Radio Interests

My main radio interests include trying new simple, portable antennas, chatting with interesting people and operating portable stations from interesting places or for interesting events.  I have no interest in contests or "rubber stamp 5&9 DX-ing", which I feel are not consistent with the fundamental aims of Amateur Radio.

I try to keep my equipment simple, affordable and of satisfactory quality for the work in hand. This actually means that I own more equipment than I need, but some of it is fun and interesting to use.

Main Radios

My main station transceiver is a Kenwood TS-590SG (plus MD-90) with a Cross Country Wireless SDR4+ as a panadapter & second RX.  A Kenwood TS-570D provides backup.

For DXing I use an Icom IC-7300 with Icom RS-BA1 control software and SM-30 mic. or Heil ProSet IC.

For 'major' portable operations I use a 'fully-loaded' Yaesu FT-897D with a LDG-897Plus ATU and a Yaesu FC-40 or SG-231 Smart Coupler and a MD-100 microphone. A Yaesu FT-857D is used for mobile operations.

For compact portable operations I use an Icom IC-703 with a G-Whip lightweight OCFD or a Rybakoff antenna.

Vintage equipment

My old Icom IC-735 is now classed as a Vintage radio and is only used occasionally for Vintage Radio Weekends.

Yaesu FT-101ZD. In 2016 I bought a nice Yaesu FT-101ZD which is fun to use for Vintage Radio Weekends. It has recently had new valves (tubes) and has been recalibrated. Used with a Yaesu MD-1 and a Decca KW-107 Supermatch ATU/AMU the FT-101ZD is a joy to use.

Its performance is very good, and received reports always praise the audio it produces. Attaching a modern electret microphone gives excellent results: a good cheap microphone is the Korean JCD-201M

Kenwood TS-830S. This radio is similar to the FT-101ZD, although it does have better audio output controls, a much better notch filter and Variable Band Width. It is used with a MC-60 microphone or the original MH-36S fist mic.

The TS-830S is even more fun to use than the FT-101ZD. It probably would benefit from new valves (tubes) soon. The TS-830S is hooked up to a Tokyo Hy-Power HC-400L

I also have several Eddystone Communications Receivers which are used occasionally.

Accessories

Audio output processing

The Kenwood TS-590SG audio output is into a BHI NES10 MkIII DSP Speaker and then an analogue Datong FL3 Multimode Audio Filter. The DSP Speaker does a fair job of cleaning up noise (QRN) but does not help with interference (QRM), not least because is not easy to change its settings on the fly. The Datong FL3 Multimode Audio Filter is a manual variable notch and passband filter with an autonotch for heterodynes. It has several easy to make manual adjustments and is very useful in limiting the effects of nearby QRM.

The Cross Country SDR4+ is used as a second receiver connected to the TS-590SG with a dedicated HP radio laptop and Creative speakers which as very good.

Antennas

My main antenna is a Modified Off Centre Fed Dipole with a third wire element 3.3m long running in parallel with the longer section: this permits use on 17m which was not possible with my original setup.

My second antenna is a low 40m doublet fed with 300 Ohm twin line: it is quite noisy, but has a small though noticeable NVIS characteristic.

For weekend or week long portable operations I mainly use large wire antennas (OCFD, dipoles, etc) with glass-fibre fishing poles.

For brief events I use the FT-897D with a a 23m wire with one or two poles and a SGC SG-231 Smart Tuner with a long counterpoise or the Yaesu FC-20.

For ad-hoc portable operations - say for an hour or so - I use a single pole vertical antennas of various types fed via a G Whip 9:1 or 4:1 un-un.






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