This is my dream rig!! I own an FT-450 which is okay but the Icom 7610 it's in it's own class!! If anyone would like to donate towards the new rig fun it would be most welcome.

QRZ.com

I've resisted purchasing an HF linear amplifier for many years which was made a lot easier by the fact that they were well out of my price range and there's no way that the station manager would allow it! Roll forwards about 20 years to 2020 and things have changed a little. For one thing, this brilliant linear amplifier kit has been produced by M0HZH Razvan. For $379 you can buy the kit which comprises the main amplifier board that uses two MRF300 MOSFETs to provide 600w of power, but for the complete build, you will need to add the bandpass filter board, a heatsink, case, the rear connection board, and the control unit, oh and of course a 48v DC power supply that can deliver around 25amps and these don't come cheap, the one in the photo below was £360 but it is capable of continually delivering a current of 31amps. The SMD devices are already pre-soldered on to the board which is a godsend if your eyesight isn't great. Razvan says that for optimal performance, the heatsink should have a thermal resistance of 0.1C/W or better at full fan speed and on his instructions, he gives you a recommended part which is from RS components part number 903-3147 and is £59.54

The PCB is a ground plane design with the underside being totally bare which means that you can get maximum contact with the heatsink. The only component that requires an insulator is the voltage regulator which is at the top of the board and comes supplied with the insulator sheet and plastic spacer for the fixing screw.

The first steps in building the amplifier board are to wind the transformers and inductors. I found this to be okay for the most part but the hardline that is used for T1, 2, and 3 was quite hard to get the required number of turns and not run out of the hardline, the supplied length for me was literally barely enough to complete all three of them.

The complete build of the amplifier board took me a lazy three evening sessions of about two hours each. I was able to do most of the build whilst taking part in the Wednesday night Crawley Amateur radio club meeting on Webex. The only real issue that I had was tapping the holes for the screws to secure the board to the heatsink. On one hole my cheap M4 tap snapped which was a royal pain in the arse! Cheap Chinese crappy tap set serves me right for skimping! And then one of the cap head screws head snapped off with barely any effort! Being a cheap arse doesn't pay sometimes. It just caused me another couple of hours of getting annoyed whilst I was getting both offending items out of the heatsink.

To house the completed project I'm looking at putting the completed amplifier with filter board, the back panel board and control board in a 4U rackmount case. More on this next time when I've bought the low pass filter board which is $249 and the back panel board which is $119

 

 

My family has been long time subscribers of the digital magazine platform which is called Readly, they offer thousands of mainstream magazine titles that my whole family has enjoyed and as a result saved probably thousands of pounds by now (pounds as in UK currency). This month I've found out that they have now added Practical Wireless and Radio User to their line up which has made my day. Now I get all my magazines in one app and for only £7.99 a month which includes access for the account holder and four other users. You can't lose, well unless you really can't do without the paper copy that is! Best of all you can try it free for the first month. They have apps for iOS and Android and you can also read the magazines in the browser on your computer. I tend to do a combination of phone, tablet and laptop depending what I'm doing at the time. 

Just a few other titles for example that are available are Hackspace, MagPi, Linux Format, Computer Music, Practical Photoshop, Professional Audio, Street Trucks....... I could go on and on. Easier if you just check it out yourself.

I'm not gaining anything from telling you this, I just want you to be able to enjoy as many magazines as you could possibly read for only £7.99 a month oh and I forgot to say that they have back issues available free too!

Check them out at https://get.readly.com/V5yuww7-0sLbABk1

Use my link and you get one month for free

For the first time in my life I've joined an amateur radio club. Not because I've had some ephiny but just because I've never had a "local" club when I've had enough free time to go to a club, my life has been very busy and still is but I really wanted to become a club member and start to expand my radio social circle. My local club to me is the Crawley amateur radio club and during lockdown they are having a 10:30am net on 28.430 ssb on Sunday mornings and there's another meeting via WebEx at 8pm on Wednesday evenings in place of the usual meetings at the clubhouse. It might seem to be a weird time to join a club but I felt that I wanted to help keep the club going with my meager contribution during this time when a lot of people might be inclined to withdraw membership.

I'm thoroughly enjoying it so far although my antenna hasn't performed well enough to take part on the Sunday nets so far. Fingers crossed for this Sunday, I'm hoping that my new loop is going to perform well enough that I can take part. I have a 10m vertical antenna which was rubbish, nil points to Nevada radio. I made a full wave delta loop for last weekends net which worked better on receive but I still wasn't heard. So I have all my fingers and toes crossed for this Sunday (17th May) that I'm going to break through with my much larger loop. I will update tomorrow after the net.

 

Why not check out CARC at www.carc.org.uk

For my birthday which was a few weeks ago now, my wife treated me to a new antenna from DX Commander, Callum M0MCX. He's seen a huge increase in the number of sales during the lockdown so there have been a few weeks to wait for the order to be shipped out. I was very happy to see the order shipped notification come through yesterday which said that it should arrive by the 25th of May. So in the meantime I'm playing around erecting a large loop antenna at about 3m from the ground at the lowest point just for receiving.

The DX COMMANDER that I've ordered is the SOTA expedition edition which is a vertical multi-band fan dipole antenna that is very portable and after the first time it's been set up is then relatively quick to assemble and erect. Which makes it a great choice if you want to go portable operation at the top of a hill or to take on holiday in a backpack.

I'm intending on using my one for the most part at the home QTH, so I will assemble it with that in mind. I've already got a modest set of ground radials under the current homebrew vertical which I will be reusing and adding some more from the new antenna.

All I need now is for the courier to deliver it. *** Apparently it's going to arrive by Hermes by the 26th May so fingers crossed.

Update: It's arrived!!