

The 9ft whip works extremely well on RX - not so sure about TX, but I was using a mere 4w from the Maycom and it seemed everyone I spoke to used a whole lot more - inc. those who couldn't hear me! - Oh well.

All Change!

Posted on April 11, 2010 at 7:43 AM Comments comments (0)

Have recently begun and overhaul of the shack.  Even having a full room is just too little space!  I have already started spreading into other rooms, so now, and inventory check is required! - it may even result in some of the gear being boxed and put into storage as quite simply there is insufficient time and space for everything.

This way I get to rotate radios.  Meaning one is put away to make way for another - means I can continue my policy of collectiong radios and not having to sell.  I also find I have 1 45A PSU and 4x 20A+ PSU's which are not sufficient to run all my radios, let alone antennas & feeds.

Plan is a more structured approach might even see some of the stuff being used instead of the "kid-in-a-sweetie-shop" approach which is all well and good within reason.

70 Mhz - 4m portable

Posted on March 15, 2010 at 10:53 AM Comments comments (0)

I have never tried this band - I have only briefly listened on 4m with a scanner listening to a local talking to another local - dunno why they used 4m when both 2 & 70cm are dead in this location.

Ayway, an old radio friend has invited me to accompany him at the end of March to the 70Mzh UKAC contest.  As it is only a short drive away to a local hill, seems like a good way to spend an evening.  If nothing else, I can keep the log!  I may even purchase a 4m FM set to help give these intrepid activators a few points.

Seasons Greetings!

Posted on December 27, 2009 at 1:41 PM Comments comments (0)

A year since my last update - shameful - too much time on the internet.  Too many hobbies...... I added two more to them in the past year - Fly Fishing, but I'm no JR Hartley - problem with this is I am not a lover of trout or salmon to eat, and the terrain where it takes place is more suited to birding or birdwatching.  Probably my greatest passion!

Radio has taken a back seat - I listen more than anything these days, as posted elsewhere, I have added a digital interface to enhance the hobby or listening/receive side of it.  RTTY, PSK31, SSTV & even CW if so inclined all on a small well-crafted bit of kit - see links for Alan's website (M0AQC)

I also tried the Norfolk Broads for the first time - so much so have booked again for June with a crew of 5! - something from the "I-always-wanted-to-do-but-never-got-around-to" list.  A great way of relaxing and letting the world go by with a maximum speed on the river of 3-6 mph - depending on what stretch.

Next year I plan to do more birding, photography and travel in my new car - might even throw a bit portable/hilltopping in - a great excuse to get out of the shack and get some fresh air and leave planning problems and neighbours behind!

A New Year - A New Wish List!

Posted on January 13, 2009 at 1:33 PM Comments comments (0)
Well here we go again... what will 2009 bring? - same as last year? - I think we all hope not! I dunno, we seem to say every year gets worse, but to quote her majesty herself, last year truly was an "Annus Horriblis". (apologies for spelling but you get the sentiment).

So now I find myself looking all nostalgiac (this season does that to me).  Thoughts turn to new radios, toys, goodies, and despite looking and wondering about all the current radios currently on offer, there is absolutely nothing that "floats my boat". Indeed, following the nostalgia theme, I have been looking back to radios of yesteryear - in particularly the Kenwood radios of the 80/90s with the black finish and the fancy signal meters.

I have considered, looked at and ultimately rejected several radios.  I particularly would like a TS850SAT, TS450SAT or TS690S - I never seem to find one in pristine condition with box and full packaging etc.  Maybe I am too demanding but I will bide my time and have one.

Recent News/events

Posted on September 21, 2008 at 2:28 PM Comments comments (0)
Just noticed how long it is since I did anything with this site.  I envy people who have3 the time and patience to run webpages and keep them updated, interesting and informative.

My recent times have been dominated by work - I'm back to work full time and have been working on the south coast (Hove to be precise) and staying in various Brighton hotels.  I've not even had a radio with me - not even a handheld!

I've not done much radio of late, in fact not done much anything of late - even by birdwatching activities are on hold.

I am considering marrying the hobbies of aeronautical listening and computers by looking into PC radar systems - will need to find out more - especially don't want it to be a 5 minute wonder and to get bored with it immediately.  Might be something to consider when I get my 10 years service award next march....

MV6+3 arrived - along with others!

Posted on June 26, 2008 at 12:01 PM Comments comments (0)
2 days delivery is not at all bad.  Not had a chance to put it outside yet as a busy day today with a few trips out necessary.  Tomorrow - unless it is obscene weather should see it mounted in the garden and looked at with antenna analyser.

Also arrived today a couple of scanner-type aerials to add to the 2x 45ft longwire (HF listening only) I ordered last week.  So from having no antennas to speak of I now have antennas to listen on in several rooms and hopefully a transmit antenna to go with it.

Feel as though I'm getting somewhere at last!

Finally Ordered MV6+3

Posted on June 24, 2008 at 6:47 AM Comments comments (0)
I was home today and not out and about so was able to ring Sandpiper and order this vertical antenna.  I am looking forward to trying it at home and portable - at less than 10ft high and ground mounted it seems a good compromise and a neighbour-friendly antenna.

Random Musings, thinking out aloud.....

Posted on June 22, 2008 at 6:43 AM Comments comments (0)
Have decided to visit York Radio Rally this year.  My first radio rally for a number of years, just to get in the swing of things.  Have contacted Sandpiper as had hoped to pick up the MV6+3 from there, but they are not attending so I'll have to pay postage.  I'm in need of some updated reading material/operating manuals etc.  I'm amazed at the way things have progressed.  I need to know more about ILRP, D-Star, PSK31, as well as other things such as echolink etc.  the latter do not really interest me, but I feel I should know more about them.

I might even attend the rally and NOT add to the SLQ collection of transceivers.  Not promising though......

A Decision Made!

Posted on June 17, 2008 at 12:35 PM Comments comments (0)
After much deliberation I have finally decided on a Sandpiper vertical antenna for 6-80m inc the warc bands.  It is the V6+3 - the 3 being the warc.  This seems to be the ideal compromise between cost and performance/size etc.  Normally I don't like compromise, but short of moving QTH little choice this time.  Will hopefully not even be noticed by the neighbours.

Many thanks from both Martyn (MM3XXW) and Graeme (M0EUK) for their guidance, patience and honest appraisal of their respective Sandpiper verticals and answering all my queries - no matter how mundane - more importantly allaying any concerns that this antenna might not work.

New Arrivals!

Posted on June 9, 2008 at 11:46 AM Comments comments (0)

Well over the weekend I was in the vicinity (purchasing a new laptop for stepdaughter as it goes) of Argos.  Not the first choice as a radio store but it was very much a spur of the moment purchase and I got me an internet radio - now have many thousands of radio stations at my fingertips - great fun for about �70 - A Bush 2015WIFI.  Yes I know they are available free of charge online, but this is wireless - connects to existing wifi and much more convenient.

Also arrived this morning - were 1000 freshly-printed QSL cards. I've also added the CobbWebb antenna to the list of possibilities!

A Brief Update

Posted on June 6, 2008 at 2:47 PM Comments comments (0)

Just noticed - nothing added for a while.  Nothing happened same old same old.  I half-heartedly went looking to replace my little Micra - I neither want or need a big car.  I looked at a Citroen C1 - I loved the idea of �35 tax and well over 60mpg if driven sensibly.  Sadly, said Citroen even at the bargain price of �5995 was just too small.  Never even had central locking, let alone remote central locking.  Made the Micra look like a stretch Limo!

Not really radio related, but it will play the central role in future mobile/portable ops.  A camper van was suggested by my father, but it would really only be used for radio play and therefore not the best idea.

Still I've narrowed my search down to approx a dozen "Superminis" - main criteria is 50mpg plus!

Still undecided about vertical antenna for home/portable use - decisions decisions.  Will have to make one soon though!

Another Day In Paradise!

Posted on May 27, 2008 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Being off work for 5 weeks now - and probably at least another 4 weeks to go (at least!) might sound like fun, but boredom and a constant round of hospital, dietician, diabetic nurse etc. as well as daily visits to the treatment room, home visits etc.  It's not as I'd hoped.

Fortunately I have full pay - meaning I have more to spend on toys & gadgets.  Have purchased 3 radios in the last few weeks and now looking for a multi-band HF antenna for home and portable use - at least I have time to search and research.


Still Looking for that Elusive Antenna!

Posted on May 26, 2008 at 10:20 PM Comments comments (0)

It's no fun having a shack full of radios, and plenty left over to use mobile and/or portable.  Sure. it is fun collecting them (until the credit card bill arrives - ouch!) but ultimately I will need to find an antenna which covers plenty of the bands and is a good compromise between performance and keeping neighbours happy - as well as the local planners. 

I'm torn between 3 antennas at present.

The CobbWebb manufactured commercially by G3TPW covering 10/12/15/17&20m - �260

Sandpiper's MV6+3 - covers 6/10/12/15/17/20/30/40&80m shortened vertical - �125

Force 12's Sigma 5 - almost �350 for a 9ft vertical which apparently really works.  Ideal for small locations, no groundplanes or earthing required, easily assembled and dismantled for portability and packs down into a tiny space to throw in the car.

There are many advantages and disadvantages for all antennas.  Main ones are the compromise MV6+3 requires earth spike and or radials - in my experience satisfaction won't follow (just my experience).

The CobbWebb - a tired and trusted nest of 5 dipoles has much to recommend it except the optimum height of 33ft (half a wavelength of 20m) which means upsetting neighbours or the expense of a mast/tower affair.

The Sigma 5 seems only hampered by the cost! - almost treble the price of the Sandpiper.

Hope choosing a portable 2m and 6m get-up isn't so difficult!




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