Firstly welcome to all my new readers via AmateurRadio.com
I was very surprised, shocked even, to be asked to syndicate my postings to the site. Hopefully my posts will be of interest to a wider audience.
I have been a licensed amateur operator for six months currently on the bottom of the UK licence structure, the so called Foundation licence, but am hoping to take the Intermediate licence soon.
The main driving force for wanting to progress is I want to build things, to experiment and learn.
In a natural extension/diversion from my day job I have already been experimenting with the Arduino platform, initially with the intention of developing a High Altitude Balloon tracker but more recently with other radio related projects including a satellite tracker and using it in conjunction with DDS modules for WSPR/QRSS purposes. I have just built a dedicated Ultimate 3 QRSS kit from Hans Summers (G0UPL)
The DDS module are particularly interesting and I have some tentative plans for an Antenna Analyser and a Power/SWR meter capable of working down in the mW range which I stumbled across on the website of Loftur E. Jónasson - TF3LJ / VE2LJX. This is of particular interested to low power QRP operating. Did I mention that I have joined the GQRP Club?
Progressing from a couple of Baofeng VHF/UHF handhelds (which I hardly use) to a proper rig last month with the purchase of a Yaesu FT-857D I have been dipping my toe into the frightening world of operating!
It is common for new amateurs to be "Mike Shy" and I admit to suffering terribly. Not being the most outgoing or confident person being confronted by a barrage of rapid fire abbreviations, codes and etiquette it took a while before I had the courage to key up.
I plucked up the courage to have an attempt at some of the RSGB UKAC VHF evening contests and after gaining a bit of confidence I ventured properly onto the HF bands this weekend making a few simple signal report QSOs.
I should like to thank all those who have been patient with me as I fumble along.
Because of the shyness the use of data 'digital' modes is a strong draw since it uses computers and you don't have to talk! I am salvaged some suitable connectors to build a new computer data interface for the FT-857D, I built one several years ago but it got slightly cannibalised when experimenting with an ARPS gateway.
I can afford a commercial interface but why should I pay over the odds for something I can easily build myself? The desire to homebrew isn't just driven by cost, but lets be frank this can be an expensive hobby! Nothing gives more satisfaction when something you built works.. and yes they may be famous last words.