Radio Station Rebuild

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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by Stanley » 20 Apr 2013, 05:02

Ian has the goods. A mixed bag of classic equipment. Ian, how do you fancy going through the Uher and making sure it's perfect before the sale. I think it only needs new drive belts and suspect you'll like the inside of it, built like a battleship! This would be an extra of course, I'll pay for the check-over. Makes it easier selling it as 100% OK. Don't forget, no rush!
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by PanBiker » 20 Apr 2013, 09:09

I thought about that Stanley, the first thing that comes up when you do an Ebay search are the drive belt kits for the deck. I take it you don't already hold spares in your treasure chest?

A dalliance back onto topic to say I will be going to an Amateur Radio Rally at Ripon tomorrow. Weather says it's going to chuck it down so no work in the garden and time will be better spent rummaging under the tables of stuff. I have recently purchased a small dual band hand held transceiver for use on the fells. I am going to "activate" a few summits in the Summits on the Air program and I need a few bits and bobs to help me complete my setup that will be rucksack friendly for the jaunts.

I will put the radio up and explain a bit about what it does in due course and expand a bit on the SOTA program. The latter may warrant a new thread for Sport Radio.
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by Stanley » 21 Apr 2013, 05:06

No Ian I haven't. If you checked it out it can be advertised as perfect and we will both benefit apart from me paying you to do it. I'd like to think it left you and was useful to someone. Too good a piece of kit to be left lying idle.
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by PanBiker » 21 Apr 2013, 08:15

I'll order up a belt kit in due course and give it a pit stop Stanley and use the unboxed tape for testing. I will leave that tape with the machine when selling and maybe include one of the mic's. It will then be a fully going concern for anyone buying. A Sony 2001D has just sold for just shy of £150.00. Selling can be a bit tactical so I am going to watch the market before pitching. Bits' and bobs will go up first. I have put all the stuff in a spreadsheet so that I can keep track.

Setting off for the rally shortly.
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by PostmanPete » 21 Apr 2013, 09:46

PanBiker wrote:Selling can be a bit tactical so I am going to watch the market before pitching.

I always get my stuff to end on a Sunday evening after teatime as I seem to get lots of last minute bids due to a load of people being on there at that particular time.
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by PanBiker » 21 Apr 2013, 13:07

Yes, and if you start a 10 day listing on a Thursday evening you get two full weekends which can have advantages with the watchers.

Back from the rally at Ripon, only a small affair but managed to pick up one or two bits to further my rucksack friendly portable radio station for up on the fells.
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by PanBiker » 21 Apr 2013, 20:35

Here is the small dual band 2M and 70cms, 144MHz / 430MHz transceiver that I recently purchased from Ebay. It's a Baofeng UV5R+ (pronounced Bow Fung) and is the latest model from this Chinese supplier.

Image

It's a small handheld transceiver (the body of the transceiver is 4" high) that I intend to use when out on the fells. The basic transceiver package with Lion battery and charger normally sells for around £40.00 and represents what the yanks would call a $50 handy. Compared to the big Japanese names that dominate the Amateur transceiver market it is about a third to a quarter of the cost of a similar transceiver from any of their stables. The popularity of these is that they are quite rugged and for the money are not as "precious" as a comparable unit from the Japanese makers. Ideal cheap unit that can be shoved in a rucksack and will do the job just as well.

I got quite a good deal on this as I came across someone with two identical units for sale along with a bundle of extra items with each of the lots. The next picture shows what I got as a bundle purchase on Ebay.

Image

So above and beyond the basic package I got a spare Lithium 1800mA battery, a basic earphone/microphone (in the plastic bag), a separate speaker/mic, an additional high gain dual band antenna and a antenna socket adaptor to gender change the existing socket to a SO239 connector. I have just realised that I left the charging cradle out of the picture which came as part of the deal as well. The charging cradle can hold the radio complete or will charge the battery detached from the radio. The lead on the right is a programming cable for programming by computer which was bought as a separate item. The added accessories are worth about £35.00 so the whole kit should have been around £75.00. I bought the whole lot for £42.00, a good deal by any standards.

The transceiver is dual band and dual mode. In VFO mode you can just enter the frequency you want to use using the keypad or you can move up and down in user selectable steps using the up/down arrow keys. Switching to channel mode allows you to use pre-programmed channels which you can enter and store either via the keypad or you can program them via the computer interface using the USB cable. It can store 128 programmed channels in memory and operate in any of the straight and split frequency modes used in amateur radio (simplex, duplex). The various setting are all menu driven and all have voice prompts (female) on selection, and confirmation of settings. You can switch between the two bands using the A/B key. Other features include a built in high output LED which you can use as a straight light or with another press of the button turn into a flashing beacon. Another of the side buttons will activate an alarm function. Both are safety features and could be quite useful for attracting attention if lost or injured on the fells.

The earpiece with chest microphone can be used with the VOX (voice operated switching) feature of the transceiver for hand free operating. The Speaker / Microphone is similar to what the emergency service and beat bobby radio users have. It's a PTT (Push to Talk) Microphone and Speaker combined, often clipped to the lapel with radio on belt or similar giving single handed operation when using a fixed frequency or channel. The speaker/mic also has a socket on to interface a headset or earphone into the system.

The transceiver covers 136MHz - 174MHz which includes the 2M (144MHz - 146MHz) VHF amateur band and 400MHz - 520MHz encompassing the 70cm (430MHz - 440MHz) UHF amateur band. It also covers the broadcast FM bands from 65MHz - 108MHz in receive only. It has two output power levels on transmit of 4W High and 1W Low and operates exclusively in FM (F3E) on transmit and receive.
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by Stanley » 22 Apr 2013, 05:15

I'm impressed by the little radio! Your comments about Ebay selling confirm me in my decision to get you to sell the kit for me. I'm glad you're going to breathe on the Uher and including the mikes sounds like a good idea. I always used the little Sony ones with it. They give lovely quality despite the small size.
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by Tizer » 24 Apr 2013, 09:22

Ian, did you listen to the Radio 4 `Solar Max' programme the other day about solar `superstorms'? It's available on Listen Again here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01s09z3
and it seems to say it will broadcast again tomorrow at 21.00.

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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by PanBiker » 24 Apr 2013, 09:35

No I didn't Tiz, I must be a Philistine as my listening habits never include R4! Thanks for the info though, I will put the headphones on when I'm free of my Granddad duties today.
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by Stanley » 25 Apr 2013, 03:42

I heard it. Interesting stuff and I note that we could be in trouble at any time. Another thing to file and forget!
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by PanBiker » 29 Sep 2014, 18:25

I have not posted in here for quite a while so I thought I would bring the thread up to date with my latest station developments. I have changed my main station transceiver as I came across an offer on Ebay that was too good to miss. I managed to secure the transceiver shown below.

Image

This is a Yaesu FT-897D and is quite an upgrade from the Kenwood I originally purchased. This is an example of the proverbial "shack in a box". Slightly smaller than the Kenwood the transceiver covers all amateur bands from 1.6Mhz to 430MHz in all modes. It can be used as a base station, mounted for mobile operation or even taken portable as it can be fitted with internal rechargeable battery packs. The model has only just been discontinued and existing stock can still be bought new from the dealers.

This particular transceiver came with two rechargeable battery packs already installed along with chargers for both all packed in a custom flight case for if you need to move it around or take it out portable. This configuration can be bought as a package excluding the flight case for £1199.00. I secured this via Ebay for £470.00 which is a bargain by any measure. I bought it from a guy down in North London he bought it new 4 years ago. To save carriage costs we arranged to meet at the Woolly Edge services on the M1. He was a field service engineer for a large national company and had a job up in Leeds to attend so meeting at the services was convenient for both of us. I got an extension speaker as part of the deal as well so that was an extra £50.00 worth thrown in for good luck. I have subsequently sold the Kenwood TS140 which managed to realise £220.00.

I have also bought a Vibroplex Iambic Morse Key via Ebay.


Image

A nice big chunk of brass mounted on a wooden base. It weighs about 2.5Kg so will not move about much on the bench.

Other news, I attended the National Hamfest held at the Newark show grounds last Friday. This is the biggest Amateur Radio rally held each year. Lots of dealers in the main hall and a quite a large amateur radio car boot sale for a good rummage. I managed at last to find the 50K potentiometer that I was short of for my ground tuner project. I now have all the parts I need to crack on with this over the dark winter nights approaching. A few other bits as well including a 3 band collinear antenna for the 6M (50MHz) / 2M (144MHz) and 70cm (430MHz) Bands. A duplexer to separate the 50MHz signal component of the antenna from the 144MHz and 430MHz components. To complete the setup a two way coaxial switch to enable me to select between my wire antenna and the 50MHz collinear, coaxial cable and connectors. Show prices and offers from the main dealers saved me about £50 off the normal list prices of the bundle of goodies I bought.
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by Stanley » 30 Sep 2014, 04:53

I don't understand it but I know passion plus expertise when I see it. Can't help imagining that hamfest at Newark, all those people speaking what to me is the equivalent of Klingon.....
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by PanBiker » 10 Oct 2014, 11:32

A bonus from attending the National Hamfest the other week. We had a missed parcel delivery notification card from the Post Office. Been down to collect this morning and it would appear that I won a prize in the free raffle draw. Never heard my name or callsign called out when the draw was made on the Friday, not sure if the tickets didn't go into Saturdays draw as well. Anyway, my parcel was a commercially produced Off Centre Fed Dipole (OCFD) antenna for the higher HF bands. It's 33 feet in length overall wire antenna that covers 20, 15, 12, 11, and 10 meter bands without an ATU and 17m and 6m with an ATU. It sells for just short of £50.00

I already have coverage for these bands so not sure what to do with it yet. As a dipole design I don't have the room or fixing points to deploy it at home. I may keep it for if I want to take my HF station out portable or sell it on. Either way it's a nice bonus, I don't normally win in raffles so well chuffed with this.
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by Stanley » 11 Oct 2014, 04:13

My mother won three bags of coal donated by Eric Preston at the Earby Chamber of Trade annual shindig in 1955. Problem was that I had just arrived home on leave from Berlin and we had to travel in uniform. So I ended up at the do in my best BD and they asked me to draw the tickets. Mother decided that she couldn't accept the prize and so I drew another ticket. Pity really as, like you Ian, she said it was the only time in her life she had won anything!
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by PanBiker » 11 Oct 2014, 10:54

This could go in What Attracted Your Attention but I'll put it here as it's radio related. I ordered two low profile wall brackets and associated fixings for the collinear antenna yesterday afternoon and they were delivered today at 11.30, pretty good service.

I'm on a retrieval, inspection and refurb job this afternoon for the 2" aluminium pole that I have stored down the side of my kitchen extension. It's been there for 25 years but is well worth recovering as its a good quality heavy gauge job that I bought at cost when I was in the TV trade and first licensed. Can't remember whether it's a ten or twelve foot pole but I first used it on our house in York Street. It was on a double lashing kit on our chimney stack and supported a rotator and 12 element 2Mtr (144MHz) beam. The beam antenna was about 14 foot long so it's a good quality pole at 14 or 16 gauge. Worth pulling out and seeing if it's still fit for purpose. A replacement would cost in the region of £45.00 on today's prices. Might not need the full length as its just for a short vertical and is not going on the stack. If it's OK I'll cut it to the length I need.
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by PanBiker » 19 Oct 2014, 18:12

Pole was in good nick after retrieval from its storage spot. I gave it a quick going over with wire wool just to clean it up a bit. I took advantage of the fine weather to get it deployed last week. Not bothered cutting it down as it just clears the eaves from its mounting point. The collinear went up with no bother, hardest bit of the job was drilling an ingress for the coax into my loft. The wall is rendered so I could not select a convenient joint in the stonework. I had to go blind and consequently went directly through the stone, finally hit the cavity then my drill packed up, grrrrr! Pulled that in bits and found that the small spade connector to one one of the holders for the brushes had arced and come adrift. I chopped off the old damaged spade and soldered the lead directly to the binding post. My 100W Weller instant heat gun came in very handy for that. Back to the hole and than found the internal wall liner is not brick as expected but another full course of stone. Distance through from the outside wall into the cock loft just over 19" quite a thick wall for a terrace, mind you they do say an Englishman's home is his castle. :surprised:

I mounted a chunk of 1" thick weed on the back wall at the back of my station bench. No Nails equivalent made short shrift of that job. The duplexer for splitting the HF and VHF components of the tri-band antenna is mounted on here along with the two way coaxial switch for switching between the 50Mhz component of the collinear and my wire antenna for the lower HF bands. Its all working well although for some reason my auto antenna matching unit forgot all it's saved settings, not worked out why that should be the case yet?

I have added yet another bit of kit to my station for digital modes operation. I'll put a photo up of my latest changes and cover a bit about digital modes in another post.
Ian

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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by Stanley » 20 Oct 2014, 04:01

Was the weed compressed into a sheet?
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by PanBiker » 20 Oct 2014, 07:33

Can't blame that on a typo the e and the o are miles apart! :laugh5:
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by Stanley » 20 Oct 2014, 07:35

Couldn't resist it Ian! I get plenty of stick but I can always blame my sight.....
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by PanBiker » 20 Oct 2014, 07:47

Weather wise it looks like I made the right call deploying last week.
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by Stanley » 22 Oct 2014, 05:53

Am I right in thinking that winter is good for Short Wave transmission? I remember going with my Dad one Sunday morning in about 1950 to see a friend of his who was a garage owner in Denton. He made a connection with a ham in Australia for my dad. I think it was using Morse Code. I'm assuming that it would be Short Wave in those days. I can remember surfing the dial on our big Ekco eight valve superhet at home and marvelling at all the signals you could pick up on short wave even during the war.
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by PanBiker » 22 Oct 2014, 08:19

Signal propagation is affected by many different factors, seasons included. Winter months favour the lower frequency bands in the Northern hemisphere as the planet cools down. The seasons warming and cooling actions act on the lower layers of the atmosphere to create different ducting and reflection paths. There is the daily phenomenon of "Grey Line" propagation which follows the line of the planets transition from day into night. The 11 year solar cycle also plays it's part with the varying effect this has on earths magnet field along with other transient phenomena such as sunspot activity, solar flares and CME's.

The Short Wave bands as you refer to them is an all encompassing term really for frequencies generally higher than the domestic broadcast bands. Older receivers simple referred to the tunable spectrum as Long Wave, Medium Wave and Short Wave. The top of the Medium Wave band is where the Short Wave or (HF bands) start. Referencing the various frequency spreads in general terms of wavebands is a lot more convenient for general use.

Long and Medium broadcast band frequencies are all below 1.8MHz

1.8MHz - 30MHz are referred to as the HF Bands (160M, 80M, 40M, 20M, 17M, 15M, 12M and 10M and a few more in between)
30MHz to 300MHz the VHF Bands (6M, 4M and 2M)
300Mhz to 3000Mhz the UHF Bands (70cm, 23cm and above)

Amateur allocations keep going even higher into and past the microwave areas of the spectrum (SHF, EHF and THF)

I posted this link over in the propagation thread which is a good introduction and worth another look.

Radio Propagation
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by Stanley » 23 Oct 2014, 04:45

Thanks Ian.....
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Re: Radio Station Rebuild

Post by PanBiker » 10 Nov 2014, 15:49

A couple more acquisitions for the station. First is a SignalLink USB soundcard, this is a customised interface for use in digital mode communications. It has opto-isolated input and output connections for interfacing the audio between transceiver and computer. At the transceiver end it connects into the rear accessory socket which allows control of transmit and receive (PTT line) via digital mode software on the computer.

Image

Here is a list of common operating modes employed by radio amateurs with a brief description of their usage.

EHam.net - Operating Modes

and here is a very good page from G4UCJ's website which expands a little more and explains the different digital modes in use. If you click on the headers for each of the modes you can hear what they sound like when received.

G4UCJ's website page on Digital Modes

The second item is a new power supply for the station. I already have a PSU for the station which does the job but the design does have drawbacks. My current PSU is a switched mode design, the same type of PSU circuitry as used in computers. From a radio point of view they can produce the low voltage, large current requirements that are needed for transmission but as they are based on high frequency oscillator circuitry this produces RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) which can be heard when receiving.

To address this I have purchased a linear power supply based on more conventional circuity of rectifier, high current transformer and pass transistor network to stabilise the high current output, large value capacitors smooth the output and you end up with a lot cleaner DC supply to power the station. No RFI with this type of PSU. It is a commercially produced design which is sold under a number of different brand names. The original design is well known and has had a number of enhancing modifications developed for it. These mods basically beef up the resilience of the current handling capabilities and over voltage protection circuits and address overall PSU cooling issues.

So I have this but will not be putting it into service until I have upgrade it with the various mods.

Here is a picture of the duplexer and switching arrangement for the tri-band collinear antenna deployed last month. The duplexer (which separates the HF and VHF components of the antenna) is at the bottom with the two way switch above, this allows me to select between the HF component (50MHz - 6M) on the collinear and my multi-band wire antenna used for all the other HF bands.

Image

You can also see the SignaLink interface sitting on top of my auto antenna matching unit.
Ian

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