Monday, 16 March 2015

New Zealand Stations - MIA?

A couple of weekends ago my wife, daughter and I spent a weekend down at St Helens on the east coast of Tasmania, (http://ultralightdxing.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/ultralight-dxing-st-helens-2722015.html). At the time I reported that New Zealand stations were missing from the band, at the time I was not sure of the reason for this, at the time I had not been doing much "pure" DXing before hand, instead my focus had been my long term ultralight dxing project.

Over the past two weeks I have been checking the band for New Zealand stations at various times between just before my local sunset to just after my local sunrise, this has been at many different times during this period to make sure that local conditions were not causing any issues.

Sadly I have not been able to log any New Zealand stations at anything more than a very poor signal level, this is with both my 7.5" loop stick PL-380 and Digitech AR-1733. In the past both of these radios have produced much better results. At times even the basic AR-1733 has produced reliable results on 1386KHz. 

I doubt both my receivers would have developed faults at the same time and all my Australian results are comparable to "normal". I suspect a change at the transmitters end (doubtful for multiple stations) or RF atmospheric conditions are not allowing these stations to be received. I shall undertake more research and post more results as I log them.

Long Term Ultralight DXing Project Results - 15/03/2015

Date: 15/03/2015
Time: 13:55 - 14:10
Location: Home, Launceston Tasmania
Weather: Fine and warm, some cloud cover
531 - 3GG: 2
540 - 7SD: 4
549 - 2CR: 1
558 - 7BU: 3
585 - 7RN: 5
621 - 3RN: 5
693 - 3AW: 3
747 - 7PB: 4
774 - 3LO: 4
855 - 3CR: 3
900 - 7AD: 3
954 - 2UE: 1
1008 - HPON (Launceston) : 5
1080 - HPON (Hobart): 3
1116 - 3AK: 1
1179 - 3RPH: 0
1224 - 3EA: 0
1260 - 3SR: 0
1341 - HPON (Geelong): 3
1377 - 3MP: 1
1395 - 5AA: 1
1440 - 1SBS: 1
1503 - 3KND: 0
1593 - HPON (Melbourne): 0
Notes: A good session at home, the first in about a week. Results were as I would expect with the signals between 1341KHz and 1440KHz being a bit of a surprise given the time of day and my location.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Long Term Ultralight DXing Project Results - 6/3/2015

Date: 6/3/2015
Time: 6:10 - 6:22
Location: Home, Launceston Tasmania
Weather: Pre sunrise, cool
531 - 3GG: 3
540 - 7SD: 3
549 - 2CR: 2
558 - 7BU: 3
585 - 7RN: 4
621 - 3RN: 5
693 - 3AW: 5
747 - 7PB: 1
774 - 3LO: 5
855 - 3CR: 4
900 - 7AD: 2
954 - 2UE: 2
1008 - HPON (Launceston) : 5
1080 - HPON (Hobart): 2
1116 - 3AK: 3
1179 - 3RPH: 2
1224 - 3EA: 3
1260 - 3SR: 3
1341 - HPON (Geelong): 2
1377 - 3MP: 2
1395 - 5AA: 2
1440 - 1SBS: 1
1503 - 3KND: 2
1593 - HPON (Melbourne): 2
Notes: Due to a change in my work hours I am now getting up a little bit earlier each morning, over the past few mornings I have noticed that it is still dark when I get up, this lead to me getting up a little bit earlier again this morning to undertake a session for my long term ultralight dxing project before going to work.

At my 6:10am (local) start time I started at the bottom of the band and logged the signal level of each of my 24 check frequencies. As can be seen from the list above, three of the four stations which I rated as a 5 were from Victoria, the only Tasmanian station to reach this level was the HPON station on 1008KHz which is local to me. Again the stations at the lower end of the band which run higher power levels were the stand outs, by 1080KHz all stations were only able to be rated as a 2 or 3. 

7SD on 540KHz was down in signal level and the best I could get this at was a 3. 7PB from Hobart on 747KHz was very poor with a lot of mixing; I suspect another station on this frequency was a cause of this, no ID of this could be heard.

Overall this was a very enjoyable session and the results were encouraging for future sessions at this time.

Paul
Launceston, Tasmania
7.5" loopstick equiped Tecsun PL-380
http://ultralightdxing.blogspot.com.au/

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Loggings - 3/3/2015

Loggings - 3/3/2015
Time: 22:00 - 23:45 Local
I was having trouble sleeping Tuesday night so spent almost two hours searching the bands, below are my results from this. Overall I logged 126 stations using my 7.5" Loopstick equiped Tecsun PL-380.

531 2PM
531 3GG
540 4QL
540 7SD
549 2CR
558 7BU
567 2BH
576 2RN
585 7RN
594 3WV
603 2RN
612 4QR
621 3RN
630 2PB
639 2HC
639 5CK
648 2NU
657 2BY
666 2CN
666 4CC
675 2CO
684 2KP
693 3AW
702 2BL
711 4QW
720 3MT
729 5RN
738 2NR
747 7PB
756 3RN
765 2EC
765 5CC
774 3LO
783 6VA
792 4RN
801 0_HPON
801 5RM
810 2BA
819 2GL
828 3GI
837 4RK
846 2RN
855 3CR
864 4GR
864 7RPH
873 2GB
882 3YB
891 5AN
900 2LM
900 7AD
909 Radio NZ
918 2XL
927 3UZ
936 4PB
945 0_HPON
954 2UE
963 2RG
963 5SE
972 2MW
981 2NM
981 3HA
1008 0_HPON
1017 2KY
1026 3PB
1035 2EA
1044 2UH
1053 2CA
1062 5MV
1071 3EL
1080 2MO
1080 HPON - Hobart
1089 3WM
1098 2RN
1107 2EA
1116 3AK
1116 4BC
1125 1RPH
1125 5MU
1134 2AD
1134 3CS
1143 2HD
1152 2WG
1161 5PA
1170 2CH
1179 3RPH
1188 2NZ
1197 5RPH
1206 2CC
1215 0_HPON
1224 3EA
1233 2NC
1242 3GV
1242 5AU
1251 2DU
1260 3SR
1269 2SM
1278 3EE
1287 2TM
1296 6RN
1305 5RN
1314 3BT
1323 5DN
1332 3SH
1341 HPON - Geelong
1350 2LF
1368 2GN
1377 3MP
1386 Radio Tarana (Indian)
1395 5AA
1404 2PK
1413 2EA
1422 HPON - Melbourne
1431 2RN
1440 1SBS
1449 2MG
1458 2PB
1476 5MG
1494 2AY
1503 3KND
1512 2RN
1521 2QN
1530 2VM
1539 0_HPON
1557 2RE
1566 3NE
1593 HPON - Melbourne

Monday, 2 March 2015

Why Ultralight DXing is the perfect hobby (For me at least) March 2014 - Updated March 2015

Over the past 15-16 years “hobbies” have been a major issue for me. As a teenager I became heavy involved in the radio scanning hobby, which lead me to UHF CB and then to me obtaining my amateur radio ticket (ex VK7FPGB) which I let lapse about 7 years ago due to a lack of time / equipment and a location suitable to do this. I also started the original “Launceston Scan” Yahoo group which grew to become the “Scanning Tasmania” website and forum which is still active today. It has been over two years since I was last a member of this forum and now have no connection to it at all. In early 2008 I was getting a little bit sick of the radio scanning hobby and the issues associated with this, which in part lead me to try my hand at photography. Very soon after starting with this I found I had some talent and a passion for photography. In late 2008 I decided to get back in to radio scanning in a small way which then grew again and this lead to me focusing on this and photography taking a back seat. Over the next 5 years I changed and moved between both these hobbies plus I also tried my hand at creative writing, computer animation, programming and I also became heavy involved in the LEGO Technic hobby to the point where in early 2013 I ran a LEGO expo in Launceston called “Brixhibition” and following this I was elected the vice-president (North) of the Taz-brick Collectors Club.

By the middle of 2013 things had come to a head and after much soul searching I decided to leave all my other hobbies behind and just concentrate on the ultralight DXing hobby. Late in 2013 Gary DeBock offered to build for me a Tecsun PL-380 with this famous 7.5” Loopstick mod, when I received this in the mail my interest and passion for ultralight DXing really took off. In early 2014 I again returned to the LEGO Technic hobby, by late 2014 I had again sold off all my LEGO and this has been a really good decision on my part. I have also suffered from some health issues over the past 8 years and these mean that sometimes I am unable to get out and do things that I would like to do, ultralight DXing is a good reason to go out when I want to / can and it is also just as enjoyable if I am stuck at home too. Since the birth of our daughter in late 2014 I have found a new way to combine my ultralight DXing hobby with family life, quite often when I take her out for a walk I throw my ultralight DXing kit in the pram and take the chance to undertake some portable sessions when I am able to.

I find the ultralight DXing hobby to be a really good fit for me; this is for a number of reasons as it combines a number of my previous interests in to one hobby:

Radio Communications:
Back when I first got interested in radio as a teenager one of the things I most enjoyed was listening to distant stations on the AM and Short wave bands. This was something I have not done as much over the past few years and I have missed it. The cost of equipment is quite low and it is easy to source locally or via the Internet. Where as a scanner can start at $200 and go up in to the thousands, broadcast receivers are much cheaper and unless you want to get very serious a basic $60 radio will do 95% of what you need. I have been very happy with how well my AR1733 and modified PL-380 work.

After 15 years in the radio scanning hobby on and off, it had lost some of its appeal to me; you can only hear so many taxi drivers calling for jobs or a rubbish removal company talking about bin pick-ups before you get sick of it. As I work during the day my scanning time is limited to a night time during the week or of a weekend, while you can sometimes hear interesting things during these times most of the radio traffic I am interested in happens during the day, while I am at work. As shortwave and medium wave broadcasting is a 24/7 business at any time of the day or night I can be comfortable that I will be able to pick up something of interest. In late 2013 I was quite sick and this has seen me take some time off work, even with having the whole day to myself for a couple of weeks on and off I still was not happy with what I was able to hear on my scanners. If I was not happy in a situation like this when I have the time to do it then I finally decided that I never really would be happy in that hobby.

Photography:
My various portable ultralight DXing sessions have allowed me to take some photos / videos which I have found really enjoyable. This also gives me a chance / excuse to get outside which is a positive for my health.

Computers / Programming:
I have always had a serious interest in computers (it is also my job) and programming. Ultralight DXing lets me continue with this due to my database I have created. I also enjoy the data analyst side of the hobby and again this is something I can do from home when I am unable to go out.

Writing:
The ultralight DXing hobby gives me a good reason to continue writing as I produce my reports from each of my sessions. I also communicate with various people online via forums and Yahoo groups and run my blog.

It was not until late 2013 that I really got serious about this hobby, the kindness and support I have received from many on the ultralight DXing group and other groups / forums have been very much appreciated. This is especially true for Gary who is a real asset to this hobby, even to the point of modifying radios for people all across the world including myself.

Ultralight DXing is the perfect hobby for me, it combines a number of my interests and it has been one of the main reasons I have been able to drag myself out from my illness and become the person who I used to be again.

Radio Monitoring - A How To Guide

I am now hosting this free PDF Ebook file.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxQZDVEbNCw9NTBDME4wVUw4T2c/view?usp=sharing

Ultralight DXing - St Helens - 27/2/2015 / 28/2/2015

Over the weekend just been my wife and I took our daughter away to St Helens for the weekend. St Helens is the largest town on the east coast of Tasmania and it is about a 2 hour drive from our home. This location has a very relaxed feel about it and is a very popular holiday spot. I have previously undertaken some ultralight DXing from this area but have not had a chance to get back since getting more serious about ultralight DXing and having my 7.5"loopstick equipped PL-380. This area is also one of the most eastern locations on the Tasmania coast; this I was hoping would produce some good New Zealand DX. I undertook an ultralight DXing session on the Friday night when we arrived and three sessions for my long term ultralight DXing project, the results are below.

General DXing Session - 27/02/2015 - St Helens Caravan Park - 20:40 to 21:35

I Logged 81 stations, a good mix of stations with a state by state break down below.
ACT - 6
NSW - 33
QLD - 3
SA - 2
TAS - 10
VIC - 26

Signal levles were fairly strong and it was only towards the top of the band that I noticed some local RFI, this I tracked down to the cabins AC unit. I checked my NZ check frequencies but heard no signals at all, this is a much worse result than what I normally get at home where 1386KHz is heard most nights. I checked a number of other possible frequencies but these also did not produce any NZ stations. I am unsure of the reason for this.


--------------------------------------------------

Date: 27/02/2015
Time: 20:25 - 20:45
Location: Caravan Park, St Helens. Tasmania
Weather: Cool
531 - 3GG: 4
540 - 7SD: 1
549 - 2CR: 2
558 - 7BU: 1
585 - 7RN: 3
621 - 3RN: 5
693 - 3AW: 5
747 - 7PB: 2
774 - 3LO: 5
855 - 3CR: 2
900 - 7AD: 5
954 - 2UE: 5
1008 - HPON (Launceston) : 2
1080 - HPON (Hobart): 1
1116 - 3AK: 4
1179 - 3RPH: 3
1224 - 3EA: 3
1260 - 3SR: 5
1341 - HPON (Geelong): 4
1377 - 3MP: 3
1395 - 5AA: 1
1440 - 1SBS: 4
1503 - 3KND: 5
1593 - HPON (Melbourne): 4
Notes: Session was undertaken in caravan park cabin, some good skywave results.
--------------------------------------------------
Date: 28/02/2015
Time: 10:15 - 10:30
Location: St Helens Point Light, St Helens. Tasmania
Weather: Overcast with light winds and some sunny breaks.
531 - 3GG: 4
540 - 7SD: 2
549 - 2CR: 1
558 - 7BU: 1
585 - 7RN: 4
621 - 3RN: 4
693 - 3AW: 3
747 - 7PB: 2
774 - 3LO: 5
855 - 3CR: 2
900 - 7AD: 0
954 - 2UE: 0
1008 - HPON (Launceston) : 0
1080 - HPON (Hobart): 2
1116 - 3AK: 0
1179 - 3RPH: 0
1224 - 3EA: 0
1260 - 3SR: 0
1341 - HPON (Geelong): 2
1377 - 3MP: 0
1395 - 5AA: 0
1440 - 1SBS: 0
1503 - 3KND: 0
1593 - HPON (Melbourne): 1
Notes: This session was undertaken at the St Helens point light. Some good low band ground wave results with a number of Victorian stations coming in at very good signal levels.
--------------------------------------------------
Date: 28/02/2015
Time: 15:00 - 15:15
Location: Caravan Park, St Helens. Tasmania
Weather: Cloudy with some light rain and windy.
531 - 3GG: 3
540 - 7SD: 4
549 - 2CR: 1
558 - 7BU: 3
585 - 7RN: 2
621 - 3RN: 4
693 - 3AW: 3
747 - 7PB: 2
774 - 3LO: 5
855 - 3CR: 1
900 - 7AD: 1
954 - 2UE: 0
1008 - HPON (Launceston) : 0
1080 - HPON (Hobart): 1
1116 - 3AK: 0
1179 - 3RPH: 0
1224 - 3EA: 0
1260 - 3SR: 0
1341 - HPON (Geelong): 0
1377 - 3MP: 0
1395 - 5AA: 0
1440 - 1SBS: 0
1503 - 3KND: 0
1593 - HPON (Melbourne): 1
Notes: An afternoon session at a picnic table at the rear of the caravan park. Results were much the same as at St Helens point light earlier in the day with only 7SD on 540KHz showing much of an increase in signal level and 7PB on 747KHz being down 2 signal points from a 4 to a 2.

Below are some photos of my sessions from these locations.







This is looking directly to New Zealand











Friday, 27 February 2015

Longterm Ultralight DXing Project Results - 26/02/2015


Date: 26/02/2014
Time: 17:20 - 17:35
Location: Tailrace Park, Launceston Tasmania
Weather: Fine and warm, some cloud cover
531 - 3GG: 4
540 - 7SD: 5
549 - 2CR: 0
558 - 7BU: 5
585 - 7RN: 4
621 - 3RN: 4
693 - 3AW: 5
747 - 7PB: 5
774 - 3LO: 5
855 - 3CR: 3
900 - 7AD: 4
954 - 2UE: 0
1008 - HPON (Launceston) : 5
1080 - HPON (Hobart): 3
1116 - 3AK: 0
1179 - 3RPH: 0
1224 - 3EA: 2
1260 - 3SR: 0
1341 - HPON (Geelong): 3
1377 - 3MP: 2
1395 - 5AA: 0
1440 - 1SBS: 0
1503 - 3KND: 0
1593 - HPON (Melbourne): 0
Notes: Another good little session at the Tailrace park, most results were as to be expected with some stations coming in at very good signal levels.


Sunday, 22 February 2015

Portable Ultralight DXing Session - Punchbowl Reserve - 22/02/2015

For the past few weeks I have been trying to get back to this location for another portable ultralight DXing session. Between other commitments, the weather (both excess heat and rain) and our new baby this has proved to me much harder than what I was expecting.

This morning I was looking after our daughter while my wife was attending a local market, this gave me the perfect chance to get back to the Punchbowl reserve. Being early on a Sunday morning not many people were around, I decided on the early start due to the expected high temperatures today. We parked in the main car park and then walked around the BBQ area and duck pound before arriving at my preferred location which is the bottom park area. I set up and undertook both another session for my long term ultralight dxing project and also a portable Ultralight DXing session. The results of these are below. On the way back to the car we took a detour bypassing the car park and headed along a very rough track to the cliff face and bridge which crosses the creek which runs along the side of this area.

Overall this was a really enjoyable session and a good excuse to get out and enjoy this area again.

Long Term Ultralight DXing Project - Results - 22/02/2015
Date: 22/02/2015
Time: 8:45 - 9:00
Location: Punchbowl Reserve, Launceston Tasmania
Weather: Warm with little cloud cover. A hot day expected.
531 - 3GG: 3
540 - 7SD: 5
549 - 2CR: 1
558 - 7BU: 4
585 - 7RN: 5
621 - 3RN: 5
693 - 3AW: 4
747 - 7PB: 4
774 - 3LO: 5
855 - 3CR: 3
900 - 7AD: 2
954 - 2UE: 0
1008 - HPON (Launceston) : 5
1080 - HPON (Hobart): 3
1116 - 3AK: 0
1179 - 3RPH: 0
1224 - 3EA: 1
1260 - 3SR: 0
1341 - HPON (Geelong): 3
1377 - 3MP: 1
1395 - 5AA: 0
1440 - 1SBS: 0
1503 - 3KND: 0
1593 - HPON (Melbourne): 0
Notes: A good session in a great location. Results were as I would have expected with most stations up until 900KHz coming it at good signal levels. 

I also had a general search of the band and was able to log these stations which were are not part of my long term ultralight dxing project.
594 - 3WV
828 - 3GI
864 - 7RPH
936 - 7ZR
1521 - POSSIBLE 2QN (This was very weak as can be seen in the video below but I did hear a few words)

Photos and video below.



















video


Friday, 20 February 2015

Long term Ultralight DXing Project - Results 20/02/2015

Date: 20/02/2015
Time: 11:35 - 11:50
Location: Riverside, Launceston Tasmania
Weather: Fine and hot with some cloud cover
531 - 3GG: 1
540 - 7SD: 5
549 - 2CR: 0
558 - 7BU: 4
585 - 7RN: 3
621 - 3RN: 5
693 - 3AW: 3
747 - 7PB: 3
774 - 3LO: 4
855 - 3CR: 2
900 - 7AD: 2
954 - 2UE: 0
1008 - HPON (Launceston) : 5
1080 - HPON (Hobart): 2
1116 - 3AK: 0
1179 - 3RPH: 0
1224 - 3EA: 0
1260 - 3SR: 0
1341 - HPON (Geelong): 2
1377 - 3MP: 0
1395 - 5AA: 0
1440 - 1SBS: 0
1503 - 3KND: 0
1593 - HPON (Melbourne): 0
Notes: A quick session when I had some free time. Results were as I would have expected with most of the lower band stations coming in well. 3RN was a real stand out and was easily the best of the trans bass strait stations from Victoria. HPON (Geelong) on 1341KHz was again audible at a low but hearable level.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Long Term Ultralight DXing Project - 14/02/2015 & 15/02/2015 - Hobart

Date: 14/2/2015 & 15/02/2015
Time: 23:35 - 23:50 & 7.25 - 7.40
Location: Hobart CBD, Tasmania
Weather:  Warm and overcast with recent rain
531 - 3GG            0
540 - 7SD              1
549 - 2CR              0
558 - 7BU             0
585 - 7RN             5
621 - 3RN             1
693 - 3AW            0
747 - 7PB              5
774 - 3LO              0
855 - 3CR              0
900 - 7AD             0
954 - 2UE             0
1008 - HPON LTON           1
1080 - HPON HBT              5
1116 - 3AK           0
1179 - 3RPH        0
1224 - 3EA           0
1260 - 3SR            0
1341 - HPON GLG             0
1377 - 3MP          1
1395 - 5AA           0
1440 - 1SBS         0
1503 - 3KND        0
1593 - HPON MELB          0
Notes: Over the weekend just been my wife, daughter and I spent a night in Hobart, about 180km south of my home DXing location. Due to a number of factors my DXing time was limited to a short period on the Saturday night and again the next morning from our hotel room. Overall the results from this location were very disappointing, except for the three local Hobart stations, a hint of 7SD on 540KHz and HPON on 1008KHz from Launceston and surprisingly a weak signal from 3MP on 1377KHz the band was dead. Most frequencies in my long term ultralight dxing project group were full of noise and in a couple of cases some very weak traces of a signal could be heard on other frequencies but nothing at a level where I could record them as anything more than a 0.

In the future I hope to explore some different areas of Hobart, as a reference point I had a look at my ultralight dxing report from when we were last down in Hobart in March 2014 (http://ultralightdxing.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/ultralight-dxing-report-hobart-tasmania.html) in that case I logged 67 stations, we did stay at a different hotel that time on the other side of the CBD and I suspect this had a lot to do with the major difference in how many stations I was able to receive. A couple of photos and a graph showing the difference between my average signal level and what I received on the weekend is below.




Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Long Term Ultralight DXing Project Results - 09/02/2015 - Tailrace Park

Date: 09/02/2015
Time:  17:00 - 17:15
Location:  Tailrace Park, Riverside. Tasmania
Weather:  Warm - hot with a strong breeze.
531 - 3GG 4
540 - 7SD 5
549 - 2CR 1
558 - 7BU 5
585 - 7RN 3
621 - 3RN 4
693 - 3AW 3
747 - 7PB 4
774 - 3LO 5
855 - 3CR 2
900 - 7AD 5
954 - 2UE 0
1008 - HPON LTON 5
1080 - HPON HBT 2
1116 - 3AK 0
1179 - 3RPH 0
1224 - 3EA 1
1260 - 3SR 0
1341 - HPON GLG 3
1377 - 3MP 1
1395 - 5AA 0
1440 - 1SBS 0
1503 - 3KND 0
1593 - HPON MELB 0
Notes: Yesterday afternoon I took our daughter for a walk to the Tailrace park, I found a nice cool spot under a tree (see map below) and logged some stations as part of my long term Ultralight DXing project. 

The results as seen above were very positive with most of the lower band stations coming in at good signal levels. Both 7BU and 7AD had excellent signal levels; close to the best I have heard them for this time of the day. 3GG was coming in very strong was a good solid 4. 3LO also easily hit a 5 and was a pleasure to listen to.

Below are some photos and video from this location.








video



Christopher Edmondson - In Jail

Former radio magazine editor and well known amateur radio operator Christopher Edmondson, VK3CE / VK4AA.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-03/former-scout-leader-who-abused-trust-sentenced-to-jail/6067226

Friday, 6 February 2015

Long term Ultralight DXing Project Results - 05/02/2015

Date: 5/2/2015
Time:  15:00 - 15:10
Location: Bradys Lookout, West Tamar. Tasmania
Weather: Fine and warm to hot, very clear sky.
531 - 3GG                            2
540 - 7SD                              4
549 - 2CR                              1
558 - 7BU                             4
585 - 7RN                             2
621 - 3RN                             5
693 - 3AW                            3
747 - 7PB                              2
774 - 3LO                              5
855 - 3CR                              2
900 - 7AD                             4
954 - 2UE                             0
1008 - HPON LTON           5
1080 - HPON HBT              1
1116 - 3AK                           1
1179 - 3RPH                        0
1224 - 3EA                           1
1260 - 3SR                            0
1341 - HPON GLG             3
1377 - 3MP                          0
1395 - 5AA                           0
1440 - 1SBS                         0
1503 - 3KND                        0
1593 - HPON MELB          0
Notes: Yesterday afternoon I had to head out of the office down to another one of our sites which was a 40km round trip, this would take me past one of my favourite Ultralight DXing spots which is Bradys Lookout, based on this I grabbed my radio case and took this with me. On the drive back I stopped and had my afternoon break sitting at this location where I did some loggings for my long term ultralight dxing project.

As you can see from the results above the signals were comparable to what I normally log at this time of the day. Some loggings of note are below.
- 7SD on 540KHz was slightly down being “good” not “excellent”.
- 7BU on 558KHz was up slightly on its average of 3.2 at 4.
- 7AD on 900KHz was also up to 4, 2.2 being the average for this station.
- HPON (Geelong) on 1341KHz was again a good performer, coming in at a good solid 3, above its average of 1.5

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Project - Storage Clipboard Ultralight DXing Carry Case

Update - 6/2/2015:
This case is no more, it broke along the hinge this morning, I suspect I was putting too much in it :(
I am now back to using my old case, I have also resized some of my log sheets and other info down to A5 so that it will fit inside the case.

Over the past 18 months to 2 years I have tried a few different ways of carrying my Ultralight DXing radios and associated equipment. I firstly started off using a ABS type carry case, this worked really well and provided excellent protection to my radios, being large, heavy and standing out meant that it really went against the whole "ultralight dxing" idea and purpose. I also found that due to its size I didn't carry it with me that often.

Next I tried a digital SLR camera bag, this was much lighter and meant that I didn't stand out anywhere near as much; I just looked like another photographer or tourist. I was fairly happy with this but found that it didn't provide good protection to my 7.5" Loopstick equipped Tecsun PL-380 radio; the last thing I wanted was to break this...

In March last year I found a bag which was suitable size wise, with some modifications I came up with my "DIY Stealth Ultralight DXing Bag" (http://ultralightdxing.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/diy-stealth-ultralight-dxing-bag.html), with some changes after using it I was to the point that I was happy with it, the only issue being it meant  that I had to carry another bag with me, sometimes this was not always possible. 

Late last year I was shopping at our local Shiploads when I came across a case which I thought would solve my problems, it was big enough to hold my radios and would easily fit inside my normal backpack. (http://ultralightdxing.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/diy-ultralight-radio-carry-case.html) I have used this for the past couple of months and was happy with it, the only issue being that I couldn't fit any notes / information sheets inside it and the top was not flat so it was not a good writing   surface.

Recently I was at our local Bunnings store, I was browsing when I noticed this, (http://www.bunnings.com.au/tactix-clipboard-organiser_p5810592) which is designed for tradesmen and others to keep paper work together while on the road or at a job site. This looked to be a good size and had a good writing surface; I thought the internal size would be big enough for my two ultralight radios but was not 100% sure. I kept this in the back of my mind and was hoping to get back one day and measure this up.

Earlier this week I took our daughter for a walk, I had my Ultralight DXing radios with me so decided to walk over to Bunnings (over 7.5km return pushing a pram) to see if they would fit. I did A quick check in the store and it looked to be a close fit if I could remove the middle internal clipboard section. Based on this I purchased it.

Over the past two nights I have worked on this and I am now very happy to present the finished product. 
The general work log was:
- Remove middle internal clipboard section (I did this by removing the hinge pins enough to get it out)
- Remove the plastic container from my stealth ultralight dxing bag and repurpose this to hold my 7.5" Loopstick equipped Tecsun PL-380 in the clipboard storage area.
- Attach the plastic container using four bolts.
- Attach some bubble wrap to the front of this which also folds over to protect the top of the aerial bar
- Sort all my parts and accessories and put these in the case
- Put my Digitech AR-1733 in its case which sits above the Tecsun PL-380
- Add my sticker to the front :)
- Add some bubble wrap to the back to cover the bolts and make it sit on my lap better
- Add a rubber band to help keep it closed during transport

I have not had a chance to use this for a portable Ultralight DXing session as yet but I think it will work well; it covers all my needs of:
- Not standing out
- Protecting my radios
- Having a good writing surface

For $20 plus a few hours work I am very happy with how it has turned out.


Photos

Front View

Rear View

Front View with notebook removed

Internal view, notes on the left and two radios and accessories on the right

Notes storage area

Radio storage area with the Digitec AR1733 removed

Radio storage area with the Digitec AR1733 removed (Close up)

Tecsun PL-380 storage area

Accessories storage area

Storage for pens 


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