Category Archives: Ham Radio

The ALT-512: A new general coverage QRP transceiver

There’s a new QRP transceiver on the market: the twelve band ALT-512 by Aerial-51.

At first glance, you’ll see a similarity between the ALT-512 and the LnR Precision LD-11/Aerial-51 SKY-SDR. The LD-11 and SKY-SDR, are very similar, save the LD-11 is marketed to North America (via LnR) and the SKY-SDR to Europe. The SKY-SDR had several iterative upgrades, most importantly the dual-threaded software used in the firmware, which cut CPU latency in half. Both the LD-11, SKY-SDR and now the ALT-512 are made in Europe.

Click here to read my review of the LnR Precision LD-11.

ALT-512 Waterfall display (Photo: DJ0IP)

According to Aerial-51, the new ALT-512 is built on the LD-11/SKY-SDR platform, has the same chassis design but has many improvements over the SKY-SDR:

  • 4m Band
  • 2.4 in. Color Display
  • Improved receiver pre-amplifier
  • 2 transistors in the transmitter PA (was 1)
  • Waterfall in addition to the Pan-Adapter Bandscope
  • 4 additional front-panel buttons
  • User friendly front-panel adjustment of often used parameters (formerly embedded within the software menu)
  • FULL TS-2000 command set implementation
  • Built-in Sound Card; Digi Modes run using only one USB-2 cable connected to the PC. No additional hardware required.

If the ALT-512 performs as well as or better than its predecessor, it’ll certainly be a great little QRP radio and an excellent general coverage receiver for HF broadcast listening.

Pricing has not yet been posted, but Aerial-51 plans to make this transceiver available in the next few weeks.

Click here to check out the ALT-512 on the Aerial-51 website.

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RSGB Archive: Silent Film of D/F Field Day in 1947

Many thanks to the Southgate ARC who notes this recently published 1947 silent film from the Radio Society of Great Britain:

The RSGB has released a vintage silent black and white video of an Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) field day held in 1947 at Chipping Barnet which was then in Hertfordshire

The Incorporated Radio Society of Great Britain titled the video – D/F Field Day (North of the Thames) May 18th 1947. It has been added to the many amateur radio videos that can be viewed on the Society’s YouTube channel.

One thing that’s apparent from the video is the difference in the age range of those who participated in amateur radio in the late 1940’s compared to today.

Watch RSGB Archive film – D/F Field Day 1947

Click here to view on YouTube.

Pages 69-70 of the RSGB Bulletin (forerunner of RadCom) for October 1947 contained a fully illustrated report on the North of the Thames ARDF event as well as the South of the Thames event held on July 6, 1947.

The two leading affiliated societies on May 18 were from Essex:
1st Romford and District Radio Society
2nd Southend and District Radio Society
The two clubs swapped positions for the July 6 event.

Fascinating! I love how everyone wore proper attire and much of the equipment was home brew. I imagine operators were happy to go back to field and enjoy all sorts of radio activity so close on the heels of WWII.

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Kev-Flex Stealth Kevlar Antenna Wire: an incredibly durable wire for field radio

My good friend David Cripe (NMOS) has recently informed me about a new product he’s offering to the radio community via his eBay store: Kev-Flex Stealth Kevlar Antenna Wire. Kev-Flex looks like a superb option for field antennas of all stripes especially since it has an incredibly high tensile strength. It’s available in 75′ bundles, but Dave can also cut custom lengths. NM0S is also a trusted retailer in the ham radio world, so you can purchase with confidence.

Here’s the product description and link:

Kev-Flex is a unique antenna wire manufactured exclusively for NM0S Electronics. The lightweight center core of the wire is made from Kevlar fiber, giving the wire its incredible strength. The Kevlar core is wrapped with six tinned strands of 30 AWG copper. The effective surface of the wire creates an effective skin area capable of handling well over 100W.

The cable is protected from the elements by a coating of UV-resistant black polyethylene. With a total diameter of only 1/16″ (incl. insulation) and a weight of just 16 feet per ounce, the tensile strength 125 lbs allows lengthy unsupported horizontal runs. Kev-Flex is ideal for extremely long LW-antennas and Beverages and is great for balloon or kite-supported antennas. Its low weight and high break-load makes it most suitable for SOTA activations and other field operations.

The outer insulation makes the wire kink-resistant, and its slippery finish makes it ideal for stealth antennas that must be passed through trees or other obstacles without snagging.

This antenna wire is sold in 75 foot long bundles, which is enough for a 40M dipole or EFHW. Two 75 foot bundles would make a great 80M dipole. Custom lengths are available on request.

Specification

– Kevlar fiber core wrapped with six 30 AWG copper strands
– Weather-proof black polyethylene (PE) insulation, 1/16″ O.D.
– Weight: 16 feet per ounce
– Breaking-load: 125 lbs
– Velocity factor 0.97

Click here to view on eBay.

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A Panasonic RF-2200 in “The Walking Dead”

Panasonic RF-2200

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Balázs, who adds the following note to his recent radio sighting (of a Hallicrafters HT-32 Transmitter) in the series “The Walking Dead.

Balázs notes that in the season nine finale, he spotted the previously mentioned HT-32 (see image below), in addition to the iconic Panasonic RF-2200 (see image above).

Hallicrafters HT-32 Transmitter

Honestly, I think both of these radios would serve you well in a post-apocalyptic world!

Turns out, The Walking Dead is filmed in Senoia, and Fayetteville, Georgia, USA and SWLing Post contributor, Steve Yothment, lives nearby. As the then president of his radio club, he was consulted last year about radio gear to use on The Walking Dead set. He tells us to look out for an HF amplifier and field strength meter in future episodes! How cool is that?!

I’ll add this post to our ever growing archive of radios in film!

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HF military communication exercise announcements on WWV/WWVH

(Source: ARRL News via Eric WD8RIF)

The US Department of Defense (DOD) plans to start making use of a provisional time slot on WWV and WWVH to announce upcoming HF military communication exercises and how the Amateur Radio community can become involved in them. The announcements will occur at 10 minutes past on WWV and at 50 minutes past on WWVH. WWV and WWVH transmit on 2.5, 5, 10, 15, and 20 MHz.

“DOD’s use of the broadcast time slot on WWV/WWVH will benefit the MARS program’s mission of outreach to the Amateur Radio community,” said US Army Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) Program Manager Paul English, WD8DBY. “The actual messages to be broadcast are coordinated by the DOD Headquarters that the MARS program supports.”

The initial announcements are set for the period April 20 – May 3, which coincides with the “Vital Connection” interoperability exercise to be held in Wisconsin. Future time slots will coincide with the Vital Connection exercise Ohio in June; DOD COMEX 19-3 in August, and the DOD COMEX 19-4 in October. Following the proof of concept this year, DOD anticipates making use of the WWV/WWVH broadcast time slot full time, year-round.[…]

Click here to read the full article via the ARRL News.

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