Icom 7300 Contest Keyer

Icom 7300 Contest Keyer
I’ve recently been building out my contesting capabilities at home and I’ve just added the SOTABEAMS ContestConsole to my shack. I’m also going to receive the K1EL K44 CW Keyer & Reader, for use in CW contests. But here I will focus on the ContestConsole.  SOTABEAMS have continued to impress me with their innovations. I’ve been ...

Building the DX Commander Lite multi-band vertical 2

Building the DX Commander Lite multi-band vertical
The other week I was casually researching how to make a multi-band vertical for the HF bands, initially I was thinking of a single length of wire, with traps, to separate the bands. My primary reason for wanting a vertical was to work a bit more DX, taking advantage of the low angle takeoff offered ...

FT8 – A personal critique 19

FT8 - A personal critique
FT8 (or Franke-Taylor design, 8-FSK modulation) has taken the amateur bands by storm and for better or for worse, it’s changed the profile of activity since it launched in 2017. It doesn’t garner universal love from the amateur community, in fact it seems to polarise us; you either love it or you hate it. I ...

Applying for data mode awards (the easy way)

Applying for data mode awards (the easy way)
Recently I discovered a really easy way of applying for the various Digital operating awards, and I thought I’d share it with you all. If you’ve done any PSK or FT8 operating, you may have already earned quite a few, but not even realised it. There are a number of Digital operating clubs that run ...

Activating Southern Britain’s Highest Mountain on Top Band (Pen Y Fan) 4

Activating Southern Britain's Highest Mountain on Top Band (Pen Y Fan)
Having activated Pen Y Fan (GW/SW-001 – 886m ASL – 8 points) four times previously, I was looking for something new to do. My wife was taking part in a Mountain Midnight Marathon again, which runs up southern Britains highest mountain (and then back down), so I’d have a few hours up at the summit ...

2m QRP Contesting in the Sun and DX

2m QRP Contesting in the Sun and DX
On Sunday the 10th of June I took part in the RSGB 2m Backpackers contest. I like this contest because it combines portable operating and QRP, some of my favourite things! I entered the 5B section, which means you’re limited to 5w output and a mast height of 4m above ground. With this restriction I ...

Tropospheric DX on 2m SSB (with video) 1

Tropospheric DX on 2m SSB (with video)
On Tuesday 5th of June I entered the RSGB UKAC 2m SSB contest from the back garden. This is the second time I’ve entered from this QTH and both times I’ve been surprised at what I can hear and work. I knew based on the Hepburn tropo forecast that there was a chance of slight ...

Using the 4m Tring “Parrot” Repeater 2

Using the 4m Tring
Now I’m setup on 4m from the home QTH (see Dual Band 4/6m Moxon Antenna Experiment) I’ve been able to explore a repeater oddity just down the road from me called the “Tring Parrot” in IO91, known officially as GB7FM. First of all it operates on 4m, there’s not too many repeaters on this band ...

Dual Band 4/6m Moxon Antenna Experiment 8

Dual Band 4/6m Moxon Antenna Experiment
I’ve used the SOTABeams SB6 Moxon antenna for a number of years now, it’s a great compact antenna that performs remarkably for its size. Sadly it’s out of production now, but it’s easy enough to create your own. The stock SB6 is a 2 element directional antenna for the 6m band and I’ve made many ...

Designing a satellite station for the home QTH 6

Designing a satellite station for the home QTH
One of my amateur radio targets for 2018 was to get setup to work satellites from my home QTH. I’m making some progress towards this as well, but I realised it’s the first time I’ve really thought about station design. Usually the shack just grows organically and you add to it over time, but wanting ...