Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Davy Jones

Sad news today about the death of Davy Jones.
The Monkees were one of my favourite bands back in 1967. I recorded their top twenty hits on my reel to reel tape recorder and learned all the words to the songs! Davy Jones' voice was very 'British' and he came from Manchester too.
I guess I shoud have stayed in bed,
My pillow wrapped around my head,
Instead of waking up to find,
A nightmare of a different kind,
She went away.
This just doesn't seem to be my day!
Rest in peace Davy!

What is
"The aim of this project is simple – Stripped down blogging to its simplest form to record one special day in time across the globe. As soon as the first time zone enters this blog will be open to posts. It’s simple, by filling out the form below, you will be creating a blog post on this blog."
What a great idea!
Today, to celebrate the leap year, I have been blogging with the children at school on our school blog and also on
It is amazing to see the diverse ideas and comments on the site from younger children right through to adults across the world.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Skyscan Antenna Review

I bought one of these antennas last year originally to use as a loft antenna as a secondary one to use with my home made receiver. During Summer last year I put the mag mount antenna onto my car and went up Matchmoor Lane on Winter Hill to join in some of the Tuesday night contests.
I was amazed at the way this antenna performed! It works well on all the bands I tried which included 50Mhz, 144Mhz and even 432Mhz. It also seems fine to transmit on this antenna, even though I think it is meant for receiving when using a scanning receiver. I was quite impressed!
It is easy to use, but i'm not sure that I would use one of these for mobile operation as occasionally you need to tighten up the allen screws that hold on the vertical elements.
You can buy the discone version of this antenna instead of the mag mount.
Compact scanner and receiver antenna with coverage of 25-1300MHz.
Suitable for static mobile use and can also be used as a discreet loft or indoor antenna when mounted on a metal ground plane.
The magnetic base has a protective rubber cover and the Skyscan Mk2 is supplied with approx 4m of cable and with a BNC plug fitted.The quad whip design gives improved reception over standard single whip receive aerials.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Airfix Space Shuttle

At last I have bought an Airfix Space Shuttle model kit! there is no electronics or digital technology, just plastic, but I wanted one of these for Christmas, but couldn't find any in the shops and on e-bay they were few and far between usually going for more than the retail price. I think they produced the kit to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle. I spoke with the guy from the local model shop and he told me that Airfix only produced them over a short period of time and they are now becoming difficult to obtain.
I used to buy lots of model kits when I was very young, mainly airplanes. I would glue all the pieces together and paint them, then my Dad would hang them from the ceiling in my bedroom. This kit has lots of bits to stick will probably take me weeks to complete it!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

My House

An aerial photo of my house when it was being built in 1962! You can see me house where the pen points.

Gosh! It is 35 years ago today since we moved into our house! It was a cold night on 7th February 1977 when I got the keys to the house. This was two months before Kathleen and I got married. Of course my first job was to establish a radio shack in the box room that I still use now and shortly after move my aerials from my family house onto our chimney. My house is in a good location for radio communication. Right at the top of a hill about 114 metres ASL with a clear take off to the South, West and East.

I remember that the house was draughty and had no central heating at the time, wooden windows and in February it was freezing!

Friday, February 03, 2012


I found this old picture of my antennas as they were about 15 years ago. I bought the Jaybeam antennas in 1973 and first put them up on the chimney of my parents house , then moved them to my house. They were actually up and used for almost 30 years!
On the chimney is the rotator with 8 element beam for 144Mhz (Jaybeam), 18 element parabeam for 432Mhz (Jaybeam) and at the top is my home made 10 over 10 slot fed yagi for 1296Mhz. I worked stations in France and Switzerland on this little antenna with less than 1 watt, made out of copper plumbing pipes and connectors!

On the side of the house is a rotatable mast with a horizontal 70Mhz 2 element beam. (This was actually a cut down Band 1 television aerial) Above is a vertical 144Mhz HB9CV (Which I still use for portable) There is also a 432Mhz folded dipole for FM on 432Mhz, but you can't see it on the photo.

It was only when the rotator stopped working and I lost a couple of elements from the 8 element that I decided to take them down. At the time I had lost some interest in amateur radio, things were pretty boring on the bands and locally there was little interest. My equipment went into mothballs and I also got rid of most of my construction components...including my VALVES!

It was sad that I lost the plot and really thought that amateur radio was dead with coming of mobile phones and computers.

I cannot believe that I took my antennas down to the local recycling centre! How I miss the 18 element parabeam!
Now I have bought new antennas, but you can't beat the old Jaybeams! Built like a brick Sh** House! Every 5 years or so I took down the antennas and cleaned them with wire wool and coated everything in grease or vaseline. They always looked like new!