Friday, 11 December 2015


Some radio related photos from our holiday to Lloret De Mar last month:

Radio mast above the town - some FM broadcast on here

VHF antennas on building across from hotel. Are they for transmitting? They look like around 150MHz. 

Never heard one of these working but they have some UHF antenna on them

Lots of buildings have long distance Wi-Fi access

More Wi-Fi 

Fire station

Band 1 TV reception

Telemetry link from electricity substation

UHF folded dipole on some museum or information centre - could be to do with the remote controlled loudspeakers seen along the beach

There is an amateur repeater on 438.950 near the town of Blaines, a few km west of Lloret De Mar. Never heard any activity on it except it giving it's ID. Further away there are some Echolink gateways around 431MHz and I heard some APRS activity on 144.800.
The area has a lot of air traffic and also business radio users seem to be mostly between 152 and 154MHz.
One thing you think about when outside the UK is how much more effort they have to put into receiving TV broadcasts. Because there are lots of tall apartment and hotel buildings, along with land rising up sharply inland, it's hard to get a line of sight to any mast, even if it close by. Going along the motorway towards Barcelona I saw some blocks of flats which must have had a large TV antenna on 20 metre guyed mast on top of a 30 metre building, to get over the hill. The same goes for satellite reception, no little 45cm dishes, even when they are not trying to get UK channels. But we're a small island which can be covered with a narrow beam.
We're lucky with our little Sky dishes and cheap 10 elements. But I think a lot of people would have gone over to internet streaming or cable - when I was in Malta 2 years ago, it seemed to have gone that way with no RF receivers at all in houses.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

GP15 connected again

After nearly 6 months of the coax from my 6m/2m/70cm antenna coiled up in another room, I finally got round to connecting it into the new shack, by running it up into the loft and joining to an extra piece of coax I'd put in for a temporary 2m dipole.
It's not perfect - it's 7 metres of RG58 I'm adding, giving up to 3dB loss on 430MHz and 1.5dB on 144MHz, RG58 being what I had handy and easy to wire into a dipole centre.
When I put the GP15 up, I'd left enough spare coax (Westflex W103) to reach out of the room and across the house, but I wouldn't be very popular if I just trailed it along the floor through open doors to reach the shack.
I'll do a direct run of coax some time and get the Comet GP15 down to check it, it's still working fine but it doesn't sit exactly straight so I hope the screw holding it into the tube hasn't snapped (they often do on that kind of antenna).

For HF I'm still using a wire along the gutter, fed with an UnUn and sticking mostly to 10 and 14MHz. The other wire is still up in the back garden but the coax is left coiled up in the old shack.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Dipole in loft

145MHz dipole in loft to use until I connect coax to new shack location. No hurry, only moved rooms about 6 months ago.
Noise from devices in the house is a bigger problem on VHF than the signal loss, a lot of it is from networking gear and the printer. Noise isn't just a HF problem any more.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

PC Specs

Main PC:
Lian Li PC7 case (bought in 2006, none of the original contents remain)
Be Quiet PSU
Asus M5A78L-M/USB3 motherboard
AMD FX-8350 CPU @ 4GHz
8GB RAM (2 * 4GB PC3-10700)
Onboard graphics (DVI) - Radeon 3000 series
iiyama ProLite B2409HDS 24" monitor - 1920*1080 pixels
250GB SATA HDD - pinched the old 1TB drive for use in the NAS
2 * DVD writers
Windows 10 Pro

Lenovo B50-30
Intel Celeron N2840 CPU @ 2.16GHz
15.6" display 1366*768 pixels
Windows 10 Home

WD 2TB USB HDD (usually connected to main PC for backup)
D-Link DNS-320 NAS, with 2 * 1TB HDDs in RAID1 (for music and video)
Integral Neon 32GB USB3 flash drive (almost permanently connected and backed up, for everyday files)
Toshiba 640GB USB portable HDD
Seagate 250GB USB portable HDD

BT Openreach VDSL (FTTC) modem
Technicolor TG582n ADSL modem/router/WiFi (ADSL not used)
Edimax CV-7428nS WiFi Bridge (to connect the wired office/shack network to Wi-Fi and internet)
Zyxel GS-105B 5 port gigabit switch (to keep main PC and NAS on a gigabit network)

Other networked devices in the house:
2 * Now TV streaming boxes
Sky+ HD box
Measy Android TV stick
Brother MFC-J265W wireless printer/scanner
iPhone 4
iPhone 5S
iPad Mini 2 (with Retina Display)
Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Kirkby Moor

Had a walk up Kirkby Moor (SOTA G/LD-049) today, and it was 6 years ago today that Alex G7RNX and myself took part in the 70MHz contest from there.
Here are some photos from September 2009:
 Even though this is nowhere near the summit, it's still in the 25m activation zone for SOTA, less of a walk with a load of batteries and has more fence posts to fix antennas to.

 Yaesu FT-847 with 70MHz conversion
 Sirio 70MHz vertical

 M1AVV also on 2m/70cm for any SOTA chasers
 G7RNX with home built yagi

Monday, 24 August 2015

Top O Selside

Top O' Selside
1st August 2015
 Walked from one of the car parks on the east side of Coniston - SD299927 Dodgson Wood. Parked by the road a bit further south because the car park was full.

Used my Yaesu FT-7900 dual band mobile radio, which hasn't been getting a lot of use recently as I've moved my stuff to a different room but don't have the VHF/UHF coax going there yet.
The 7900 works well for portable operation, even on an 11.1v battery pack it still does full power in the low and mid settings (between 11 and 15 volts there is no significant change on a power meter, turning the voltage up and down from a variable PSU). Not tested the output power on High, but a 4Ah pack wouldn't last very long with 50 watts. If I got really desparate for QSOs from somewhere I think I could still manage a few minutes with >30 watts though.

From the track below the summit I picked up 2 WiFi access points on my phone: 
Crake Valley Holiday Park (nearly 3km away)
The Caravan Club Wireless - both on 2.4GHz

Saturday, 6 June 2015


May APRS reception

Monday, 11 May 2015

April APRS

APRS I received at home in April 2015. A few more than usual, probably because of the Blackpool radio rally, and because I left it receiving for a week while I was on holiday.

5GHz WiFi - Birkrigg

Took an Ubiquiti Nanobeam M5 up Birkrigg Common on Saturday to see what I could get on the 5GHz WiFi band.
Click the pictures of the site surveys to enlarge. Anything above channel 5.65GHz (channel 130) is also in the 5.7GHz amateur band, which is shared. See this white paper for how WiFi devices use the 5.1 - 5.8 Ghz band.

Those were site surveys with the dish pointing in different directions. I guess the DE ones are Dong Energy, who run the wind farms out at sea. There are a few with what looks like a Preston postcode in the SSID - and PR1 3RP is Sandown Court, a block of flats in Preston so it makes sense.

Belkin router working as the 2.4GHz access point, so I could connect to the Nanobeam's internal web app using my phone. Powering the Belkin off car battery.

 The view over Morecambe Bay towards Lancaster and Morecambe

 Ethernet cable down to the car
 The Nanobeam uses 12 volt POE, not the standard 48V, so here I'm using a POE injector and an 11.1V LiPo battery pack, at the dish end of the cable to reduce losses. The pole is over a microphone stand.

After that I had a walk up Hampsfell (WOTA Outlying Fell LDO-108). Took the dualbandheld up there and made 3 QSOs, the furthest being GB6AC on 145MHz, a special event station operating from Abergele Castle in north Wales.

There are steps to the top of the little tower, which gives a little bit more height for the radio.

And here is some of the Wigle WiFi scan from the top of Hampsfell on my phone. As usual there are some caravan sites, but somebody's Talk Talk home WiFi is coming through, possibly from down the hill in Grange. Somebody is also Pretty Fly for a WiFi - there's one in every town!

Monday, 6 April 2015

March APRS

APRS received at home

Saturday, 28 March 2015


I tried the Puxing PX-777 VHF handheld again on Whitbarrow (SOTA G/LD-056) today and even after being fully charged this morning, the battery lasted about 2 minutes on transmit. I won't be using that battery again for transmitting. This time I had come prepared and had a PL259-SMA adaptor so I could connect up my Alinco handheld instead.
Made 6 QSOs including a summit to summit with G0EVV who was on The Calf (G/NP-013). The weather was so bad on the way there I was thinking giving it a miss but it stopped raining by the time I set off walking.

WiFi scan from the summit. The first 3 (in the 5GHz band) look like long distance links, zone2b could be from the mast at Scout Scar near Kendal, I've picked that up on Brant Fell near Windermere before.
Lamb Howe is the name of a caravan site about 5km to the north, near Winster. lambhowe1 is probably from there as caravan site WiFi usually gets a long way.

Sunday, 22 March 2015


WiFi received on Kirkby Moor with my Galaxy Note 3
Holker Old Park Wood is a caravan site about 9km away. Not sure where Endurance Wireless is from, but I've also picked it up on the Hoad at Ulverston, so probably somewhere round there.
There are so many WiFi access points on these days that you will probably pick something up on most hills, especially with places like caravan parks using high gain antennas to cover the whole site.
I was up at Kirkby Moor yesterday afternoon and made 2 summit-summit contacts before the battery in the Puxing PX777 handheld died - I had charged it a while ago but it must have discharged slowly (still showed full battery on the display). So no activator point but some chaser points.