15m Dead As A Door Nail

Band is open, no one is home. Had a SSB qso for 30mins with a friend of mine, on 15m, good signals both ways, he is on a beam, I am on a vertical, between us we should have been making enough noise to attract someone’s attention somewhere. But no, not a single breaker, no callers at the end, nothing. Just a bunch of crickets.

So i dropped down to CW and called a little just to see where I was being heard. VK, ZL, WANK, I was putting some signal somewhere, after calling for 10mins i gave it up as a waste of time just like I did a few days earlier when I was being heard in JA, EA and HS.

My mate had done the same thing, he was spotted in a few more places and after 30mins made 1 contact. So where the hell is everyone? Drop to FT8 and work a bunch of stations. But SSB and CW, its crickets.


The Gilligan’s Island Desk Mic

Things often change and this is actually a big one for me. For just about forever I have used a headset and would probably use it still for contests, but for daily driving, I have been using my headset as a huge hand mic. Not the best way of doing things, but it was getting the job done.

I did dig out the hand mic and was using it for the last couple of days, but for a while now, I have had the idea to build a desk mic. Yeah you can buy them, yeah they are not all that cheap, but what always got me with them is that you really had no way to adjust them to fit your own unique needs.

So we have the above. The Gilligan is born. Its not the final product, it is just a mock up in wood to get the shape and dimensions just right for what i need. What will come after this is something similar but in steel with either a nice hammer tone finish or polished to a high shine.

The insert is out of a CB mic i bought off ebay, I have had it on the air for a quick test with Steve VK3KTT and from the video he sent back, it sounds just fine to me. Nice, clean and natural sounding. Cant ask for more, now I just need to buy the steel and get welding.


Radial Plate

Doing a permanent install of the 40m vertical that I use and figured it needed a radial plate to make it look all pretty like. So I made one out of some 2mm aluminium scrap i had laying about.

A little bit of marking out.

A little bit of cutting out with the grinder cause I was lazy.

And finally a little bit of drilled out and ready to rumble, I added the angled bracket for installing a balun, unun or a remote tuner on.


Propagating For The Great Wall Of Lavender

HAHA so much for working on antenna stuff today. Its a nice sunny day, after a week of miserable drizzly shit weather. So today we are propagating plants for the great wall of lavender. The process is simple enough.

Take the cuttings about yay long.

Strip off at least 3 nodes worth of leaves and tip out the top. Cut the base in a diagonal and remove a strip of bark.

Place the prepared cutting in seed raising trays

Get a shit load of them done, in this case its 6 each of 12 different varieties of lavender.

Put them in the green house and give them some water. Keep moist and in a month or so they will have grown roots, and a month after that be ready to pot up to grow on to get them big enough to plant out.

In a few months they will look like this.

And this. And when the latest 75 are ready for potting up, the previous ones will donate they pots back so that the cycle continues. Its all good fun.


Antenna Traps

Actual doing stuff and building stuff ham radio kind of stuff has been rather absent from the blog for some time. Mostly I have been doing things around the house and in the garden.  But I have fully reassembled the radio room now and have all my toys setup. Son inlaw the electrician was down a couple months back and connected all the power up that I ran. So The room is now A1, tip top and ridgy didge.

I have actually not been as absent from radio stuff as it might seem. There has been stuff going on in the background and others taking up a lot of my thinking time :), you know, old men need to think a lot or as the wife puts it, PROCRASTINATE.

So what has actually been taking up my thinking time is antennas. Namely, now i have the space and lack of noise, what am i going to do for the antenna situation. After lots of iterations and ideas, I think a beam is actually in my future, a dual band, maybe tri band yagi.

Sun spots are on the up, 10m has been open for days and 15m as well and they are only going to get better for the next 4 years, so i will start there. With that in mind, I needed to play with traps and trap design to get that solid in the mind so I can focus on the interesting part of mechanical design and engineering.

A trap is simple enough, its an inductor paralleled with a capacitor. So i knocked one up to test and play with for 29Mhz. 1.1uH and 27pF and well, it came out at 28Mhz but that’s ok, for now, its not like I can use a 50V cap on an antenna that’s seeing 100’s to 1000’s of volts, at one port. The actual cap used will be made from aluminum tube most likely.

Next is to make another and use them in a wire dipole and get that working dual band for 10 and 15m before i head to the big smoke and buy the tubing I need and other bits to make a yagi. I am not really an antenna guy, but sometimes one has just gotta do what they gotta do.

Antenna up.



Its been a tough year trying to grow tomatoes. First crop failed due to rain, 2nd one was not far off it either, but we managed to get some to eat and some to preserve as pasta sauce,


Chilies on the other hand have done ok. Made a few jars of Sambal and a few jars of sauce. Ring burn material. 🙂