ELECRAFT PRICE INCREASE 4th FEB. January 28th, 2016
Please note that as from the 4th February there will be price increases across the range. Below is the formal note from Elecraft.
“We’re finally implementing the planned price changes that we first
late last year. We ended up delaying that change due to both the large
season order rush and several ham shows, both of which always generate a
sales sales activity and keep our sales team very busy.
As noted before, our costs are going up as our vendors increase their
us and our labor costs also increase. (Its a never ending battle to keep
down as economic activity has picked up the last two years.) We’ve been
absorbing all of these increases, but now we have hit the point where we
increase prices slightly on a number of our products.
The prices will change on next Thursday, Feb. 4th. Our on-line order
update with the new pricing at that time.
Please resist the urge to call or email our sales / support people about
specific products will be changing or how much the changes will be, as
not have this information. (We’re still in the middle getting everything
Of course, all orders received -prior- to the Feb 4th increase will be
at the lower pre-increase pricing when they ship.”
So if you are thinking of buying Elecraft, now is the time to place your order!
Elecraft – Famous The World Over! Here at PJ2MM January 27th, 2016
Elecraft is famous the world over and rightly so. There is nothing that comes close to performance and customer satisfaction. Here we have a picture of one of our customers who uses the famous InnovAntennas XR6 Yagi together with Elecraft. Mupanga, PJ2MM, is the CEO of Zambia Telecomms and clearly recognises the quality and performance of of both InnovAntennas and Elecraft.
It looks as if PJ2MM is also a keen fisherman. This tiger fish has some pretty dangerous looking teeth! I think catching rare DX is somewhat safer!
Operating on Dead Bands January 26th, 2016
Few will have failed to notice how bad conditions have been at times recently, on the HF bands. I guess those with big antennas will have been marginally less affected, but when propagation stops, it stops!
Recently I have been operating on 21MHz, a band that I have neglected in previous years. The casual visitor to this band will probably be disappointed because of the apparent lack if signals. But like 1om, or perhaps more so, it can offer up some surprises. For about two weeks now i have been checking the band in the middle of the afternoon and almost without fail, signals have popped out of the noise. Sometimes it is Eastern Europe, but it is frequently accompanied with signals from across the Atlantic. And these signals can be quite strong. Over the past few days I have worked into North America with ease. But the strange thing is that very often there is no more than one or two signals coming through at any one time. These signs have QSB but are there long enough to work a good selection of callers. The conclusion I have come to is that part of the reason for the number of signals to be low is simply lack of activity. A dead band is not always because of the lack of propagation!
I would encourage you to monitor this band for a 30 min period in the middle of the afternoon and just see what comes through. My station is very simple. I use a 4-Band dipole at 25ft, running 100W. The picture shows the antenna, a Mosley mini 31 dipole that measures just 20ft and is easy to erect using a single mast. I didn’t bother about rotating it as this keeps the weight down. I achieve 40m operation by a simple modification that is not shown here.
Oh, and by the way, try calling CQ a few times. If we all just listen, then the bands will be dead!
Going Back to The 1940s – Again! January 20th, 2016
A few days ago I mentioned that I had a QSO with a station in Chelmsford Essex running the T1154 /R1155 combo. Quite by chance I was looking at some old photos this evening and found this one taken of me at Duxford in Cambridgeshire last year. This photo was taken when I was on a visit to the Duxford Radio Society located on the airfield. As well as operating some modern equipment there, they also operate some of the old World War II equipment. And in one section of the room they have reconstructed the radio installation of a Lancaster bomber. It is not the first time I have sat in this position. I have sat in the radio operator’s position in both the current RAF Lancaster and the Lancaster at East Kirkby in Lincolnshire. Radio design has come on in leaps and bounds since then, but I still get a buzz from some of this old gear. Perhaps this is because when I was a lad, this gear was still in regular use!
Peter Waters G3OJV
Hustler Mobile Antennas January 19th, 2016
Operating HF mobile can be great fun and I have done my fair share of this form of operating. It is great for holidays and so winter tends to be the closed season for mobile operation. But we are about half way through winter so it is not too early to start thinking about mobile operation.
One of the factors that you need to consider when operating mobile is the efficiency of the antenna. On 10m we can achieve high efficiency because a full size quarter wave is only 8ft and it is possible to come close to this on a car. But as we go lower in frequency so the antenna becomes a smaller fraction of a full size quarter wave and the efficiency begins to drop in a big way. If we take 6ft as being a typical antenna length for HF mobile, then on 40m the whip is around 20% of full size. This is rather like a 4 inch long 2m band whip, so you can see the limitaions and the need to make the best of what is a very short antenna. There are really four main factors that affect the performance. These are, the antenna length, the position of the loading coil, the diameter of the loading coil and the impedance matching.
I have always considered the Hustler range to offer some of the best features. They employ centre loading which is far better than base loading. The length of the antenna is around 6ft or a little more and the coil has a large diameter. Matching is something that has to be dealt with on a case by case basis and there is nothing that you can do with the antenna design to make a great deal of difference. The MFJ mobile matcher is one of the best options here.
The only downside of the Hustler design is that you need to change the loading coil and its top resonator in order to change bands. But this is a small price to pay for superior efficiency.
Who Is The Biggest Kenwood UK Dealer? January 19th, 2016
It perhaps does not really matter that much, other than giving customers some idea of who the majority of customers are buying Kenwood from. However, it does seem to worry one dealer in particular, a great deal. So much so that he chose to complain to the RSGB that HE was the biggest Kenwood dealer and that anybody advertising otherwise should be prevented from making such claims.
The RSGB seem to take the view that if there is a complaint, it is our job to prove that what we advertise is true, rather than asking the complainant to come up with proof. But then the RSGB seem to have their favoured dealer, and there is nothing much we can do about that, it has been like that for years!
However, in this particular case, the dealer in question was proved wrong! He in fact is NOT the largest Kenwood dealer; we are!. Such was the arrogance of the complainant that he assumed that he was the biggest Kenwood dealer, but did not have the sense to check his facts before making the complaint. What is more, the RSGB chose to request us to prove the fact rather than ask their “favoured” dealer to provide proof of his claim. In other words, they believed him rather than us.
AirNav RadarBox – SPECIAL DEAL January 19th, 2016
It is amazing what we sometimes find in ur warehouse. In a box we found some RadarBox products that are brand new and unregistered. They are now up on eBay so if you want to get one at a knockdown price, then check it out.
YAESU PRICES DOWN January 19th, 2016
Price reductions are always good news for customers and good for us because we sell more! But this is serious news because the FT-991 is now sub £1K. The FT-DX1200 and FT-DX3000 have also been reduced. And even better news is that even at these new low prices, we can still match or beat any genuine UK web price.
Peter Waters G3OJV
G5RV – Love it or Loath it! January 15th, 2016
I had a couple of conversations this week with hams who were looking for an HF antenna that covers all bands. Inevitably the topic of the G5RV crops up. Its been around for a long time and will continue to do so I guess. But more to the point, does it offer what it promises? Many would say yes, but probably just as many would say no. The real problem is matching it.
Some newly licensed operators expect to see a low VSWR on all bands. Well first of all, the WARC bands and the 60m band were not available when the G5Rv was originally conceived. So don’t expect to get much in the way of results on this band. But even on the remaining bands there is often a significant VSWR. It is not a fault, it is a fact. Indeed, sometimes it is not even possible for the internal ATU of the radio to cope on every band. Sometimes this can be helped by changing the length of the coax feeder. But it is in reality the coax feeder that causes the problem.
I would never dream of using a G5RV with a 300 Ohm stub. Always use 450 Ohm ladder line. It has a lower loss and is very much stronger. The losses on ladder line is extremely low. However, when we get to the coax, things start to go wrong. A modest or hight VSWR on coax, causes losses that can be quite significant. Thin coax like RG-58 is the worst offender. Go for RG-213. It is thicker and has a lower loss. But the real killer is the length of the coax cable. A long length of coax cable running at a high VSWR will result in high losses and very poor radiation. So you need to keep the coax length as short as possible.
Many operators use an external ATU, as these are usually able to match even high VSWRS. But then we come to an interesting possibility. Most external ATUs have a balanced input, meaning that it is possible to extend the 450 Ohm ladder line right back to the ATU. This of course means that your antenna is no longer a G5RV. But what it does mean is that the antenna will work much more efficiently and on all bands, including the WARC bands. Personally I favour this arrangement and what is more, the top dipole section is no longer critical either. Try it and see.
Beware of “Cheap” Radios from Private Sellers January 15th, 2016
Every body loves a batgain but some bargains may not be all that they appear to be. We have been alerted to the fact that there are a number of stolen radios now in circulation. We don’t know the full details yet but certainly there are some TS-590SG models about. The danger is that you could end up buying something that is stolen and on a police “stolen” list, because we believe that all the serial numbers have been recorded. So what should you do?
There are some key points that you need to look out for. Are the radios selling at a price that you would expect? Does the description look right and suggest that the seller knows what he is selling. If the radio is at a price that seems too good to be true, how did the seller get hold of it in the first place? Ask the seller some basic questions about the radio. If things don’t sound right then call us and ask to speak with Justin, G-KSC who is collating data on radios that we know have been reported as stolen.
Peter Waters G3OJV.