Steam Radio

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Today I listened out for the special event station  GB0ELR at the East Lancashire Railway at Bury. They were operating on 40m, 20m and 15m.  A message from Facebook told me that the station was operating FT8 on 20m during the afternoon, so I set up my FT8 to find them. Although GB0ELR is only about 4 miles away I found it difficult to find them through the very strong FT8 stations on 20m. After putting out a call I managed to link up with the station.  It was a rainy afternoon, so I decided to go down to East Lancs Railway and deliver a QSL directly to the station.  I love going to the station to see the steam trains and today the Flying Scotsman was running along with the City of Wells Loco.

Here is Mo M0TXK operating GB0ELR from the hut next to Flying Scotsman on the platform. I used the opportunity to talk with Jack G8HIK and Chris G4HYG on the Bolton Wireless Club on Network Radio.

Here is the Flying Scotsman departing to Rawtenstall today.

Topband with an R1155 Receiver

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Latest news on the R1155 Receiver project…

The R1155 is working fine on all bands, but unfortunately my version of the receiver doesn’t cover Topband (1.8Mhz – 2.0Mhz). I believe that one of the later versions of the receiver had Trawler Band, but these are quite rare to find.  So to be able to listen on Topband with my receiver it requires a converter, in this case to convert 1.8Mhz – 2.00Mhz to the Medium Wave band. The R1155 covers 600Khz – 1500Khz, so I decided to use 800Khz – 1000Khz as the converted Topband Frequency.

I found that the simplest circuit to use for this purpose is to use an NE602N chip, this is a double balanced mixer that can convert almost any input frequency to an output frequency using the correct crystal oscillator. In my case, I want to convert 1.9Mhz on the input to 900Khz  on the output. To do this I need a 1MHz crystal for the oscillator and choose the correct values of capacitors in the oscillator circuit.

 

L1 is a TOKO equivalent coil that can be purchased from http://www.spectrumcomms.co.uk/  I used the 45uH coil for 1.9Mhz.  I found that C1 needs to be around 220pf to tune the coil. X1 is a 1Mhz crystal and C3 is 100pf, C4 is 1000pf. I built the circuit on a small printed circuit board, which was very easy to make.

The circuit works really well, very stable and gives an output that suits the input of the receiver. I was able to tune Topband on the Medium wave frequencies and listen to stations on AM, SSB and CW.
Really pleased with the results!
On the board I left room for an extra coil on the input, but the circuit works fine with just a single coil and seems very selective.

I added a switch so that I could switch between Topband and Medium Wave. I also used the switch to mount the board inside the R1155 Receiver. The 6v for the board is powered by rectifying the 6.3v heater voltage, doing this meant that I didn’t need R1 in the circuit.

 

The converter working fine on the Sunday morning 1963Khz AM Net with G3EGC, G0CTO and M3RNX.

 

 

Sporadic e on 4m

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A nice Sporadic e opening this evening on 50Mhz and 70Mhz. I used FT8 to monitor the conditions on both bands and was amazed at some of the stations coming in on 4m! Managed to work almost everything station I heard on 4m including:  DJ5MN, S51RM, DF4UE, DJ2QV, S520R, OK2BRD, HA1YA, 9A3TN. This is with 25w and an HB9CV antenna. I have to say that FT8 is great for monitoring conditions on a particular band as there is so much activity. Sometimes you miss the openings on 4m and 6m because of lack of activity.

Using a Spectrum Communications 4m Transverter, hence 28Mhz showing on WSJT-X.

 

R1155 Receiver

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For years now I have wanted to get hold of an old valve receiver to restore and modify. I have looked at the AR88, but it is far too big, the HRO, but this has plug in coils which is messy. A couple of weeks ago I saw a couple of R1155 receivers in good condition, but suspected that they would be expensive. I have always wanted an R1155, this receiver has a lot of history as they were used in Lancaster Bombers during the war together with the T1154 transmitter. I decided to have a look on eBay to price up one these receivers, I was a bit put off because of the prices again. After a few visits to eBay I came across an early version of the R1155 which was selling at a nice price. I bought it!

Now I have my very own R1155 which is in great condition and actually works!

I will spend some time renovating and modifying the receiver, there are lots of information available for this receiver.

 

Listening on Medium Wave… just like the old times!

Listening to 40m with the BFO switched on.

Network Radio

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While at the 2m Contest on Sunday with the Bolton Wireless Club one of the topics of conversion was Zello and Network Radio. I had heard of Zello before, but didn’t fully understand it’s potential for radio communication. Network Radio channels have only recently been created on Zello. At the moment there are three dedicated Amateur Radio Channels which enable Amateurs and enthusiasts to communicate over a wireless network or cell network. The channels are all moderated and operated with strict rules, just like the Amateur Radio Licence. We now have a dedicated Network Radio Channel for the Bolton Wireless Club. I am now trying it out with my mobile phone…

P.W. 2m Contest

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Had a lovely afternoon on Scout Rd on the side of Winter Hill with the Bolton Wireless Club operating G0BWC/P for the Practical Wireless 2m QRP Contest. Weather was hot and sunny a great day for a field day contest, just like the old days!

uBITX Transceiver Kit

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I read about the the uBITX tranceiver kit a while ago and thought that it looked good and would make a nice project for the future. I was put off because the main board has many SMD components and I thought at the time that they would need assembling and soldering to the board. Then a couple a weeks ago I came across the uBITX website with more information about the transceiver kit. I then realised that the kit board is actually assembled and tested, you just need to add on the extras to build it into an all band HF Tranceiver with an output of 10w. It also includes the Arduino digital controller and display. The specs on this device are impressive!

So, for my next project I am going to build one of these uBITX and try it out. The price is $103 and is shipped from India.  I decided to order one from http://www.hfsignals.com/index.php/ubitx/ and a matching case from https://amateurradiokits.in/store/

Expecting a wait of about 6-8 weeks, I was amazed when the uBITX turned up only 8 days after ordering!

I look forward to building the project!