I Love my Vintage Radios

January 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Just a quick post to say I got all my old radios moved to my new home Sydney. They are in my bedroom so now to dress it up so it doesn’t look like a teenage boy’s bedroom 🙂


I still have to solve the issue of my Hammarlund HQ170 moving off frequency when receiving strong signals.



Categories: Uncategorized

Holiday Operations- I Get to Work HF Again

December 22, 2016 2 comments

The problem with living in Sydney is not just the issue of trying to build or purchase a HF antenna that can be fitted onto the balcony of a one bedroom apartment, but also the problem of an S9 noise floor. So it was that when I was asked to do some dog sitting at my RF quiet North Queensland residence, I packed a HF radio.


Of course, a radio is not much good without an antenna, but in my usual style I decided the best approach was to build one from scratch. I wanted to work only 80m CW and 40m phone and I could have chosen a dipole but the yard is a bit small. I had in the past constructed a 40m/80m trapped sloper referred to as a Lake Eyre Special and I figured this would be the ideal antenna. There are several tall Royal palm trees that would provide the necessary elevation.

I started by purchasing some speaker wire and splitting it into single wires then would 120 turns on to a 40mm pvc form. 10.04 m of wire formed the 40m section which I then tuned using my antenna tuner which I always pack in my holiday baggage :-). I then fitted the coil and double checked the tuning. A slight change to the coil of a few more turns had me back in tune. I then added the top section 1.6m and checked the tuning on 80m. Despite my error of tuning to 3.1MHz instead of 3.6MHz, I finally got things correct. The antenna was hoisted into the tree via the usual sling shot and fishing line method. I always carry my slingshot on holiday for this very purpose.

Now to work some 80m CW in the mornings

73 de VK2KMI es VK4KIM

Categories: HF, Holiday, Home Brew

Antenna Plans @ VK2KMI

October 2, 2016 Leave a comment

Following on from

80m Apartment HF- The Monster in My Bedroom

Taming the Monster

The Monster is Deaf

The Monster will Live Again

The 10kV capacitor arrived a few days ago so soon I will have to begin modifying the 80m and above mag loop. Probably over the next few weeks, as I quite a bit of travel to do. I am still concerned though that I will have to get it away from the building and over the balcony rail for it to work well. This high rise building is so full of steel and the balcony is framed by aluminium windows. The concern is, if I do that I am likely to attract the attention of the building management with such a large copper loop. The capacitor is huge and heavy so mounting it at mid point of the loop will present some issues, not the least of which will be drawing further attention to the thing hanging over my balcony rail.


My intention at this point is to mount the capacitor lower down on the support frame and inside the line of the balcony rail and use RG213 coaxial cable to connect it to the loop. This will add a small amount of capacitance which may affect use on higher bands. I guess I will just have to try it and see what happens.





Categories: Uncategorized

YLs Unwelcome in VK Ham Radio

September 12, 2016 9 comments


Yesterday, I had the most awful experience I’ve ever had. It confirmed for me a number of things

  1. Women are not truly welcomed by many men in tech pursuits
  2. Strong women who speak up or dare have an opinion are doubly unwelcome
  3. Privilege is completely invisible to those who possess it
  4. Privilege is measured by the number of the following boxes you can tick.
  • white
  • male
  • educated
  • rich
  • heterosexual
  • cisgender
  • grew up in large city
  • ….and more

Unfortunately I can tick fewer of those boxes than many people. What is important about these boxes is that most are beyond our own control, we are born with or without them. Once we’re born without them we have a harder time ticking the others like education. Not being able to tick these boxes affects every part of our lives.

By contrast those born with privilege, never have to acknowledge it even exists, they are blind to it, but they have a choice when someone points it out to them. They can choose to be extremely vulgar aresholes like I encountered yesterday, or they can choose to analyse their behavior and modify it.

Some men in this country are so damaged by the societal construct of masculinity that I hold out little hope for any form of equity ever.

(VK = Australia. YL is shorthand for young lady, first used to speed up morse code conversations. Interestingly a woman becomes old (XYL) when she marries- assuming her country allows her to marry but that is another story. Men for some reason are OM old men always.)

Categories: Daily News Tags: ,

Mac OSX 10.12 Sierra

September 8, 2016 Leave a comment

I am an Apple Developer member and as such have access to beta versions of software including the latest release of OSX 10.12 even though it is not public yet. Unfortunately this version of the OS is incompatible with both of my iMacs. I love my iMacs but until Apple starts paying taxes, I probably won’t buy another.

Categories: Uncategorized

The Monster will Live Again

September 6, 2016 2 comments

You may recall The Monster is Deaf

But look what I ordered!

KP1-4 10-500pF 10kV Vacuum Variable Capacitor


I have new plans for the monster, to get it away from the building and to better tune it

It may have to wait until I move to a new home, but the plans are underway and this capacitor is an integral part of those plans


Categories: HF, Home Brew Tags: , ,

iMac Reboot

September 4, 2016 2 comments

My business used to have a stack of iMac’s but many of them had been sold off. Two were in storage in my old home town. Recently I was able to bring one of them back and almost simultaneously got offered another at a ridiculously low price. While I was retrieving the old iMac from storage I located two 3Gb drives that I had intended to put in the business iMacs as the hard drives were a bit small.

To cut a long story short the brilliant offer turned out to be a bit of a dud as the hard disk failed within 48 hrs so I robbed the RAM out of it to speed up the other. Finally this weekend I got a chance to see what I could do with the dead one.


After plugging in an ethernet cable, and replacing the RAM with some I had retrieved from storage,  I found that the machine would not boot, there was no chime and a black screen at start up and diagnostic LED4 was out. My years as technical troubleshooter soon came to the fore- what has changed? The RAM! Aha yes, I had accidentally put two different spec cards in it. A quick change and a slight reduction in overall memory later, I got 4 LEDs lit and a backlit screen.


Now to the hard disk problem. I hate the process of making bootable USBs but luckily I recalled I had a bootable USB with OSX Yosemite Installer on it. Once I restarted the machine with that baby in the slot, it came to life. A run of the diagnostics demonstrated a failed hard disk. So off came the front bezel and the LCD screen and in went a new HDD. Booting into off the installer, I got OSX Yosemite installed and then upgraded to OSX 10.11 El Capitan. Using the Time Machine backup from the other iMac I installed all my favourite applications and settings and … now? It Lives!


Categories: Daily News Tags: , ,