More than just a Ham radio blog.
is an informative, cynical and sometimes humorous look at what is happening in the world of amateur radio.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Stolen Icom IC-7400

Came across this on Facebook from one of the best facebook ads agency ...

The Wakefield and District Radio Society premises has been broken into.

The only thing so far identified as missing is an Icom IC-7400. The matching power supply & desk microphone was left behind, leaving me to suspect that the thief may not be a Ham. One antenna lead was cut, but as a duplexer was fitted, they ripped out one of the antenna sockets & left it attached to the duplexer.

If anyone is offered a Icom IC-7400 serial number 0303444, or asked to repair it, could you please let me know.

 Thanks Guys

73 Darryl M0LDI Chairman WDRS 

[email protected]

Thursday, 2 October 2014

70mhz multi-mode rig up-date

In April 2011 I posted about a 70mhz multi-mode rig that was rumoured (http://www.cqhq.co.uk/2011/04/multi-mode-rig-for-50-and-70mhz.html). I recently received an email from Rob PE9PE an up-date and a link to www.nobleradio.eu The price in the Netherlands is € 499,00 incl. 21% Dutch VAT, but you will presumably have to contact them for export prices. Tim G4VXE has dome a quick review on his blog... http://g4vxe.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/first-impressions-of-noble-radio-nr4sc.html.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Truth Must Be Supressed

"Why won't my 65 watt rig work with a 10 amp power supply?"
"What is Ohms law?"
"How far can I get on a handheld?"
"Will my magmount work better on a my radiator or a biscuit tin?"
...and so they go on, stupid questions from supposedly licensed radio amateurs.

I was until a few days ago a subscriber to a certain ham radio group on Facebook. One too many bloody stupid questions prompted me to post something like...

"Why are there so many dumb questions from so called licensed radio amateurs posted on here and other amateur radio forums? These question are often ones where the answer would be known by anyone who has passed an amateur radio licence exam. It seems to me that either these people are just complete pirates or they at least had someone else sit the exam for them. Come on guys for the sake of not appearing dumb please learn to use Google."

As a result I got kicked of the Ham Radio Operators Facebook Group by someone called Chip Iley presumably because he can't handle the truth. Maybe it was too close to home. Oh how I laughed. What a tosser. He did send a message telling me why I was banned but I could not read it, because I was banned. Duh! Such a pity, I had ten likes in the two minutes the post was up and I was looking forward to the fun and the indignant replies.   

Answers to above questions:

It will if you turn down the power.
There is no place like Ohm. Click your heels and turn around three times.
A hell of a long way on a good day from the top of a mountain.
Who cares? Get a real antenna, outside up a pole above the roof line at least.   

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Basque SOTA

Although I have done nothing on the radio with SOTA for a while I get asked to design SOTA logo for the various regions. This is the latest as requested by Antonio Garcia EC2AG.

Life can be tough

Life can be tough at times and it is during those times we need friends. I would like to thank those friends and say "thank you amateur radio" for those friends.

I decided a while back to put my radio activities on hold while I got my retirement plan up and running. My retirement plan consisted of getting a holiday let business off the ground. Following on later by some straight lettings. Stage one took longer than expected and for the better part of two years I worked harder than I think I ever have in my life getting the first two properties finished and ready to let. Things were looking good, but my own home and my antennas had become very neglected.

The plan was to now concentrate on getting my own place to the same standard as my lets and to replace the coaxes on all my antennas. I only managed to mow the grass once last year, but the problems started in the later part of 2012. Without going in to details, for the last 18 months I feel like I have been living in a war zone. It has been one long ordeal of hospital visits and funerals. We have said goodbye to friends, work colleagues and family alike. Maybe it is a sign I am getting older but one week there were three funerals and another two at the same time in different places.

Amongst the fallen is my mother and that of my mother in law who both succumbed to the ravages of cancer. The endless hospital visits, the hassle of sorting out beds in homes and the fights to get them even the medication they had been prescribed is very wearing. I would not wish it on my worst enemy. Macmillan nurses and the hospice at Nightingale House in Wrexham were marvellous and were there to fight our corner against the belligerence and officialdom that prevented us getting what was entitled and prescribed.

So it is a long while since I seriously had the time to do any radio. My only antenna still working due to wind damage, neighbours severing feeders while changing fence panels and water ingress in to coax that is past its sell by date is 70cm. One out of ten radios stacked in the shack is still monitoring GB3CR and lucky for me it is. It is the guys and gals on the repeater who have kept a little normality in my chaotic life of late, they have made me laugh, given me sympathy and kept my company on the drive to and from work. Above all they have listened when I needed to talk and said the things I needed to hear when I needed to hear them.

One thing stands out in my memory and that is that one day when I was particularly upset. I put a call out on the radio and it was answered by someone I had never spoken to before. No one else was around but this guy must have been listening to previous conversations I had been having and realised I needed company. He asked if I was okay and I said I was pretty low and told him why. He came back with exactly the words I needed to hear and I suddenly felt 100% better. The message was from the heart and built on similar painful experiences. Where else other than on amateur radio could a fellow hear that sort of thing from a compete stranger?

I really hope the next year is much more pain free and I can get back in to radio and Summits on the Air in particular.

My two holiday lets are Llamedos Holiday Cottage on the great Orme in Llandudno (a SOTA summit) and Tir Nani Ogg in Towyn near Rhyl. The website for Llamedos is here  http://www.llamedoscottage.co.uk/  Tir Nani Ogg's website is a 'work in progress' due to the events described above. Please like our cottages on Facebook too - Llamedos , Tir Nani Ogg              

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Disable write protection in usb pen drive

This is one of those most searched for things on the net that there did not seem to be a solution for. One of my USB pen drives locked up during a file transfer and write protect was somehow enabled. There was no physical write protect switch.This was not too bad as I was able to recover all the files from the drive but I was reluctant to throw away the thing away so it was either fix it or put it in the furnace at work and completely destroy it. I scoured the net and was given no hope what so ever. All the tips I found related to enabling write on disabled USB ports rather than drives or suggested reformatting the drive, which did not work as the drive was write protected. I even tried other operating systems and a hacked version of a very early DOS with no success. Eventually I hit upon a dirty solution...

First I removed the drive from its plastic case and plugged it in to a short USB extension lead (so I could turn it over) and plugged it in to my laptop.

Then I booted in to safe mode command prompt only.

I accessed the directory with the E:> Dir command and it gave me a list of the files on the disk.

Using the Del command I got the message Unable to Delete *** Disk is write protected.

I tried E:> Format E: and got Unable to format E: Disk is write protected.

Finally I keep reading the directory and every time the PC accessed the USB drive I ran a small screw driver over the tiny pins of the chip in the USB drive.

Eventually I got the message that the PC could no longer read the drive. I had corrupted the data.

I tried E:> Format E and this time the drive formatted without any problem.

I did however get a message that...There are open objects do you wish to close them?   I hit Y and enter and the format started.

The drive is now back in use and I did not have to throw it away with all my sensitive data on. Okay it is a kill or cure method but it worked for me.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

SOS Radio Week 2013 - GB2FLB

Dave MW6NTG operating GB2FLB run by Flintshire Raynet Group for SOS radio week in the Flint Lifeboat station. Helen GW7AAU is logging. Dave is a 'white stick operator' and this is his first time operating on HF. Pretty good for his first try I think you will agree, but he is a professional radio presenter on Calon FM in Wrexham North Wales.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Ten Years of SOTA

The Summits on the Air amateur radio award programme was launched on 2 March 2002 with the English and Welsh Associations and later in the year was joined by the Scottish Association. The award has in the last ten years gone from strength to strength with associations being set up in the four corners of the world. Today, SOTA has thousands of participants in Associations across the World, all sharing the same award ethos and infrastructure. To celebrate the first ten years a special SOTA Logo has been created (by yours truly) based on the original design. If you are a SOTA activator feel free to use the logo on your QSL cards or flags. Note: Any commercial use will require permission from the SOTA management.


Friday, 27 January 2012

SOS Radio Week - GB2FLB

I will be on the air with the call GB2FLB on air from Flint Lifeboat station 28th and 29th January. Mike M1DAP and I along with members of Flintshire Raynet and Mold and District Amateur Radio Club will be operating from 10am Saturday 28th Jan through to the evening of Sunday 29th January 2011. We will be operating mainly HF SSB and 2m FM. Other bands as the mood takes us and modes depending who else turns up. The purpose is to raise awareness of SOS Radio Week and the work of the RNLI (Lifeboat volunteers). We are not allowed to ask for donations on the air but please give generously at your local station, donate on line or drop in and pay us a visit. The lifeboat station in Flint is opposite Flint Castle (worth a visit its self) on the banks of the River Dee.


Apologies to my regular readers for the lack of contents recently, but it is a long story. The result is that changes at work and things going on at home mean I don't have much time to devote to the blog at present.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Raspberry Pi - A PC for the price of a round of drinks

Go to http://www.raspberrypi.org/ and find out about this little marvel which is a week or two from going into production. This tiny little PC with a 700MHz processor looks just the thing for those shack projects such as a dedicated APRS server, software defined radio or dozens of other ham radio uses. At £16 for the basic model and £22 for the enhanced version maybe a string of these wonders could be used working in tandem to do heavy duty processing tasks faster than the latest machines at a fraction of the cost. The potential is enormous and I wish these guys every success.