HAM radio equipment used in Kasperske Hory
Short waves (HF & 6m):
- transceiver Yaesu FT-2000. Nice modern radio with lot of features (but If comparing just the receiver I still prefer my old TS-850). I like specially the support for digital modes and 50 MHz band.
- linear amplifier Yaesu Quadra VL-1000. Up to 1kW out. Used when necessary...
- solid state linear amplifier Yaesu FL7000. Spare amplifier, used rarely.
- M160 transceiver - home made copy (designed in 1980's, CW only, version for 80m band). QRP 1W only, full QSK. Great for CW chat.
- QCX transceiver - home built kit of popular QRP CW only radio, version for 40m. Simple, lightweight, but performs well. QRP 4W. Optimal for portable activities from battery.
- interface box - multiswitch. Own design of transceiver interface to simplify switching between different devices (computer keyer, sound card, modem, several transceivers,...). A simple ETM type elbug is included as well. Look here for more details.
- digital SWR meter (SWR Mega).Own design of SWR meter with digital display bulit on single chip microcontroller ATMega8. More details here.
- remote antenna switch. Own design of simple antenna switch (one coax into 4 antennas), the goal is to use minimum of wires between shack and remote switch. More details here.
- multimode controller PTC2e. This SCS product is small brother of known PTC2. I used Kantronics KAM+ before but wondered how Pactor2 performs, so have changed the box. Smart piece of hardware, I like this sofisticated equipment as a technician. But
because pactor activity dropped down recently (I remember boom in 90's, I enjoyed it especially when at sea) I use it sometimes for PSK31 (but hard to compete to specialized PC programs with sound card) and also for packet radio (performs very good on both 1k2 and 9k6).
- antenna rotator Create RC5B-3.
Standard antenna rotor, no more to say. I don't use computer control yet (I don't use it for satellites and otherwise manual control is sufficient).
VHF & UHF:
- FM transceiver Kenwood TM-V7. Bought as 2nd hand, it still does the job I need: to listen on local simplex frequency and access nearby FM repeaters. Nice feature is double receiver so I can easily monitor both. Small problem is just the LCD display / perhaps because of age the contrast is not very high.
- transceiver Icom IC-820H. I brought it here from Holysov because there I use mostly FT-847 for my VHF/UHF and satellite activity. I switch it on time to time during contests to give some points to nearby stations - no chance to make DX because of my QTH and poor antenna. It performs very well on packet 9600 Bd as well.
- Baofeng UV-3R A new toy from China. Small low power lightweight handheld duoband radio with lot of features for very nice price. I take it with me very often while walking in the mountain.
- QO100 stuff Different hardware used for experiments and traffic for QO100 satellite uplink on 2.4 GHz. DB6NT transverter, home 2003 built kit, 0.5W, together with Yaesu FT817; homebrew CW only TX (tuned VCXO), about 200mW; Analog Devices ADALM Pluto etc.
The central point is the new tower I erected in 2009 (more details here).)
On the balcony:
- 6 element Yagi for 50 MHz ZX Yagi model, bigger brother of similar Yagi I use in Holysov. Perfect SWR (I spent some time doing adjustment), performs well.
- 10 element Yagi for 144 MHz Made by OK5IM. Solid design, just my QTH is poor for VHF...
- 5 element Yagi for 18 MHz ZX Yagi model. Robust, just small modifications necessary (some pipes have not matching inner and outer diameter, necesary to put elements together - problem fixed by cutting the pipe and using stainless clamps).
Performs great, there are not too much stations using 5 element monobander on that band that makes me competitive also with 500W only - "these days". I used that antenna in Holysov for several years but because I am not there too often I moved it to K.Hory.
- dipole 2x20m for 80m from top of the tower. It works surprisingly good for low height (10m above the ground). Excellent for Europe, average performance on DX. Tuned into center of CW band, that means nearly useless in SSB DX windows because of bad SWR there.
- inverted Vee for 40m band. Average performance, but sufficient for some experiment and time to time DX.
- white whip vertical antenna for 2m and 70cm band. Designed mostly for FM local operation but I use it sometimes for CW/SSB as well during contests. Better than nothing, I am usually able to work just few nearby stations. I plan to put up also another more efficient beam antenna in order to improve my signal on local simplex frequency - to be able to talk to friends in Holysov (distance about 70 km).
- 2.4 GHz 60cm offset dish. 5 turn helix feed, fix pointed to QO100 satellite, placed on balcony. More details here.
HAM radio equipment used in Holysov
Short waves (HF):
- transceiver Kenwood TS-850 SAT. Powered by homebrew power supply. Old (purchased in 1991) but still sufficient. Reliable, just minor problems.
I think one of best radios of that era, the newer models are perhaps better but not needed new features don't justify
the price and reason for upgrade. I wonder whether radio manufacturers ever asked HAMs how the optimum
(that is not equal to "full features") radio should look like...
- elbug. Homebrew copy of ETM-5C, squeeze model. Simple but very reliable (I enjoy high speed CW and not all elbugs produce what we
should expect - sometimes the timing is not precise, sometimes they have own phantasy). I hate elbugs having dash/dot
memory (and I don't understand why most manufacturers when they integrate elbug into transceiver prefer such functionality).
I have build several models including several microprocessor types but the ETM-5C is still my favorite - power in simplicity.
Also own consumption is nearly zero, the baterry lasts for long years...
- antenna control. Completely homebrew, including antenna switching and rotator. The rotor is powered by 3 phase async motor, angle indicator is
digital - disk having holes for gray code phototransistor sensor (5 bits), serial data transfer (minimum wires, easy switching).
Indicator LED circle (resolution about 15 degress) and digital display. Reliable, just one failure (when tower hit by lightning;
but that time the motor burned as well).
VHF (6m, 2m, 70cm, satellites):
- transceiver Yaesu FT-847. Good compromise for functionality and price if you are interested for all possibilities the VHF
offers. Pitty manufacturer overlooked some minor details, otherwise it would be great radio (just except of HF, the
radio can HF as well but there it cannot compete to TS-850). I purchased the radio when I searched good 50 MHz gear but
later I found it is better fit for satellites than IC-820 I used before, the best satellite radio I ever used.
- FM transceiver Yaesu FT-2600. Robust mobile FM model. I used it primarily to talk to other club members on local simplex frequency,
just sometimes over repeater. The radio does perfectly what it was designed for, no other comments...
- FM handheld radios. I have some of them (Baofeng UV-3, Alinco DJ-4), sometimes I take one when I travel, but number of
contact made by such radios is low. People don't like talking on FM as before (???).
- satellite tracking system. When operating via satellites I use a computer to calculate satellite position and azimuth /
elevation angle to point antenna to it. Two rotators move the beam, one horizontaly and the other vertically. I have designed
a homebrew controller AVROT based on ATMega8 microcontroller that communicates with computer over serial port, reads
antenna position using analog potentiometer and sends signals that starts motors in required direction. You can find more
details in project section if you are interested.
- band switching interface to control Quadra amplifier from TS850. See project section for description.
(the picture shows situation in 2005 with 18 MHz Yagi and 2400 MHz dish - both later removed)
Main tower. The tower is standard 13m model used on power lines. I got it cheap while being a student and spent nearly one year
repairing it, painting, making hole for concrete basement,... The rotator is homebrew as well, it serves more than 20 years
with just one servising. There is a relay box situated on top of tower. Following antennas are placed there:
VHF tower. Situated on rear wall of the house. There are 2 rotators, for both elevation and azimuth. Robust aluminium pipe with all
antennas on the top. Just one disadvantage - noisy during windy weather.
- 5 element Yagi for 50 MHz, ZX Yagi model. Robust enough, performs well, just adjustment on best SWR was not so easy.
- 4 element Yagi for 21MHz. Homebrew, DK7ZB design. Performs well, just condx could be better...
- Dipols for 80 and 40 meters. Work fine, like all dipoles. Of course beam or good vertical would be better...
Fritzel GPA404. Multiband vertical 30-20-15-10m, situated in the garden, the feed point about 5 meters above the ground. Single wire radial
for each band. Performs as a vertical, hard to expect more.
- 7 element horizontal Yagi for 144 MHz, M2 model. Good compromise between size, gain and radiation angle for satellites and
terrestrial traffic. Precise mechanical workmanship.
- 19 element horizontal Yagi for 432 MHz, F9FT model. The same as the 2m beam in point of view of performance, mechanically worse.
Minitower. Just for vertical whip for 2m/70cm and 7 element vertical Yagi, formely used for packet radio.
I don't like driving car, but sometimes there is no other way. To make it more pleasant I installed the a duoband FM mobile radio Icom IC2730 with 50cm quater wave whip on the roof. I used Wouxun KG-UV902P before but because of technical problems I put it away.