Grid Watch UK

Friday 28 November 2014

72 Club Blog from Russia with love

Oleg Boradin who runs the small Russian QRP 72 Club has started his Blog recently to support the club:

Alternative server link:

Some may know Oleg for his small QRP design the Micro 80 that featured in Sprat 72 (Autumn 92).  This is a very small and simple 80m CW Transceiver and is very easy to construct. A UK revised component circuit I found at:

Maybe worth thinking about if your starting out in the QRP route of Amateur Radio.

Friday 21 November 2014

Which is your favourite Baofeng (Pofung) survey results

Time was up a few days ago, results are now counted.

Thanks to all those who took the time to do the survey:

  17 (36%)
  18 (39%)
  11 (23%)

UV-B5 is the winner by 1 vote! The appeal of the eXtra knob on the top to change frequency, or channel, is what must make this model the most popular, manufacturers note! Surprisingly there were no votes for the small pocket sized UV-3R, or the budget UHF 16 channel BF888?

Saturday 15 November 2014

Sourcing the Semiconductors (2)

When you only want a few components for a project, purchasing small quantities off major suppliers can incure handling charges of quite substantial cost! Which makes it uneconomic to buy, unless you are going to place an order for large amounts to make it viable.

G-QRP Club runs an excellent component service for its membership at low cost, and I have been a member for quite a  number of years now, and find the service great! Not only does the club stock common general purpose semiconductors, but also some obsolete parts like 2N3819 FET's that are becoming hard to obtain at the right price. Also hard to source Toroids, Crystals, and other passive components. Even technical books & the new DVD of all the back issues of  the journal Sprat Issues 1-160 is available, again all at excellent prices and delivery to the membership.

My package arrived smartly this morning from Graham (G3MFJ), who looks after this side of the business for the club:

Of course you have to join the club to get the service, but for only £6 a year (UK)  (£12 EU & £13 DX) you also get 4 issues per year of the excellent journal Sprat. That contains about 2/3rds of technical constructional content, ideas, and the rest devoted to members and news about the club etc.

To join contact Membership Sec Tony G4WIF

Or step down to the G-QRP club Website for further details

Thursday 13 November 2014

Arrival of the Radio Communication Handbook

 Cover courtesy RSGB

The new Radio Communication Handbook 12th Edition arrived from the RSGB:

Certainly this has come a long way since I started in the hobby with the 5th Ed back in 1982. 

I  have always seemed to have received it for a present everytime it has been revised over the years. This year was a rare exception, I was able to use my £5 members discount voucher towards the cost of purchasing it myself, for an early Winter read.

The fundamental wheels of electronics is always covered very well, and seems much improved. With Chapters on the Principles, Passive Components, Semiconductors & Valves, The Building Blocks Oscillators, Mixers and Amps etc. Good information for those starting out on the radio road, and the novice who is underway, this is very much a must! Even the experienced like myself who would like to refer back to the basics over time if not sure, will find it contains all the invaluable stuff one is likely to ever need!

Like always, it covers HF Receivers, Transmitters, Propagation, Transmission lines, Antenna basics along with Practical HF, VHF/UHF Antennas, and Microwave RX & TX, enough information to get you clued up for any Amateur test. 

New content I have noticed in this edition is the Eamon Skelton EI9GQ Transceiver project, which featured in Radcom sometime ago. Here it is condensed into one chapter in abridged format, and is well worth the buy of the book alone! If you are interested in building a QRP transceiver, or something decent and uncomplicated that will work, by understanding the way he lays it all out in a simple format from stage to stage, this is certainly the section that one needs to read.

Also an excellent VLF chapter that also covers the new 472KHz allocation, along with a good Data & Computers in the shack section, including a small mention of the Raspberry PI & Arduino. Along with EMC & Power supplies, Morse Code, Test equipment, Construction & Workshop practice. 

There is so much packed into its 864 pages and I have only touched on a small part. But it is a great reference and addition to the Shack.   
This is the book that sets the benchmark and may be the only one you ever require!

Friday 7 November 2014

Sourcing the semiconductors (1)

When you build small QRP projects, one is always hungry for Transistors at the right price! I found a kit that has the most useful general purpose types, this will certainly build most stages of a QRP Transceiver and other projects.

600 Pieces, 15 Different PNP & NPN, 40 of each. You can't really go wrong for £8.66  ($13 US) including shipping and the case too.


2N2222 NPN
2N3904 NPN
2N3906 PNP
2N5401 PNP
2N5551 NPN
A1015   PNP
C1815   NPN
C945     NPN
S8050   NPN
S8550   PNP
S9012   PNP
S9013   PNP
S9014   NPN
S9015   PNP
S9018   NPN

Down to Banggood again for the full details:


Martin Lynch & Sons to move store

I received an email this morning from ML&S, that they are moving their Chertsey store to bigger premises in the New Year:

Pop down to the link below for more details:

I wish them well with the move and for the future..

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Flying the flag

Well not quite, but flagpoles do make an excellent way of hanging a long wire, as you will find out below:

My friend Pete (G4WQR) rang me recently, he had been looking for a couple of 20ft poles, his current anchor for his long wire a tree, was going to have the chop. He said, "have you seen the price of 20ft poles? By the time you get one home via the post your talking £50!! Do you have any ideas Steve?" I said "leave it to me and I will have a look around".

Sure enough, anyone advertising aluminum for antenna work is expensive! But I had seen Flagpoles recently on ebay, and I wondered if these would be good enough to use? The spec looked good, and as I was not going to be the guinea pig they had got to be worth a try at half the price of antenna poles from emporiums.

He took my advice and ordered a pair from the link I found on ebay, we waited, they arrived very quick! Both well boxed, perfect just made for the job! I went over to see recently, by which time he had managed to errect one:

The contents of the box below including flags. (not shown is another small box which contains a few accessories, including cord, and a pulley which is perfect for hoisting the antenna). The small black 2ft tube is the ground sleeve, which you have to concrete in. The Pole is 2" diameter sectional, which simply slots together to form the complete length.

After viewing and taking a few photos, I was asked if I could dig a 2ft hole for the second pole and a mix a bit of fast setting concrete, easy done than said, phew! I did earn a few mugs of tea and a bacon sandwich.

Concrete complete with one section of pole installed in the sleeve:

Conclusion, an excellent economic way of hanging a long wire for HF work. The flagpole may be suitable for a small 3 element 2m beam if well guyed, and maybe a couple of exhaust clamps to hold the sections together a bit tighter?

I will be buying a set now too!

Ebay reference: