Grid Watch UK

Monday 28 December 2020

The Great British VAT grab.. 2021

So we have all enjoyed the odd bargain direct from China, Tax free! But come the 1st January 2021 here in the UK things are about to change.

 A few people are thinking that small purchases won't be affected. Sorry, they will. The £15 VAT-free limit is being abolished. Even if you only want a £1 rubber glass hammer along with a  matching left-handed spanner, the firm will have to register and pay the tax up front.

The only saving grace is that private sales between individuals, and gifts, will still be tax-free up to £39.

With goods sold via on-line marketplaces like ebay, Amazon etc, the onus will be on the marketplace, not the individual trader, to register for VAT.. Whatever, it's the consumer that will suffer.

Link to official HMG website: HMRC
This is how I understand the rules so far:
Tax on everything!

But it's ebay and Amazon that collects it. No more stupid Royal Mail tickets through the door.

One bonus is that VAT wont be levied on shipping etc, only the value of goods.

Paying 20%  VAT on nowt all, is nearly nowt, so it's not really a big deal for us ebayers. For example 100 1N4148's for a Quid is only going to cost you 20p more, is that really going to break the bank?

But the likes of AliExpress might be screwed if they don't wanna register a UK VAT number? Maybe they will find another route in through the back door?

Individual traders may suffer selling to the UK, unless they opt to sell via ebay which saves them registering. 

But prices to us all still go up.

Mixed bag really.

Glad I've stockpiled  a few bits.

Friday 25 December 2020

Seasons Greetings


*******Happy Xmas and a Better 2021 to you all.******


As you can all see Santa arrived earlier dropping me off a couple of books, so I am off for a read and a double Scotch..
 Best 73's G1KQH

Monday 21 December 2020

Back Room Boys reunion

The backroom boys 1976-1978, were the lads who did the lighting, sound, and projection of films for the school plays, and performances. Working at the back of the school hall, in and outside of school time.

 Recently all four of us got together and went back to visit what was left of Aelfgar school, Rugeley, where we were educated in our senior years betweek 1974 and 1979.


Who is this scruffy lot? 

Dave, Phil, John and me.  

This was taken outside of the front entrance of the old original school building which is now a YMCA hostel and Doctors surgery.

All of us have a radio connnection. Myself and Dave became radio amateurs, Phil's Dad was a Radio Ham, John and I used to build crystal sets and regen radios in the school holidays.

This is what was left of the science block. At the time we visited it didn't have many days left before it was to be demolished.

The school hall and library had already gone and was rubble.


The new part of Aelfgar survived two major fires, gutting the hall and library on both occasions, in the period of when we were all educated there. But had been closed for several years before they decided it was of no further use and the land was to made available for housing.


Sunday 20 December 2020

Free QRP Book

 Minimalist QRP Book V5.3 from IZ3AYQ

It's a free download:


There should be enough ideas contained in it's 77 pages, for you all to get building something over Christmas..

Wednesday 16 December 2020

Links & Kinks update

You can now Search the web when you are now viewing inside the Blog. I have added a Search engine widget to the top right hand corner.. SEARCH INTERNET

My friend Andy (G0FTD) accidentlly deleted his website recently, so he has now totally rewritten and organised a new one: 

Also ZL2CTM has a good technical Blog, well worth a mention and I will add that to My Blog List

This should be used in conjunction with his excellent Youtube channel:

 I will update the links at the side of the Blog panel ..



A decent protective case/stand for the IC-705


Quite a few different stands for the IC-705, have quickly reached the market from third party manufacturers.  

Some good, but some that look like they would fall over at the first blow of a wind. 


This one I spotted recently seems to tick all boxes from BD-7 MAPLE.

Said to be made of iron, of which I would class as steel with all around grilled protection? A front mounted SO239, two fold out sturdy feet, makes the radio look the part and fit for real purpose, either on the shack desk, or out in the field in action. Along with a protective transparent front cover makes it all look and feel a robust professional job.


Link here: BD-7-Maple

Sunday 18 October 2020

The return of...

 Yes I am sort of back at it, but the family problems have not gone away.

I am currently working on a signalling system for a local model railway club.

This is a quite a big arrow to my bow, as I am not quite sure what I am doing yet? A big learning curve is required to take it all in. I have to take out the old analogue system, that is operated by a creaking relay logic system, and move it over to a more advanced software/hardware driven system, with a RS485 data highway switching the signals.


 It should keep me my mind active for another couple of years, especially as all rally visits at weekend now have been cancelled due to Corona..

Monday 31 August 2020

Why I signed with Google Adsense.

For years I had tried to get an Adsense account accepted on this blog but for some unknown reason it was rejected? I didn't understand the complicated email reply they sent back at the time, even others I showed  the email to were also puzzled? But I came to the conclusion, that in the blog's early days of it's birth, there wasn't enough content on here for them to entertain an Adsense account, so I never really bothered pushing again until now.

During last week I had some spare time available  (very rare at the moment) so I applied again,  this time I was accepted and the Adsense account was opened. Nothing different had changed on my part or had the blog been altered in anyway?

If folk don't understand what Adsense is, it is a system that places adverts around the blog's spare unused space. Down the sides, along the top or bottom, or sometimes within the content. It can either be setup manually, or auto. The latter is how I have set it up, because I have little spare time to mess around, adverts will be automatically placed in the areas it thinks best.
Yes I get paid a small amount in return, mainly if someone clicks on the advert and goes off and views it.

 I have tried to set it up that it will show advertising from things that will be of interest to you the person that comes here and that reads the blog. Although this cannot be guaranteed the adverts will be applicable to its content?
How will this help me?

I don't expect I will be riding around in a Ferrari! But it may help fund the purchase of small items, which may be of interest to the hobby which I will be able to test out and review in the future musings,  making the blog more exciting with content.

So it is a win win situation for us all, so can I please encourage you to pop into the blog on a regular basis and click the adverts of interest from time to time.


Saturday 18 July 2020

Where have you gone G1KQH?

Many have wondered why there has been no output from me on this Blog? Quite simply, I have not had the time of late to play Amateur radio, or update my Blog. As I have stated previously there are family issues I am having to deal with on a daily basis, which have been taking up most of my spare time and which are still on going and maybe for sometime yet?

Some of you recently sent me emails regarding the G3LEK key, and requests for links to my Blog, I will get around to replying to you all.

So here's hoping you have all have managed to dodge the virus and have stayed safe? I suppose by luck it has not been at critical levels in the area where I live, and we have been thankful for that, although it has added further restraint to our lives.

 So for now I leave you with a photo of the person behind the Blog, something for you all to throw darts at when you are next in the shack. I hope to be back at the hobby not too long into the distant future.

73's Steve..

Yes we can make quality in the West

Just searching through my desk drawer I came across one of my first calculators from the late 1970's at the time when I would be in the 4th or 5th year at Senior school (Aelfgar for those who may know the area now long gone).

Simple functions, and LED tunnel display, but inserting a new 9V battery it sprung into life.

The best bit came when I read the back plate, yes it was made in the "United Kingdom".


This should give hope for us all in the West that we made quality products that last the test of time, and should prove production should return once again.

Saturday 15 February 2020

The G3LEK key that turned up in Chile?

There was always a key player who I have always credited for getting me interested in this radio hobby and electronics. Len (G3LEK), who lived at the time in the 1970's five doors away from me in Fortescue Lane, Rugeley, during my youth. The first time I came across his radio gear is when his son Martin who I used to play with in the road, invited me into their old concrete garage one cold Winter's morning. The back of the damp musty garage always had these strange bits of equipment with wires springing out and meters and stuff just hanging there in thin air, I never really took much notice about the stuff at the time. Until this one morning, there was Len, pumping away at an old primer stove with a brick on top trying to keep warm "Brrrr it's cold Stevie" he said. While he was busy working away he had setup this ex military piece of radio equipment jacked up at an angle on a couple of blocks of wood in the centre of the garage. It must of been a very interesting experience, because I was only around 7 or 8 at the time and he allowed me to twiddle the VFO and tune in these wonderful Short Wave stations from around the world, it was quite amazing! Especially when I could see these glass things giving off a strange orange glow at the rear of the front panel, the Radio stations I tuned you would never hear of today, the transmissions and their stations silenced and long gone! It would of been about 4 years later, I started building crystal sets, and on in my late teens went to work in the Test department for Thorn Automation, where Len also worked as a system designer after he had cut his craft being a radio operator in the Merchant Navy in the 1940's.

Of course being a ships ex Radio Operator, Len was also a very proficient CW operator, and this never left him throughout his Amateur radio years.

A few days ago Martin contacted me, who is now 2E0LEK and following in his late Dad's footsteps with the hobby.

WOW !! I am amazed .... A British engineer has contacted me through the RSGB regarding my late Fathers CW Morse Key, and it is in Santiago Chile. I have been wondering where it had gone, and now I know.

Martin said the chap who has got the old key is Simon, and he said it can be a bit iffy ....  His XYL is Angie who bought it from an antiques dealer in Santiago. The dealer found it in a secondhand market in the city, called Persa Bio-Bio……Apparantly a fascinating place to visit if you ever get the chance (but don’t carry any valuables and be very careful).


So Martin is now on the chase to find out how the key arrived in Chile? I know when Len left the old bungalow where he once lived, he cleared the garage out and filled up his VW camper van and took most of the ex MOD equipment to a place called Thackers at Cheslyn Hay (long time gone), Thackers were scrap dealers and breakers in ex ministry gear.

Leave comment below if you have come across the G3LEK CW key on it's travels. Martin would like to hear from anyone, who might know something.