Yaesu FT-817ND Travel Paddle   January 30th, 2015

TravelPaddle-FTR

We will shortly have this new Watson TravePaddle-FTR which fits directly onto the side of the FT-817. Once the bracket is installed it is very easy to remove when not needed. The paddle comes reay wired to plug directly into the transceiver. The paddle has adjustments on either side to adjust the feel of the key. We have tested this key in the field and have been very impressed with it. And what if you are left handed? Well we will have a left handed version to be mown as the TravelPaddle-FTL.

The price will be £89.95 and the paddles should be available during February. So if you want one, get in touch with our sales department.

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KX3 Beefed Up!   January 14th, 2015

KX3 Beefed uo
I recently took the opportunity of grabbing some samples that had come into the office. They looked interesting, particularly as they were for the Elcraft KX3 and I own one!

The first item you will see is a replacement heat sink that makes the transceiver run cooler. I personally have never noticed it getting that warm, but I guess if I was operating data, AM or FM, then I might appreciate it more. But it looks great.

The second item was a pair of side cheeks that include “handles’ whose primary function must be to protect the tuning controls and other knobs. Again it looks great.

From the photo you can see what a difference in appearance these items make. We will be selling them shortly I am sure. Peter G3OJV

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Compact CW Paddle Key   January 2nd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 16.55.32

The market is pretty crowded when it comes to CW paddle keys and the price range is equally extensive. For most, the requirement is for a key that is mechanically sound, works and feels good, and does not cost the “earth.’

So with this in mind we have been looking to bring to market, something that comes as close as possible to this requirement. Our newly developed key is pictured above and is quite compact but quite heavy, with a rubberised base that seems to grip the desk surface very well indeed. One interesting feature is the cable connection. This is a achieved by means of a 3.5mm stereo socket on the key itself. As most radios use this connection, a simple 3.5mm to 3.5mm lead is all that is required to connect the key to the radio.

Preliminary tests look promising and subject to further testing, this key should be available in a few weeks. Peter G3OJV.

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2015 Arrives!   January 1st, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 11.20.46

Well, 2015 has arrived and a very Happy New Year to all those who are reading this blog. We all made it to the year 2015! I guess that there are thousands of greetings going back and forth ver the air waves today, and for the next few days. So as we head into a new year,, from the ham radio perspective, I am sure there will be some new exciting developments, new products and new ideas. All this is very good news for us hobbyists.

One of the comments i receive regularly, both in the shop and on the telephone, is problems with lack of space for antennas and problems in making contacts compared with the achievements of other stations. And I always try and first of all to find out if there is indeed a technical problem. Usually there is no technical problem, but simply the owner of the station just cannot compete with the “big guns” who have high powered amplifiers and big antenna systems. I am sure we have all felt disadvantaged at times. For some it is lack of space, for others it is a lack of cash, and for many it is both! Buth there is an answer.

Those who can identify with this problem and feel disappointed need to sit down and think over their situation and perhaps their attitude to the problem, or indeed the hobby.

Ham radio was originally an experimental hobby, and still is to many. Experimenting means a challenge and it is here that those who feel depressed with their results, need to change their attitude to the rut that they may feel they are in. A small garden and low power can work, but not as well as a 1KW station with a tower and beams. So stop comparing yourself with these stations. Instead, focus on what you have and treat what you regard as a disadvantage into a positive challenge. Let me give you an example of something I read about recently.

Michael J Rainey, AA1TJ, is a USA ham operator who is a great experimenter and had been working on a heterodyne single device VFO in order to produce a simple circuit that would generate a 14MHz signal. That in itself was a challenge. He didn’t need to use just a few components. He could have achieved the same with more components which would have made his task easier. But he didn’t!

He achieved his goal and then added an amplifier. I should add that although this took place in 2013, he was using very early solid state devices dating back to the 1960s. The result was a CW transmitter that produced 2mW. That’s right 2mW! His curiosity carried on and he decided to see if he could make a contact. He eventually got a response from a station over 900 miles away. That station was running 5W to an Elecraft K2 and coming in to Michael’s 2-stage regenerative receiver at S8. He got a report of 439 running just 2mW and the QSO lasted for 7 minutes.

So here is a simple question for you to ponder over on New Year’s Day. How does that achievement compare with a station runnung 1kW on 20m and working 12,000 miles into VK/ZL? Think about it! Peter G3OJV.

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