Author Archive

The G3LEK key that turned up in Chile?

There was always a key player who I have always credited for getting me interested in this radio hobby and electronics. Len (G3LEK), who lived at the time in the 1970's five doors away from me in Fortescue Lane, Rugeley, during my youth. The first time I came across his radio gear is when his son Martin who I used to play with in the road, invited me in the old concrete garage one cold Winters morning. The back of the damp musty garage always had these strange bits of equipment with wires springing out and meters and stuff just hanging there in thin air, I never really took much notice about the stuff at the time. Until this one morning, there was Len, his Dad, pumping away at an old primer stove with a brick on top trying to keep warm "Brrrr it's cold Stevie" he said. While he was busy working away he had setup this ex miltary piece of radio equipment jacked up at an angle on a couple of blocks of wood in the centre of the garage. It must of been a very interesting experience, because I was only around 7 or 8 at the time and he alllowed me to twiddle the VFO and tune in these wonderful Short Wave stations from round the world, it was quite amazing! Especially when I could see these glass things giving off a strange orange glow at the rear of the front panel, the Radio stations I tuned you would never hear of today, the transmissions and their stations silenced and long gone! It would of been about 4 years later, I started building crystal sets, and on in my late teens went to work in the Test department for Thorn Automation, where Len also worked as a system designer after he had cut his craft being a radio operator in the Merchant Navy in the 1940's.

Of course being a ships ex Radio Operator, Len was also a very proficient CW operator, and this never left him throughout his Amateur radio years.

A few days ago Martin contacted me. who now is now 2E0LEK and following in his late Dad's footsteps with the hobby.

WOW !! I am amazed .... A British engineer has contacted me through the RSGB regarding my late Fathers CW Morse Key, and it is in Santiago Chile. I have been wondering where it had gone, and now I know.





Martin said the chap who has got the old key is Simon, and he said it can be a bit iffy ....  His XYL is Angie who bought it from an antiques dealer in Santiago. The dealer found it in a secondhand market in the city, called Persa Bio-Bio……Apparantly a fascinating place to visit if you ever get the chance (but don’t carry any valuables and be very careful).

Ref:https://www.fleamapket.com/listing/persa-bio-bio/


So Martin is now on the chase to find out how the key arrived in Chile? I know when Len left the old bungalow where he once lived, he cleared the garage out and filled up his VW camper van and took most of the ex MOD equipment to a place called Thackers at Cheslyn Hay (long time gone), Thackers were scrap dealers and breakers in ex ministry gear.

Leave comment below if you have come across the G3LEK CW key on it's travels. Martin would like to hear from anyone, who might know something. 
   .

uBITX V6 turns up the heat!

Huge sales of the uBITX around the globe is one kit that has certainly raised the profile of Amateur Radio. An HF radio kit which got many back and involved in the hobby, with many interested in construction once again. It has proved easy to put together for most, with a pretested PCB, along with a simple set up procedure. Asharr Farhan and his small company HF Signals, have been credited with a huge success story of uBITX sales, on top of his now retired BITX40 single band 40m kit. It has kept a small team in employment back in India and that  is also a good thing.

Where could he take the uBITX from here?

Well you have only got to blink these days and things always get updated very quick!






The new V6 uBITX could be the wolf that eat the cat meooow!

Gone is the two line 1602 display, a new 2.8" LCD touch screen is it's replacement. No soldering required is part of the new uBITX sales statement, is this a rig that now plugs together like lego? Gone are connections that once had to be soldered with wire to the 3.5mm sockets for mic, key etc. These are now attached to the new V6 PCB, along with the variable resistor for the volume control, even the encoder doesn't need a soldering iron anymore it comes already attached and soldered up with a plug ready to push into the revised board.


There are two flavours of kit, as before you can just buy the tested PCB kit with raduino, display, hardware and stuff it in a box of your choice (Basic kit) . Or there is now a second choice of a professional predrilled case, (Full kit) which really takes the uBITX to retail standard and looks the part. Both kits, even come with a fist microphone ready to plug in and a speaker for those that purchase the full kit.

Those that have purchased V5 PCB can upgrade to the 2.8" display and update the Raduino firmware, and should read these notes:


For those who are using the 16x2 display and you would like to upgrade, you will have to do three things:
1. Add a heatsink to the 7805 of the raduino
3. Grab the new Arduino sketch from https://github.com/afarhan/ubitxv6

I also found the displays are available on ebay.

Further details on it all read this thread here

Head down to HF Signals here for full details about the kit. 



A 100MHz Handheld Oscilloscope for £54

We have never got enough toys in our cupboard. Dave Jones down at EEVblog always turns up with a few exciting bits of test equipment at times, that could be useful to our hobby. The FNIRSI-5012H that might be another good catch from one of his recent tech videos?

Sold as a Single channel 100MHz Scope for less than $80 with what does come with a few flaws, feebles and bugs, which makes it really a 20MHz workable unit. But it does go to show the Chinese are hot, and going places, where manufactures in the West would never enter a market for such a bargain price.





I did a bit of research afterwards and Banggood sell what appears to be the same model as the Dainu ADS5012H for less than £54 UK!! link here.



 




 

New excellent links added.

There are some very good Ham Blogs and websites out there if you are prepared to take the time to search them down.

One person that always inspires me with his enthusiasm for Real HF Mobile radio, is Dave G4AKC.








Dave often takes off to the front of Blackpool promenade, on either his bike, or his recent electric trike towing a trailer load of equipment behind him, that puts most shack's to shame. His late night shift on the cold sea front, or early mornings well wrapped up, quite often produces some long path and rare DX surprises that you wouldn't get from the home QTH, due to a good signal bounce off the sea water and lower noise being out in the open making reception far easier.

The G4AKC website https://www.g4akc.co.uk/  where you can learn more about his exploits has now been added to my Blog  right hand panel "Sites that do it for me links".

Another good Blog link EI7GL for Ireland has also been updated in "My Blog List" link again on the right hand panel.

Antuino support group


The Antuino the new tool for radio amateurs from HF Signals, I blogged about a few days ago.

Now has it's own dedicated support group to help with problems, modifications and improvements, sign up here.


 

Mini VSWR indicator as reviewed by QST Sept 19

Steve Ford W8IMY reviews the mini SWR indicator in this months QST. I do wonder when he purchased it, because they are at least $10 cheaper now on ebay?



What could be handy little tool, but it pays to do your homework and research across all selling platforms before you open your wallet.

Check out this link for the lowest price I can see at the moment Here

The Antuino from HF Signals


HF Signals the small company in India headed by VU2ESE, that has recently brought us lots of fun with the BITX40 and the uBITX HF radio kits, has now done it again with the launch of the Antuino.

His headline for the device is A compact Radio Lab for Antennas and Radio circuits.








I would like to think of it as a mini Radio Test Set that can help us understand what is going on up the antenna, as well as being useful tool to help analyse what is happening within the radio or what problems exist within the RF signal it outputs. The plus of course it is hackable, so anyone can join in the fun and improve it with addons or make it's firmware better.

At $99 this is sure going to be another useful instrument to any Amateurs test equipment toolbox.

For a better understanding pop down to HF signals link http://www.hfsignals.com/index.php/antuino/






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  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor