Should contest rules allow and act upon 599K QRM reports?

Saturday, 24 March 2012

KOSS SB45 Headset with Elecraft K3

Bought this headset on Amazon for £20 after reading some mail on the Elecraft reflector. I wanted an electret mic so this meant either the SB45 or SB49. The only difference is that the SB45 doesn't have a volume control on the lead (which I think is a pest for radio use anyway).

The good:
The headset is very comfortable. So far 8hrs continuous in CQWW WPX and no issues. Fits over my big lugs comfortably and gives a reasonable amount of sound isolation.
Rx and tx audio are superb with the K3 (flat tx equaliser settings).
The headset can fold up into a very neat ball allowing easier packing for dxpeditions etc.

The bad:
The lead is very thin and I suspect has not much in the way of a screen, but so far no RF issues with a small ferrite placed half way along the lead (just in case).

The microphone stalk is very flimsy and not very adjustable, but it seems to sit in the right position.

Overall it's a great purchase and makes me a bit embarrassed at spending a comparative fortune on a Heil headset.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

ERC (Easy Rotator Control) kit

One of my friends (MM0GPZ) put me onto this handy kit. It converts your old manual rotator controller to a PC driven one (retains manual capability). The photo above shows the new serial and power cables at the bottom right of the shot.

The advantage is that logging programs such as WinTest (wtRotators) can turn your antenna for you. If you enter a callsign and type (Ctrl-F12) for short path or (Alt-F12) for long path, the wtRotators program will automatically turn the antenna to the correct bearing for that station. The ERC uses the HyGain DRU-1 protocol so WinTest must be set up to expect this protocol and not Yaesu or whatever controller you are using. Once this is setup correctly, you get a nice on-screen digital bearing with manual adjustment icons all at the tip of your mouse.
I found a link on the internet describing GU0SUP's install in the same rotator controller case so I copied his installation location.

The kit arrived in 5 days from Germany. It had 1x 22pF capacitor missing which I replaced from my spares box, but apart from that all went together in around 3 hours (+2 hours installation into controller) and worked first time.
I squeezed the ERC into my G-600RC rotator control box and connected it up to the serial com port on my PC. I used a wallwart PSU to power the ERC.

Rene DF9GR very gratiously allowed me the DXCC 10 Euro discount for being the first GM claimant. The final bill was 66 Euro.

Calibration went without a hitch. I tried transmitting 400w through a 3 ele yagi on the 10m band (approximately 15m away) pointed directly at the controller and observed no effects. I'm very pleased with the results so far.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Maxon CM70 cb radio, 10m FM/AM (new for £60)

Maxon CM70 on 29.100MHz (shown here in frequency display mode rather than channel display mode). In researching it, I hadn't found a picture of it displaying frequency so wasn't sure until it arrived.

Step is 10KHz with readout ending in a 0KHz (PO) or 5KHz (RU). I'm using it in PO mode in the picture. It is bang on frequency.

This CB radio has an incredible coverage of 25MHz - 30.1MHz. As shown in the picture, the output is approximately 3w on 29.100 (the start of the new simplex FM allocation in the UK).

There are no conventional rotary controls on the front panel which is good for reliability and robustness for mobile life. Most of the important features can be controlled from the microphone.

Audio souds strong and clear on both FM and AM. Time will tell how the rx is but reports are that is plenty sensitive on CB frequencies.

Electronics are mostly surface mount and build quality looks good apart from a large blob of solder which was rattling about inside the case on arrival.

Bought for £60 (72 Euro) from Free post and packaging from Greece. It took 5 days to arrive, truely a modern miracle. My thanks goes to
Yiannis Kontarinis for providing this radio at £40 less than anyone in the UK.