G0VQY's Amateur Radio Blog

What's on the mind of a UK ham radio operator?

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I'm really pleased to say that I took delivery of my new GoodWinch electric power winch last week. Just now it is still sitting in its box on the floor in my room. As soon as we get some decent weather I'm going to swap the electric winch over with the manual winch and get everything working properly.

Come back very soon and see my new electric winch and its working glory


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It amazes me of the amount of times I see DO NOT SEND ME ESQL CARDS plastered across people's QRZ page. If you don't use EQSL and haven't got it set up on your computer then it doesn't matter if 1000 people send you an electronic card, it's not going to affect you in the slightest. However, what is great about EQSL is if you do decide you want to sign up you will receive cards that have been sent to you previously.

I no longer send paper cards now, it's just too expensive. The price of a second class stamp in the UK is 57p, I think it's something like 67p for first class stamp. Electronic QSL is the future as far as I'm concerned. I design my own cards in photo shop so it doesn't cost me a penny. Sending cards automatically is just so easy, in fact my cards are sent automatically every time I log contact. And if somebody wants to print the cards out all they need is a decent printer and some card, you've then got a perfect paper QSL card for your collection.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • joao carlos
    joao carlos says #
    Friend all good. I saw your video on YouTube about Ham Radio De Luxe program eugostaria to know what the purpose desteprograma wha
  • joao carlos
    joao carlos says #
    Friend all good. I saw your video on YouTube about Ham Radio De Luxe program eugostaria to know what the purpose desteprograma wha
  • MW1CFN
    MW1CFN says #
    The postage cost is certainly prohibitive for paper card collecting if one is fairly active. The response to this is, of course

Modern day amateur radio transceivers have become quite compact and stylish. If you compare the modern day HF transceiver to one from the 60s or 70s you will probably find that the older models have larger knobs and buttons, whereas modern-day transceivers that are packed with features now have tiny buttons and knobs within knobs. You may be surprised to know that as a disabled person, I actually find the older radios easier to use than modern day transceivers. Since owning the more modern transceivers I've now realised that even though it's nice to have one of these all singing and dancing modern transceivers that almost looks like a fashion accessory, they are not actually very practical to operate when it comes to using them if you have a disability that renders your hands and fingers unusable. Some people may suggest that maybe they should make the transceivers more disabled friendly, make them unsung buttons bigger say that we disabled people can use them easier. No, I don't think that is the case and I'm more than happy with the way they are designed. The easiest solution to this problem is to provide on-screen operating software with every transceiver. This would enable people who have a disability to operate all the controls and features of the transceiver using the computer alone, cutting out the need to struggle with all the buttons and tiny buttons on the front of the transceiver.

Some of the manufacturers already provide on-screen software, Kenwood provide completely free on-screen operating software that is simply fantastic. You can even switch the radio on and off for the software, you don't have to touch the radio at all, everything can be done using the computer.


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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Penn
    Penn says #
    Unfortunately the amateur radio companies can't always cater for such a small number of people. However, I've been disabled long e
  • Mario
    Mario says #
    Hello friend, I personally like the large radios. But when you have issues with your eyes (like me) is nearly impossible with thos

Posted by on in Amateur Radio Talk

I have downloaded a new program called Procaster which is still live stream, but a much better quality version. I don't sit in front of the radio all day so obviously you will only catch me live when I am operating. If you go to the main live stream website then you can use the message system to send me messages which I will see. Sometimes it's fun to not only interact with the person I'm talking to on the radio, but also the people who are watching me live on the web.

Follow the link below and all will become apparent


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Posted by on in Amateur Radio Talk

I've recently installed my new Optibeam 11-5 which has turned out to be an awesome antenna. Being disabled means I have to rely on other people to do my antenna installation for me, I'm just a bystander that can really only offer a little bit of advice and guidance. Now the Optibeam 11-5 at first glance when taken out of the box may look rather daunting when it comes to assembly and installation. However, I can tell you straight away that this antenna is an absolute piece of cake to put together, as long as you read the instructions properly. I cannot emphasise enough how important it is that you sit down first and read every bit of the assembly installations before even attempting to put the antenna together. The antenna has been cleverly designed so that you simply bolted altogether, there is no need for tuning or any complicated measurements, just follow the instructions very carefully and you will not have any problems whatsoever, I can almost guarantee it. The people who do run into problems are normally people who can't be bothered to read the instructions properly.

During the installation and assembly of the antenna, we did have a few minor problems, most of them turned out to be a case of not reading the instructions properly.. We also had an issue with a small component that got broken. However, Tom, DF2BO the COE of Opti beam was extremely patient and helped us with every single question I had. When the small insulator from one of the elements got broken, he even sent me a brand-new part completely free of charge. I really can't thank Tom enough for all the support he gave me over the few weeks that it took us to completely install the antenna. Even on a Sunday afternoon he was there answering e-mails within an hour or two, the support this company gives its customers is second to none.

As for the antenna, I am absolutely delighted with it, it is an absolutely wonderful piece of German engineering that has quite obviously been designed with a lot of thought in mind.

If you are looking for an HF beam them look no further than Optibeam, they really are at the very top of their game when it comes to design and performance in HF antennas.

Tagged in: Tom DF2BO
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The last Sirio Gain Master I had unfortunately suffered during some gales we had a couple of years ago. So I decided to try again with the same antenna. I bought it a few months ago but have just put it up in the last few days. Installation was fairly straightforward, although it sometimes a little fiddly threading the antenna through the tubing.

I haven't had a chance to work any stations yet, but I just thought I would make it known that I am now back on the 10 m band and will be listening out for any old friends. As of yet, I have installed my new Opti beam, that will be coming very very soon hopefully

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Posted by on in Amateur Radio Talk

I was sad to hear the passing of Ted, VK2AU. I spoke to Ted on a couple of occasions, one of which I had the video camera running. I know that he was a very well respected and liked radio ham all over the world so I'm sure that many people on this his dulcet tones

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Posted by on in Amateur Radio Talk

IBeing confined to a wheelchair has many drawbacks and annoyances. Probably the worst thing that can happen is when you develop a pressure sore on your backside. The only reliable way to cure a pressure sore is to not sit in your wheelchair. This obviously means confining itself to bed until the pressure sore has healed. There probably aren't many wheelchair users who haven't had a sore, if you've been in a wheelchair for a long time then you are very lucky if you have managed to avoid spending time in bed.

I've done my best to stay free are pressure sores but unfortunately I've had my fair share of problems. Thankfully in this day and age technology has come a long way so spending time in bed isn't quite as boring as it probably was a few years ago. Knowing that bed rest is something that is always a possibility, I have kitted my bedroom out so that I can still do the things I normally do on a daily basis when sitting up. I have this fabulous television bracket that enables you to position the television at all sorts of angles. This means that no matter how I am laying in bed, I am still able to watch TV without having to strain my neck. I also have an environmental control system which lets me control television, satellite, lights, my bed, fan, and lots of other things as well. Probably the most important thing I have next to my bed is my PC, I would be lost without this. I haven't had to get anything special, it's a bog standard PC, albeit fairly high spec. I'm using my trusty Kensington trackball mouse which is a gift from the gods as far as I'm concerned. Coupled with my Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software and my Plantronics microphone headset, I can use the computer in exactly the same way as when I am sitting up. I found that it's important to use a fairly large monitor which enables you to see what you're doing. I'm using a 22 inch LG which is more than adequate.

I also decided to install some ham radio equipment next to my bed as well. In all fairness I don't use my radio quite as much in bed as I do when I'm sitting up, but it's nice to have it here if I do want to go on the air. Again, I didn't really need to get anything special in order for me to use the radio. I have my old faithful ICOM 7400 which is connected to HRD (Ham Radio Deluxe). I can change frequency using my hand, but the computer makes using the radio in bed that much easier. I don't tend to use HRD to control the radio much while sitting up, but it's made all the difference when lying in bed. I did originally purchase a second Heil foot switch, the same as what I use when sitting up. However, I found that it's easier to use HRD to transmit. I did contemplate getting a headset, however this would be extremely uncomfortable to wear whilst lying in bed. So I'm using the same Heil extendable microphone arm as I do when sitting up. Attached to this arm is the Heil 781 microphone which really complements the 7400.

So even though spending time in bed this something I never relish, I am so thankful that I can still get on with my life without too many restrictions.


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Posted by on in Amateur Radio Talk


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Posted by on in Amateur Radio Talk


Why do some operators insist on working by numbers? I don't understand why it's necessary, if some of these big DXpeditions manage to work the world without using numbers, why do I hear stations from Russia and Madagascar working by numbers, it's not as if they have thousands and thousands of people calling them at the same time. If you have a pileup bad then use a split frequency, everyone else seems to be able to operate properly using just this method, working by numbers is unsociable.

What I actually hate most about people working by numbers is 99.9% of them start off with the number 1. If you look at numerical numbers, they always start off with a zero. So why on earth start off with a number one? It's annoying, it's unnecessary and it most certainly p1$$es G0VQY off :-)

What I would advocate is allocating 10 min to work novice stations who have limited power at their disposal, this would be appreciated by a lot of people who struggle to work DX stations who are working huge pileups


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It's funny how sometimes you realise just how small the world really is.  I was an the 10 m band yesterday when Dave, G7DHW gave me a shout from just outside Totnes which is approximately 14 miles away from me.  I think I've spoken to Dave once before, about two years ago.  We were chatting away and he expressed interest in an antenna that I had been talking about selling.  Anyway, I asked him if he knew where I live and he confirmed that he did.  I then asked him if he knew me and he said yes.  Somewhat confused I asked him how he knew me and it turns out that he was one of the ambulance men who came to my aid when I had my accident back in 1986.

Like I said, small world

Tagged in: G7DHW
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Posted by on in Amateur Radio Talk

I have reluctantly decided to sell my ICOM 7400 HF transceiver.  I purchased the transceiver completely new from Waters and Stanton a few years ago.  I stopped using it after getting my ICOM 7800, up until then it was my faithful companion an amateur radio bands.  However, I did continue to use it occasionally for 2 m SSB operation.  Since I am not really interested in 2 m, and the fact that my 7800 has got HF and 6 m, there does not seem any point in me hanging onto this radio for the sake of it.  So I decided that somebody else can now have the joy of using this fabulous transceiver.

The radio is in excellent condition and shows no signs of wear or tear.  It covers all the HF bands including WARC bands, 18 & 24 MHz.  It also covers the 2 m band and also 6 m.

Unfortunately I don't have the original box as some numpty in my household threw it away a while ago, much to my annoyance will start

Anyway, this really is a very nice radio, you'll be hard pressed of the ICOM when it comes to their HF transceivers.  The 7400 is a classic radio that will remain one of the all-time best that ICOM have ever produced.  Even though the ICOM 7400 has been discontinued this radio could sit on your bench for the next 20 years and still look like a modern-day transceiver.


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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • lhsan
    lhsan says #
    hi much dolar it

I have added a new classified ads section to my website. It is completely free and will only require you registering an account on the website. You will then be able to add to your amateur radio equipment that you want to sell. Your items will stay alive for approximately 60 days, they will then be unpublished automatically. However, you have the option to republish items that haven't solved any time you wish.

The classified ads section is only for amateur radio equipment, anything other than amateur radio equipment will be removed immediately and will result in the accounts being terminated permanently. I'm afraid that I cannot abide spam and I have absolute Zero tolerance when it comes to anyone trying to spam the website.


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Posted by on in Amateur Radio Talk

Are you disabled?  Maybe you have to use a wheelchair, maybe you can get around without a wheelchair but still have mobility difficulties.  What ever the situation I have created a group on Facebook that is solely for wheelchair and disabled radio hams.  I'm not trying to push able-bodied people out, but I think it would be nice if it was just kept for people with disabilities.  Even if you haven't got a ham radio licence at the moment, that certainly doesn't mean you are not welcome.  It may be a case that you're not sure if you want to go down the route of taking an exam to get your license, still come in and have a chat with the guys, let them tell you their story of how they got into amateur radio and how much it has helped them socialise with other people.

Here's a link where you can check us out on Facebook.  I have deliberately left it open so you can see who is a member and what everyone is saying


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Electronic QSL Card

I may have blogged about eQSL before on here, however I just wanted to bring it up again to make sure that everyone is aware of what an awesome system it really is.  Basically, eQSL stands for Electronic QSL, in case you haven't already guessed.  Rather than manually writing your cards and sending them direct or via the bureau, your computer does all the work for you, godsend for somebody like me, that is for sure.  I design my cards using Photoshop which is all part of a hobby for me, there's nothing more I enjoy then designing a nice card that I hope everyone will enjoy receiving.

EQSL is a completely free resource if you just want the basic functions, but for as little as $5 (about £3) you can upgrade your membership to bronze which will give you the opportunity to choose various formats which includes uploading your own design.  Even if you're not familiar with programs such as Photoshop you can still upload images which will work perfectly okay with the program. 

More and more people are starting to use eQSL nowadays, postage is not getting cheaper, in fact it's incredibly expensive in the UK to send even one card abroad, imagine what it's like having to send 500 cards to people around the world, that's several hundred pounds if people haven't contributed to the postage costs.  I can't speak for everyone but I simply cannot afford to send cards directly anymore, therefore I have now implemented a policy where I am no longer sending cards directly or through the bureau.

It's not just the cost that is a major factor of why electronic QSLing is the way to go nowadays, it's also the fact that many disabled people simply cannot write their own cards, so it makes sense that using the computer is the best option for exchanging cards with other radio amateurs.

I would please urge all radio amateurs who are not yet using the computer to exchange cards to please consider it, think about those of us who only use this method, it's really simple to join up with eQSL and I have already said it's extremely cheap.


Tagged in: Electronic QSL eQSL
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Posted by on in Amateur Radio Talk

Amateur radio is supposed to be a hobby that brings people from all around the world together in harmony, it's a hobby that should allow people who don't speak the same language to unite and become friends with out the need to speak the same language. I got into radio to make friends around the world, I certainly didn't join this hobby to get into arguments with my fellow amateur radio operators.

I need only mention the frequency 14.195 MHz how many of you well know exactly what goes on there on a daily basis. If you haven't had the pleasure (said with tongue in cheek) of tuning into this frequency then have a listen to the couple of videos that I have included with this post. I'm not entirely sure what the ins and outs are of how this ongoing argument started, however I believe it was because a well-known Italian amateur radio operator IT9RYH who everybody knows as Nino sits on 14.195 MHz and has basically claimed it as his own frequency. 14.195 MHz is unofficially a designated DX calling frequency so radio amateurs around the world recognise this and don't sit on the frequency rag chewing. Since this is just one frequency and there is plenty of other space on the spectrum I can't see why anyone would want to deliberately go out of their way to annoy other amateur radio operators, which is obviously what has been going on for the last few years. I'm quite sure that  IT9RYH is a nice chap at the end of the day, but for crying out loud why continue this ridiculous and childish behaviour? Nobody has the power to force him off the frequency, but why on earth he would want to single-handedly turn the whole amateur radio fraternity against himself is anyone's guess.

Now we've mentioned Nino and his antics, we must also address the behaviour of the so-called amateur radio police who think it is perfectly okay to shout abuse, attempt to jam the frequency, play music and recordings of other amateur radio operators. They are not helping in any way whatsoever, in fact they are worse than Nino, playing music, shouting abuse is a lot worse than one person using a frequency that is at the end of the day is there for anyone to use, whether it is an unofficial DX freq or not.


Tagged in: 14.195 MHZ IT9RYH
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I must have been living under a rock for the last few years because I only just found out about the goings-on on 14.195. I tuned into the frequency this afternoon and quite frankly was gobsmacked by the immaturity of some amateur radio operators out there. I don't know why so-called amateur radio operators have to behave the way they do. I have no idea who this Nino (IT9RYH) character is, I have never spoken to him before. However, he may well upset people by monopolising one particular frequency and insisting that it belongs to him and nobody else, but that doesn't excuse the antics and behaviour of all the other amateurs who seem to have taken a dislike to this character. I couldn't care less whether he monopolises 14.195, there are plenty of other frequencies to use, I would suggest that people grow up and get a life and stop goading him because this is a really nasty side to amateur radio that is just giving it a bad name. From what I heard today, IT9RYH was not doing or saying anything that I would class as offensive or illegal. As far as I'm concerned anyone who plays music, tries to jam the frequency, shouts obscenities should have their licence revoked.

I have posted a video to YouTube the can see what was going on today, and actually got worse after I stopped recording. But I guess many of you already know about what goes on on that frequency


Tagged in: IT9RYH
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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Ronald
    Ronald says #
    You can always use the one button all rigs have: "OFF"
  • Ronald
    Ronald says #
    I have found 2 easy ways to get around this problem. One is to change frequency myself as we have so much space anyway. The other

Posted by on in Amateur Radio Talk

For those of you who like tweeting, in other words have got a twitter account then you can follow me on twitter if you wish. I basically use it to announce what frequencies I'm using one may be anybody interesting I may be talking to. Am also going to announce any YouTube videos that I've made that I think you may find interesting. So come on, follow me on twitter


Follow me on twitter here

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Posted by on in Interesting ham radio websites

I happened to notice that http://www.websdr.org/ is back online after being off air for a few months. They also seem to be including a few more remote stations on the website as well. In case you don't know what this website does, basically they left various bromate stations around the world which broadcast on various frequencies on the amateur radio bands. I actually like using it model myself on 40 m, if you tune into the same frequency on the computer and your radio, you can often hear yourself if the propagation is running into that particular parts of the world that the remote station is set up.

Check it out, you can probably waste a couple of hours tuning around. Remember that you will need JavaScript installed and up-to-date. A few of them don't work for me, I have no idea why sto


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Now that winter has arrived and the days are getting shorter most of the HF bands are closing down reasonably early, probably closed by about seven o'clock in the evening. However, I was tuning around 20 m this evening, about 7:45 PM and I came across an extremely strong station obviously working into Europe. The station was W1AW, the callsign for the headquarters of the American Radio Relay League. Ironically it was Ron who was on the microphone, the last time I spoke to W1AW, Ron was also on the microphone then. I thought I would check out their headquarters on Google Street view, I took the screenshot to you could also see it. I'm sure you would agree that they have a very impressive station  with obviously very understanding neighbours.

American Radio Relay League

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