I am doing "field" operations with a FT-817 with accessories, to which I am adding d.i.y. wire aerials of different sizes and designs, mainly dipoles; however, matching units will possibly allow using the ubiquitous corral fences for propagation tests.
This cute little rig has been accommodated in an aluminium suitcase:
availabe are a MIracle Whip, several rubber ducks, 230V and car adaptors etc., all in all: the usual impedimenta.
Additional metal cases - those sold in diy-markets for tools - have been adapted for accommodating several wire antennas, power supply alternatives, cables and extensions, allowing a variety of power supply; one contains the portable "office, workshop and first aid station". Experience in the field taught me that the possibility of hurting myself out there is not to be neglected... and Murphy lurks everywhere!
At present I am trying to familiarize myself with a recently bought 2nd hand laptop HP4150b which is going to be used for digital modes together with the FT817 when being on travel. In the meantime I succeeded finding the resp. drivers on the internet and bring the laptop back to life; it cooperates with the FT817, rendering highly interesting QRP contacts with 1--2 W in BPSK31 mode over 1500 miles on 20m.
Confuzius say: "no good thing cheap, no cheap thing good..." or in other words: "you get what you pay for"... You may invert this saying because in the meantime I have spent more for accessories to the FT817 than for the rig itself! There was the TCXO, 500 Hz CW filter, rf-processor mike, Miracle-Whip, ZD-2, psu, 100W qrp PA, atu Z-100 and so on.
I love it, or to use the words of N9HMG: "...I'll give mine up when you pry it from my cold dead left hand (my right hand will be holding a revolver full of spent cartridges), and even then, I'll haunt the one who takes it."... Well said, mate!
To enhance listening and processing of digital signals I have added an audio filter based on ASP, which is giving excellent results as the audio handling in the FT817 is not entirely satisfactory. I bought the ED88NF from Eurofrequence in Germany and am delighted with the results. A further valuable addition was a BHI inline module against noise: NEIM 1031 which is one of those items you would not like to miss again once put into good use!
some changes done recently.
Located on the upper shelf, it is only an inch larger than the FT817, feeds on 12V and fits into the portable set-up. To the left the small Wimo R-155 50W linear amplifier, and far left the MFJ-941 ATU. In the meantime there has been added a BHI DSP noise filter both to the FT817 (incorporated) and external for use with other rigs; the results are amazing and well worth the money invested.
Meantime I have built, based on suggestions and descriptions by Jake N0LX, a switchbox permitting the use of normal headset-mike-combinations with this transceiver. If you are interested how it looks, click here, please.
Also, I play around with stealth aerial setups, i.e. something the always nosey neighbours will not discover on first glance. The most recent and funny achievements was matching one of our rain gutters to the FT817: about 15 loops of insulated antenna wire around the bottom, a home-made balun 1:9 and off we went: a cw qso with 3A2CC with the gutter antenna! The most rewarding experience were 2 contacts on CW on 160m using this arrangement, a band I had never been able to use again since Signals time.
The MAGNETIC LOOP antenna I have been using for years is pictured here. The results were excellent, despite present conditions of propagation. This design was produced by Kaeferlein in DL who sadly passed away in 2005. Meantime this loop has been removed into a garden shed as it attracted too much attention; it works on ground level, too, but less efficient, evidently, yet it is a good emergency antenna.
An antenna switch for the big vertical has been mounted on the balcony for experiments; it usually serves a small stn setup with a FT-897D in my bedroom, mainly for night time operation when I can't sleep at times.
My elder daughter's Toshiba Satelllite laptop - she got a better one with Dad's sponsoring - comes to very good use; the transceiver can be connected to the aerials directly or via FC30 or MFJ ATU. The interface is a Navigator.
The ATAS120 occasionally used and mounted on the gutter works perfect but of course with less efficiency than the home made ground plane on the rail to which my late mate Paul G0UZP contributed with his invaluable engineering skills. Within minutes it can be taken down and disassembled, a necessity in a country where we are haunted by frequent summer thunderstorms.
My good old companion since Signals time: a Junkers morse key, ready for emergencies and nostalgic (senior) moments. I learned CW with it, and we were discharged from the course when reaching 120 char./min sending and reading with one fault only. It took me 3 months from scratch.
My preferred paddle from GHD, mounted on a 1,5 kg aluminium plate as support. It does not slip around on the table and easily allows transmit speeds of 160-180 lpm (32-36 wpm), provided my mental and digital abilities do permit ...
My first rig was the kit-mounted HW-101 of Heathkit: in 1972 my wife helped me mounting the kit successfully, which was sold 1989 after about 6000 QSOs in CT1 and DL; it was followed by a FT-757 GXII of Yaesu, later being used by my friend G4JAZ who sadly passed away in Jan 2011. A FT-920 took its place in 2000, which meantime has found a new home and care by a new owner abroad.
I purchased a FT-857 for mainly stationary use in the garden; it is a magnificent little rig once you get familiar with the menu procedures. It also serves as backup in case the other transceivers are not operational.
I have built the Elecraft KX-1 3W-QRP transceiver which has been fitted the 80m/30m plus ATU modules. This is a fantastic and cut little transceiver which has given astonishing results.
A Yaesu VR-5000 was bought brandnew in Oct 05 which developed a complete deafness on HF after some months; for sure it was my first and last purchase from that well known seller in Southwest Germany. Yaesu UK were so kind and efficient in repairing and returning the rig within 10 days. Excellent service! It runs for Broadcast monitoring permitting my wife to listen to news from her country CT1. It is virtually unsuitable for CW and digital modes listening, though.
An Icom R-8500 with cw filter has taken its place for other tasks incl. bandwatch.
In November 2006 I bought the FT-2000 of Yaesu, to substitute the old workhorse FT-920 . The new rig has been added the DMU unit and a µ-Tune unit for 40-80m, served by various experimental aerial set-ups. Several military surplus arrangements are tested.
As the FT-2000 developed a fault due to a current spike in the grid and will have to be sent to Yaesu for repairs, I substituted it with a brandnew FT-950 in 2011 for the time being; it did not have much use except for CW and an occasional SSB QSO; sofar my impressions are very good.
I have built several switching and audio filtering circuits.
Here one of the ex-Nato verticals in use on my antenna balcony:
Having worked on airports, in air cargo and other aviation branches, I got the "aviation virus" as well, in addition to the "HF bug"; in the past I intensely studied aeronautics but for several reasons never took the Private Pilots License when I had the time; however it did not hinder me to sometimes fly myself together with licensed friends.
I took this picture after my flight on this magnificent old-timer Ju52-3m built 1936 at Dessau, callsign DCDLH (ex DAQUI), in July 2001 at Hamburg EDDH. This picture is used for my QSL card on e-QSL.cc . The props and engines, as well as electronics, have been modernized.
I started photography when I was 11 with one of those ugly black boxes I won in a kermesse lottery, but which one year later abandoned me by falling down a mountain side in the Alps what after about 1000ft of fall did some damage to the camera. Anyway, I continued with a 2nd hand wartime Robot24 which is now retired from duty and was substituted by a Ricoh SLR and later a 8MP Olympus E-300 and E-510.
If you are interested in this field, please click on this link where I present some of my results: http://home.wtnet.de/~mjenssen/. I have uploaded there some pictures of what little monsters you can find in pond water.
During my life I have met several personalities of high standing in politics, military service and economy, in various countries; some have been my neighbours. As living in another than one's own country of birth usually opens the eyes towards truth resp. unanswered questions, I started to investigate deeper, at a very early stage. The findings were astonishing.