Author Archives: Alan Lewis

About Alan Lewis

Licenced amateur since 2010, although my involvement with radio goes back to the early 1980's as a Signaller in the Royal Engineers - my biggest regret is achieving Class 1 Signaller, but not taking advantage of the C&G equivalency option and obtaining my RAE Class A licence. The 'shack' consists of several radios; FT-5000, FT-2000, FT-890 and a couple of Kenwood hybrids - a TS-530S and a 830S Gold Label. Portable operation using an FT-897 and Clansman PRC-320. Antennas include a Cobwebb and Comet CH250B, and a lovely little SuperAntenna MP-1 for portable operation. Various other bits n bobs such as an MFJ-1700C antenna-set switch will allow me to swap the antennas between the radios without unplugging feedlines. Possibly the best investment was a RigExpert AA-230Pro, puchased via a Greek seller on ebay (for much less than the UK price), a real boon when trimming the cobwebb to resonance as it can scan all five bands at once, and report on each individually. Although the 897 is a great little set, I still believe the PRC320 to be the finest portable HF set built; rugged, waterproof... and idiot proof! The set, spare battery, and a 5.4m mast all fit inside a rucksack. The radio can work a 2.4m whip, a dipole, long wire, vertical, all with ease and an inbuilt matching unit. Main interest in amateur radio is antennas and rag-chewing; with just 10W the antenna and feed line are critical. Have just discovered 'cheap' SDR using EL4000 based USB TV tuner cards, and intend to make more use of this, and perhaps venture into packet radio. Fortunately, I have an expert on hand, as Peter Martinez G3PLX (the father of PSK31) lives a couple of fields away. Intend to progress to Intermediate level at some stage - there are no local clubs so sign-off for the practical is a little challenging, as is sitting the exam. And then onto Full! Projects for 2015; an end-fed longwire from the shack window to the end of the garage. This has been an eye-opener, as although a "random" length will tune, it may not be multi-band capable; remember those fundamentals of other frequencies? 119ft is not a harmonic of any band, so should work.

Antennas in a restricted area

When I was house hunting in Cumbria, I fell in love with a wee cottage in Underbarrow, just outside of Kendal. At the time it seemed perfect; country living, a detached cottage, and a low noise floor. “Great”, I thought, … Continue reading

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