Grid Watch UK

Friday 31 October 2014

Halloween UK 2m Licence NOV

Just updated my licence by Notice of Variation to extend the band coverage 146MHz to 147MHz..

It was done in a flash! Or quicker than you can make instant coffee.. You can download a copy of the NOV straight away in PDF format, and there is an email sent back to you with a link to a copy, once you have completed the online application.

*Note Geographic restrictions, and upper band limit apply in some parts of the UK, see link below.

25W Max erp. Digital modes only. Available to Full licencsees only! NOV is for 12 months and expires on 31/10/15

I don’t understand why we require more digital Bandwidth when there is very little activity on the main 2MHz already allocated?

Step down to the RSGB link below, armed with your licence number:

Band plan & details here:

Thursday 30 October 2014

LNR publish LD-5 manual

If all goes according to plan, they plan a soft launch of initial production run in a couple weeks, with full scale mass production following shortly thereafter.

For now though you can download the manual at the link below:  

Saturday 25 October 2014


My latest headline Blog regarding the precision ref board will have to take a back seat..

I have just read on G4ILO's One foot in the Grave Blog, that Julian lost his long battle with his illness yesterday: 

Julian was an inspirational writer, anything new he spotted, purchased, or built, he brought to the forefront of his Amateur radio blog:  Letting us all know his thoughts and modifications. He tried everything from bargain street kits, Baofeng's to Elecraft, and software writing. He enjoyed his hobby and blogging, which was always written to a very high professional standard.

I am going to miss his regular updates on his blog, because I really enjoyed reading what he had written, and couldn't wait for the next item he was going to write about. 

My thoughts and condolances must go to his wife Olga and family.

RIP Juilan Moss G4ILO

Calibration time

If your in the right place at the right time a useful bargain can be found..

I had been looking at a way of checking calibration of my DMMs on DC, and this useful board will do that for £4. Using an AD584K Precision reference chip, that will output 4 high stab Volts by the flick of a switch:

                                  10.0 V  +/- 10   mV
                                    7.5V   +/-   8   mV
                                    5.0V   +/-   6   mV
                                    2.5V  +/-    3.5mV

Figures quoted are for 15V feeding the input of the board

I have seen these on the Internet at various sources, but my link proved to be the cheapest I could find:

There is also a full spec sheet on the device at the above link.

I will come back to this when I have boxed it up and terminated it for better protection.. 

Saturday 18 October 2014

Which is your favourite Baofeng (Pofung)?

We all call them Baofeng the original name, but now they are called Pofung. Who really cares about the name? They are a budget priced HT capable of 2m/70cm and other freqs, they have lots going for them.

Take the survey to the right of the Blog and lets see which one of the 5 you like.

We have the pocket sized UV-3R which includes all models MK1/2.  and Plus..
The full sized UV-5R, again includes all models RA, RC, RE etc.
UV-B5 and UV-B6
The rugged UV-82
The budget priced BF-888s 16 CH UHF model.

                                          UV-3R     UV-5R    UV-5B/B6  UV82    BF-888s

I will let the survey run for a month, perhaps in the comments you will let us know what you like and don't like about them?

Of course if you don't own a Baofeng yet, take a trip down to Hans PD0AC Blog, and do a search for a model which takes your fancy, he has written full reports on most of them:

I know which one is my favourite which is yours?  

Friday 17 October 2014

The hits keep on coming!

You do wonder when you start publishing your finds, and thoughts, via a blog if folk will read them?

Well a look at the stats reveal they do:

United Kingdom
United States

Thanks for reading I will write some more soon.

Thursday 16 October 2014

PSDR from Michael Colton

A new open source Portable HF SDR Transceiver is evolving from Mike Colton (KE7HIA), a self taught designer. Named the PSDR. It is full coverage (up to 30MHz) Transceiver, plus 144MHz. Using an ARM 168MHz processor, colour display, and an innovative interface.

For full details check out Mike's project here:

Tuesday 14 October 2014

LNR LD-5 no news is good news?

What could be the QRP rig of the year, many of us are still awaiting for the release of the LNR-5 from the makers of the Par EndFedz antenna.


Since I passed on the news of this radio to G3XBM's blog umpteen weeks ago when I first spotted it on the LNR precision Facebook pages, the only thing I can report at the moment is the LNR website has been upgraded with general information, plus a short form spec, and highlighted Ordering Information Soon.

With Christmas on the way we eagerly await an announcement of price, I guess they are just doing the final tuning before release?

Monday 13 October 2014

Amplifiers by Peter Rodmell G3ZRS

The man behind the Linear Amp Peter Rodmell G3ZRS founder of Linear Amp UK  has published a book.

  • Everything you need to know about Valve Amplifiers
  • History of Valves
  • Classic Valve Amplifiers
  • Fault finding
  • How to make amplifiers for HF and VHF
  • ATU's and Tuners

I have also seen it being sold on ebay too.

Update (16.10.14) RSGB have stock:

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If you have joined this Blog site in the last few days, please note I have unlinked it from my Google+ account, so please join again via the Followers link  top right of this msg

If your new to reading this Blog, again please use the Followers link, it would be appreciated to know who is reading it..




Sunday 12 October 2014

New software!

A new software package for Windows from Simon Brown (G4ELI) is slowly emerging. Everyone should know Simon for being the original author of Ham Radio Deluxe, and most recently his superb SDR-Radio package: (currently as I write this the SDR server appears to be down?)

The new software is called Simon's Greyline and is a FREE download without any restrictions.

Latest version is Build 157 and is available from

As I said before the software is"slowly emerging", so I expect more modules and additions to appear over time.

Here are screenshots from my system which the software allows you to produce via a press of a simple Icon at the top of the main Toolbar.

Currently the main screen shows a Map with Greyline and QTH info, with optional side panes, clock, solar data and geomagnetic data windows to the main display. Different configurations are available, you will just have to have a play around with what suits your mood.

From the top of the Toolbar there is a sub menu marked "More" which will then call up three other graphical sub screens via their seperate Icons.. Geomagnetic indices, Solar Data, and Sunrise & Sunset as below:

Geomagnetic data

Solar Data

Sunrise Sunset

This is a great addition to the shack desktop, for those who require up to date Sunspot and Solar flux Data. I currently have it loaded on a Windows 7 (32) package, but I expect it will work on XP and anything upwards without any problems.

Give it a try and have a play and see what you think?

Saturday 11 October 2014

Stocking up!

My resistor supply was getting a bit low, so I found a great deal for 2500 pieces, 50 Value kit, 1/4W 1/% Metal film:

Infact the price was so good, I ordered 5000 they arrived  here in less than a week direct from China.

Building the Kenwood TS-990s HF/6m radio

The wife won't let me have one yet, but the video is well worth a watch and you may go and raid your piggy bank afterwards?:

Friday 10 October 2014


I have been thinking about this for sometime, after some Ham friends and others have said to me "Steve you have good ideas at times and find some excellent search's for us Amateurs why don't you write a blog? You have been feeding others with the information for years" True I have made some excellent friends like Roger G3XBM via his great blogging exploits and  QRP projects, along with Hans PD0AC's radio antics . I don't expect I will write things to the same high standard as these pair for a while, as I do not have the time at the moment, but I hope I will make some sort of valuable contribution to Amateur radio over the years..

A bit about myself, I have been licenced since 1984. I never went to a RAE course, I just read up a few books on the subject like the Radio Communications Handbook  armed with this info I walked into Cannock Chase technical college, and came out with 2 passes after nervously waiting for a few months for the results.. Not bad I thought? Of course I had been interested in radio since the mid 70s when I built crystal sets, and worked in the local television shop on a Friday after school and all day Saturdays. Along with the school radio club,  backstage lighting productions and the local drama club Rugeley players, I carried the knowledge forward and got some sort of career out of it and worked in the trade at Thorn EMI Automation's Test dept for 14 years or so..

Since 1984 my main Amateur interests have been largely around VHF/UHF and some 50MHz operation, using a Yaesu FT-736R. Nowadays it is small HF QRP projects (when I can find the time to construct).  Some may remember me from the AX25 Mailbox (GB7RUG) I ran for over 5 years,  I built it myself from converted ex CT2 units for the TNCs, and Pye PMR M & MX series radios for the radio ports, along with a 386 PC running DOS and FBB mailbox software on top of a G8BPQ node switch  package. It certainly was  full of fun and stress with 60 users at its peak, mail forwarding South to GB7COV via a 70cm link & North via a 4m link to GB7NOT. Fully operational 24/7 Serving Mid Staffordshire Radio Hams, it never failed once!  I retired the BBS at the end of 2001, I felt it had run its course with the Internet now in full steam..