Tuesday, June 28, 2022

A Field Day-inspired purchase

Every 7 or 8 years, I go through a phase where I "need" a 2-meter FM radio. I keep it for 6 months, get bored with the band, then sell the rig.

Rinse and repeat, for 44 years (starting with a Midland 13-500 in 1978).

The VHF station at a local FD site this past weekend consisted of a 2m/70cm radio that just might be a keeper, so I ordered one - a BTECH Mini UV-25X2, and it arrived today.

Here are the marks it hits:

  • 25 watts
  • Small. Tiny, in fact. Will fit anywhere, even in glove box of car when not in use.
  • Cheap. If it stops working after 2 years, it won't result in financial ruin. Reminds me of a one-liner from Mitch Hedburg (RIP): "I bought a $25 pen because I got tired of losing pens and not caring". This radio represents the opposite of that philosophy.
  • It's a weather radio when I want to hear about the approaching hurricane as I dive home from a POTA.
  • Maybe it will work as a cheap downlink receiver to work FM sats in conjunction with the IC-705 on uplink.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Photos: Xiegu G106 now available - $320

eBay link updated - see below.


I first learned of the G106 from Thomas K4SWL's blog.

I'm not interested in this radio but I do like to follow the development of ham transceivers from China just to see what they get right and what they don't.


The photos on the eBay ad reveal one important fact - unless it's stealthily hidden, there's no USB jack. Therefore, there's no internal sound card. To operate digital modes, at least two cables will be needed from the PC: audio and CAT.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

mcHF is going to Ecuador


I'll be spending most of July and part of August in Ecuador, escaping the Florida heat in the mountainous towns of Quito (for one week) and Cuenca (for 3 weeks).

As a kid, I often listened to HCJB, the "Voice of the Andes" and wondered what such a place must be like. I'll find out soon. 

I've settled on the mcHF as the rig that I'll be trying to get through Customs, with lithium battery. To the uninitiated, I'm sure it'll look suspicious. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Georgia/North Carolina POTA-Photo road trip

Despite plans to the contrary my TR-35 saw no activity during a recent trip to the Blue Ridge mountains.

But also in the car, and ready to go at a moment's notice, was the FT-891 and an arsenal of HamSticks.

It is so much more convenient to erect a magnet-mount antenna and fire up the radio with this set-up than the other, much more interesting method, of throwing a wire into a tree and setting up shop on a picnic table.

I wanted to add more states to my POTA "states activated" stats and the FT-891 was the rig to do it easily and with minimal effort. And minimal effort was all I had left after a day (no, 3 days) of trekking up and down hills, scrambling over rocks and wading through shallow streams.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Finally - a decent step attenuator kit

I've gone through several step attenuators in the last two years, both kits and built units. I was unhappy with them all for one reason or another and got rid of them.

Most weren't in a metal housing - a must for such a device when used at RF - and weren't worth the trouble to install into such a housing due, usually, to cheap, flaky buttons that created more (or less) attenuation from one press to the next.

Thanks to a recent review in QST Magazine for an unrelated kit, I've finally found a good quality step attenuator.

With a metal housing.

And toggle switches.


The review in QST was for a two-tone generator from HecKits. I have no need for a 2TG but a look at HecKit's website turned up the attenuator I'd been looking for.