ICQ Podcast Episode 258 – Getting Ready for the Six Metre Season

In this episode,  Martin M1MRB is joined by, Edmund Spicer M0MNG, Matthew Nassau M0NJX and Bill Barnes N3JIX  to discuss the latest Amateur / Ham Radio news. Colin M6BOY rounds up the news in brief, and this episode’s feature is Getting ready for the six-metre season.

We would like to thank Barrie Hull (GD0SFI) and our monthly and annual subscription donors for keeping the podcast advert free. To donate, please visit - http://www.icqpodcast.com/donate

  • Battery Powered 'Smart Bags' Raise Safety Concern
  • New Technician License Question Pool Released
  • Indonesian Pirates on 7 MHz
  • WSPR Beacon En Route to Antarctic
  • 3D Printed Radio
  • FT8 Operating Guide
  • D-Star One v1.1 Phoenix
  • AX Prefix on Australia's National Day
  • Test Equipment at SOTABEAMS

Colin Butler, M6BOY, is the host of the ICQ Podcast, a weekly radio show about Amateur Radio. Contact him at [email protected].

A Better Antenna for Dualband Handhelds

I’m a fan of using a half-wave antenna on a 2m handheld transceiver (HT). These come in a variety of forms but I’ve tended to use the telescoping half-waves that mount on the HT. These include the Halfwave 2 Meter Flex antenna from Smiley and the MFJ-1714 from MJF. One of the disadvantages of these two antennas is that they are designed for 2m operation only. Put it on a dualband HT and you can only use one of the bands.

Now there is a dualband alternative.

2m 70cm handheld antenna
The RH 770 dualband antenna

During a discussion of various VHF radios and antennas on the SOTA reflector, Phil/G4OBK recommended this antenna: TWAYRDIO RH 770 SMA-Male Dual Band Telescopic Handheld Antenna. I was mildly skeptical in that the antenna looks like cheap lowcost economy stuff from China. However, for $16.55 (free shipping), it seemed like something I should try out.

I’ve since used this antenna on several SOTA activations and have found it to work quite well. Not having to worry about whether I’m operating on 2m or 70 cm is a big plus. I liked the antenna so much, I now have three.

Recently, I wondered how well the antenna is really performing so I did a side-by-side comparison with the Smiley 2m halfwave. Now this kind of comparison is always a bit dicey unless you have a calibrated antenna range. I got on 2m fm with another ham running a home station some distance away such that I was not pegging his S-meter. We did several A/B comparisons between the Smiley and the RH 770. Much to my surprise, the RH 770 performed significantly better than the Smiley. The other ham saw his meter deflect higher with the RH 770. I can’t give that to you in dB but I can say its a little better. I actually thought that the single-band design might be slightly better due to less complexity in the antenna. The opposite was true. Your mileage may vary. No warranty expressed or implied.

The only thing I don’t like about the RH 770 is that the telescoping sections slide up and down really easy. Too easy for my taste. I’d rather have some stickiness to it so that I am sure it will remain fully extended. But I admit this is more of a personal impression than actual problem.

The antenna is available with a male SMA connector, a female SMA connector or a BNC. That should pretty much cover it.

So thanks Phil/G4OBK for pointing out this antenna. I also highly recommend it.

73, Bob K0NR

The post A Better Antenna for Dualband Handhelds appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

Bob Witte, KØNR, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Colorado, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

A fantastic FT8 guide!

If you have or are thinking of diving into the FT8 digi world I was made aware via a Dutch blogger Paul PA0K (his brand new call) of this amazing FT8 operating guide by Gary Hinson ZL2ifb. This guide is for the seasoned FT8 op, the beginner and those who are not sure if they really want to give it a go but would like to learn what it's all about. I won't to go on and on about the guide..... just read it and find out for yourselves, it's a great addition to anyone interested or operating FT8.

Mike Weir, VE3WDM, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Ontario, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

BITX & UBITX resources added.

I have now added a Pages link to my blog titled

BITX & UBITX resources

Access it from the top right handside side of my Blog.

This contains  known links to groups and support for the BITX and UBITX kits.

I will update this as and when I see new links appear and when I have the time etc..

If you know of any others please drop me a line.

You can also access it via this link below too:


73 Steve

Steve, G1KQH, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from England. Contact him at [email protected].

Amateur Radio Weekly – Issue 190

A note to members from ARRL President Rick Roderick
To those who try to suggest that the Board has abandoned its obligation to the members in favor of the organization — you draw a distinction that doesn’t exist.

ARRL CEO to retire
Gallagher, 69, cited recent changes included in the new federal tax law that made it unattractive for him to continue working.

ARRL: It’s not just the bylaws that need changin’
To this day, neither Mr. Gallagher nor anyone from the BOD has been willing to answer “Why?”

AO-92 transponder and camera tested, further camera tests planned
The first thirty-six hours of AO-92’s life in orbit have seen a flurry of activity as the AMSAT Engineering and Operations teams walk through an extensive checklist of tests.

DPØGVN WSPR beacon in Antarctica is operational
The multiband receiver of the new permanent WSPR beacon DPØGVN in Antarctica has been put into operation.

Anticipating Winter Field Day Jan 27/28
The antenna will be a 100-foot loop 30 feet across 20 feet vertical fed at the bottom with an Icom AH4 tuner. This antenna takes up only 30 linear feet, needs no trees. and was designed to fit the campsite.

[PDF] FT8 Operating Guide
Work the world on HF using the new digital mode.

SSTV with a Baofeng
The Baofeng speaker mic would make the perfect donor for a cable between the radio and audio connection of a computer / smartphone.
Essex Ham

3D-printed radio works, despite having no battery
Called a crystal radio receiver, or sometimes a “cat’s whisker receiver,” this is an incredibly simple type of radio receiver that was popular in the earliest days of radio.
Digital Trends


My first uBitX contact
First contact made with my ubitx transceiver after the initial wiring.

Smith Chart: Z, VSWR, reflection coef and transmission line effects
This video gets into several practical aspects of using a Smith Chart to take care of doing complex calculations involving VSWR, reflection coefficient (gamma and rho), return loss, and the impedance transformations that occur when using transmission line between a source (generator, transmitter, etc.) and the load (antenna, amplifier input, etc.).

Amateur Radio Weekly is curated by Cale Mooth K4HCK. Sign up free to receive ham radio's most relevant news, projects, technology and events by e-mail each week at http://www.hamweekly.com.

At The Dials


A recent never-ending series of equipment breakdowns, repairs, computer software problems, along with everyday household duties, has kept me away from blogging longer than usual.

However, the recent arrival of a fresh 'off the press' 2018 World Radio Television Handbook (WRTH) has really augmented my rekindled interest in what initially hooked me on the magic of radio ... tuning around the international shortwave bands.

The last time I purchased a WRTH was more than 40 years ago, but other than the information between its covers, the book still looks much the same as it did back in the good old days. There is a lot to digest in this book and although it's likely that a lot of it could be found on the Internet, it would probably take weeks of sleuthing to find it ... there is just a ton of valuable information here to accommodate the varied interests of radio fanatics.

As always, the first section of the book is devoted to technical articles or equipment reviews with the remainder being a quick-find reference guide of maps, frequency lists, broadcast schedules and mailing / e-mail contact info for those that like to gather QSLs. At 672 pages, the WRTH is a valuable tool in your listening arsenal and well worth the cost.

I often read comments on various reflectors of just how few international shortwave stations there are and that tuning through the bands often reveals little to be heard. There is no question that the number of SW stations on the air today is much less than it was a few decades ago, but there are still a huge number of stations to target throughout the various SW bands and a lot of DX challenges yet to be found on the international bands.

For example, one such challenge comes to mind for west coast DXers ... and that is India. Signals on any band, from India to western Canada, have always been difficult. All India Radio (AIR) has 22 shortwave transmitters, operating from a half-dozen different sites ... hearing all sites from here on the various bands would keep one pretty busy for some time. To make it even more interesting, AIR still responds to listener reception reports with a QSL ... and who doesn't like a real 'paper' QSL!

Here is a quick tune through the 31m SW band this morning, at around 10:20 a.m. local time, on my FT-1000mp Mark V and 40m half-sloper. Although approaching the lowest part of a very poor solar cycle (Cycle 24, the weakest in the past 100 years), witness the activity on a day of very poor HF propagation ... there are still a good number of signals to seek out.

With the present low solar flux, it's usually the lower SW bands that really come to life, with the bands bursting with signals from shortly before sunset into the dawn.

In addition to the WRTH, there are several great reference sites on the internet as well as some wonderfully helpful blogs devoted to SW radio listening.

Here are the sites I find myself returning to quite often:

Yahoo Group's Primetimeshortwave
Worldwide DX Club News 
Eibi Shortwave Time / Frequency Schedules
Shortwave Info
Hard-Core-DX Daily News


Mount Eveyln DX Report 
The SWLing Post 
Bulgarian DX Blog 
South East Asia DXing 

There are probably more but these ones are good. In addition, there are a lot of great Facebook sites that deal with SW radio and much interesting discussion is available there via a quick search.

Now it's back to the repair bench to hopefully finish everything off for some time, but maybe you can find a few spare hours to have a closer listen to the international SW bands and see what you can dig up.


                          2300 -  2495   120m      
                          3200 -  3400     90m      
                          3900 -  4000     75m      
                          4750 -  5060     60m      
                          5850 -  6200     49m      
                          7100 -  7350     41m      
                          9400 -  9900     31m      
                       11600 - 12050     25m      
                       13570 - 13800     22m     
                       15100 - 15800     19m     
                       17480 - 17900     16m     
                       18900 - 19020     15m     
                       21450 - 21850     13m     
                       25600 - 26100     11m

Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

What Got You Interested in Radio? What Hooked You? (Story Time, with Video)

What got you interested in radio? What hooked you?

I’ve been asked, “What got you interested in radio, space weather, and the science of radio-wave propagation?”

Here’s a short answer as to why (and when) I became a radio enthusiast. It all started…


The following picture is of my first shortwave radio, discovered in my home sometime between 1971 and 1973: a Sony portable transistorized four-band radio receiver. This was my very first shortwave radio (well, truthfully, it was my dad’s). This radio is responsible for my love of radio, electronics, and communications.

Sony Portable 4-Band Radio - the model 7F-74DL (my First Radio)

Sony Portable 4-Band Radio – the model 7F-74DL (my First Radio)

I still use this, sometimes, when listening to late-night AM-broadcast-band-radio DX. It is horrible for shortwave radio listening, as it has no noise blanker. For MW (Medium-wave) AM Broadcast DXing at night, it is excellent. The internal bar antenna is very directional so I can rotate the radio around until I get the best reception of some station. Back when I was a child, that made the radio very fun to use.

This next radio is a really capable military surplus radio circa WWII or shortly after (the late 1940s, early 1950s). This radio was my world starting around 1975. From Medium-wave to Shortwave, this radio could hear a pin drop around the world! Many late nights when I was supposed to be sleeping, I was up with the light dimmed and the tubes singing signals from exotic places.

Espey R366 Tube Receiver (my Second Radio)

Espey R366 Tube Receiver (my Second Radio)

What is your story?73 de NW7US


Tomas Hood, NW7US, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Nebraska, USA. Tomas is the Space Weather and Radio Propagation Contributing Editor to 'CQ Amateur Radio Magazine', 'The Spectrum Monitor', and 'RadioUser UK Magazine'.

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