Mirfield Electronics144 / 432 Mhz Colinear

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At last I have managed to erect my new colinear antenna. I bought the dual band collinear form Mirfield Electronics at the NARSA Rally at Blackpool earlier this year along with mini 8 coax. My biggest problem is where to mount the antenna, I don’t want it on the front of the house because it is screened by the house next door. I want to be as clear as possible in all directions, I considered putting it on the chimney, but that would mean hiring someone to put it up there!

So during the hot weather I sat in the garden and pondered for a place to put it without too much hassle….

When I started to put the colinear together I found that there was a problem. The u bolts supplied with the mounting were too big for the 1.25 inch diameter aluminium pole, it looked like it was meant for 2 inch or bigger. In the end I had to solve the problem by packing the u bolts with some wooden blocks. The colinear itself is very well made and quite heavy, but I think the choice of mount needs looking at again.

Once the colinear was complete I then tried out the antenna with my Yaesu FT857D. I could compare the colinear with my present discone antenna (which works well on 144Mhz)  and see what the difference would be.  Listening on 144Mhz I immediately noticed stations I could hear that are non-existant with the discone. Comparing stronger stations showed that the colinear was significantly better and tuning around I could hear weak stations from quite long distances. With 432Mhz activity is quiet most of the time, but I was able to access and listen to the local repeaters which come it very strong, much stronger than I receive using the discone. On transmit the SWR was almost 1:1 on both 144Mhz and 432Mhz.

Quite impressed with this small colinear for the price!


A lovely hot day for erecting antennas!




The new colinear mounted next to the discone.


Modern Radio

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My first visit to the new Modern Radio today, so I took a couple of photos of Diana, Susanne and the new shop 🙂
The new premises is on Gladstone Rd, Farnworth,next to Apollo Motors and opposite Hawker Siddeley Social Club. You can park on the social club car park.
Been going to Modern Radio since I was 12 years old, that’s 50 years!



Radio Caroline GB5RC

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Celebrating 50 years of Pirate Radio, The Radio Caroline ship MV Ross Revenge came on the air again for a special event station GB5RC!

I managed to work the station on 80m late on the Saturday night despite the pile up of stations waiting to work them. I used my Yaesu FT101E transceiver, very fitting as the Ross Revenge was the ship used by Radio Caroline back in the 1980’s.

Still got the t-shirt!


Here is GB5RC on the air!

Smithills Hall Special Event Station

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Had a really enjoyable day with the Bolton Wireless Club Special Event Station GB3SHM. It was great to meet many amateurs that I have spoken to regularly, but never met them. Nice to put faces to callsigns. Today reminded of the old days with the Bolton and District Amateur Radio Society back in the 1970’s when we held special event stations and field days. The Bolton Wireless Club uses the old G8WY callsign that I used to use back in the 1970’s.


A nice set up complete with barbeque!


Mick M0ICK and Richard G4HGI operating 10 metres.


Jack G8HIK operating digital audio modes.


Chris G4HYG working JT65A on 20 metres.


Nice video made by Jack G8HIK…



World Cup Willie

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One of those moments…
50 years ago today I was 12 years old and very excited about watching the 1966 World Cup Final.
I had my Union Jack flag that I pinched from a rummage sale and a bag of sweets ready for the start of the game. At 3.00pm the whole family gathered around our 19″ Black and White, low definition, 405 line television. For my birthday a few days earlier I bought a ‘World Cup Willie’ periscope and a very large ‘World Cup Willie’ lollypop.
At the end of the game I ran down our street cheering and waving my flag.
I can remember it like yesterday!

I found a picture of the periscope…


Practical Wireless

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When I was 13 years old I used to save my pocket money to buy Practical Wireless and Practical Electronics so that I could look at some of the projects and have a go at building some of them. I remember building some of the projects…Electronic Doorbell, Intercom, Schmitt Triggers, One Transistor Radio, Modulated Light Transmitter and Receiver, CQ2 Receiver, Aerial Tuning Unit. Some of my bigger projects, particularly the valve stereo amplifier using a couple of ECC82 and 6BW6 valves were hard to build, but worked in the end. My best project was a Stereo Audio Amplifier using AD161 and AD162 Transistors. I used this for years as my main stereo system in the late 70’s.  One of the strangest projects was an Electronic Fishing Bait Unit, it was actually an audio ‘bleeper’ that you put in the water to attract fish to your maggot! I was interested in fishing at the time and built one, put it in a plastic bag and tried it out with a pet goldfish in the bath.

Practical Wireless was my favourite magazine back then in the late 60’s and 70’s. When my interest in amateur radio became more serious, I relied on Radio Communication and Short Wave Magazine. In the late 80’s and 90’s I lost interest in radio and electronics, but in the last 10 years I have become more interested again and started to buy practical Wireless again, now I subscribe and receive it by post each month.

Last month I got my letter into Practical Wireless!  Now imagine how I felt when, after over 45 years, I saw my letter in Practical Wireless. Practical Wireless is an institution and back in the 1970’s when I read the letter page then I would not have dreamed to have a letter from myself published. Thank you Don!




DSO138 Digital Oscilloscope Kit

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This week I surprised myself by building my own oscilloscope!
The DSO138 is a small portable digital oscilloscope kit and is usually sold on ebay for about £16. I bought mine for the same price from Amazon, making sure that it was the genuine JYE Tech model and not a Chinese copy. The kit came with the surface mounted components already fitted, the rest needed to be soldered, quite a challenge for me having become a unskilled at soldering because I have not built anything for years. The instructions are very clear and easy to follow, so I set about building my oscilloscope, taking my time and using my favourite Antex soldering iron. The board is of good quality, double sided with all the components clearly marked on the surface of the board.


It took me about three days, just working for about an hour each night to complete. When it was finished I went through the testing procedure, which involves making a few voltage measurements on the board , before plugging in the display module. When I powered it up it immediately booted up and came to life…fantastic!


Really pleased with this little kit, the buttons and switches are a bit fiddly, but they work fine! I used my recently built function generator to provide different waveforms for the oscilloscope to display.


Next, I needed a case for the oscilloscope board. There are plenty on ebay, but they are all in China, then I came across a British supplier (Flux Workshop) that could supply next day delivery…slightly more expensive than the Chinese supplier, but just what I needed. The case kit arrived the next day, so I set about fitting the case. This is quite tricky, I used a video on You Tube that showed how to do it, but it still took about an hour to assemble. At the same time as ordering the case I also ordered an oscilloscope probe, which arrived at the same time.


Now I have my very own digital oscilloscope complete with probe!

Now a bit of nostalgia…
When I was 14 years old and still at school I wanted to build my own valve oscilloscope. I had managed to get hold of a 3 inch CRT oscilloscope tube and needed a chassis to support it. I made one complete with front panel at school in my metalwork room at lunch times. I also needed a simple circuit diagram of an oscilloscope, I had one in a book, but it was very complicated. I took it to my uncle, who taught me all I know at the time on electronics. He sat down and drew a complete simple diagram of a simple oscilloscope for me to build. I then took this to Physics Club at school and with a bit of help from my Physics teacher, Mr Bristow, started to build the oscilloscope. I didn’t really get very far, it was too hard for me at the time. I planned to go back to building it later when I became more experienced. When I left school I became an Electronic Engineer Apprentice and at the place where I worked we had lots of oscilloscopes that I could use and even borrow if I needed one. I will never forget the old Telequipment Oscilloscopes, I used them at work and also at college. How things have changed!