Ham International Concorde II – CB Radio Review

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Ham International Concorde II – CB Radio Review

In front of us today is a nice old Sideband radio from the early eighties from Ham International. When I first started the channel one of the first Sideband Radios I reviewed for the channel was another Ham International Radio called the Multimode II and this is the Ham International Concorde II.

Similar in some ways to the Multimode II the Concorde is somewhat smaller than its counterpart but also has some features that the Multimode doesn’t have. This particular example is showing some general signs of wear particularly around the channel dial but is still a very serviceable Radio.

As always I picked this up on Ebay for a very reasonable price although it came without a Mic or a power lead so had to make some additional investment to get it into a workable condition. Since it is a cybernet radio it wasn’t difficult at all to find the right mic for it and when I come to sell it some lucky person is going to get a brand new mic and power lead with it.

New SSB Radios are often well over a hundred pounds and although these older radios wouldn’t genuinely considered legal where the more modern radios are, these older rigs are often the cheapest way to get started on Sideband.

Like most CB Radios the Concorde II has a traditional Swing Needle Meter showing signal strength and Power but as this rig has an integrated SWR Meter there is also a scale for an SWR reading which can be accessed by one of the switches below the Signal Meter which allows you to switch between Signal/RF, SWR and calibration readings on the Meter.

The middle switch allows you to switch between Automatic Noise Limiter and Noise Blanker which helps to cut out some of the background noise in a signal where the last switch is a tone control between high, mid and Low again to help make an incoming signal more readable.

The dials on the Concorde II would be similar to most CB Radios with a power and volume dial, squelch control with the addition on the Concorde 2 to adjust SWR calibration when setting your SWR.

Similarly like on most Sideband radio the third dial on the top allows you to switch between modes giving you access to FM, AM, Upper Sideband, Lower Sideband and CW or Continuous Wave which is generally used for Morse Code transmissions. This same dial also gives you access to the PA or Public Address if you have an external speaker attached

Along the bottom we have another common feature on any SSB radio which is the clarifier which is used normalise the sound of someone’s voice which in sideband transmissions can either sound too slow or two fast and end up sounding like donald duck. On the Concorde II you also have the option to turn off the clarifier by pushing the dial in

Next to the clarifier dial there is a tune dial which allows you to make fine adjustments to a received signal in terms of frequency and lastly along the bottom is the RF Gain which can be used to clean out any background noise in a received signal and make it more readable. And then obviously we have the large channel selector under the channel indicator window

Most modern Sideband CB Radios come with a frequency counter but as you can see on the Ham International Concorde 2 we have just the channel indicator so with these older radios it is useful to have a frequency chart on hand as it will show you what frequency lines up with which channel numbers on your old school sideband radio although once you get a handle on specific calling channels you will likely become quick familiar which which channel numbers you are most likely to use on a regular basis

I haven’t had much chance to give this Ham International through its paces so am hoping that the bands open up for me in the next few days so I can put it to use before I need to put it up on Ebay and send it on to its next owner and if you are interested in it when I do put it on ebay I’ll add a link to the auction in the comments below this video

 

 

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Midland Portapak 77-805 UK CB Radio

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Today we are looking at a really nice example of an absolutely classic eighties CB Radio
If you’ve seen any cb radio videos on YouTube of folks out on the hillsides then you’ve possibly already spotted one of these known as a Midland Portapak and as I say this is a really good example of one

I spotted this one on EBay and only bid on it because it was going for a lot less than I ideally see them going for and I thought I’d grab it to try out next summer when I’m out DXing
I have hd one of these before and it a review of it a couple of years ago but it didn’t come with the case and it’s accessories and was just the rig itself.   The model of the Radio itself is the Midland 77-805 and is ideal as a portable cb radio because of its weight and size.

Before we look at the features of this great little radio let’s take a closer look at the case
This one is in really good condition with the shoulder strap and buckled all still in nice condition and the thumb screws and mic clips are usable

The mic on a portapak is actually a speaker mic meaning that sound comes from the mouthpiece when not the key isn’t depressed.   This makes it easier to use as a portable radio allowing you to hold the mic closer to your face when in use. Particularly useful in high winds
The aerial is obviously the key feature of the portapak and extends fully with only a slight bend in the top section

These aerials are very fragile and often end up getting broken or sections coming apart
The other key feature of the portapak is the battery compartment which can power the radio through 12 AA batteries when running portable.  This though is where I found a problem with this one.

I’ve tried it with a full set of AA batteries and even tried it with a pair of dummy batteries to reduce the Voltage but can’t get it to power on from the battery pack . I’ve got it running from the mains at the moment but got hold of this power adapter which fits to a cigarette lighter end which I can run from my portable battery or from the mains like this.  As well as the power lead on the back of the rig there a PL259 end to fit any type of antenna.  When I’m out this summer I’ll connect this end to a T2LT on an 8ft roach pole.

But this radio should work completely independently with the integrated whip antenna.
The portapak also has a feature that most small form radios don’t have and that is a signal meter.  This obviously useful when giving radio reports when portable
As far as controls go there are just two pots on the portapak which helps keep the radio small in size.

As well as the channel indicator which is green on midland radios and the signal meter we just mentioned. You get just a channel selector with channel marked on the dial and the volume control with squelch on the collar of the volume dial and that’s it

Considering this is Snowpaw original 27/81 model is is pretty advanced for a radio of its age
There really isn’t another radio out there that can run from batteries with an integrated aerial out there other than handheld rigs so this has to be one of the radios for extreme radio activations out there and I can’t wait to give it a try out later on this year

 

YOUTUBE VIDEO

 

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Happy New Year 2019

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Its January 2019 and I wanted to say Happy New Year to all of my subscribers!

This is the first video of 2019 and I realise its been over 3 months since my last upload on YouTube so I thought it was high time to put one together.

Since I started the Channel I have been fairly prolific with uploading videos and as the channel reaches its third anniversary next month I have uploaded over 200 videos and have had a great time over the last couple of years out on various DX activation’s as well as buying and selling different rigs and other CB radio related accessories here in my little radio shack

Sadly at the end of 2017 my mum was diagnosed with Cancer and through the course of last year her condition began to increasingly worsen so as the autumn approached last year I was spending more time travelling to see her every weekend so had to leave the CB Radio videos to one side.  Hence very few uploads since last summer.

I tend to shoot and edit my videos over the weekend and as I say there simply wasn’t time available to make and upload my videos and to be honest I haven’t even been near a radio in that time.

On Christmas Eve last year my mum was moved to a hospice and we had the chance to have one last Christmas together before she sadly passed away the day after New Years Day 2019 and finally held her funeral last week.

So I wanted to offer an explanation as to why there have been no new videos for a while and to be honest right now my heart isn’t really in to it in the same way it used to be and was half considering on not really putting much work into it in the future.

AS I say the channel has been running for nearly three years and I’ve had a lot of fun in the past making and uploading videos and it would be shame not to get back into the hobby and start making videos for the channel again.

I’ve always been a bit of a fair weather DXer and the weather in the UK this time of year is not ideal to be yomping up a hill and setting up a station with the fear of rain, cold winds and generally uncomfortable conditions so there wont be much of that this year until the weather starts to improve.

Its also icy cold in the old radio shack at the minute and other than one new CB Radio I bought at the end of last summer there isn’t even any new kit to review but         I do hope to start getting back into the routine of creating new CB Radio videos for 2019 as the weather starts to improve.

I had some great days out last year and the year before and there are definitely more places around the Country that I would love to visit so I am looking forward to getting to a few more places this summer.

I might even start looking around for new Rigs to get later in the year and see if we can do a few more reviews for the channel as the year progresses

 

So Happy new year to you guys and I’ll see you again in 2019 soon!

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Buxton Bash 2018

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This weekend I’ve made a special trip up to Derbyshire to meet up with a few of the guys from the Charlie Tango community for this years Buxton Bash.

It’s a great chance to meet up with some of the guys from the forum and I took the opportunity to let more people know about my YouTube channel and pass out my details.

It’s also a fantastic opportunity to run some radio activity for the weekend so I set my station up working out of the back of my car.

I took quite a bit of kit up there with me which included my old Black Shadow for SSB as well as my trusty old colt 295 to work the FM Forty.

I also brought up my 5ft Firestik as well as the T2LT that Stuart sent up to me a few weeks ago.

It was also a chance to try our some new camping gear I brought up which included my inflatable armchair which came in very useful when working out of the boot of the car

I decide to take one of my most spacious tents since I was going to be up there for a few days and it made a nice comfy home for the weekend.

I managed to squeeze in one of the sun loungers we use at home so it was a great time to kick back and relax after the long journey and enjoy the outdoors.

It was great to enjoy these magnificent views since we were in quite a commanding location high up in the hills which makes it an ideal location for a Radio activation.

There was some pretty impressive radio kit on show including the guy who chairs the midweek net every week using exactly this set up.

I spotted a nice delta loop antenna amongst various mobile antennas but the prize for the most impressive portable set up was this tower set up that the guy who ran the official club activation towed up for the weekend.

The main aerial was a directional delta loop beam with an IMAX 2000 above it atop an extendable tower which stood 40 foot in the air for the weekend.

It was clearly visible against the skyline from many vantage points around the Buxton Bash.

At 470 Metres above sea level the radio was manned all weekend and was getting signals from far and wide across Europe and further afield.

And as well as the 11 Metre equipment PMR channels were also being monitored although this proved to be fairly quiet over the weekend

Over the weekend someone even posted a video of them receiving the Buxton Bash call from way out in Hungary.

And it wasn’t too long before we got a QSO going with Roy from Corsica when a fellow Ulsterman who had come over from Belfast was passed the key to chat and as a language expert our guy also came in very useful for chatting with other stations in their own language.

Being portable over the weekend also gave me the chance to set up a mobile kitchen in the back of the car which gave me the chance to do a bit of outdoor cooking as well as partaking in the nightly barbecue that was offered to all club members over the weekend.

Being up in the Derbyshire hills the views around the Buxton Bash were nothing short of breathtaking.

And with all that wide open space it wasn’t too long before my drone had to make an appearance so I did my best to get some aerial footage of the event as well as the incredible countryside

And as well as those camping for the weekend the event was well attended by more day visitors on the Saturday.

As well as stations coming in from all across Europe, late in the Saturday night the bands started to open up for American stations and we were able to add contacts from across the East Coast of the States

All to soon it was Sunday morning and it was time to pack up and head home but thanks to the guys who went to the effort of putting such a successful event together and I can’t wait to see you all again next year for the next Buxton Bash.

I’ll be doing my best to get the correct date in my diary for Buxton 2019

Thanks to everyone who I spoke to especially to those from the 68 Division.

It was a pleasure meeting you and sharing the Craic.

If you’d like to keep in connect don’t forget that you can find me on Facebook Twitter and Instagram and if you’d like to see more videos like this one then don’t forget to hit the subscribe button now

73s and 88s

 

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New Budget Drones

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Budget Drones JXD523

Budget Drones

I managed to find the time to pull out my new drone this week.  I’ve actually had it for a few months but not had a chance to unbox it and get it out and give it a test yet so I thought I’d do it now based on the fact that I was out doing a DX activation last week and the little black drone not I usually use when I’m out and about ended up getting lost.  I lost control of it when I was out and crash landing in the field.  There are quite a lot of Budget Drones on the market but I had brought a slightly better drone at the back end of last year so it was time to replace the one I had lost.

Check out my Budget Drones Reviews

Budget Drones Hubsan H502e

Hubsan H502e

So I had, previous to that gone out and invested in this but just never got round to get it out so I don’t get out today and I’m going to open it up and get it all set up the main reason for for having any of the budget drones really

Some places I go to are good open areas on high ground so it’s ideal really to have the space to fly any of the budget drones around because I live in London and it’s pretty built up area is not a lot of open space in this I take it to a local park and then there’s trees and all sorts of things that can cause problems for any of the budget drones.

So, that really is one of the reasons for taking it out with me when I do a CB radio activation but also because you do get pretty amazing views especially when you’re really high up and I like to just give it a fly around and capture some of the scenery to be honest because it’s worth doing that and the little black one I’ve had has served its purpose.  It was very very cheap having cost less than £30 but because it was pretty small and pretty light weight it did get knocked around by the wind quite a lot.

So I have been looking for something that was a bit more of an upgrade so I picked this Hubsan H502e up for a number of reasons, it  has a camera on the front of it so that’s the primary reason for having a drone for the uses that I want.   The Hubsan is definately a bit more of an upgrade.   it’s got a GPS on it with an automatic stabiliser, so you can actually take your hands off of the controls and it pretty much stays where it is. 

It also says on the box that it will automatically return since it knows where it took off from, you just press a button and it should return to the point where it took off so it does this automatically using its own GPS

It also has an altitude hold so again you can set it to a position where you want it to stay and then leave it there allowing it to hover and then bring it back when you’re ready to, so hopefully it means I’m not going to lose this one because of the the GPS is built into it and the stabilisation and it wasn’t an enormous expense. I have to say there are drones out there there are many thousands of pounds as well ones that are just a few hundred as well as everything in between to be honest

Check out my Budget Drones Reviews

Budget Drones Hubsan H502s

Hubsan 502s

There is another model that Hubsan make called the H502s which is a another step up from the Hubsan 502e which has the same kind of features but in the controller has a screen built into it so you can actually see what it sees as it’s flying around and it has what is called a ‘follow me’ function so again using the GPS where the idea is that you might be skiing or cycling or something like that, you can send the 502s up and it knows where you are based on the location of the controller so will follow you along.

So, particularly if you’re skiing or cycling downhill or something like that it will just follow you. Now, I’ve seen videos on YouTube where it hasn’t been entirely successful with things in the way it does it’s best obviously but in the YouTube videos that I’ve seen a few have clattered into trees, pylons or whatever else is so I’m still going to be very very careful with my new drone. It cost me just under £50 where the little black one I had was just over £20 so more of a toy than the Hubsan 502e. 

The Hubsan 502s was just a little bit too much for me as it was about £120, it does have those extra features and I’m sure they’re really useful but I didn’t want to shell out that much for it so stuck on the Hubsan 502e .  I’m looking forward to giving it a try out over the next couple of weeks so will post an update with info in the near future.

Check out my Budget Drones Reviews

 

Top Budget Drones 2018

 

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Portable CB Radio Activation – Pilot Hill

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I’ve been very lucky with the weather recently and it was another gloriously sunny day when I decided to head up to Pilot Hill in Hampshire to do a portable CB Radio activation by joining Sid’s Sunday DX again last weekend.

Portable CB Radio Activation - Pilot Hill

Pilot Hill gives you a very high vantage point and the views of the rolling hills below me was nothing short of spectacular particularly on such a warm sunny day.  It was quite a steep climb from the car especially with the amount of gear you need to carry for a portable CB Radio activation but the views from the top completely made up for it.

This time around I had set of a little earlier than usual so had arrived a few minutes before the portable CB Radio activation was due to start but with the heat, erecting the mast with my new T2LT antenna that Stuart 26CTX1837 had sent me the previous week took quite a bit out of me and it was another half an hour or so before I had everything set up to start my portable CB Radio activation.

Portable CB Radio Activation Shelter

In fact, the Sun was so strong that I was glad that I had bought my tarp with me and was able to erect it by using my mast to get me out of the Sun as well as provide some cover for the radio equipment and other bits of kit I had bought with me for the portable CB Radio activation.

My previous portable CB Radio activation down in Cambridgeshire the previous weekend had been a bit of a disappointment since I got very few signals in and could hardly hear Sid in the radio whereas this time around I was getting amazing signals from a lot of stations since I was on such a good high point in the Country and in fact, Sid was hitting me at 30+.

It is also pretty rare that I get in on the Net itself quite normally because there are so many people calling in but since Sid was pretty close to me I was giving him a good strong signal and this time around I got a response from him and he got me into his log book.

So for most of the afternoon I sat quietly listening to the Radio, enjoying the good weather and soaking up the impressive views enjoying another successful Portable CB Radio activation.  A little later Sid passed me round to another Charlie Tango member callsign CT2743 in Reading with the personal Nigel which was about 30 miles away from me.

One of the things I do enjoy about my portable CB Radio activation trips are that I use a 30 year old CB Radio which pushes out less than the normal 4 watts but still get some great signals from it in the right conditions so was pleased I got a good copy to a guy such a great distance from me although I have had copys with people over 100 miles away when conditions have allowed.

Since I was getting so many good signals in I was happy to record a lot of the CB Radio activity on my phone but realised a little while later that I was getting through the battery pretty quickly and had forgotten my charging cable so had to keep an eye on the battery.

I needed to keep some battery in the phone for the journey home since I rely on the Sat Nav on my phone to get me home and because my little drone uses the phone to fly it I also wanted to use it to fly the drone to capture some of the beautiful countryside.

I try to fly my drone whenever I go out on a portable CB Radio activation and have only had the chance to fly it twice so far this year so am still a bit rusty on the controls.  So, as I was flying it I took my eye off it for a couple of minutes and for some reason completely lost sight of it.

Eventually I realised it was behind me instead of in front of me and before I could get it back under control it had crashed landed in an adjacent field that was knee deep with crops and although I tried to look for it didn’t want to destroy the young plants by walking all over the place so had to admit defeat and declare it lost so wasn’t able to get any drone footage of my CB Radio activation this time around.

The good news though is that I bought a better Drone at the back end of lat year so will be bringing that out with me on future Portable CB Radio activation trips and since it is a lot easier to fly there should be less chance of losing this one.

Pretty soon it was time to start packing everything down and heading home but I was really pleased with how Stuart’s T2LT had performed so was happy to have completed another successful Portable CB Radio activation with my new antenna!

 

Subscribe to Stuarts Channel Here:-
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbAArPIYbACBye2miqkrg3g

 

 

 

Portable CB Radio Activation – Pilot Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Portable CB Radio Antenna by Stuart CT1837

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One of the lasting memories for me about the heyday of CB Radio when I was a young kid was the feeling of camaraderie from other people who you met both on the radio and face to face as part of the hobby.  Even back in the eighties I have memories of people only too willing to help each other out, offer advice and tips to those who had questions and the exchange of equipment and other bits and pieces that went on as part of the hobby.

When I got back into CB Radio a few years ago, I quickly started to realise that the same was still true today.  Before I bought any equipment I posted a number questions on the Charlie Tango forum and got a vast number of responses from other people on the forum offering thier advice, tips and experience in helping get set up again.

Even after I managed to get all the bits I needed and foolishly managed to blow up my first rig, it was someone else on YouTube who came back to me via messages to offer his help to me and let me know that he had spoken to a couple of his Radio buddies about getting hold of a replacement radio for me and was prepared to send it on to me completely free of charge which at the time completely blew me away.

It is rare these days that you come across other people that are prepared to spare thier time to help others out and rarer still that you would find people who would offer you either their time or something that they own without expecting anything back in return.

It seems to me that there is something to do with CB Radio that attracts the kind of person who has just this kind of character and more recently I’ve been surprised by a gift that was offered to me by another member of the Charlie Tango community.

To explain more, I got a message on Facebook earlier this week from a guy called Stuart who has the call sign CTX1837 who completely out of the blue contacted me to let me know that he had built a T2LT and was contacting me to ask for my address so he could send it on to me.

Now Stuart has his own YouTube channel and has been working to get more subscribers on his channel and one of the things he does to do this is offer giveaways on his channel from time to time.

Since he knows his away around a bit of coax his giveaways normally take the shape of his own T2LT antennas which he constructs himself and offers to his subscribers.  Well, he decided that even though I am already a subscriber to his channel and he knew from my own YouTube videos that I’m planning more trips out this summer to do a bit of portable CB Radio activations that he would me one of his handcrafted antennas, completely free of charge as a special gift to me since he already knows that I would make good use of it.

So, after chatting over Facebook for a while, I passed my address to him and a few days later his package arrived and I am now the proud owner of one of his hand-built T2LT Antennas.

Now, that is pretty amazing in itself but the other thing about this gift Stuart sent me is that it is so much better than the T2LT I normally use when I’m out running portable.  First of its built from high quality Coax, and its built to a higher than average specification.

As an example, on the antenna that i normally use, the ballen or choke as its known is made out of several turns of the cable.  This has to be exactly the right size and the length of the cable used to create has to be a specific length.  So my own aerial is just a series of loops whereas Stuart has taken the time to build a proper form, to make sure that the choke itself keeps its proper size and dimensions.

Not only that but usually the tail end of the antenna then needs an additional length coax connected to it via adaptor to then connect it to your radio.  Now this works fine in a lot of cases but does mean that when two lengths of cable are connected a certain amount of power or RF can be lost through the join so instead just leaving a short tail to allow another feeder cable to be attached Stuart has left an additional length of cable underneath the choke which means you can connect the whole length of the antenna straight into your radio which obviously means much less risk of any loss of power.

As I say the whole aerial is well built and expertly constructed and I’m forward to getting out soon, getting it up on my mast and give it a good try.  In fact I’ve got a trip planned tomorrow so I’m itching to get up in the air and give it a try!

So Stuart, thank much for doing this for me and thank you for putting much effort into building and sending on to me.

Now in return I’ve put a link to Stuarts channel in my YouTube video and I’m sure he would appreciate if you all to head over there and subscribe.  Hes got a bunch of great videos on his channel so there’s a lot of great CB Radio activity on his channel to enjoy.

Here’s a link to his YouTube channel :-https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbAArPIYbACBye2miqkrg3g 

If you are unfamilar with a T2Lt, basically it is just a length of standard coax but has to be designed to specific measurements in order that it wil work on specfic frequencies and obviously what are interested in is the 27Mhz range also known as 11 Meters and should also work on the 10 Meter band.

As i say it needs to be designed with specific dimensions in mind and I’m going to put a link to another video that will take you through the correct sizes and show you someone building a T2LT but as you can see part of the antenna itself is left shielded whilst the upper section has had the coax shielding stripped back to expose the dialetc or the core of the coax which means it is then able to emit your radio signal in the same way that a standard half wave or other type of solid CB Radio Antenna works.

Lastly, at the very tip of the antenna there is a fold, which you can move to enable the length of the antenna to either lengthen or shorten as yoou might need to to achieve the right amount of SWR.

These types of antenna are ideal for Portable CB Radio use since they pack down so small and are completely flexible and yet when attached to a mast will give the same kind of reception as much larger CB Radio antenna so you see a lot of these used by Portable CB Radio users as well Radio HAMS on other frequencies.

I’m really looking forward to getting this up on my mast and giving it its try out so I’m keen to get out there tomorrow and get cracking

As I said, please go and subscribe to Stuart’s YouTube Channel at:-
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbAArPIYbACBye2miqkrg3g

 

 


T2LT Antenna by Stuart 26CTX1837

 

 

 

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Great Chishill

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It was another sunny afternoon this Sunday so I took a trip up to the highest point in Cambridgeshire this time around known as Great Chishill.

It wasn’t too much of a drive and I got there in about an hour and a half.

I quickly found a little lay by to park up in and set to work setting up the Radio and adjusting the 5ft Firestik I use when running static mobile.  Sadly though there wasn’t much coming in on the Radio so decided fairly quickly to rig up my T2LT on my 10 foot Roach pole instead.

There still wasn’t much traffic on the Radio and no definately nothing coming in on the usual Channel 34 which is the allocated channel for the normal ‘Sids Sunday DX’ which I had hope to be part of.

I did eventually get a few signals in, first on the 19 then on another channel I picked up a couple of guys who were obviously out in a convoy with some other drivers who were out enjoying the Summer sunshine.

I’d seen a lot of really beautiful cars, some great old vintage cars I suspect off to some Rally or other whilst on the way up there but was quite disappointed that the radio was so quiet since it was a Bank Holiday weekend, the weather was ideal and I would expect a lot of people were out for Sids Sunday DX.

In the end, I did manage to hear Sid coming through but they were very week signals and I could hardly make out what he was saying and definitely couldn’t hear anywhere else.

 

It was however a lovely day and I was parked next to a open field so took the opportunity to pull out my drone and give it a try out which actually was the first time this year I’ve had the opportunity to fly it.

As with most Bank Holidays I had to be home for a Family barbecue by dinner time so waited until 4pm when I knew Sids Sunday DX was scheduled to finish before I broke everything down and head home in time for dinner!

So, based on the signals I got in I probably wouldn’t try that spot again but it was a great day to be out and it was good to get out of the house for a while.  I’ll be trying another spot in the next couple of weeks and hopefully should be able to get in on Sids Net then!

 


Great Chishill, Cambs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Car Camping Conversion Update

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I was back out with the car this weekend as I had bought some additional items that I wanted to try out as part of my ideas around Car Camping this Summer.  As I plan to do a bit of Car Camping when I head out to some of the more far flung locations that I intend to visit as part of my proposed DX Trips this year.

The key benefits to Car Camping is that it would be a lot easier to park up overnight somewhere where a tent may be a little too conspicuous plus there’s no need to unpack the car, fumble with tent poles and tent pegs and then have to pack it away again in the morning.

I’d look at the amount of space available in the car previously but the camp bed I had hoped to use was too long and the inflatable mattress I had looked at as an alternative option since it was a large double was way to big.

In the end, I opted to invest in a cheap single mattress which could be used as a double by clipping the two singles together or as a single by stacking the two separate mattresses provided on top of each other.  I preferred this as an idea since it raises you off the floor of the car a little.

Since I didn’t fancy blowing the mattresses up with my own breath I also opted for a battery powered air pump which makes filling them much easier and also doesn’t rely on needing to plug the pump in to an electrical outlet which naturally wouldn’t be available out in the middle of a field.

 

Although the mattresses were a shade two long, it wasn’t too difficult to fold the top of the mattress over so it more resembled a sun lounger but once I laid on it to test I realised this would be fine to sleep on.  In terms of width though it would be good enough to pack the other items I needed into the back of the car making things look more like a mini camper.

I wanted to also bring with me an old 12V Cooler which I can plug into the cigeratte lighter of the car to act as a refrigerator as well as a camping stove so that I could dop some cooking when I needed to and more importantly to make coffee when required (which is an essential wherever I go!)

I also packed in a camping chair and big water container since again I might not have access to running water when out and about.  I managed to dig up a little battery powered lamp and a little folding table which would act as a nightstand  and would also be useful when cooking and eating.

The last thing I thought I would prefer to take with me was a large 6 man tent.  This would give me a number of options.  Either to use it as a regular tent which would provide more space than sleeping in the car when I choose to or as a kind of awning to provide a living space next to the car whilst leaving the mattresses in the back of the car almost as a separate sleeping compartment.  This would provide the best option in bad weather conditions should I encounter them.

One real concern I would have is running the stove inside the car so the simpler solution would be to use the back of the car with the boot open.  This would also create some cover whilst sitting at the rear of the vehicle.

Since I always carry a tarp with my radio kit I’m sure I could rig things up so that I could use that to provide additional cover if I needed to keep out of the wind or rain if the weather turned nasty.

So, it looks like things should work out well and I’m looking forward to my next overnight trip in the near future to try out my first effort at car camping!

 

 


Car Camping Conversion Update

 

 

 

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Up On My Perch

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We had our first glimpse of the Sun this year last weekend and after digging out some of my CB Radio kit out of its winter hiding place to get it rigged up in the car.  Only a few weeks ago there was snow on the ground yet this weekend the temperature soared to about 27 degrees (C.) so I was looking forward to spending the afternoon out in the warm sunshine of an early April afternoon.

I got everything into the car easily enough and headed off as planned to my local perch (nearest high point) to test my Radio out for Sid’s Sunday DX, the regular Sunday Net arranged for Charlie Tango members up and down the Country as well as further afield.

My local spot isn’t that high really (about 90 metres) but it does have a good view of the local skyline with pleasant views of the nearby fields. I got up there at the usual time (about 30 minutes late!) and rigged up my mag mount on the roof with my 5ft Firestik II.

I was quickly up and running and was happy to hear the familiar voice of Sid on the normal channel for his Sunday DX.  I struggled to hear much else but persevered to see what signals I might get throughout the afternoon.

A little later Sid commented that he was having problems with interference and lots of people were reporting the same so it was difficult for everyone to be passed around.  Since it was such a lovely day, I was happy enough just sitting in the car listening to what I could even though a lot of it was just static coming through.

I’ve been looking forward to the weather cheering up as I’m planning to do a lot more DX Trips this summer and hoping to get to some real far flung places so I was happy to be able to test as much equipment as I could before venturing out further afield.

I managed to do 4 or 5 trips out last Summer and I’m hoping to get out to some of the more locations in the Country and I have quite a list of places I do want to get to even with other commitments throughout the year.

I’d like to do a bit of car camping this year and it would be great to get up to some of the real high spots in the Country like the Lake District and Cumbria which I’m really looking forward to trying.  Especially to get out into this great Country and enjoy its open spaces.

Although I didn’t get many signals in from the Sunday DX I did come across a couple of guys on a different channel cracking on in Italian so I stopped for a few minutes to listen to their signals even though I couldn’t understand a word of what they were saying!

I tried a scan of the channels a few times and I found little else to listen to which is unusual for that location since I normally get a lot more signals in from that spot on a normal day so did think their may have been some difficult conditions that day.

All in all, it was a decent afternoon out and I was happy that the kit I tested was all working after being shoved in the corner of my Radio Shack throughout Winter.

So, I will be planning a few further away trips now that I know the kit I have should work well when I get there.  I’m also looking to testing out my new drone in some good wide open spaces so that’s even more motivation for getting out there.

 


On My Local Perch

 

 

 

 

 

 

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