Radio

I passed my Amateur Radio licence back in 1982 and was allocated the callsign G6WRB.

That was considered a Class B licence back then and, sadly, I never progressed to a Class A, due to my complete inability to learn Morse. But, it never really bothered me being restricted to the VHF and UHF bands, as there was always plenty of activity to keep me occupied.

I got very interested in the data modes and spent a lot of time on RTTY – even becoming a GB4ATG (I think it was) newsreader each Sunday morning.  The new-fangled AX-25 mode – more commonly known as Packet – also took my fancy and I soon had a node set up at home, courtesy of an AEA PK88 TNC.

And then I got married.

And moved house.

And had kids.

Radio took a big backseat and eventually all my gear got consigned to the loft and was forgotten about.

Till a chance meeting with an old HAM friend rejuvenated my interest some years ago and now, with a FULL licence, I’m back into it and enjoying it just as much – if not more – than I used to.

My current station consists of:

A Kenwood TS-590SG for HF, feeding a 40/80m inverted L in the garden and a 10/12/17 and 20m fan dipole in the loft There’s also a homebrew active loop connected to it, that works really well

A Kenwood TM-V71A for V/UHF feeding an X50 white stick on the side of the house

An SDRplay to make HF work easier

A homebrew audio isolator for connecting the rig to the computer for datamodes, using fldigi mainly

My original FT-290r1 for VHF SSB (needs some serious TLC)

A Tait 2000 ex-PMR for 4 metres (can count the number of QSO’s I’ve had on that, on one hand!)

And various 2m and 70cm handhelds

I thoroughly enjoy trying out different homebrew aerials for HF and earlier this year I built the VK5JST Antenna Analyser, which makes testing soooo much easier.

I’m currently (Nov 2017)  tinkering around with WSPR, seeing how low I can go powerwise and still be spotted. Currently, just 1mW has given me three spots in Germany. Not bad for a piece of wire in the loft!