Nagoya NA-24 antenna repair

Some weeks ago I bought a new -ultra flexible- Nagoya NA-24 antenna for my Baofeng UV-82L. When I used the Nagoya antenna for the very first time I received almost nothing. I first thought that I (again) bought a counterfeit Nagoya antenna and put this one in the drawer. Just yesterday I found it again and became a bit annoyed as I wasted another 20 bucks here. I decided to open the NA-24 with a pair of two big pliers. The black cover had an internal thread and was fixed with some superglue. With some force I was able to disassemble the whole connector and could inspect all the antenna parts. I found out that the flexible radiator was not soldered on the socket of the antenna so it had no electrical connection to my Baofeng radio. I soldered the radiator to the antenna socket and put everything back together again. I tested the NA-24 antenna on the local repeater while I walked on the streets in the city. It worked flawless.

Tuning the front-end filters

Some days ago I decided to install an APRS RX-only iGate here in my apartment. The iGate simply takes the APRS signals from the air and forward them to the internet. I live almost in the center of the city and I have a free sight over the buildings. Good preconditions for a „fill-in“ iGate I thought. I had a Raspberry Pi and a cheap RTL-SDR dongle (DVB-T stick) for this purpose. Sounded like an easy job first but I received nothing within the next 12 hours. I knew that something must be wrong. In this project I learned more on designing HF-filter than on Linux and Raspbian, what actually was my aim at the beginning of this project. In this blog post I will show you, how I successfully dealt with massive QRM from two 100kw and 2 50kw radio transmitters.

FT-817 interface for digimodes

Some time ago I bought one of these small and light 2 in 1 tablets with Windows 10. The device was very small in size but the battery lasts very long. With only 1,7kg the weight was not too high for my portable ops. I did not take it into the field yet. The reason was simple: The tablet has one USB-port only. I need one port for the USB cat lead and another one for the USB-soundcard to connect my existing PC-interface made by Alan, M0AQC. After a long search on the internet I did not find a simple FT-817 interface with one USB lead, CAT-control and built-in soundcard. So what did I do? I built an interface that meets my requirements by myself.

SOTA: DM/RP-400 Großer Adelberg

Auf dem Weg zur Rheintal Electronica habe ich noch den "Großer Adelberg" (DM/RP-400) bei Annweiler am Trifels aktiviert. Dieser lag direkt auf dem Weg, ich musste einfach nur von der Bundesstraße abfahren. Da zwischen 06:30h und 08:30h UTC das Band Richtung Australien und Neuseeland öffnet, bin ich entsprechend früh los gefahren. Auch wenn die Chance auf ein QSO mit VK oder sogar mit ZL nur sehr gering war, habe ich den Rucksack entsprechend gepackt. Neben dem FT-817 habe ich auch meine kleine Endstufe (MX-P50M) und entsprechend "dicke" Akkus eingepackt. Als Antenne setzte ich meinen "Schrottkisten-Dipol" aus altem Lautsprecherkabel ein.

Built FT-817 android interface

Some time ago I came across the Wolphilink Interface. It's a small box which connects an smartphone to a Yaesu FT-817/857/897 transceiver. I was about to buy one, but the interface was quite expensive, especially if you include the optional cables and the shipping to my QTH in Germany. I googled a bit and found an interface built by Christian Petersen, DD7LP. I made the decision to take a closer look on his schematic diagram and built my own interface to use APRSdroid and PSKdroid on my FT-817. Luckily Christian also provided a buying list besides the schematic diagram. As I don't have any knowledge and also no tools to etch a circuit board, I first planned to build the circuit on a simple stripboard.

Built 3S1P 18650 pack

In this article I will describe how I built a cheap DIY 18650 Lithium-Ion battery pack for my Yaesu FT-817. After 65 SOTA-activations and other outdoor operations like IOTA, WWFF I had to reduce some addional weight of my „go-bag“. I already went from RG-58 coax to RG-174 and also scaled-down the diameter of the antenna wire, but this is a different story. So I looked what is on the regular market and found a lot of people in the amateur radio scene who are using Li-Po (lithium polymer) packs. Those packs are usually made for RC purposes and in the first moment I thought that they perfectly matches all of my needs. They are cheap ($15 per 2500mAh pack) and a 3S pack (3 cells in series) gives 11.1V nominal output.