Days 94, 95 and 96 – 144MHz UKAC

Day #94 started with a QSO with Nick, RV3EFR who replied to my CQ call on 15m and then I had JT65 QSOs with RU3KS, Andrey, W3BI, Rick and F1MWV, Jean-Pierre before I switched over to 20m and worked R5AO, Evgeny and OM3CFR, Pavol

On day #95 I started off by working RX3AIS, Mikhail and SQ5LNY, Dariusz on 20m and then I moved to 2m to give away a few points in the April 144MHz UKAC contest. Before the contest I had a chat with Bob, G8HGN who gave me some useful feedback on my audio quality and we also worked out why I’d been getting issues when running low power on 2m.  It seems I need to sort out a sequencer to switch out my mast head pre-amp because when I transmit on low power it tends to chatter a bit and it’s chopping out my signal as the relays click in and out.   I picked and chose who I worked once the contest started and in an hour I had 20 QSOs, the best DX being GD8EXI, Richard on the Isle of Man.

On day #96 I only had time for one QSO as I was preparing for a trip away and so I worked HA8UJ, Atilla in Hungary on 20m.


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  1. “I may need a sequencer…” – aha, a job for a PIC!

    I’m assuming the pre-amp is currently powered via an external 12v feed rather than through the coax? If so, a simple solution is just to use the PTT out of the rig, inverted, to drive it. If you’re running higher power than the RF VOX circuit will handle, then a PIC-based sequencer is easy enough to build for SSB operation.

    I’m intrigued to know if anyone has a good solution for CW, though, other than using an external keyer rather than the rig’s built-in keyer: otherwise, it seems like there’s a significant risk of losing the initial symbol while the sequencer does its thing.

  2. I’m not sure what I’m going to use yet, Rob. The pre-amp is powered by an external 12v supply, it doesn’t seem to support power up the coax which is a real shame. I’ve got a hard wire PTT line from the FT-847 to my linear amplifier so the best way will be to sequence using that line.

    The problem isn’t that I’m running too much power for the pre-amp, it’s that when I run with the linear off, I’m not running enough power and the relays at the masthead chatter and cut of syllables of my speech hence the need to actually remove the power from the pre-amp when I transmit. I’m told there’s a suitable design in the ARRL handbook but I can’t find it.

    That might sound a little odd, why would I ever want to run with the linear off and it’s a good point but there’s a low power contest I want to enter later this year and a good pre-amp is really useful for that so I need to have the sequencer working before then.

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