Thursday, 31 October 2013


It seems that my e-mail was hacked on Thursday evening and my contact address list stolen. Just about everyone on the list was then e-mailed by the hacker with a sob story that I was mugged or something in Manila and needed money. I sincerely hope none of you were taken in by this very common scam?
I must have seen it at least six times in the last two years. The wording in the e-mail should have been a real give away. It was clearly not written by a native English speaker. It is too flowery and imprecise.

The first thing these hackers do when they get access to your account is change your own password so that you can't get back into your mail and make your own changes. You must contact your own ISP and get them to clear the hack. You can then change the password.
However, it may not end there. I was informed that some of my messages were being forwarded to the hacker. What had happened was that they had gone into the personal security area of my account and substituted another e-mail address in place of the second account you have previously entered. From this point on any messages received from the ISP will be copied to the hacker! Clever.......
Make sure you also run a virus checker over your PC or WHY and look for Trojans or key loggers that might have been embedded in your system.
I have also changed my passwords on all my accounts and groups
and even more than once on my e-mail.

Don't EVER click on a link in an e-mail, however innocent it may appear.......

I have no idea if I have really cleared the hacker out of my system, but since doing all this I have been constantly bombard with more phishing e-mails and realistic looking postings 'from' BT to upgrade my e-mail client etc. it all looks like someone trying to find their way back in. Needless to say I am even more wary of anything received that looks out of the ordinary. I'm not sure whether being without internet access for 52 hours after the storm has helped or not.


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Power outages

Following the St Jude's day storm we were without power for 52 hours. Power came back on at mid day on Wednesday.
That was long enough to destroy a freezer and fridge/freezer's worth of food........
As happens my standby sealed lead acid battery was not charged and even my iPhone battery was low on charge. It was only possible to use my phone by taking the iPhone for a ride in the car to get some juice back into it!
Of course, there was no amateur radio activity during this period.
We relied on a cheap and cheerful transistor radio to listen to Radio Suffolk and obtain storm progress and power restoration reports. I am not sure that a battery powered DAB radio battery would have lasted the full 52 hours. There is a lot to be said for simple AM and FM radio!
We registered for text updates from UK Power Networks. Although texts were forthcoming they were of very limited use. Even a rough indiction of when power might have been restored would have been useful. I know that it may have been hard with a widespread outage, but changed reports such as 'it's an overhead fault' followed by 'it's a substation fault' are clearly made up as it changed back to overhead again when more engineers were deployed to our fault. Such messages serve to annoy rather than re-assure the customer that the problem is being dealt with. Come on, UKPN, acknowledge that web pages are not necessarily very useful when power is off and texts need to be more informative. A proper national radio information emergency channel ( possibly on FM) would be useful at disseminating useful information. The internet is NOT the ideal information channel at these times.

Thanks to the loan of a small generator by one of the local amateurs we were able to power a light for one evening, but not much else.
The lesson learnt from all this is that we need our own generator and a switch unit to isolate the house from incoming mains so that the generator can be plugged in to power some of the house items at least.


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Location:Falkenham Road,Kirton,United Kingdom

Thursday, 24 October 2013

OFCOM visit

Today I was part of the RSGB team that met with OFCOM in London.
My role was to present EME in a favourable light, as part of the Space exhibit and one of the four areas of amateur radio on show today. The other ares were home construction, working pile-ups & ARDF, and a table-top antenna test range.
This was a follow-up to another technical meeting, held earlier this year. These meetings are in addition to the regular administrative meetings between RSGB and OFCOM.

With the amateur radio license terms and conditions consultation coming up next year, these meetings are essential to a successful future for our hobby.

During the meeting I met the OFCOM staff responsible for the 2.3 and 3.4GHz Consultation. That consultation is still ongoing. We have to wait to hear the eventual outcome.
However, I was able to explain first hand, to relevant OFCOM staff, some of the issues (of possible changes) for EME enthusiasts and what EME was capable of achieving given an interference free channel on these two important EME bands.

One of the presentation slides has an embedded video showing G3LTF working W5LUA using SSB on the 13cm amateur band ( video courtesy of BATC) . I could see that OFCOM staff were impressed that we were able to do this at all, given the great path losses involved and the limitations of our amateur license.

I have come away from the meeting with a very favourable impression of the OFCOM staff involved in amateur radio licensing, their understanding of our position and sure that they do care about us and will do their very best to ensure we retain a 13cm and 9cm allocation for EME and probably other areas of amateur interest.

It was also clear that the other exhibits and presenters did a good job, from the candid comments I overheard.

We should be thankful that the RSGB have engaged so effectively with OFCOM and that is good for the hobby's future.

As an aside I was surprised to hear one the OFCOM staff refer to our aircraft scatter activities whilst we were chatting over lunch. Following an explanation of what was involved, the distances that could be covered, etc the person appeared very impressed with what we have been able to achieve.
I would judge it was a very successful day and I am pleased I was asked to participate.


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Sunday, 20 October 2013


In case you are waiting for more about the Convention, I have decided not to write any more about it!
Too many other things to write about......
More later this week.


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Sunday, 13 October 2013

Pictures from the Nexus7

When I got back from the Convention I found my OTG lead and USB SD card reader, ordered from Amazon on Friday, had turned up. After loading the paid-for NMI application onto the Nexus 7 and sorting out the work-around for the bug (they didn't mention it until after I had loaded it), I was able to upload pictures from my digital camera SD card so they can be incorporated into blogs when we are away on holiday. Expect to see a few radio and non radio blogs from down under.
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RSGB Convention

Well, what a great weekend.
In spite of heavy rain and roads closed due to accidents I made it to Horwood House on Saturday, albeit 30 minutes later than I had planned!
I spent a lot of time on Saturday helping answer questions on the UKuG stand, as I waited to give my talk at the end of the day. This was scheduled for 17:00 , so I had a long wait.
However, I had also entered the construction contest and so took my entry along to the viewing and judging room at 12:00.
There I met several of the other entrants and we were able to chat whilst we set up our entries for the judges to inspect. Exhibiting included providing a technical file with a technical description and plots etc. This had taken me much of last week to prepare.
Anyway, to cut a longer story short, in the designer section the winning entry was a very nice radio that will appear in an article in Radcom. My own entry of the 4m transverter won a highly recommended and a small prize presented to me by Eben Upton, Chairman of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
Later, when I gave my talk on the transverter, the Raleigh room was full to overflowing and it was standing room only!
To be fair, it was a small room, and my friends G4SWX and G4HUP also had the room full to overflowing for their talks.
If I had any doubts about the likely level of interest in the transverter, they were laid to rest my the response I got to the design.
There is lots more to report, but it will have to wait for another blog, later in the week.

73 de Sam

Friday, 11 October 2013

Convention preparations

Getting ready to go to the RSGB Convention tomorrow.
My bags of kits are packed, my talk is ready and my contest entry is finished at last.
Hope to see you in the Raleigh Room at 17:00, immediately after John' G4SWX,s talk on Remote Station Operation. I will be describing my 70MHz transverter.
Anyone wanting to buy a VLNA kit needs to catch me early as I am only taking a few for sale. I,ll also have a few PGA and SPF Amp kits for sale.
Find me on the UKuG stand.

73 de Sam

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Saturday, 5 October 2013

Spectral display

One of the highlights of next weekend's RSGB Convention will be G4HUP's talk on surface mount technology followed by a workshop on the Saturday afternoon where you will be able to try your hand at SMD construction. There will be a few soldering stations (4 probably) and Dave will have a number of his new, low cost, wideband buffer amplifier kits for you to assemble, under supervision ( if required).
I have just fitted one of these little buffer amplifiers into my TS2000X and after a little level setting I am now able to feed out an IF signal to either my SDR-IQ or to my Elecraft P3 SDRs in order to obtain a spectral display. This is one feature the TS2000 has sadly and inexcusably been missing. I felt lost without a spectrum display on the Kenwood.
I am pleased that the P3 can be simply programmed so that I can select either the K3 or the TS2000X direct from the P3 screen and if required the SVGA card in the P3 enables me to have a large 22 inch frequency spectrum display.
It's also the first time I have connected the SDR-IQ to the P3 'pass through' connector in order to get two different, but simultaneous frequency spectrum displays.
Why would I want to do that?
So that I can use the SDR-IQ and Spectravue to make Continuum noise measurements for EME, of course!

73 de Sam
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Location:Falkenham Road,Kirton,United Kingdom

Friday, 4 October 2013


I'm pleased to say that the 4m transverter PCB went together without problems and works as specified. No track problems!

And now for something completely different........

IARU 432MHz and up contest
Now sorting out the rigs and indoor shack to outdoor shack connections.
I'm likely to be limited to 70 and 23cm this time.


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Location:Falkenham Road,Kirton,United Kingdom

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Nacton transverter PCBs

I'm pleased to report that the PCBs have arrived from China. Less than three days since dispatch!!!

They are very nicely made although the company appears to have made a small mistake in producing boards to my first Gerber file after querying it and I sent them a revised file. I'm going to have to watch that in future.
All it means is a short errata sheet with each transverter until I get a new batch made.
I hope to have a Nacton, assembled with the commercial PCB, on show during my talk at the RSGB convention.

73 de Sam

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