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BITS 'n' BOBS  -  A place for photographs, news, developments, events and other 'bits 'n' pieces'

Windows_10_and_Ham_RadioWindows 10  -  What I have found works with Microsoft's new Windows 10 operating system

In March 2016 I decided to take the plunge and buy a new Windows 10 laptop to replace my ancient and creaking Fujitsu XP laptop. I opted for an HP ProBook 455 G3 Notebook from ebuyer which seemed ideal for use in the radio shack with good specifications and a really neat design. I was, however, nervous that the devices and programs that I use may not run under Windows 10.

I will therefore add notes of my experiences with Windows 10 to this page  My initial observation is that the new HP ProBook 455 G3 is fast and sleek with a decent screen and keyboard and that Windows 10 may be the best Operating System yet, but what of the programs and device drivers? Read more here >.

Icom_IC-7300_launch_March_2016The launch of the Icom IC-7300

Saturday 12th March 2016 at Martin Lynch and Sons. 

Martin Lynch and Sons website at www.hamradio.co.uk

100 Watt - HF/50/70MHz transceiver with SSB / CW / RTTY / AM / FM  -  January 2016 official brochure

FreeDV_digital_voice_for_HFFREE DV - Open Source Digital Audio for HF !

FreeDV is Open Source Software released under the GNU Public License version 2.1 - no proprietary software or codecs involved.

Notes for users of the Tigertronics SignaLink USB interface:  The SignaLink USB interface can be rather noisy and suffer with an uneven audio frequency response. Here are some notes that may help users modify and improve the noisy Tigertronics interface : https://freedv.org/tiki-index.php?page=Tigertronics
The ZLP Elelctronis DataLink or MiniProSC may be quieter USB soundcard alternatives : http://www.g4zlp.co.uk/unified/DATA_DigiMaster.htm

Some links to Free DV information that may be useful:

TERRY WOGAN - 3rd August 1938 to 31st January 2016
A tribute by Mike Brown on CHBN Radio Cornwall - 5th February 2016

On Friday 5th February 2016 Mike Brown's The Friday Alternative on CHBN Radio paid tribute to Terry Wogan by playing some of the songs that listeners have associated with him over the many years in which he presented the BBC Radio 2 breakfast programme.  Mike invited listeners to suggest any songs and/or memories which meant 'Terry Wogan' to them.

The TFA programme has now been uploaded to mixcloud with some extra bonus material which Mike couldn't fit into the live broadcast - it's all at http://www.mixcloud.com/FridayAlternative

Part 1

The Friday Alternative - 5-Feb-2016 - part 1 - A Tribute to Terry Wogan by The Friday Alternative on Mixcloud

Part 2

The Friday Alternative - 5-Feb-2016 - part 2 - A tribute to Terry Wogan by The Friday Alternative on Mixcloud

Part 3

The Friday Alternative - 5-Feb-2016 - part 3 - More Me Time by The Friday Alternative on Mixcloud


20th MARCH 2016
Wythall Radio Club HQ, Wythall Park, Silver St, Wythall B47 6LZ.
The venue has car parking as well as disabled facilities. Doors open at 9.30/10am and admission is £3.50. There will be trade stands as well as a licensed bar and catering facilities. Details from Mike on 07976 744 479 or by email to rally@g4vpd.com. http://wythallradioclub.co.uk

4th SEPTEMBER 2016
Enginuity Technology Centre, Coalbrookdale, Telford TF8 7DU.
Doors open at 10am. More information from Martyn, G3UKV on 01952 255 416. www.telfordhamfest.co.uk

Newark & Nottinghamshire Showground, Lincoln Road, Winthorpe, Newark, Nottinghamshire NG24 2NY.
Brought to you by the RSGB in association with the Lincoln Short Wave Club. The venue has free car parking and has disabled facilities. There will be trade stands, a Bring & Buy, car boot area, flea market, special interest groups and RSGB bookstall. There will also be representatives from the RSGB Services and committees. Morse proficiency test will be available. The venue has catering outlets and a seating area. www.nationalhamfest.org.uk

FULL LIST available on the RSGB website here: 

MERRY CHRISTMAS from M0MTJ and M6ORS  -  Have a wonderful day !!


James_Clerk_MaxwellThe Genius of James Clerk Maxwell  -  electromagnetic waves:

Will Self embarks on a road trip from Edinburgh to Cambridge on the trail of Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell who 150 years ago pioneered the theory of the electromagnetic waves which made radio, television, satellite communication, radar, GPS, mobile phones possible and, of course, Amateur Radio!

Listen to or download all five episodes from the BBC Radio website here:

In a bid to understand Maxwell and his achievements, Will plans to drive 600 miles in an electric car, stopping off at locations relevant to the much neglected 19th century physicist.

Will's trip starts promisingly enough when he has a chance encounter with Nobel prize-winning physicist Sir Peter Higgs on an Edinburgh back street not far from Maxwell's birthplace. But things then start to go awry as Will has a rather less welcome run-in in a multi-storey car park...


"Maxwell" - a BBC Radio 4 feature by Melvyn Bragg

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and ideas of James Clerk Maxwell whose work is not widely known, but whose genius and contribution to the age in which we live is enormous.He took the first colour photograph, defined the nature of gases and with a few mathematical equations expressed all the fundamental laws of light, electricity and magnetism - and in doing so he provided the tools to create the technological age, from radar to radio and televisions to mobile phones. He is credited with fundamentally changing our view of reality, so much so that Albert Einstein said, “One scientific epoch ended and another began with James Clerk Maxwell”. But who was James Clerk Maxwell? What were his ideas, and does this nineteenth century ‘natural philosopher’ deserve a place alongside Newton and Einstein in the pantheon of science? With Simon Schaffer, Reader in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge; Peter Harman, Professor of the History of Science at Lancaster University and editor of The Scientific Letters and Papers of James Clerk Maxwell; Joanna Haigh, Professor of Atmospheric Physics at Imperial College London.


Download MP3 : http://open.live.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/5/redir/version/2.0/mediaset/audio-nondrm-download/proto/http/vpid/p02q5y48.mp3

Listen to Marconi’s voice

The Essex Record Office has released a sound recording that includes the second part of a speech by Marconi, delivered at the unveiling of the Fisk Memorial in Australia.

In the speech, Marconi forecast the impact that wireless communication will have on ship navigation and on the world economy in general.

The Fisk Memorial commemorated the first direct wireless message sent from the UK to Australia in 1918.


Second part of a speech made by Guglielmo Marconi on the occasion of the unveiling of the 'Fisk Memorial' at Wahroonga, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 14 December 1935 (the disc is incorrectly labelled). The 'Fisk Memorial' commemorates the first direct wireless message sent from the U.K. to Australia, in 1918.

In the speech, Marconi forecasts the impact that wireless communication will have on ship navigation, but also the world economy generally. Would he be surprised by how accurate he was in his prediction that 'no country can make much headway' without such technology?

From RSGB News November 20, 2015:


Lots of updates from G Whip Antennas!

G Whip Antennas will be at The West London Radio & Electronics Fair at Kempton Park on Sunday 8th November 2015 at 10am http://www.radiofairs.co.uk/

G Whip Antennas manufacture Mobile, Base multi-band and Single band antennas, PTFE/Teflon Baluns, Dipoles, Windoms and Resonant End Fed antennas, all made from Kevlar and now give FREE accessories:  For mini baluns...........Free end insulators and wire locks, Free solder tags and heatshrink, Free thimbles for the lines, Free self amalgamating tape and free cable ties.   For the larger baluns; Free end insulators and SS wire locks, Free solder tags and heatshrink, free thimbles and SS wire locks.

Stacks more new bits on the site archives : www.gwhip.co.uk
Professional & Amateur HF Antenna Design : www.hfcommsystems.com

TX Factor makes youth video for RSGB

The short video Amateur Radio: A Hobby for the 21st Century was produced by TX Factor for the RSGB and is intended as an introduction to amateur radio for young people.

This video can be freely downloaded from the RSGB website by any one for use in the furtherance of amateur radio: http://rsgb.org/main/get-started-in-amateur-radio/amateur-radio-a-hobby-for-the-21st-century/   -  Please read the conditions of use before downloading the video.



Ofcom to start revoking lapsed licenses     
(Information compiled by Pete M0PSX of Essex Ham)

Ofcom has announced that it is shortly to start revoking amateur radio licenses that have not been re-validated in accordance with licence conditions.

A notice has been published on the Ofcom site stating that licenses that have not been re-validated in the 5 year window will be revoked. The first batch of licenses, which were due for re-validation between September 2012 and January 2013 will be the first to be revoked.

The current “Lifetime licence” started in 2006 with a clause stating that holders are required to validate their details are correct at least once every 5 years. Ofcom has attempted to contact amateurs whose licenses need to re-validated via their last known postal address letting that know that if they fail to comply, they’ll lose their licence

According to the report on Southgate News, around 10,000 licences are set to be revoked in this first batch, unless the owners of the licensed take swift action

For the text of the announcement, see Revalidation – notification of Ofcom’s proposal to revoke Amateur Radio licences

How to re-validate your licence:

The easiest way to re-validate your licence is online via services.ofcom.org.uk

See our guide How to validate your licence. Alternatively, contact Ofcom on 0207 981 1313

Please pass this announcement along to anyone you feel may not have re-validated or may have moved in the last few years. You may also want to forward this to the secretary of your local club, so that club members can be advised.

Related Links:
Validate your licence (Ofcom site - You will need your log on details)
Notification of Ofcom’s proposal to revoke Amateur Radio licenses
The Essex Ham guide on how to validate your licence

Big Mart's Brackets - Now Available from Rosscomm Radio Communications

Big Mart's Brackets - Available from Rosscomm Radio Communications

The National Hamfest 2015 - Photographs :  Held on Friday the 25th and Saturday 26 September at the Newark Showground in Nottinghamshire.  I attended on Saturday, as usual. It was a really enjoyable event once again this year. The weather was amazing, blue skies, warm and sunny. It was great to meet up with friends Angel, Eva and Victor.

As always there was a huge amount to see - as always far too much to fit into one day!  Plenty of good bargains too; thanks to the RSGB Bookshop, Will at Bowood Electronics, Richard at Martin Lynch and Sons, Mike at Mickey's Electronics, PEAK Electronics, Mastrant Ropes, Richard at SOTA-Beams and the RSGB EMC team.

A great day.  Here's to next year!

Coaxial Loss Calculator and Power Compensator : A Microsoft Excel based calculator which is a valuable tool to simply and quickly calculate coax lengths and losses. You can download Coaxial Length Calculator for free but you will need Microsoft Excel to use it or another spreadsheet program capable of using Excel. By Steve Burrows M5BXB  -  http://www.m5bxb.com/coaxlengthcalc.htm

Hillmap.com is a web based mapping app that lets backcountry travelers create and print free, customizable maps from high quality map layers.  You can also use hillmap tools to calculate slope, check the weather at your destination, analyze snowpack, and more  -  http://www.hillmap.com/

Radio Amateur Examination Changes :
(Sept 2015) Changes to the Intermediate Radio Amateur Examinations detailed in this document:

Radio Communications Foundation :
The wonder of radio – you cannot see it, touch it, or smell it but it is all around us. It provides the basis for mobile phone systems, broadcasting, local area networks, satellite navigation, alarms, environmental monitoring and so much more that we now take for granted in our everyday world. It is the vital enabling technology that provides the backbone for today’s digital Britain - http://www.commsfoundation.org/

TELFORD HAMFEST September 2015 :

John Humphreys M0JZH talks to Eric Smith on BBC Radio Shropshire.
There is also a clip of Ryan Kennedy mentioning the Hamfest on his following programme:

PLAY> Listen to the Audio - click on the link:
John Humphreys M0JZH talks to Eric Smith on BBC Radio Shropshire 05/09/2015

Eric Smith - BBC Radio Shropshire

OUR VISIT TO CYPRUS in August 2015

We enjoyed a lovely holiday in Cyprus in August 2015. If you'd like to see some photographs, please click one of the links below. One set of photographs is a general set, mainly of scenic views.  The other set of photographs may be interesting if you're a keen radio enthusiast who likes spotting radio and television masts and towers. I spotted a few during our visit !

PHOTOGRAPHS  -  Transmitter Masts in Cyprus - August 2015

PHOTOGRAPHS  -  Our Holiday in Cyprus in August 2015

Before leaving for Cyprus, I ensured that I had made the necessary preparations to be able to operate in another country. I have noted this information on a new page, in case it is of use to other Radio Amateurs. It is, of course, specifically for Southern Cyprus (Greek Cypriot), but the general CEPT conditions mentioned also apply to other countries. Read more here>


Icom OPC-1529R and OPC-2218LU Cables  - Make your own and SAVE up to £40.00  -  by MØMTJ

M0MTJ_OPC-1529R_Serial_CableA very simple project that will produce an Data Communication Cable that is equivalent to the Icom OPC-1529R and /or OPC-2218LU for a fraction of the cost of the Icom branded cable!

These cables are used for the Icom ID-5100, IC-2200, IC-U82, IC-V82 ID-E880 and IC-E2820 :

OPC-1529R  -  Commercial Cost  =  £26.00   -   My Cost = £2.50 (!!!)  : The OPC-1529R is a Data communication cable with RS-232C port connector

OPC-2218LU  -  Commercial Cost = £55.00   -  My Cost = £17.50 (!!!) : The OPC-2218LU is a Data communication cable with USB port A  (USB 1.1 or 2.0)

Read More Here

Icom Announce Exciting New Transceiver at the Tokyo Ham Fair 2015 - Icom IC-7300

Icom IC-7300 -  announced August 2015

Icom Inc. launched the innovative IC-7300 HF / 50 / 70MHz Transceiver at Tokyo Ham Fair 2015 where they had a huge amount of interest. The launch, which caught most people by surprise, saw the manufacturer introduce a new base station transceiver incorporating the latest RF direct sampling system, a first for an Amateur radio transceiver*.   [ * Researched by Icom Inc, among major Amateur radio manufacturers ]

The IC-7300 transceiver, an aesthetically attractive looking base station, features a 4.3 inch touch screen colour TFT LCD display with a high performance real time band scope.

A first for an Amateur radio transceiver, the IC-7300 uses a RF Direct Sampling System, a technology normally seen in Software Defined Radios. RF signals are mostly processed through the FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array), rather than by physical devices enabling high performance real-time spectrum scope in a compact body.

The IC-7300 includes a built-in integrated wide-frequency Automatic Antenna Matching Unit making it ideal for field operation. The radio provides 100 watts output power on HF/50MHz bands and 50 watts on 70MHz (European versions only).

Icom Inc. has produced a pre-release leaflet for the IC-7300 which you can download from this page. This information is preliminary and a full document will be made available nearer to the product's launch. So far, we have no details about pricing and availability.

Click this link to download the leaflet: http://www.icomuk.co.uk/getFile.asp?categoryID=3508&cCID=18526&fFID=244

The Icom IC-7300 is a direct sampling Software Defined Radio that uses a 124MHz ADC, although Icom hasn't yet confirmed the details of the  ADC that will be used in the production sets. The radio includes an internal automatic antenna matching unit and measures 238mm x 240mm x 95mm. Power output is 100W on HF and 6m with 50 Watts on 4m for the European IC-7300. However, Icom will produce a 50 Watt version, the IC-7300M, and a 10 Watt version, the IC-7300S, for the Japanese market. Price is unknown (26/08/2015) but there is speculation that it could be around 150,000 Yen; $1200.00 USD; €1100.00 Euro.

Note : The 70MHz / 4 Metre Band is included in the European version.

Icom UK News : http://www.icomuk.co.uk/News_Article/3508/18526/


National Hamfest 2015  and  Telford Hamfest 2015

I am now looking forward to two Hamfests!  The Telford Hamfest takes placeSunday 6th September 2015. The venue is at Enginuity, Coalbrookdale Telford, Shropshire. The GPS Navigation post code is TF8 7DU and is just a few minutes (4 miles) journey south from the M54 (J6) at Telford. I always try to visit the Telford Hamfest as it is packed with interesting traders and stands, and I generally pick up something useful.

The National Hamfest is the UK's main event. It is held at Newark in Nottinghamshire and, despite being 2 hours drive from my QTH, is another rally that I always try to attend. All the major manufacturers and retailers are present, together with plenty of other traders, car boot stands,the RSGB and Ofcom. There really is so much to see and do that visiting for just one day is not enough. However, the event is held over two days, Friday and Saturday, so it would be possible to attend on both days! Gates open at 09:30 on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th September 2015.

Telford Hamfest website : http://www.telfordhamfest.org.uk/

Telford and District Amateur Radio Society website : http://www.tdars.org.uk/

National Hamfest website : http://www.nationalhamfest.org.uk/

Amateur Radio  -  A very valid and useful technology
  From The Radio Society Of Great Britain:

Amateur radio—and by amateur we mean ‘unpaid’ rather than ‘unprofessional’—has always been at the cutting edge of developments in science and technology. In 1924, Cecil Goyder, 2SZ, made history with the first two-way radio communication across the globe, when from London he established contact with Frank Bell, 4AA a sheep farmer in New Zealand. Today, Howard Long, G6LVB a British amateur, has designed and sold many thousands of his Funcube Dongle which is used by radio amateurs, universities and schools to receive, at low cost, both satellite and other signals.

Today, Radio Amateurs may use digital voice with data and have extensive networks linked through the internet. There is also an amateur radio designed codec for voice. Software-defined radio (SDR) is in the ascendancy with both transmitting and receiving being increasingly software-defined; in fact it is the hidden part of many consumer electronic devices that we take for granted these days.

Within the realm of amateur radio there is also the amateur satellite service. In the last 40 years over 40 ‘traditional’ amateur satellites have been launched and the numbers are increasing as micro or CubeSats are developed. Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) is one of the UK companies involved in designing a number of these satellites. It grew from the work of a group of amateurs at the University of Surrey into a company that now employs some 600 staff with a turnover of £125m.

For many of our Members, an early interest in amateur radio has led to a cutting-edge career in science and technology. As the UK’s national society for radio amateurs, we have a number of initiatives underway to try to bring practical skills to school groups. In one of those, we’re working in partnership with ESA and ARISS through the mission of astronaut Tim Peake, to encourage schools to participate in a wide variety of science-related activities. Tim has challenged schools to suggest digital experiments he can carry out in space using Raspberry-Pi computers. He will also make contact with a number of schools via amateur radio while he’s in orbit, and answer questions from pupils based round his science experiments.

Our newly-formed Youth Committee would take to task anyone who dared to suggest that amateur radio was an old person’s hobby! They are building links with schools and other youth-oriented groups, introducing young people to a wide range of radio-related activities, most of which depend on computer links in some form or other. They have organised their first DXpedition to Wales later this month and will be taking part in a variety of activities including transmitting from the tops of summits, amateur radio direction finding (ARDF), creating videos and using software and social media to share their experiences.

So, amateur radio is alive and well. Whilst it has an important role to play in the crises that arise out of natural disasters like the recent one in Nepal, the technological expertise of its operators also continues to push forward the boundaries of science in every form.

Whether you enjoy writing software, getting hands-on with practical equipment, developing new technology or simply want to use what’s already there to communicate with others across the world, you’ll find all of this, and more, within amateur radio.  From the RSGB, The Radio Society of Great Britain  -  http://rsgb.org

New Antenna Page:

An Experimental Omni-Directional - Circularly (Mixed) Polarized Antenna for VHF / 2 Meters - > See Antennas page 7 >>

M0MTJ Circularly Polarised
                              Omnidirectional Antenna

New Ham Radio Training Academy

Martin Lynch & Sons announce the new “Ham Radio Training Academy”  located at ML&S, Wessex House, in Staines upon Thames:

"A large dedicated area on the first floor is currently under way for a purpose built training school for prospective candidates to gain the Foundation, Intermediate and eventually Advanced Ham Radio exams.

The training facility will be run by at least three long term Radio Hams together with assistance from two local Radio Clubs. With combined experience in the three levels of examination,  courses are scheduled to take place during September of 2015. In addition, at least one member from Martins engineering team will be on site, voluntarily to assist.

To realise the maximum utilisation of the new training academy, it is also planned that other lectures, demonstrations and events are held at Wessex House. Initial proposals include “Learning Morse Code in the 21st Century”, underlining the efficiency of the mode in getting messages across with simple means over very long distances. Two FOC members and experts will introduce Morse code and how to get started with modern software tools for learning.  How to use a modern Ham Radio station and maximise efficiency throughout careful design and planning of the entire “Shack”. Aimed at all levels of Ham Radio operation starting at the most basic set up through to the far more advanced, experienced Ham radio operators will pass on their years of experience.

Most of all the new training academy will be a centre promoting excellence in all aspects of Ham Radio from getting through your foundation licence, making your first QSO through to working DX and running DX-peditions".

For more information please visit ML&S website here:  http://www.hamradio.co.uk/training.php

undation Course Online  -  Get Your Amateur Radio Licence!

To help people get started in Amateur Radio, Essex Ham has launched Foundation Online, an online course to enable home study. The course consists of nine modules including guided lessons, video tutorials and short tests. The course follows the RSGB's Foundation Now! course book.

Essex Ham explains: "Our Internet-based amateur radio course launched in 2015 and is designed to help the following people:

- Those who prefer home study or distance-learning
- Those looking to have a dry run of a course before taking the plunge
- Those already on an amateur radio course looking to supplement their learning
- Those struggling with a particular topic
- Those who struggle to learn from a book, and want something a little more interactive.
Note – Those looking to get an amateur radio licence will need to complete the Foundation practicals with a registered assessor, and sit the Foundation exam. Clubs and assessors around the UK can help with training courses, practicals and exams. This course is intended to compliment other training in the UK, not to replace it."

For more details about Essex Ham's Foundation Online visit their web page : www.hamtrain.co.uk   http://www.essexham.co.uk/foundation-online

Additional resources:

Essex Ham : Supporting Amateur Radio in Essex : http://www.essexham.co.uk/

RSGB : http://rsgb.org/

Getting Started : http://rsgb.org/main/get-started-in-amateur-radio/getting-started-introduction/

Foundation Now! training book : http://www.rsgbshop.org

Radcom : http://rsgb.org/main/publications-archives/radcom/

More Getting Licensed resources : http://www.mds975.co.uk/Content/amateur_radio_links.html#licensing

Get Your Amateur
                              Radio Licence!

Operating Abroad and in Cyprus
(Southern Cyprus)

We enjoyed a lovely holiday in Cyprus in August 2015. Before leaving, I ensured that I had made the necessary preparations to be able to operate in another country. I have noted this information on a new page, in case it is of use to other Radio Amateurs. It is, of course, specifically for Southern Cyprus (Greek Cypriot), but the general CEPT conditions mentioned also apply to other countries. Read more here>

BBC Radio Shropshire
BBC Radio Shropshire - "Jim Hawkins in the Morning" - Jim Hawkins talks to me about Amateur Radio

Jim invited a discussion on things that listeners had built, either from scratch or from a kit. I emailed my stories of building various projects and antennas to Jim and he rang me back. Here's a recording of the short conversation about the magic of radio communication on BBC Radio Shropshire on July 14th 2015:

PLAY> Listen to the Audio - Jim Hawkins talks to Mike Smith MØMTJ about Amateur Radio on BBC Radio Shropshire

Related Links :

BBC Radio Shropshire 96.0 FM : http://www.bbc.co.uk/radioshropshire

M0MTJ page on QRZ : http://www.qrz.com/db/M0MTJ

Telford and District Amateur Radio Society (TDARS) : http://www.tdars.org.uk/

Telford Hamfest at Enginuity, Ironbridge, Sunday 6th September 2015 : http://www.telfordhamfest.org.uk/

Tom Robinson - Listen To The Radio : http://www.tomrobinson.com

Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) : http://rsgb.org/

Operating Abroad in Cyprus : http://www.mds975.co.uk/Content/amateur_radio_operating_in_cyprus.html

The CODE BREAKERS in World War One:

PLAY> BBC Radio Four - The World At One discusses WW1 Code Breakers - 29/07/2015    NEW !!!!!

"AMATEUR RADIO HITS THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA"   -  From GB2RS  -  The News Service of the RSGB 7th Aug 2015   NEW !!!!!  :
[Original story : http://rsgb.org/main/blog/news/gb2rs/headlines/2015/08/07/amateur-radio-hits-mainstream-media/ ]

"Amateur radio has featured regularly in the local and national news during the last couple of weeks.

Kevin, G7BCS, the Chair of Farnborough and District Radio Society, was interviewed on 25 July by James Cannon on BBC Radio Surrey. You can listen to the audio below:

Holly Thomas, aged 10, was interviewed by the Welsh media after gaining her Foundation licence. She is one of the youngest Welsh persons to achieve the licence, and is a great example of all the young operators who are now enjoying amateur radio. See below.

RSGB Member Adrian, 2E0SDR made contact with an ISS astronaut, and they chatted for 50 seconds before the station moved out of range. It was reported on BBC Radio 4 and in a number of major national newspapers, where you can read more about his experience". See below.

James Cannon BBC Radio Surrey
Kevin G7BCS talks to James Cannon about Amateur Radio on BBC Radio Surrey (25th July 2015)

PLAY> Listen to the Audio :
Kevin G7BCS talks to James Cannon about Amateur Radio on BBC Radio Surrey (25th July 2015)

Swansea girl, 10, youngest to get amateur radio licence  [ from the BBC News Wales ]

Holly Thomas - Radio Amateur - BBC
                          NewsA 10-year-old girl from Swansea has become the youngest holder of an amateur radio licence in Wales. Holly Thomas had to pass exams on mathematics, electronics and health and safety to qualify for the licence. She said she now hopes to make contact with an astronaut on board the International Space Station. Amateur radio operators, or radio hams, have been around since the first half of the 20th century.

Making friends
- Holly said: "I was in my bedroom every day reading, writing, doing mock-exams. I've probably done about 20 mock-exams.
"I love it because you can contact people all over the world and make friends. "Sometimes if you're lucky you can contact astronauts and that's pretty good."

Holly's father, Christopher said she had shown a keen interest in amateur radio from a young age. "Sometimes I'd go into the room and have my radio set up then I'd realise all my settings had been changed. It would take me an hour to put it right because Holly had been pressing all the buttons," he said. It is claimed the "mayday" calls from the Titanic were heard by amateur radio enthusiast Artie Moore from Blackwood in 1912.
[ read the full story on BBC News Wales here ]

Radio ham talks to space station from garden shed - 2E0SDR 
[ from the Daily Telegraph ]

Amateur radio enthusiast Adrian Lane spent 50 seconds chatting to American astronaut as he flew over UK.  Radio enthusiast Adrian Lane, 52, put out a call from his garden shed - and found himself speaking to the International Space Centre.

An amateur radio enthusiast has described how he made contact with the International Space Station from his garden shed. Adrian Lane, 52, a former lorry driver, spent weeks trying to make contact after being told that astronauts were due to pass over his home. The father-of-two plotted the space station’s route and worked out the brief window during which it would be 200 miles overhead, travelling at 18,500mph.

As it came into his frequency he sent out a call with his unique sign and to his astonishment an American astronaut answered back to "welcome him aboard". The station was in range for just four minutes and the pair chatted for around 50 seconds before they lost contact.

Mr Lane, from Coleford, Gloucestershire, admitted that it was a mundane conversation in which he asked what it was like in space and got the response: “Very dark”. But he said it still “blew his mind”. “The adrenaline was pumping a little bit," he said. "I said to them how wonderful earth must look from up there. They said 'oh Adrian, it's amazing, you can't imagine what it looks like from up here'. "He said it was very dark but when you look down at Earth it is full of colour. I basically asked who he was and how things were in space that day. It was such a rush.

"I was buzzing. It's not every day you get to talk to some guy out in space.” Some ISS crew members are known to make unscheduled radio contacts with amateurs, known as hams, during their breaks or at weekends. But Mr Lane spends most of his time using permitted frequencies to talk to fellow enthusiasts around the world.

Meanwhile, ten schools have been shortlisted to make contact with British astronaut Tim Peake via amateur radio when he joins the ISS for a six month stint in December. There will be a ten minute window when the space station is flying over the UK and some of the schools will have the opportunity to make direct contact with him during that time. However, they will not know which have been selected until much nearer the time due to location and timings. [South West News Service - read the full story at the Daily Telegraph here ]

Related Links and References :

BBC Radio Surrey 104.0 & 104.6 MHz FM : http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcsurrey

BBC News : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news

Daily Telegraph : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/

South West News Service : http://swns.com/

Farnborough & District Radio Society : http://www.farnboroughradio.org.uk/

GB2RS News : http://rsgb.org/main/news/gb2rs/

Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) : http://rsgb.org/

M0MTJ page on QRZ : http://www.qrz.com/db/M0MTJ

Modern Radio in Bolton seen in Peter Kay's "Car Share" on BBC Television!

I had been enjoying Peter Kay's 2015 BBC Television comedy "Car Share" very much and was sad when the last episode (6) was shown on 22nd May. In one of the last scenes, as characters John and Kayleigh neared the end of their final car share journey, I immediately noticed Bolton's Modern Radio shop partially shown on one of the exterior shots.

The original and very entertaining comedy also featured, as an audio back-drop, a fantastically realistic creation of a fictional local independent radio station  "Forever FM" playing a music, travel news, jingles and commercials as each journey's sound-track. I am a bit of a Peter Kay fan, and Sian Gibson gives a superb performance in every episode in the series - Well worth watching!

Peter Kay's
                                "Car Share" comedy on BBC
Modern Radio in Bolton seen in Peter Kay's "Car Share"
Series 1, Episode 6, at 22minutes 37seconds

Modern Radio:
101 - 103 Derby Street, Bolton, Lancashire. BL3 6HH  -  Telephone: (01204) 526916  -  http://www.modernradio.co.uk/

Peter Kay's "Car Share"
                                comedy on BBC Television
Peter Kay (John) and Sian Gibson (Kayleigh)
"Car Share"  BBC Television

TX FACTOR  - New Episode MAY 2015  -  Episode 8 (TXF008) TX date 6th May 2015 :

In this extended episode the TX Factor team meet the man at the helm of PW Magazine, the family guys who run Icom UK, two amateurs who help to keep BBC radio on the air and the FUNcube dongle:

In episode 8 you will find out more about Practical Wireless magazine and its editor Don Field G3XTT.  You will also see Broadcasting House, the    headquarters of the BBC in Portland Place and Langham Place in London where The TX Factor team  talk to Jim Lee G4AEH, Jonathan   
Kempster M5AEO and Jonathan's wife Alison, who is a sound technician at BBC News. You will see a feature about Icom UK and an interview with Dave Stockley G4ELP. There is also a new TX Factor video about D-STAR which explains this mode and how to operate with an Android app. The video is available to view on the Icom UK YouTube channel or on the Icom website : http://www.icomuk.co.uk/News_Article/3508/18443/ . Finally, there is a feature about the FUNcube dongle.  More information on the TX Factor page here and here

More information and references:

Visit the TX Factor website :  http://www.txfactor.co.uk/txfactor.shtml

TX Factor video viewer : http://www.txfactor.co.uk/txf008.shtml

TX Factor YouTube channel : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLG34oDNUPkhTV275iiunkSbO9Y6WYvNrT

Icom UK YouTube channel : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxIOtn0Bsnc&feature=youtu.be

ALERT :  Radio Amateurs to lose 70cms  -  and maybe 2 Metres too?

In the UK the spectrum regulator, Ofcom, is reviewing the use of the 400MHz UHF spectrum. Their report, by Aegis, concludes that due to increasing congestion "...ongoing amateur use of this congested band may need to be reviewed"  -  this would mean the loss of the 70cm UHF band for amateur radio use.

It seems also there there is a threat to the longer term use of 2 metres VHF for Amateur Radio, as other services may need to be moved from UHF to be re-located to this spectrum.

Around the world the mobile phone cartels are pressurizing governments to release more and more spectrum for LTE networks so that mobile phone users can be assured that they can make their Twitter and Facebook postings. These huge corporations have millions of Pounds/Dollars to spend on twisting politicians' and spectrum regulators' arms - big corporate money talks, so it may be a forgone conclusion that 70cms, and maybe even 2 Meters, will be lost.

In counties across Europe and around globe, including the USA, UK, Finland and the Philippines, the threat to 70cm is already very strong and the loss is possibly imminent and inevitable as 70cms frequencies look to be re-allocated to mobile phone networks and operators of broadband wireless systems.

The 70cm band is becoming increasingly important for amateur radio; the most significant aspect is arguably the large and growing network if repeaters. The amateur radio repeater system includes are large number of analogue voice and interlinked digital repeaters using the Icom D-Star system. There is also a growing network of new DMR and Yaesu Fusion system repeaters being developed. The loss of this UHF band would be a very significant setback indeed.

Ofcom's Strategic Review of UHF Spectrum at 420-470 MHz UHF Bands 1 and 2 can be found here:


RSGB - Radio Society Of Great Britain
The response from the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) (February 2015) can be found here:


**JOIN** The Radio Society of Great Britain - representing the best interests of radio amateurs

Philippine Amateurs May Lose 70cm band:

USA Today : Amateur radio operators concerned about losing 70cm UHF band:

Call me cynical, but it may seem that governments and authorities are systematically removing access to amateur radio bands; the recent removal of most of the access to microwave frequencies; now the potential removal of UHF access (70cms); next the loss of 2 Metres? All to accommodate telcos / mobile phone conglomerates and Wi-Fi access systems. We may be left only with access to the H.F. bands - but the  HF bands themselves may very well become unusable due to interference (QRM) from broadband via powerline telecoms (PLT) systems.

So, everyone happy?

Cornwall, June 2014

M0MTJ /A -
                        Fowey, Cornwall, 2014
M0MTJ /A  -  Fowey, Cornwall, 2014

Above: While on holiday near Fowey in Cornwall in June 2014, I was able do some /A operating from our holiday cottage. The weather that week was superb - hot and sunny - so operating from the sheltered patio area was ideal and very pleasant.

I lashed my 10 metre long lightweight fibreglass fishing pole to a gatepost in the garden. This was used to support a 20 metre long doublet antenna. The antenna was made up from components bought from Richard, G3CWI, at Stoabeams: Lightweight high visibility, yellow antenna wire for the top wires and a lightweight dipole centre. The doublet antenna was installed in an Inverted V formation and fed with 300 Ohm twin feeder for lowest loss. The feed point, supported by the fishing pole was about 9 metres above ground level.

The 300 Ohm feeder was connected to a 4:1 balun near the MFJ 945 mobile ATU, connected via a short coaxial patch lead. Naturally the 20 long doublet worked extremely well on 40 metres, but was also usable on most other bands upwards of 40 metres. The radio used was the Yaesu FT-857, power being derived from a compact, lightweight Sharmans mains power supply, with power being distributed via one of my home-brew Power-Pole distribution boxes.

M0MTJ DC Distribution Box with crowbar
                            protection circuit

Shack redesign October 2014 :

M0MTJ - Shack redesign in progress
                            October 2014
Work in progress : The shack redesign in October 2014.
The photo above shows the shack in the process of being rearranged in October 2014. I put together a new desk and re-worked the
original shelving unit two form two sets of shelves to sit on the desk. I made a dual microphone holder to fit on to the
Thomann Millenium MA-2050 boom arm.

M0MTJ - Shack redesign completed
                            October 2014
M0MTJ - Shack redesign completed October 2014

Wythall Radio Rally March 2015

I once again attended the Wythall Radio Rally in March 2015. The Rally is organized by the Wythall Radio Club and despite the rather miserable weather that day, the event was very well attended, the rooms being crowded with visitors. I was fortunate enough to be able meet up again with Angel M0HDF. This year the venue had been changed to the site of the Wythall Radio Club. A photograph of the very impressive array of aerials can be seen below. There were plenty of traders and an abundance of equipment, aerials and components on offer. Radioworld were once again in attendance with a large stand. We also bumped into Carolyn G6WRW and Matt G8XYJ. A very enjoyable morning!

Wythall Radio Club - http://www.wythallradioclub.co.uk/  -  Silver Street, Wythall, Birmingham B47 6LZ

Wythall Radio
                              Rally 2015 - M0MTJ

Wythall Radio Rally 2015 -

Wythall Radio Rally 2015 -
Wythall Radio Club

Local Repeaters:
GB3WL - Wythall 70cms wide split Voice Repeater - Input: 438.550 MHz  Output: 430.950 MHz CTCSS Tone: 67Hz (Midlands region Tone A)
MB6IWL - Wythall (Major's Green) D-STAR Simplex Gateway - 431.0875 MHz - CCS DTMF code: 46742. Use MB6IWL-B in RPT1 field & MB6IWL-G in RPT2
MB6IDG - Bromsgrove D-STAR Simplex Gateway - 431.125 MHz (Soon to be upgraded to full repeater GB7DG)
GB3VI - Wythall 6m Voice Repeater - Details to be advised

Malvern Hills Repeater Group - http://www.bigfoot.com/~mhrg
GB3NW - Input: 145.025   Output: 145.625   1750 Hz tone burst, or CTCSS sub-tone A (67.0 Hz)
GB3MS - Input: 434.775   Output: 433.175    1750 Hz tone burst, or CTCSS sub-tone A (67.0 Hz)

Icom amateur radio

National Hamfest, Newark, September 2014

The National Hamfest is the UK's biggest annual Amateur Radio Show. Organised by the Lincoln Shortwave Club and the RSGB, it was held at the George Stephenson Pavilion, Newark & Nottinghamshire Showground on Friday 26th September & Saturday 27th September 2014.

The National Hamfest is an excellent time to meet members of the RSGB and Ofcom providing a good opportunity to ask questions of several RSGB committees. The line up of traders and exhibitors was, as usual, very extensive.

Friday is traditionally the busiest day with heaving crowds and traders reporting brisk business. I attended the show on Saturday, which is usually a bit less busy than Friday, nevertheless it seemed like a busy day and traders such as Martin Lynch and Bowood Electronics reported good trade.

I bought a number of things myself from from various stands, including electronic components from Bowood Electronics, some ladder line spacers from Waters and Stanton and a new CG-3000 remote automatic antenna coupler from Martin Lynch. In fact, CG Antennas representative from China was present on Martin Lynch and Sons stand and offered some excellent antenna advice and advice on using the CG-3000 unit.

On the Icom stand, the very impressive Icom IC-7850 50th Anniversary Transceiver made its UK Debut.

Hamfests are always a good time to meet favourite traders and catch up with friends. This year was no exception, and it was good to meet up again with Angel, M0HDF, and his family Eva and Victor.

National Hamfest 2014 -
                            opening time
10am Opening time at the National Hamfest 2014

National Hamfest
                            2014 - opening time
Cambridgeshire Repeater Group - http://www.cambridgerepeaters.net/
10am Opening time at the National Hamfest 2014

National Hamfest 2014 -
                            opening time
10am Opening time at the National Hamfest 2014
Lincoln Shortwave Club  /  RSGB

Kenwood stand at the National
                            Hamfest 2014 - opening time
Kenwood stand at the National Hamfest 2014

National Hamfest 2014 -
                            Martin Lynch and Son
Bargains to the left of me, bargains to the right...
The large Martin Lynch & Sons shop on the left and other traders to the right. National Hamfest 2014

Icom IC-7850 - on display at the
                            National Hamfest 2014
Icom IC-7850 50th Anniversary Transceiver made its UK Debut at 2014 National Hamfest in Newark

Celebrating 50 years of Icom Inc., Icom UK attended the 2014 National Hamfest in Newark with some special radios to celebrate. On display was the IC-7850 HF/50MHz 50th Anniversary Transceiver and the 50th Anniversary edition of the ID-51E D-STAR Dual Band Transceiver together. There was also a D-STAR demonstration featuring Icom's latest D-STAR models and android devices.

The IC-7850 'collector’s piece' will be produced early in 2015 in very limited numbers to celebrate Icom’s 50th Anniversary. Also, the 50th Anniversary edition of the ID-51E was available to purchase at the show, having extra features over the standard model. Available in a choice of 5 colours; blue, green, red, white and black.

As well as having a full range of Amateur radios, D-Star and receiver equipment on show, Icom UK was also demonstrating the latest D-STAR models and android connected devices on their stand. Used to send pictures, messages and even forward emails.

I forgot to take a photograph of the Icom stand and the new IC-7850, so the image above is courtesy Icom UK

The impressive range of Icom transceivers is available from most good amateur radio dealers.

More information available on the Icom website:

Icom IC 7600 transceiver

National Hamfest
                            2014 - Bowood Electronics stand
Will Outram and the Bowood Electronics stand at The National Hamfest 2014

National Hamfest 2014 -
                            Waters & Stanton
Waters & Stanton stand on the right. National Hamfest 2014

National Hamfest 2014 -
                            Waters & Stanton
Ray Basham of ProWhip Antennas on the right with Mike 2E0YYY (Mikey's Batteries) in the distance behind (bending over with cap on).
RAIBC on the left.

National Hamfest
                            2014 - SOTA Beams
Richard G3CWI on the SOTA Beams stand talking to keen SOTA operator Angel, M0HDF.
SOTA Beams were also displaying their new 6 Meter Beam antenna.

M0HDF Amateur Radio QRP CW Blogspot

National Hamfest 2014 - Yaesu
The Yaesu stand at The National Hamfest 2014
Although not on display, there were some posters advertising the forthcoming launch, in early 2015, of the new
FT-991 transportable HF / 6m / 4m / 2m / 70cm transceiver.


National Hamfest 2014 -
InnovAntennas at the National Hamfest 2014

TX FACTOR  - New Episode November 2014
  -  Episode 6 (TXF006) TX date 20th November 2014, featuring the National Hamfest:

This episode features the best from the UK's biggest rally, National Hamfest 2014. The TX Factor team meets the exhibitors and visitors and brings a flavour of this amazing annual ham event to those who couldn't make it this time. There was also a chance to win the compact, yet function-packed dual band VX-3 transceiver in another TX Factor competition.

More information and references:

Visit the TX Factor website :  http://www.txfactor.co.uk/txfactor.shtml

TX Factor video viewer : http://www.txfactor.co.uk/txf006.shtml

TX Factor YouTube channel : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLG34oDNUPkhTV275iiunkSbO9Y6WYvNrT

Telford Hamfest, Inginuity Centre, Ironbridge, September 2014

Telford Hamfest 2014
The annual Telford Hamfest, held at The Inginuity Centre, Ironbridge, Shropshire in September 2014

I was so busy investigating what was on offer at the Telford Hamfest that I forgot to take more than one photograph! As usual, the show was extremely well organized and very interesting, especially the SOTA talk by Tom and Jimmy Read. Congratulations to Telford and District Amateur Radio Society (TDARS) for putting on yet another excellent event. Visit TDARS excellent website :  http://www.tdars.org.uk/

Wythall Radio Rally, Birmingham, March 2014

M0MTJ and M0SER at Wythall Radio Rally
Mike M0MTJ and Carl M0SER (centre) at Wythall Radio Rally, Birmingham, March 2014

Photo from Wythall Radio Club : http://www.wythallradioclub.co.uk/

The very particular world of amateur radio - Story from the BBC

The world of amateur radioIn the face of the internet, mobiles and instant messaging you might expect the hobby of amateur radio - or ham radio as it's also known - to be on the decline.

But in the last three years, the number of amateur radio licenses has risen by over 8,000 - with 80,000 currently issued in the UK.

Using designated frequencies, amateur radio enthusiasts communicate with people over the world. Many prefer the relaxed approach of 'rag chewing' or chatting at length with people, who often become friends - while at the opposite end of the spectrum 'contesters' compete to make as many contacts as possible in a given period.

The hobby is also a public service, with Raynet (in the UK) stepping in during emergencies when regular communication networks fail. Amateur radio enthusiasts are currently contributing to relief efforts following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

BBC News joined the Chorley and District Amateur Radio Society as they put on a special "Castles and Stately Homes On The Air (CASHOTA)" event at Astley Hall, a Grade I listed house in Lancashire. The club is keen to break down traditional stereotypes of amateur radio enthusiasts and offers free training courses to its members who range from 8 to 80.

From the BBC story, 3th November 2013, Video journalist: Neil Meads -  See BBC video here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24917880