Our hats off to Bob Heil K9EID

If you follow Bob Heil’s show Ham Nation you’ve surely noticed that he’s taken a keen interest in reviving the Amateur Radio tradition of project building. Here is Ham Nation episode 292 where they walk through an easy pine board power supply project:

There’s no better way to learn than by doing. Luckily, we’re experiencing a real renaissance in kit building and general tinkering. It’s a great trend!

If you haven’t taken the time to subscribe to Ham Nation’s YouTube channel, head on over and check it out. It’s well worth your time!


Matt Thomas, W1MST, is the managing editor of AmateurRadio.com. Contact him at [email protected].

Out portable on the Lincolnshire Wolds

This Easter weekend we decided to go out with the dogs and combine three hobbies, walking, geocaching and amateur radio whilst taking the opportunity to visit some radio related relics of World War II and the Cold War on the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Following a recent presentation at the South Kesteven ARS by David Gordon G6ENN where he talked about his successful portable operating I was encouraged to constructed a simple dual band 'flower pot' antenna (design from VK2ZOI) using some RG58 coax and 25mm conduit.

Completed 2m/70cm Flower Pot

My previous attempts at portable operating have largely involved HF and slightly heavy equipment (my Yaesu FT-857D and Sealed Lead Acid batteries) but I decided this time to try VHF/UHF as we were going to one of the highest spots in the area. This allowed me to travel light just taking along a Baofeng UV-5R and the antenna sticking out of the rucksack.
Just setting off with Boris & Eddie

Parking up in Donington on Bain we had a short 4 mile circular walk planned allowing the wife to collect a dozen geocaches along the way with a short detour at the top to visit RAF Stenigot. The walk climbs to the top of a hill, but it isn't a long ascent by any means or overly strenuous. The view back included the impressive Belmont Transmission Tower (just visible over my shoulder in the picture above) which before it was shortened in 2010 was reputably the tallest structure of its type in the world.

Belmont Transmission Tower

The Lincolnshire Wolds is the highest area on the East of England between Yorkshire and Kent and so there are many structures that take advantage of the elevation. In addition to Belmont we could see the Radar station at Wolds Top/Normanby Hill and Lincoln Cathedral in the distance, but we were interested in what was in front of us the remains of RAF Stenigot.

The tower at RAF Steingot, clearly visible as we climbed


View back
RAF Stenigot was part of the Chain Home radar network during World War II, this early system used large antenna arrays suspended from large towers, one of which is now preserved as a Grade II listed structure which is still used by RAF Aerial Erector School for selection tests for possible recruits.

After the Second World War, the site was retained and in 1959 it was upgraded to a communications relay site as part of the NATO ACE High system, which involved adding four tropospheric scatter dishes. The site was decommissioned in the late 1980s and was mostly demolished by 1996 but the toppled dishes remain.

View of RAF Stenigot
View of RAF Stenigot
While on private land with no public right of way it is a simple matter to follow the field edge to get quite close, the actual site has been secured to prevent vandalism and is now home to a herd of bulls to deter trespassers!

The dishes as seen from the footpath
At the gate (locked) to the site

View looking towards the radar tower

Yours truly
We stopped in the shadow of the dishes for a drink and some refreshment and I got out the radio and attempted to make some contacts, but sadly it seemed like everyone was in still in bed. I could open quite a few nearby repeaters and put out calls but again nothing heard, hopefully ET had better luck!

ET Phone Home!
Checking the equipment when I got home it seems the Baofeng radio has developed quiet TX audio, so it is likely people couldn't hear me. I haven't used these cheap radios much and know they are prone to issues but thought mine was okay. Oh well, at least I looked the part and got a few odd glances from the few walkers and locals we saw. What I didn't realise at the time is the hill is also the site of GB3LC but I did spot some amateur radio antennas nearby.

CQ CQ M0NRD/P
The Chain Home Radar tower

The "Heavy Mob" Security Patrol
It really was a great morning walk in a part of the country which is on our doorstep but haven't really visited before. Getting up close to the dishes and the Radar mast was fascinating.

What's more you aren't far from the Lincolnshire Coast, so after our walk we went to Mablethorpe for the afternoon and fish and chips which were well received.

Eddie enjoying his fish and chips
Might look at activating Wolds Top in the near future as it is also a SOTA summit!

Andrew Garratt, MØNRD, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from East Midlands, England. Contact him at [email protected].

Some DX contacts today.

I had some spare time today  and was able to get on the radio! Over the past month or so it has been lots of work and no time to play radio. Today while on 20m CW  I was able to snag HA7GN from Hungary, IQ0PG from Italy I was given special report number of UN90ARI1.  According to their site this qualifies me for there ARI 90 years award. The last contact of the day was IO0MDC again from Italy and this call was in celebration of 20 years for the Mediterraneo DX club. I was thrilled with
these short contacts and I really was only on for about 20 min's. On a side note.........I have posted in the past that I am the proud owner of an Elecraft K-pod. This thing works great and is a great asset to the shack. It has 8 programmable push buttons, at my age I loose track of what is on what button! I came up with an idea of adding some magnetic strips with the naming of each of the buttons. Since they are magnetic I can remove them when the button macro has been changed or rearrange them if need be.

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

Some DX contacts today.

I had some spare time today  and was able to get on the radio! Over the past month or so it has been lots of work and no time to play radio. Today while on 20m CW  I was able to snag HA7GN from Hungary, IQ0PG from Italy I was given special report number of UN90ARI1.  According to their site this qualifies me for there ARI 90 years award. The last contact of the day was IO0MDC again from Italy and this call was in celebration of 20 years for the Mediterraneo DX club. I was thrilled with
these short contacts and I really was only on for about 20 min's. On a side note.........I have posted in the past that I am the proud owner of an Elecraft K-pod. This thing works great and is a great asset to the shack. It has 8 programmable push buttons, at my age I loose track of what is on what button! I came up with an idea of adding some magnetic strips with the naming of each of the buttons. Since they are magnetic I can remove them when the button macro has been changed or rearrange them if need be.

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

AmateurLogic 103: The Un-planned Episode


AmateurLogic.TV Episode 103 is now available for download.

Tommy repairs his mobile antenna. Emile makes a NOAA Heads Up Alert. Mike builds the Canadian Balun. Peter’s Balloon fails and he repurposes an old laptop screen. Plus all the usual stuff.

1:16:38

Download
YouTube


George Thomas, W5JDX, is co-host of AmateurLogic.TV, an original amateur radio video program hosted by George Thomas (W5JDX), Tommy Martin (N5ZNO), Peter Berrett (VK3PB), and Emile Diodene (KE5QKR). Contact him at [email protected].

ICQ Podcast Episode 235 – Portable Multi-Band Dipole

In this episode, Martin M1MRB / W9ICQ is joined by Chris Howard M0TCH, Martin Rothwell M0SGL, Dan Romanchik KB6NU and  Ed Durrant DD5LP to discuss the latest Amateur / Ham Radio news. Colin M6BOY rounds up the news in brief, and this episode’s feature is Portable Multi-Band Dipole.


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

The JK BevFlex-4 Antenna



This past week, comments regarding an interesting new low-noise directionally-switched receive antenna popped-up on both the Topband reflector and the IRCA (BCB DXers) reflector.

The new JK BevFlex-4 is reported to work very well without requiring a lot of real estate for deployment. The antenna was designed by Geoff Mendenhall, W8GNM, and Ned Mountain, WC4X.

There are several things that make this package a little different. The antenna can be configured in four basic forms: CLASSIC BEVERAGE, BEVERAGE ON GROUND (BOG) / BEVERAGE IN SOD (BIS), INVERTED EWE, or as a FLAG. What is quite different however is its flexible feedpoint allowing the antenna to be fed at any point along its length when used in the BOG or BEVERAGE configuration. The antenna is completely passive and requires no preamplification although, in some configurations, it is suggested for use above 7MHz.

Full details can be found at the JK Antennas website, as well as the manual and a FAQ page.

The FAQ sheet indicates that it will perform from LW through to 10m but the most dramatic improvement in reception from users has been noted on the lower bands. It sounds like it might make an interesting antenna for NDB DXing as well.

In the BOG form, the antenna can lay right on the ground or be buried (BIS) just below the surface using RG-6 for the actual antenna element. Other configurations allow much smaller, stealth-sized wire to be employed.

An interesting YouTube video of the antenna in action as well as an in-depth description may be viewed here:


Here is one comment from an east coast topbander:

I also bought one this year....deployed it as an EWE, as that’s all the room
I have, small lot in a subdivision.....in order to work them you need to
hear them, and once I put that up, I could hear !!! first put up as EU/VK-ZL
and worked several in the DX contest, but when the african dxpedetions were on, moved it to due east/west., and worked all of them, S01, etc.....front to back is remarkable on 160, it works ok on 80, (mine was 10ft high and 38 ft long) but really rocks on 160 !!!!, and really cuts down the line noise/static I normally hear on my transmit Inv L.

Perhaps this may be your answer for a small effective receive antenna for LW and above but even if not, their website description makes for interesting reading.

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

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