AlexLoop hampack !

Just a quick one really ! I’ve got an AlexLoop here, and cant wait to try it out.

I saw this excellent video from Waters and Staton

Alexloop Hampack

I was just wow, got to have one, but the price, eek, thats scary, but look at the performance in video i was conviinced this is the right portalable/QRP antenna for me. Ironically W&S didnt have any in stock (step in Nevada) who did, and wow, it was here quick !

The eagle eyed of you would see a number of books on my desk as I’m currently very busy with my AI&Game Design module of my MSc, i’m hoping that I will get enough time to have a play with it over the weekend. I’m super excited thats for sure !

QRM / Tidying the Shack

So for the first time in a VERY long time (aka YEARS) I’ve had the luxury of a week off work. During the week I found a USB extender was producing a horrific amount of QRM. The offending item has since been disconnected.

I went on to survey my ‘shack’ and that I had ‘allowed’ QRM to ‘sneak’ back in. I was a bit disappointed in myself to be honest as I had spent allot of time and money on virtually eliminating interference, both man-made and natural when I had my TS690S setup as my only station. I was just not paying attention to what I was putting in the shack.

So to make up for my lack of attention, I wanted to understand why this had come about. Mostly the biggest problem is the ease to just add things in and not test them, only to find out they are ruining a hobby I really love.

QRM Identified via KiwiSDR

Looking around the shack I really noticed how even tho I had moved much of the music equipment out, it was still as not as organised as I would like it. Did I need all these computers ? Do I use them regularly, is my setup optimal in terms of service ? For many of the computers, especially my older mac, i really no longer needed it and many smaller projects have come and past.

I looked around our whole house and many things had changed since we moved here, so maybe it was just as good to take a holistic look and think ‘how can i solve this’. With that I rented some storage space nearby.

Storage space not far from the QTH

I was really able to take a big “bite” out of all the things around the house and no longer using. I wont share the pictures on here as its not strictly radio related, but fair to say I made good use of the space and freed up alot of space around the QTH.

This in turn allowed me to think about back in the shack. How can I get desks/working areas tidy and serviceable. I’ve been using computer tables mostly that dont really have the best storage on them, leading to problems of not putting RF chokes on them and ensuring the QRM was reduced. I put too much trust in the power strip RF filter to think it would fix all my QRM issues – obviously it would not.

First call – Ferrite, lots of it and the right sort. Whilst I have VHF/UHF transceivers, allot of my work is on HF. I researched the best ‘general’ ferrite for HF, and think that FT140-43 will reduce/eliminate the RF from getting in and out of the devices. With that I ordered 40 FT140-43 from Qubits. Now *everything* that is in my shack will at least have these ferrites on the power supply/leads, if not more.

I then looked at the desks. I need them to be serviceable. The power-tray racking helped, but I was still having cable management issues, and as us radio operators know, having loops of wire here and there is a great way to introduce unwanted QRM into the shack.

I ordered these Garage Shelving Unit from Amazon which can be split to make a nice height desk and storage space, reducing the amount of ‘wire tangle’ and allowing me to have small boxes to tidy things away.

I’ve also got Aluminium Foil Tape to cover the working surfaces with to ‘bond’ transceivers to desks. This had worked really well when i done it with my TS690S and having the cables from the transceiver neatly on the metal conductive surface the cables was reduced loops massively.

So I will have a very busy weekend coming up to finish up my ‘week off’ but hopefully a shack that is not only free from QRM, but is also tidy and serviceable. I promise to upload pics 🙂

Stay safe, keep well.

Alan / 2E0FWE

Books and bits&bobs !

Nebula tilt base progress

Was very greatful to receive an email from Callum regarding the tilt base giving some advice and alternate parts, suggesting the Barenco BE211//2. Myself and JTB (read previous post) are already planning on a ‘metal’ upgrade, so will hold off the BE211/2 for now.

barenco BE211/2

Having watched the ’tilt’ base created by Callum I ordered the parts I didn’t have, and these have since arrived !

I ordered online for limiting my exposure to other people, but having seen the wood am very glad I did ! Not sure why, but it seemed alot bigger than i imagined – which is good. I have an old pallet in the garage which i think will help with the remaining wood components. I will have to source a pole of some type for mast to go onto, but am glad the wood and bolt/rod have arrived !

QRP

The IC-705 has really got me into QRP, given that without any additions, its max portable power is 5W and 10W when powered from external supply. I watched Peter Parkers’s excellent QRP Video and knew i had to also read these books to really understand and get the most out of what was being taught

QRP Presentation by VK3YE

Needless to say, I’ll be blogging extensively about my QRP experiencs with the 705.

CW Academy

Further to recommendations on DX Commander Discord server I have signed up to CW Academy and book my space on the BEGINNER CW class. It does mean ‘waiting’ until April, but having seen this excellent video about learning from CW Academy, have done well in getting a slot as early as that !

I’m really confident that with tuition from CW Academy and giving the commitment required to learn, i will go from 0 wpm to at least 10 wpm.

Full licence

Also learned that the FULL LICENCE is now available on-line ! Of course i wanted to book straight away, but the latest that could be booked so far was end of Feburary. Given my ‘Intermediate’ exam i thought i would really have to commit and revise well, so I didnt book yet. However, i have bought the RSGB Full Licence Manual, which looks slightly less scary than it would of a year ago (Just passed Foundation).

It begins ! I think with my workload & uni, its going to be 4-6 months of training

This great video gives a recent full licence experience, and i will be taking on the advice

full licence exam experience

With the absence of clubs, training again will be online and with youtube, I’m really grateful for the amount of work people put into their training videos. I will be using Cornish Amateur Radio Club – they really helped with my intermediate

I continue to enjoy the 40m dipole, getting contacts all over the world on FT8 and decoding Wefax images. Hopefully the sun is out this weekend so cutting the wood can begin for the Nebula swivel mount !