Monday, September 29, 2014

I am beginning to be my old self again.

I have been out of touch for the past few months, since April this year I found out that I have Cancer, I undergone major surgery and am beginning the recovery stage, chemotherapy is next on the list.
This hit me fast and knocked me for six, I have been getting tested for Cancer for the past few years but this one never showed up on any tests.

For this reason I have been in no mood to think or do anything with radio.
But hopefully soon I will be back to my old self and posting here again.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

UHF Handheld Auction

Hi All.
I am currently putting up a small UHF handheld for auction, whatever money I get for it will be donated to the Dundalk Radio Club EI7DAR.

The radio is 16 channels and I have the programming lead and software for it as well as a 3m long charging lead (as well as standard shorter one) and longer antenna, these are not standard with the radio but will be included in the auction (see photos).
The radio comes as you see it, in box as new, charger, manual etc....
If you do not feel confident programming it then I can do that for you. Currently it is programmed TX on 70cms simplex and 70cms repeaters as well as Louth Fire and Dublin Fire RX only.
If you are interested in "bidding" please place bid by emailing the Dundalk Radio Club, their email address is:                        (only bids to this email address will be accepted).

That way others who are bidding will see and may want to increase their bid accordingly.
I will run this until Sunday 20th, please remember all the money goes to the radio club so sensible bids only please...

BAOFENG BFU3 UHF 400-470Mhz small radio
Li-ion Battery: 1200mAh
Frequency Range: 400-470MHz
Width/Narrow Band: 12.5/25KHz
Channel Spacing:5/6.25/12.5/25KHz
RF Power Output: 2 Watts
Channel Capacity: 16
Time-out Timer : OFF/30/60/90/120/150/180s
VOX:(OFF/1-5 Level)
39 CTCSS and 83 CDCSS
Busy Channel Lockout
Squelch Set (1-9 Level)
Battery Saver
Low Battery Alert
Tail Tone Elimination
Voice Prompt
PC Programming

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Simoco SRP8020 on 4m.

I got a pair of Simoco SRP8020 handhelds recently, just programmed them up on 4m 70.000 to 70.500 in 12.5khz steps, 4 watts. I will do a review as soon as I get a chance to test them later on.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

70 Mhz 5/8 wave Ring Base antenna.

Recently my Sirio CX-4-68 70 Mhz antenna got damaged and needed to be taken down and fixed or replaced. I have used the Sirio for a few years now with great results, so I decided while I was getting around to fixing it I would try out a different antenna. I picked the Sirio Ring Base antenna from Sandpiper, this is a 5/8 wave antenna with a ring on the bottom.
Being a 5/8 wave it should have similar gain: Gain on Sirio CX-4-60 is rated at 4.15 dBi and on the Sirio Ring Base is 5.1 dBi so there is very little between them.
Now for the new antenna.....
As I said it it is a 5/8 wave antenna with the radiating element (above the ring) is 2.54cm , the CX-4-68 has a radiating element of 210cm.
The construction of the Ring Base is very simple, you have the base part where the brackets for the pole and the ring part goes as well as the SO239 socket is.
The next are 2 aluminum tubes which slot into the base piece.
There is a chart for the over all measurements of the sections in order to give minimum SWR, once the instructions are followed there will be no problem.
As regards to on air testing, I only have the antenna up since last Sunday, so testing is a minimum..
Having said that I did do a test with Jim EI2HJB/M outside his house in Blackrock, County Louth and the signal was very good both ways, then to Ben EI4IN in Skerries County Dublin, he told me that my signal was much improved, I then done a test with EI2KC/M heading out to Collon County Meath and again signals both way was very strong.
It is hard to judge it so far, but I can't say if the ring base is better as the CX-4-68, it does seem to be very similar, I need to get the CX-4-68 back up and at the same height to tell if there is any difference, both appear to be excellent antennas.

Friday, May 9, 2014

What am I up to?????

Simoco PRM8040.

Sorry I have not updated my Blog in the last while, I have been under the weather a bit!!
I have however ordered my new Ring Base antenna for 4m and also got delivery of a Simoco PRM 8040 which I will reprogram for 70Mhz.
As soon as the antenna arrives it will be put up and I will post here on how I get on with it.
Also down in the south of Ireland there is a great 4m link, it is on Mount Leinster as far as I know and it connects into the South Eastern Repeater network, which consists of 2m and 70cms repeaters scattered all over the South of Ireland.
The link operates on 70.400 with a CTCSS of 67.0 Hz, have a listen and try it out.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sirio CX 4-68 down for repairs.

I came home from work the other day and while having a coffee looked out the kitchen window and seen a length of aluminium tubing leaning against the wall, I thought to myself that my neighbour had come across the aluminium and dropped it in for me to use as an antenna, not the first time he has done this!!
When I went out to have a look at it I realised that it was from my 4m Sirio CX 4-68 antenna and that aluminium was from the vertical radiating section.
The antenna broke where the vertical section screws on to the top of the loading coil, the “sleeve” which holds the vertical rod in place has shattered and split.

I took the antenna down today and replaced it with a 4m dipole for the time being, I will ask one of my friends to weld a tube of brass or something on to the threaded piece and slot it so that I can put the radiating section back on, then I will be back using a decent antenna again!!!
Antenna showing location of damage.

Damage to where the radiating element joins to loading coil.

The damaged section will need to be removed and a new "sleeve" added so that vertical piece can be joined back on.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Handheld radios, do I need more????

As promised a photo of all my Handheld Radios, I think this is all of them!!! Well it is all I could find in my shack…… A man can never have too many handheld radios, in my opinion!!!!!
To be honest, I only use one of them regularly and that is the Kenwood TH-F7 as this has a 4 amp battery on it!! The small Shouao was bought from eBay for very little money, the Wouxun KG-UVD1P is 4m and 2m so I only use that when I need to go /P on those bands, the TYT TH-UVF8D (Yellow Radio) is in a grab case with spare battery, battery case etc for emergency in the boot of my car. and the rest are kept in storage in case they are needed for AREN. 

Top Row, left to right: Shouao 2m, Kenwood TH-F7 2m & 70cms (HF & 6m RX), TYT TH-UVF8D 2m & 70cms, Wouxun KG-UVD1P 4m & 2m, Icom IC-2AT 2m, 2 x Radioshack 70cms.
Midle Row: 7 x Motorola GP-360’s for 2m (AREN Use).
Bottom Row: Selection of 446 Mhz radios, handy for handing out to “Non Hams”.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

New shack layout.

I recently updated some of my equipment in my shack, I am now back on HF, but do not get excited, I am not a DX'er or Contester. I do like listening and doing a bit of rag-chewing on the lower bands, and of course on the 4m band as well....

Top Row, Left to Right: Yaesu FT-857D (HF,6m,2m,70cms) with LDG FTL-Meter on it's left, Yaesu 2900R 2m FM (75w), Simoco PRM-8020 on 4m FM,Anytone AT-5189 4m FM, Kenwood TK-7180 2m FM, CRT 2M-1 2m FM.

Bottom Row, Left to Right: Wouxun KG-UV920R 2m & 70cm FM,Cleartone CM-7200 4m AM & FM, Simoco SRM-9020 70cm FM.

In the background on the shelf (again left to right) Motorola GP-360 on 2m FM, a very old Icom IC-2AT 2m FM and a TYT TH-UVF8D on 2m and 70cms.

I will post a photo of all my handheld radios later... and I mean "ALL".......

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Phil ON4TA portable on 4m SOTA in Ireland.

Here is an email I received fro Phil ON4TA from Geerbets in Belgium.
Please keep an ear out for him on 4m when he is working SOTA in our area.

Hello Tony,

Just to advise that I plan to be in Ireland on a two weeks holiday at the end of March.  It will be my first visit to the North East, weather permitting I will be out and about on SOTA in the Cooley Peninsula and the Mourne Mountains.

I was browsing your website and see that you are on 70.400MHz so for sure will try that frequency.  EI7GEB Dave suggested dropping you a line as I will be looking for VHF contacts from the hill tops.

There seem to be pockets of 4m activity in Ireland.  On a previous visit I worked the folks in Co. Galway and Co. Mayo from many of the Connemara hill tops.  I met up with Artur EI7GMB and Steve EI5DD, they are very much into Clansman equipment too (I enjoyed the photo’s on your website).

I usually work VHF from the hill tops with a handheld and SlimJim antenna on 4m, 2m and 70cm.

Looking forward working you and other 4m enthusiasts in the Drogheda area.

Best 73, Phil ON4TA

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Some interesting 4m antenna projects.

Looking around the interned today I came across a few quite interesting home brew antennas for the 70 Mhz band.

1The Hentenna:

 2. Vertical half-wave aerials for 4m:

3. A centre-fed "co-axial" dipole for 4m:

4. 7 Element 4M (70MHz) Beam By Paul Graver M1CCZ:

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A very merry Christmas to all my readers and followers.

Christmas is upon us once again and 2013 is coming to an end. I would like to thank all those who stopped by by and had a look at my Blog over the last 12 months.
Sometimes it can be difficult to come up with something to write about but with meeting people like Artur EI7GMB who introduced me to the world of Cleartone Radios and Clansman equipment I have had plenty to write about, not to mention that my shack is now full to bursting point!!!!!
I hope that 2014 will have plenty of 70Mhz surprises in store for me, and of course I will share them here for you to read.
So Hopefully coming in 2014: (My wish list)
A better 4m antenna at my QTH.
See if I can go portable on 70Mhz from hilltops with one of the Clansman 352's.
Seek out and get my hands on more exciting 4m radios.........
And of course try to use the band a little more myself, I have been a bit busy with work in 2013 (which is not a bad complaint) More money for radios... LOL....

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year...

Sunday, November 24, 2013

2 more additions to my Clansman collection, one a surprise!!

I recently bought a 12-14V DC charger for my Clansman, I already have the bigger ones that can be either plugged into the mains or 12V DC, those ones will charge 2 batteries at a time and can work as a power supply to run one of the Clansman's.
These are great but a bit too bulky for mobile use.

Clansman 2 battery charger/power supply.

12-14V DC Rapid Charger.

The latest battery charger only works from 12-14V DC and can only charge one battery at a time, the reason I bought this is that I can charge the battery from the cigar plug in the car. The Clansman Fast Battery Charger (D.C. 14V, NSN 6130-99-620-2114) charges 24 volt batteries from 12-14 Volt DC input. Features include a shorter charging time, automatic termination of charging when the batteries are fully charged and a fully charged battery indicator. 

Now for the "SURPRISE" that I mentioned in the heading......
When I purchased the Rapid Charger I got chatting to the guy who was selling it, he had a few extra Clansman pieces on eBay and was selling everything as he need the space, I sent him a link to the Blog and he had a little read...
When I picked up the package it seemed a little bigger and heavier than I thought it would be and when I opened it I found the following:

Hand Cranker Charger.
Clansman Hand Generator for use with the Clansman radios PRC-344, PRC-351, PRC-352, PRC-320. 
Clips on between the radio and the battery and by turning the hand crank it generates 24 Volt DC for charging a standard Clansman 24 Volt battery to operate the radio. 
Charge lamp lights up to indicate when the hand crank is being turned at the right speed.
What a surprise that was!!!!!

Hand Cranker/Generator added to one of my Clansman Radios.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Another Clansman Antenna Idea for 4m!!

It is a cold day out today and I needed something to occupy my mind, I was thinking about the antennas that I already have for the Clansman.
The one I made up to use with the amplifier works very well and the original 2, the Telescopic Whip and the Battlefield antenna are a bit of a compromise.
I decided that what I need is a pre-tuned flexible antenna that will connect into the Clansman antenna socket so that I can change from one antenna to another quickly.

Quick release antenna base on SURF.

I asked Pat (EI2HX) what whips he had that would suit 4m, he brought over a few and with a bit of negotiations and a lot of tea I picked a few antenna whips,  one similar to the one I use on my car with a base loading coil would be called into service.

Bottom of black steel whip antenna.

This base has a 6mm thread so I would need something to use as an adaptor that will fit onto the Clansman antenna base, with a quick look on eBay I spotted spare bases for the bottom of the Battlefield Antennas, so I bought 2 of them.

Base showing 6mm thread.

One of the connectors bought on eBay.

The Battlefield antenna base has an 8mm thread so a bit of work needed to be done….So out came the files and Die Set.

Collection of files.
Different Die sizes.
Firstly I filed off the existing 8mm threads from the antenna base, then used a 7mm Die, when the new 7mm threads were done I then filed them off as well…. Then the 6mm Die was used, with the new 6mm threads done the Battlefield Antenna base screwed up nicely to the new 4m whip antenna.

Antenna with new fitting added.

The antenna is approx. 32 Inches long and very flexible, being black it suits the Clansman very well, on air testing with locals has showed that it is an improvement over the telescopic and battlefield antennas.

New antenna fitted on radio via SURF.

This antenna I made up primarily to be used on the radio with or without the SURF and on the 4w power.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Clansman "Loudspeaker"

Recently I got my hands on a Clansman extension speaker for my Clansman 351, it is a very heavy duty speaker made to take the most abuse that can be thrown at it.

Front of speaker with 7 pin plug.

It came with a short lead with a 7 pin plug on each side.There is a socket on one side with a pair of connectors so that the speaker can be connected to the radio with twin speaker cable, there is a volume control on the top.

Top of speaker, volume control.
The speaker can be directly connected to the radio with the short 7 pin lead that came with it, the handset/headset can be then connected to the speaker.

Side view with connections.
This would be a great way to operate the radio/speaker/handset but with only one “small” issue… one I overlooked when buying the speaker was the fact that the Clansman radio does not have any audio amplification circuitry built into it so I will need to buy an external audio amplifier or build one (thinking of using the audio circuit from old computer extension speakers).

Audio amplifier.
The reason why I got the speaker was so that I can set up portable and have lots of sound rather than using an earpiece.
When I buy the Clansman audio amplifier I will use it in the shack as they run from either 12v or 24v and this would be too much to bring with me.
The audio amp I plan to build will work off either 6 x 1.5v AA or a 9v PP3 battery enclosed in a waterproof small box “Velcro” to the back of the speaker.

Back of speaker.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Disabling the 150Hz tone from the Clansman PCR-351/2 by Andrew EI3FEB.

The Clansman PRC-351 is a military VHF Man pack set that was manufactured for the British Army in the late 1970s. It is fully synthesized and covers 30 - 76MHz in 25KHz steps, making it suitable for the Amateur 6 and 4 meter bands. Power output is 4 watts of FM, however an optional 20W clip on module is also available.

With the British Army's move to the newer Bowman series of radios, many older Clansman Series are becoming available on the surplus market at reasonable prices. The basic unit is available for less than 50 Euro although a further expenditure of 20 Euro for a 24v/1AH battery and 15 Euro on a Clansman headset would be required.As this radio has a BNC socket in addition to its 1.2m whip antenna, it was possible to connect it to an external 4m half wave antenna enabling contacts with Michael EI3GYB and Arthur EI7GMB covering distances of 40 Km and 15 Km respectively. Due to the set's 25KHz channel spacing the 4m it does not cover the calling frequency of 70.2625. Contacts were scheduled via another 4 meter set before QSYing to a channel available on the PRC-351.

There was a notable presence of a 150Hz  tone superimposed on the transmitted audio. This is due to the military tone squelch used by US and UK military radios. A Google search led to the PRC-351 Yahoo Group which had instructions on how to disable the tone squelch.

Disconnect the antenna, accessories, and battery. 
The battery is held by the spring clips seen on the bottom of the set.

Open the 4 Allen Bolts on the side of the set containing the audio sockets.

Carefully remove the end panel of the radio.
It is connected to the main radio body by a fragile ribbon.

Remove the connector joining the end panel to the radio.

Remove the 4 Allen Bolts on the control panel and slide the radio out of its housing.
     Locate R9 on Module 13 - this is the preset resistor that adjusts the level of the 150Hz tone.

Rotate R9 fully anti-clockwise

Re-assemble the set taking care not to tear the sachets containing desiccant which prevents condensation inside the set.

Subsequent QSOs confirmed that this modification had disabled the 150Hz tone. On air tests revealed that this set had a sensitive receiver and the FM audio quality was comparable if not equal to other PMR sets tested.

A back pack frame is available to carry all of the components of the set whilst it is fully operational. It is possible to acquire a canvass ruck-sack which performs a similar function. The canvass ruck-sack along with a trailing wire antenna was designed to disguise the radio thereby making the operator less of a target in the field.

Special thanks to Andrew EI3FEB for his work on this transceiver.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Why have one when you can have two??

A second Clansman PCR 351 arrived this morning, this time the radio and the SURF unit, no amplifier.
This one is for my son Stephen MI6CQS who wants to do some /P with it on 4m and 6m. My clansman is the one on the left with 20 watt amplifier and antenna mod, Stephen's is on the right.
Both are in the same back pack and have batteries attached....

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Clansman, Antenna Improvement.

My Clansman has been working very well since I replaced the lead for the handset and as I mentioned before I am very impressed with the research and development that has gone into the design of the radio.
The Clansman that I have has the 20 watt amplifier added to it which is very handy when attached to an outside antenna. I get 4 hours or so running the radio on the 20 watts, this got me thinking of the only downside of the Clansman for me, the fact that the antennas are not tuned for 4m or 6m and need to run through the SURF (Selector Unit Radio Frequency) on the top of the radio, also the SURF will only handle the 4 watts from the radio so when I go portable with the radio I will not be able to use the 20 watt amplifier without connecting it to an external antenna.
I would like to be walking with the Clansman on my back and able to run the 20 watts at the same time. I decided to make an antenna base which I could leave on the Clansman and would connect directly to the amplifier which has BNC input and outputs.
I had a look at the radio for a place to attach the new socket and decided that the best thing to do would be to have a metal plate “sandwiched” between the top of the radio and the bottom of the SURF, the reason for this is that I did not want to modify the radio itself and this would be easier to fit. I also wanted to use my existing 4m stainless whip antenna off my car and wanted the antenna to be behind the radio sloping away instead of out to the side as the existing antenna is, I found this to be annoying as it would catch in branches etc. while walking, if it is to the back and sloped behind it would not get caught so easy……
Firstly I removed the SURF from the top of the radio and placed it on a piece of cardboard to make a template, then after sourcing a piece of stainless steel I set about shaping and drilling the holes, 3 for the screws and one for the antenna connector, making sure that the antenna base would not hinder the opening of the SURF window. When the holes were done then I put a 5 degree bend on the plate so that the antenna would lean away from the radio.

I then attached the plate to the radio simply by sitting it on top of the radio itself and by placing the SURF on top of that again, the three existing screws on the tuner fitted through the holes on my stainless steel plate and when tightened down holds the plate firmly in place, I am very glad that I put the bend on to the plate, if I left it flat it would have prevented the flap for the window to be opened….
A SURF (Selector Unit Radio Frequency) is used to prevent interference to operation of the radio sets. The SURF is an electrical filter, designed to reject unwanted interference from other radios when operating in close proximity to each other. The SURF is tuned using a manual control on the front of the unit, so that only the frequency in use, and those close to it, are accepted by the set. A Range of SURFs were provided for attachment to the VHF PRC350, PRC351/2 (SURF 4 Watt)

Setting up the rest is straight forward, I attached the antenna base, I looked around for an SO239 base, did not have one but I did find an N-Type socket with a short length of coax with a BNC plug on it. The antenna socket was attached to the plate; the short length of coax was a nice length and reached the OUTPUT of the amplifier easily. Then another length of coax was needed to reach from radio OUTPUT to amplifier INPUT, BNC’s both end, this was fed around the back of the radio between the radio and the backpack. Once this was done I connected up the antenna to the N-Type, the antenna itself terminates in a PL259 so an adaptor is used on the antenna/base.

I attached the antenna and checked the SWR, it reads around a 2.0-1 but shows a good RF output of over 20 watts. I played around with the antenna connected to an Antenna Analyzer and found that by adding more length to the whip I achieved a flat SWR, so my next purchase will be a longer whip for the radio….

I hope to do some on air testing soon while out portable and it will be interesting to see how the 4m whip will work on the radio, I also have a mobile Tri-Band (6m, 2m and 70cms) antenna and this tunes perfectly on 6m, so I will be now able to use pre-tuned antennas on the Clansman which will mean that on 4 watts the radio should have a better range and should be even better with 20 watts!!!!

For more info on the Clansman click on the following link:  Clansman Radio.