New Radio (Hand Held) – Wouxun KG-UVD1P

Wouxun KG-UVD1P
New Radio

Today I gave my self a Christmas present.   Before this purchase I did not own a working VHF/UHF Radio. I have a Kenwood TH-78a that I love. It just needs a new battery pack to get me going. I went out following a snow storm and drove 40mi to Lentini Communcations in Berlin CT. which is my nearest “HAM” radio store and purchased the WOUXUN KG-UVD1P Dual Band  (144/440) Transceiver. I was a bit skeptical about buying a Chinese branded ham radio that is not one of the big three (Yaesu, Kenwood and ICOM), but I figured the price is right ($130 w/ programing cable) and QST magazine gave it a good review.

First impression was not bad. The box looks nice and everything was neatly packaged. If I were to be over critical, I would say that the programing/usb driver CD’s should be regular sized instead of the Mini-CD that was given to me. I like that the battery is fully charged and it includes a drop in charger which I think should be a standard with any handheld that is purchased.  The manual just gives the basics and has a lot of engrish so for those who depend on reading a manual rather than trial and error to operate a radio will find it a tad difficult to follow. You can also tell the radio is designed for general public use and not for amateur radio but that doesn’t phase me considering I’ve owned Motorola radios which I think they are harder to program.
After attaching the battery pack and the antenna, I powered on the unit to hear a voice speaking to me. It took me around 5min to look around, input a frequency, input a tone, set the offset, assign a offset and start talking on a  repeater 50 Miles away. I wasn’t crystal clear but I can hear the other station and the other station could make me out.

I am going to start off with the cons

CONS
– Antenna connection is reversed (SMA FEMALE ON THE ANTENNA, SMA MALE ON THE RADIO)
– Not true Dual VFO. You can monitor two freq’s but locks out the other on activity.
– Hard to program through keypad
– S-Meter doesn’t seem accurate. I was barley getting a repeater and the S-Meter was showing full bars
– Can’t program both side keys

PROS
– PRICE PRICE PRICE!!! $130.00 US for everything
– Desktop Charger!
– Great receive
– Great Transmit
– Long lasting battery (7.4v 1300 mAh Li-Ion)
– Decent Size  (2-1/4″ Wide X  4-1/8″ Tall X 1-1/2″ Thick)

As of right now I would recommend this to anyone. However I strongly suggest if you purchase this radio to also get the programing cable and software (you can download the software from their website) .

First & Second Africa/South Africa Contact

As I’ve been mostly getting European and South American DX contacts, I’ve been hoping to get some Asian, African or Australian contacts. Today I finally made contact with ZS2DK (Mitch, Port Elizabeth SA) on 20M PSK31. I was excited and he had a very legible copy. I decided to look it up on PSK Reporter and I saw that there was another SA station using JT65 on 40m so I figured to give it a try. Sure enough I made contact with ZS1LS (Allen, Cape Town SA) on 14.076 using JT65.
Not Too bad.

Change Of Address… Grr.

My New Address Follows

Jeffrey Bail – N1BMX
P.O. Box 484
W. Springfield MA, 01090-0484

When I first purchased a P.O. box using USPS online in January 2010. I went to my local post office and they assigned me Box 722. They gave me a key and made sure that the box worked. I changed my address with the FCC and a lot of other places to my new box so I can avoid stuff being sent to my home. I got some mail every once in awhile and I thought it was ok. Last weekend I went to check my mail and notice that someone else’s mail was in the box address to 722. I took the mail to the counter and the lady told me that my box was really 484 and that the box has been overflowing with mail. I was never aware or made aware of that my box has been re-assigned and I never knew that my mail was going to this new mystery box. I guess that this took place in February because I purchased a size 2 box and they assigned me a size 1 box.

In that mail I received some QSL cards from KD8FIP (Frank) JT65, KD8FKD (Len) CW contact, KD0JHW (Bill) PSK31 and KG4AZN (Chris) Feld Hell. Thank you guys for the cards and when I get my printed you’ll be the first reply.

73’s
– Bail, N1BMX

FELD HELL – I Love It!

While crusing around the 40M band I heard a digital signal on 7.071Mhz. The signal didn’t sound familar to me so I had to flip through a bunch of modes to find that I stumbled upon a Feld Hell Net. I decided to monitor and after 10 min or so I tossed my call into the mix.  The NCS (Net Control Station) was Lou (W8LEW) from MI That acknowledged me.
I posted a screen shot below

FELD HELL CONTACT
FELD HELL CONTACT

As you can see in the Waterfall I confused it for a PSK Signal. But when I put the headphones on I knew it wasn’t. You can also see a snippit of the convo I had with W8LEW. The white part is me and the gray part is W8LEW. There were a couple of other people in the net and overall I had a great time. Props to the people at the FELD HELL CLUB. I suggest if your into Digital modes that you should try this if you haven’t

9/6/2010 Contacts

Started off the morning on 20m JT65 (14.076.00Mhz). I noticed there were people talking so I jumped in. Managed to get only two contacts with F8RZ (Jean, France) and N9GUE (Fred, US).

Later on in the evening I tried WSPR. Never heard about it until this morning while exploring PSK Reporter. What’s funny is that I confused it with a local spanish speaking AM radio station WSPR. After doing some reading about it and installing the Software. I let it sit for an hour on 30M and then TX my call a couple of time. I was amazed at who heard my signal.

WSPR MAP 9/6/2010
WSPR MAP 9/6/2010

I like this. It shows far your signal can reach. Granted the mode is designed for Long distance. I am going to try it again with only 5 watts.

While messing around with WSPR I kept hearing a digital mode that I never heard before. The person sent out an RSID using Ham Radio Deluxe stating it was a Olivia  signal.
I made contact with VE7NBQ (Peter, VANCOUVER, BC) and Rag chew for a tiny bit.

After that I wanted to exercise my lungs and do some voice contacts. I heard KH7Y (Fred, HI) with a pileup of people trying to get him. After about 10min of throwing my call I finally got him.  I hope he confirms through e-qsl and/or lotw because I don’t often hear Hawaii and by the pileup of people I don’t think they do either. A new state for the hunt of WAS.
I also heard HI8ROD (Rodrigo, Dominican Republic) and made contact with him quite easily.

9/4-5/2010 Contacts

I had to take down the G5RV dipole as I was hosting a party at my house. It would have been in the way and I didn’t want the kids to be messing around with it.
When I first put up the dipole I could not get my ladder high enough up so my Dipole was at an angle. Since I was tinkering around with the antenna I manage to get it much higher.  I am pleased with the results.

Now that my antenna is back up and had some spare time , I went on and made a lot of contacts. I also took part in the IARU Region I Field Day with only 16 contacts.
On PSK I manage to get my first contact with Saudi Arabia. His call was HZ1EA (emad) and he was running QRP @ 5 Watts.  Also worked Serbia for my first time with YU7AU.
I also tried PSK on 30m (10.140.ooMhz) for the first time. I got work UU7JC,  CO8LY and WB8TDG. WB8TDG was using RTTYM 8/500  which I never used untill tonight.

Overall very good night. Now I have to learn to submit contest  logs.

SAT COM: New Project

Ever since I got licensed I always wanted to try Satellite Communications. So after looking through one of my favorite websites (HackADay.Com) I saw an article on how to build a Yagi antenna using some screws pvc pipe and aluminum arrows. This peaked my interest in Satellite communications. I’ve been aware of the commerical antennas built for this purpose and I am also aware of some of the DIY antennas. All I have for a radio is  a handheld Kenwood TH-78A that I will be using and I plan on mounting the antenna on a old tripod.

Hopefully I can have this built before my daughter arrives. But either way it’s going to be a fun simple project.

My FT-950

FT-950

Ain’t it a thing of beauty? heh…

Before I upgraded to general I purchased an FT-857D. I was planning on putting it in my truck but I ended up using it in the house since it was my only HF rig. I wanted a bigger system so I could put the 857D mobile and I ended up getting a Kenwood TS-430s. After making  the impulse purchase I realized that the TS-430S is not suited for digital. I kept using the FT-857D as a home unit and then I decided to sell everything for a new HF base that could handle digital. I was debating between the Kenwood TS-2000 or the Yaesu FT-950. For reasons which are unknown I ended up getting the FT-950. I am loosing VHF and UHF by getting the FT-950 But I think I made a wise purchase. So far I am loving this rig, it’s taking some getting used to but it’s amazing how a couple of adjustments makes a someone who I can barely hear sound like S9.

First CW Contact.

While my parts for my CW keyer are out for paint all I had to play with is the plexiglass base of the keyer.

CW Touch Key
Half ass assembly

I managed to get it working and I went on 7.040.50Mhz (40m) and started sending CQ TEST. All of a sudden I hear “-. .—- -… — -..- -.. . -.- -… —.. ..-. . (N1BMX DE KB8FE)”  I was happy because instead of using software to decode morse I did it by pen and paper. He was sending slow enough for me to understand even though I was sending much faster and messing up a lot. His call is KB8FE (Keith, OH). He asked me about my station and then told me to keep practicing CW. So I am please to make a contact and it makes me want to master CW now.

I’ve been noticing that I have been practicing CW more than I have been doing any other mode.