Ham Radio

Thursday, October 16, 2014
Working Into ZL4AA From My DX Machine
A nice start to the working day as I drove my DX Machine I worked special event station ZL1AA.
ZL1AA was celebrating 90 years since they first worked into the UK. Follow the link to read the full story.  ZL1AA came in well at around 7.15 utc up on the 20m band with a 5/9+ signal to my FT-857, I received a 5/9 report back!
posted by Simon Davison @ 9:48 am   0 comments
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Mobile Again!

Its been almost 3 months since I got injured on my Motorcycle and I am almost back to my usual self. My torn quadriceps is on the mend and is becoming less painful day by day. I am enjoying being back at work and I am also pleased to be able to continue my latest DX-Machine project which is coming on strong!
I have been active on HF from my new van on 20, 15 and 10 meters where I have had many successful QSO's into VK, USA and throughout Europe. The YAESU FT-857 and my old Maldol mono bander's are still performing well for me, I have yet to experiment with the other bands which I am well equipped for with antenna's such as the large Hustler mobile antenna with loading coils for 80, 40, 20, 17 and 15 meters as well as the rest of my trusty Maldol's.

I have produced a part 2 video of my "DX-Machine" which shows the latest installations and improvements to the van such as its passenger privacy tinted windows, stainless steel bling, lots of carpet, some joinery work and some very comfortable home made beds/seats. See the latest mods and also some big signals from Japan up on the 15 meter band in the video below.



Other news: I recently paid a visit to my old radio club Keighley Amateur Radio Society KARS) . I had decided that now that my family is established and doing just great, it would be nice to be able to renew my membership and become a member of the club again. I also took the plunge and finally booked the advanced amateur radio exam to sit in January. It was great to catch up with some old friends at the radio club and I was made very welcome by the new Club Chairman and Committee, I am looking forward to my next trip up there.
Well that's about all for now, I hope to catch some of you on the bands from my "DX Machine" or perhaps my comfy armchair in my shack soon. Until my next post 73 and Thanks!
posted by Simon Davison @ 10:59 pm   3 comments
Saturday, September 06, 2014
SSTV From RS0ISS


I have been back to the docs regarding my injured leg that I obtained during my recent motorcycle accident.The Doc said I must take it easy as I have damaged the quadriceps in my knee which explains the pain and swelling I am getting! Anyway rest is what I have been doing and of course playing radio is a good way to keep happy as I heal!
Whilst being active I have worked some great stations from Europe to Australia on 40m, 20, 17 and 10 meters. The bands are up and down but can be pretty good if the timing is right. Earlier today I was checking ISS on 145.800 MHz when I heard a burst of SSTV coming in well. I wasn't set up to decode the signal at the time but I did manage to record the transmission from ISS on my mobile phone, using its voice recorder. Later I plugged it into my pc and decoded it directly from my phone using MMSSTV. As you can see pictured above, it worked out quite well. I hope to catch some more Images from ISS tomorrow if RS0ISS is active! 73
posted by Simon Davison @ 10:38 pm   0 comments
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
This Years Summer Break Started With A Bang!

My summer leave from work did not start so well as I was knocked off my motorcycle on the way home from work back in July. I survived with a few aches, knocks, bumps and bruises but never the less was fortunate not to get too seriously injured. The bike however was a right off! A real shame as I have looked after my Suzuki Bandit for 12 years and it was an absolute minter.


As you can imagine I have been feeling stiff, sore and fed up with myself and my usual happy holidays was not quite as happy as it should. With this in mind my better half told me to go out and buy something cool to get my mind off of things, so I took her advice and came back with a new vehicle. I chose something that would benefit the family as well as myself and with this in mind I got a Ford Transit Van. The reason why I chose the Transit was because its a good size of vehicle to be able to convert into a day van/tourer and the Transit van has a good reputation for reliability as well as economy with a 2.0 litre turbo charged diesel engine.

TRANSIT Van Conversion work commences
 The conversion so far has gone well with a flying start thanks to my old CB pal Kevin aka "Tom Thumb" whom I first met on the CB back in 1981. Kevin has always been a good friend and he has been helping me out since my motorcycle spill. He is a gas engineer by trade and a dab hand at too many things to list, he also has a fully converted Transit which is very nice indeed. With his help we made an immediate start on my new van which involved ripping out the original board and racking, replacing it with acoustic sound proof cork, fresh timber and some warm carpet.


Sound proofed as well as insulated before the sheets go down.


A nice base to start things off with!


Insulation and sound proofing into the sides which will keep things warm and snug in the back.


Elsie is well impressed with her new "camper" so much she was so keen to help, under strict supervision with the scissors of course.


Kevin putting in a good days work as he finishes laying the carpet, very nice indeed Thanks buddy!


My turn now, I grabbed a bargain from ebay which was the seats pictured below for my beautiful girls Elsie and Martha, which I fitted with the assistance of my welding equipment and workshop skills.


Finally, well until the next stage. I fitted my YAESU FT-857 Transceiver using the separation kit and home-brew bracket out of my Toyota which is now My YL Louise's new wheels of steel.


 A close up of the dash mounted mobile YAESU radio in my new van.


 Off we go on our travels in our new DX Machine keeping reasonably local for now and yes I am feeling a lot happier and my injuries - stiff neck, back and a bashed knee are getting better day by day thanks to the physiotherapy sessions arranged by my motorcycle insurance broker,who  is doing a good job for me so far.


 The view isn't too bad either!


 Happy days are ahead for sure for all of us as we all enjoy our new vehicle and the rest of the summer holiday.


So far the performance from the Ham radio DX Machine has been good as I have made some good radio qso's from the newly installed equipment. I made a video below showing the Ham equipment working and it also shows the antenna set-up that I am using with my FT-857.



The next stage of work on the van will be getting the side panels out and some nice privacy tinted glass in which will enable a better view in the back. I am also on with designing a pair of rear benches which will incorporate storage area and also be able to change into a bed. Stay tuned for more.... & best 73 as usual!
posted by Simon Davison @ 11:42 pm   1 comments
Monday, July 21, 2014
VO-52 - Favourite Satellite Is Silent Key

My Google+ account keeps me up to date with all of the things and people that are important to me and it was there where I first received the sad news that my favourite earth orbiting amateur radio satellite VO-52 had become silent key. I had a look on the AMSAT-UK site to see in more detail what had happened to the long serving satellite. It appears to have been down to a problem with the battery unit as I read that during VO-52's 49,675th orbit, the on-board lithium ion batteries finally gave in and are not likely to be recovered.


I first got interested in working the VO-52 satellite when I made my first home brew yagi which I called the" broomstick yagi". Since then I have had hours and hours of fun working hundreds of radio amateurs and making antennas whilst trying my best to improve my satellite station. For many years I have caught lots of daily passes from the superb LEO satellite -VO-52 allowing me the opportunities to practice making qso's and perfecting my amateur satellite operating skills and techniques. It was working through VO-52 that first inspired me to modify my IOIo antenna and make it a IO-10 element as seen in the pictures above. I have had some of the best ham radio fun working through this quality bird and will really miss it as well as some of the guys that I worked solely through this satellite. I am glad that I made plenty of videos of VO-52 for anyone wanting a chance to re-live the magic of the legendary VO-52. Just follow the links below.

VO 52 Amateur Satellite Communication 

CQ VO-52 Satellite 

How To Make A VO-52 SAT QSO 

VO-52 Satellite QSO With ON7EQ & 2E0HTS 

Well I guess that VO-52 will take some beating, lets hope that there will be more like VO-52 for us all to enjoy in the up and coming amateur satellite future. All that is left to say is a big thank you to everyone involved in the VO-52 satellite project. It was a great asset to amateur radio World wide and will be always remembered as the satellite with a solid signal whenever it passed by my horizon. Farewell old buddy, your transponders have served you well!
posted by Simon Davison @ 11:13 pm   0 comments
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Wide Open on 20m Mobile.
Its been a couple of months since I drove to work in the car, I have been enjoying the good WX and making the most of being a motorcyclist riding my suzuki bandit to and from work. However this morning I was feeling a bit tired so taking the car seemed a good idea despite the lovely sunshine.

I fired up my FT-857 and was impressed with how well stations were coming in on the 20m band. I heard some big signals coming out of the USA and Europe was also loud. As I dropped down from the moor tops I came across a very strong signal belonging to XE1RK - Rafael from Mexico. I heard Rafael tell another station he was up late and had not felt like sleeping, it was 2.00 am local time in Mexico which was 8.00 am local here in Yorkshire. XE1RK - Rafael was working stations from all over the globe as I continued towards my work place which is in Keighley West Yorkshire, I continued to call back to his QRZ call. Just as I hit the main carriageway on my last leg of the journey Rafael heard my mobile call and came straight back to me, my report was an impressive 5/7 into Mexico! XE1RK congratulated me on a superb signal from my mobile as we made the QSO with my FT-857 and Maldol HFC 20 antenna.

XE1RK - Rafael had a beautiful 5/9 solid signal and after looking him up I can see why. Here is his shack seen below.



XE1RK has some very nice antennas as well.

Well thats it for now, I will more than likely be back on my motorcycle tomorrow but with such superb conditions on the bands I am looking forward to the drive back home later today. Hopefully I will get an hour later on in the twilight hours back home in the shack. 73
posted by Simon Davison @ 9:59 am   2 comments
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Hamtastic Spring Bank Break

One of the many advantages of being a college lecturer is getting plenty of time off to recharge the brain cells. For me, the best way to do this is spending quality time with my beautiful family. In between the fun (usually when they are asleep) I manage some hobby time to check out my Ham radio station. So far during the Spring bank break I have worked a few guys via Satellite whilst operating through AO-73 using my FT-847 Satellite setup. The HF bands have still been reasonably open into the late evening and using my FT-1000 mkv I  have had another nice qso with Ian -VK3MO, who gave me a 5/7 report on 20m. Over the next few days I plan to visit our holiday shack up on the Yorkshire Moors where I shall be active /Portable. I shall operate my old FT-767 on the HF bands from 40 - 10M, there will also be some 2E0HTS Satellite activity with the cobwebs dusted off of my old IO-10 and Arrow Sat antenna. Operating times will be very flexible h.i and may vary as we enjoy the view, entertain our kids and take in the fresh air. 73 Happy Ham ing, Have Fun!
posted by Simon Davison @ 12:17 am   0 comments
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