Portable Kit

I’m always fascinated with the operating kits people take portable. There are a heap of interesting trade-offs to make. Here’s my usual HF kit:

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The Download

I’ve been drawn away from time playing with radio for a couple of months, working away in another town to backfill someone else’s (harder) job. In addition to the time involved in getting my head around the new job, it means starting from scratch again with antennas etc, and I haven’t brought all my gear so whenever I do have an hour to play, I’ve often not got the tools or equipment I’d like. As a result I’ve been keeping in touch by catching up on a number of podcasts and I thought it might be interesting to talk about a couple of them plus some other ham news sources.

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SSTV

The enterprising ex-secretary of my club, Brian VK6TGQ coordinates an “experimenters net” most Sunday mornings in Bunbury wherein different aspects of Amateur radio are played with. Over the last month or so they have been experimenting with sending Slow Scan TV over 2m simplex. From this distance I have not been involved in this apart from occasionally joining them on the IRC channel to see what they are up to.

The equipment to do this can be pretty basic. They started out just with an app on their phones, to transmit, the app loads the image and plays a series of tones (FSK) as each line of the image is transmitted. If you don’t have a cable into your transmitter, you key the transmitter and hold the phone speaker up to the mic. A similar arrangement is possible for receive – the phone is left near the transceiver speaker and converts the tones (and any nearby noises) back into an image. Crude, but results are possible. A much improved result can be obtained by connecting the transceiver to the decoding device (usually a computer tablet or smartphone). Continue reading

Trans-Tasman Contest

G5RV JnrNow my dipole is up semi-permanently, I can sort of operate every weekend I’m home. I say ‘sort of’ as it’s much noisier here in town than at the lookout where I made my first contacts, and I suspect I don’t get out as well with this little half size G5RV at only 6m high.

I turned the radio on last Saturday afternoon to have a tune around and heard VK6QM calling CQ contest. I wasn’t aware there was a contest on, but when no one else was answering I called back and got a quick lesson in what the exchange was (signal report and contact serial number) and scrawled that and my times on a piece of paper. Continue reading

Contact!

I went out for my first shot of HF operating today had had some success as well as learning a couple of lessons.

The set up was at a local lookout – it has a slight elevation compared to town, it’s out of the Snapped squid polenoise (nearest power-line is about 400m away) and partially surrounded by the salt lake that the town is named for. The lookout has an iron railing that is perfect for strapping my 7m squid pole to. The plan was to hook 20m of wire from that down to the back of the ute and run it as an end-fed.

Lesson 1 – there is only so much tension that can be placed on a squid pole before it snaps.

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