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Archive for February, 2016

Four states and a white out

February 21, 2016 Leave a comment

I was happily taking part in the ARRL CW DX Contest (well giving some points away) this morning on 40m with 50W out into the HW-40HP and managed to work 4 States in less than half an hour.  I managed to work into PA, CT, CA and MD.  Not bad for my limited set up (no beam, no 1KW+ linear, etc.).  I then went up onto 15m and worked LZ/KY6AA in Bulgaria, not a great distance but nice to hear/work someone on 15m CW, especially now the solar peak (for what it was) is now well past.

So then I was just sat in front of my station when the radio suffered what can only be described as a white screen of death.  Yes, the nice LCD panel display that shows frequency, power, signal meter, settings, et al had just gone white.  No reason, I hadn’t been using excessive power, the antenna was matched (SWR 1:1.2), only six quick CW contacts.  So what could be wrong?  Not wanting to ruin my warranty (the radio is less than a year old (bought during August 2015) I shall contact the supplier tomorrow and see what I should do.  After all, over £1.2K is a lot of money to spend on something if it becomes unusable after such a short period of time.  Perhaps it is a common issue – can’t see it being a teething problem as the FT-DX1200 has been in production for some years now.

WSOD The White Screen Of Death

The image above shows the radio with the screen fault.  Has anybody else come across similar or is it just something I have?  This has happened before but seemed to correct itself that time.

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Making (radio) Waves 14/02/16

February 14, 2016 Leave a comment

After a few days (weeks?) away from the radio due to strong winds and storms (kept the mast down as otherwise it could prove expensive) I decided to turn on the radio again and warm the ether wth some radio waves. This was on the 11th February and, interestingly, I managed to work LZ389SGB – for another 10 points towards the Bulgarian All Saints Diploma – almost straight away with 20W of CW on 14.014MHz. 

Two days later, on the 13th February 2016, I saw a Twitter alert  for some 12m DX – A93JA was workable from the UK on 24.891MHz, CW.  So Iturned on the radio, tuned in to the spot frequency and listened for a while.  I could hear him calling and listening 2 UP.  So I set the split on my FT-DX1200 and cranked the power up to a massive 50W and sent my call with the rest of the zoo that was on there at the time.  After a few attempts he came back to my call to give me another DXCC station worked andthe pleasure of a 12m contact.  This was into an antenna at just 6m agl.

This morning just a few quick ones – EG1TOR on 30m CW followed by SP2HQP and OE5WIN on 20m PSK31. 

several gaps in my operating times as I have been rather busy designing PCB layouts using ExpressPCB.  I am designing a QRP TRX in stages.  Primarily as an educational kit that can be used to introduce people to oscillators and then to buffer amplifiers and final amps during the Intermediate course.  The first batch of boards (variable crystal oscillator) are being printed and should be with me early next week.  More details when they are available here.  I planned them on veroboard and then transferred the plot onto PCB.

New neighbours moved in yesterday but as yet they have said nothing about antennas so hoping it will stay that way.  Obviously though, they would have seen the masts and antennas before they moved in so it cannot be sauid that they were unaware of them.  Snow is forecast for tonight so tomorrow may be a radio day, work allowing of course.

IMG_20150330_131424 (2)

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