Yet Another Whinge from Me…

by MD0MDI
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Yet Another Whinge from Me…

Cancer Stuff

I am at that stage where everyone except the consultant at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, is telling me that I am getting better, even if I still feel like crap, it is a different type of crap I suppose.

Walking is getting better, I can just about walk around Tesco’s now even though by the end I feel like my legs are about to fold over, that said my Food and Drink situation is not much better, Chocolate is still my ‘get to’ as far as being able to swallow it is concerned, but that is the limit really.

Food itself, I do not enjoy at all, everything tastes the same (cardboard) and most of the time I still find it hard to swallow anything, we have thankfully just cut down how much that gets pumped into the stomach, which has made me happy, but because I cannot eat enough to sustain me at all, the peg has to stay in, and from what those that say ‘they care’ seem to not understand is, that if it’s not enjoyable if it all and it taste like cardboard, I do not want to eat it, and thus I and finding this a very slow part of recovery, if I am recovering from Cancer at all.

I have lost so many friends over the past few years from Cancer which makes me feel that – bollocks, it ‘WILL’ come back, and it will beat me in the end. I kind of wish that I could just end it and join the close friends that I miss constantly, I have had some really good friends over here, moving to the Isle of Man has been the best thing that I have done in my life, and I miss old Harry Blackburn (MD0HEB), Mike Jones (GD4WBY) and Douglas Dodd (GD3RFK), and although I still have some good friends here still, it is a hard fight to get enjoyment from what I do, if it was not for the Electronics and the Ham Radio I would have given up by now.

If when I wake up thinking that things will be getting better and if I had saliva and also if I could taste anything after 3 years of treatment then I would also think I was on the mend but I am not getting better, I still have no saliva and taste buds and more often than not I still wish that I could just fall asleep at night and not wake up the next day.

Talking with the consultant who I have never met as yet, but it’s down to him that I am on this immunotherapy which goes into me every 3 weeks, he confirmed that if I have no saliva after this amount of time, then he doubts that it will ever return, the same for the taste buds, so basically every time I travel through Tesco’s looking at all the food and ingredients and I think ‘God that looks nice’ and then when I get it home I cannot smell it, I certainly cannot taste anything and as for the swallowing, it just does not happen, it is not just hard but near impossible to swallow any meat at all, does not matter how small it is, it goes in the mouth and any sauce or liquid on or within the meat instantly vanishes, leaving me with a dry fibrous mass that I can try and chew and chew and about 5 minutes later I am still chewing, but because there is no saliva then I cannot get it to go down, I can get it to vanish from the mouth with a sip of coffee, but even an hour later when I am sat down watching TV, I will suddenly start choaking and will end up couching up any meat, pasta, noodles and most of what I thought that I had swallowed an hour earlier.

What I am getting at here is that I have nothing to look forward to, well as far as Food and Drink is concerned, I get nothing from watching others enjoy food, or a nice cold beer, at some point I will have to make a choice that do I carry on like this or maybe choose to end things sooner.

Now on to something that I do enjoy.

Outbacker Antennas – I REALLY want one of these…….

What happens to antennas that people buy and then no longer use?

I only say this I have never wanted anything more than one of these great Antennas, there are loads of Good Mobile Antennas, I can honest say this as I have bought most over the years, but most seem to be nothing more than a large coil either mounted at the bottom, half way up, and even at the top, and ate nothing more than a simple coil, maybe even a capacitor or two, and a bit of plastic to advertise the brand, and seem to be just an antenna that someone created that morning, tested once and then sent to China so that they can make it cheap, package it and then sell it all over the world.

I have bought many makes and even ones that seem to work alright, but you still need a tuner to operate with on the same band, even going down to the point where we tune the antenna, enjoy a day of QSO’s and then next week you take the same antenna out and you have to retune it as it does not perform the same as it did last week on the very same frequencies.

Quality of modern mobile antennas is still a joke, even operating 100W all day they can fail, wires too small inside and under all that plastic you see, even cheap solder joints, I have come across many antennas that have failed due to some shoddy internal soldering, and this happens on all antennas these days, even VHF and UHF Verticals by some well known manufacturers, but this is what happens when we sell our souls to China to make stuff cheap, and why would we support a company that support an idiot like Putin!

Let’s now get back to Quality, I have not seen many that perform as well as one of these, they feel solid in the hand and not lust lightweight, these are truly a quality piece of kit that actually works and works well.

I am keeping my fingers tightly crossed that I will get one soon, but I am in a waiting game between e-mails and it seems like I have to wait months for answers, These are made to order and it although he is on his own, a grafter and insistent on quality and the care over what he makes and thus these are then it is worth the wait, I will be a lot happier when I know that there will be one on its way to me, it feels like I am a kid waiting for Christmas because I have been told that I will get a certain present, but its February!

MFJ

It’s Started, and we all knew that it would!

The lack of items in the local Ham Radio Store, it has not been happening slowly over many months, it seems to be happening over just a few days. I am after a few bits that I stupidly left to it is too late, and already there is no stock, so the world had better hanker down and get used to the Big Boy on the block vanishing from the world.

I was after a Cushcraft Antenna and an MFJ Auto Tuner and low and behold they are no longer available, which makes me think that a company as large as MFJ – was there really no one that could take over the business?

It seems weird that although Mr. MFJ himself wanted to retire and enjoy a bit of a well-earned break, surely there was someone he who was willing to take over Cushcraft, Hy-Gain as separate entities.

We still need good antennas and although we still have great companies like Mosley, Titanex and UltraBeam, there are large gaps still, not everyone can afford these makes in these delicate times, but we still need good antennas, and not stupid little ones that only handle 200W and will fall apart in the first of the winter breezes.

Antennas should be made to handle at least 1500W (if not a lot more), this way they can cope with the weather that we have here in the UK, and what about Tuners? Where do we go now for cheap tuners? And by cheap, I mean Cheap BUT Good Tuners, here again is a large void that is opening up.

I now want a good Auto Tuner that can handle 1500W, and I see that I now have just a single choice, but when you try and contact that company for information that is not included in the piddly little brochure you get hit with a brick wall of silence.

There is a hole left by MFJ and it will be filled, but I wonder what the quality will be like… I have also noticed something else by the loss of MFJ. They were never too helpful when it came to making their manuals available, yes you could download the user guides, but when you need a schematic to help with the troubleshooting of something, you then got a brick wall, so with this in mind I went through everything that I own of MFJ’s along with the two Ameritron Amps that I have and the Cushcraft Antennas that I have, well with regards to the MFJ stuff itself, they seem to have taken down everything, not a single manual that was useful, Ameritron was a little more helpful but it seems that a company that made everything for everyone now is going out of their way to stick two fingers up to everyone – the sign of a really caring company.

I then noticed that most of their stock has already vanished. I phoned up Martyn Lynch and they were out of stock of the 2 tuners that I wanted to try out so no luck there, maybe they are keeping all their remaining stock for USA Sales Only, just cannot get over their attitude and the lack of care for their customers, it is going to be fun when it comes to repairing a lot of their kit, there is going to be a lot of Antenna’s, Rotators, and Linears heading to scrap yards! Still seems a Very Bad way to end a company.

Daiwa SWR/Power Meters

I have enjoyed owning these over my years in Amateur radio and I have always thought that they were fairly accurate, I know that they are not a Bird Meter, but they are not £1800 either.

I had a problem show itself lately which started me thinking that these Daiwa Meters are not really something that I could rely on, but up until now I have not really thought that they were anything but trustworthy.

I kindly was gifted this Yaesu FTDX-101MP and with it an OM Power OM-4001HF RF Linear Amplifier so I thought that I would set up a permanent HF station as I have not had one since 2014, I have a load of HF equipment including Transceivers but as I got into Restoring Old KW Electronics, Drake Equipment and more recently Hammarlund and Collins equipment. I have had a lot of fun restoring RF Linear Amplifiers or all sorts ranging from small 800W versions to my large Henry that I am truly not sure what it can produce as I still have not got around to finding a meter that can handle more than 5000W or maybe 10,000W, well except the Bird 4314, but as I stated earlier they cost £1800, and finding the 4314 on ebay.co.uk is a hope in hell, I know I will have to buy one, one day but many other things get in the way.

Anyway, I am kind of drifting sideways away from the subject here. I noticed that when I connected up the Yeasu FTDX-101MP to the Linear and then my Palstar AT4K Tuner and finally my Daiwa Meter which I have about 4 of these same models, anyway I checked all was working and as normal I started to go through the bands to create a ATU Tuning guide when I noticed that when the meter on the 101MP would say that the SWR was low and the Tuner would confirm this but the Daiwa meter would show an SWR of around 8:1, then if I adjusted the Tuner so that the Daiwa was reading 1:1, then the Palstar would read practically Off the scale and the 101MP would read High SWR.

So, I had a little think here and started to test all of the patch leads, but they are all made from Messi & Paoloni ExtraFlex 13 and every patch lead tested perfect so no problem there. I then tested the antenna with two different Antenna Analysers, one MFJ-259D and the other a RigExpert AA-2000 which gave me the same results and the antenna was not a problem, I tried the Palstar against a smaller MFJ Tuner and although the MFJ was not as easy to tune in as the Palstar and not as repeatable, I was still getting basically the same response.

Now the problem is that after going through all of my pretty large collection of SWR/Power Meters with Cross Needle displays I only had the 4 Daiwa CN-901 meters which supposedly rated above 2Kw, leaving me with a little bit of a head ache, I wanted to confirm one what the output was and also the SWR, but then I also need to use this same meter for when I am confirming the power output of the many restoration projects that I have when connected to a dummy load. Now this problem get a little more confusing because when connected to a Dummy Load all 4 of these Daiwa metres give the same result, this is also confirmed tested again a couple of other meters. Even connecting through the same Palstar tuner and then to the Daiwa meter and then finally the Dummy load the meter then would sync with the Palstar and the 101MP, but not when connecting to the antenna.

At this point I gave up as I was getting a little confused, but I need to find a meter that hopefully I can afford to rely on, ideally, I need it to read up to 10,000W (Because of the Henry) but as a minimum I need it to read say 5000W which will cover 5 of my Linears here, and although I think that I am pushing it here but if it could work UHF as well then this would be a real bonus.

I need a SWR/Power Meter!

A Good HF 5000W Tuner

Being the owner of a few RF Linear Amplifiers capable of in Excess of 5000W it is about time that I should buy a good Tuner that can handle this power level, I am not saying that I am ever going to transmit using this amount of power but it is useful to test these Linears on the air and that we can repeat the performance on all bands and conditions, after all if you have one of these old room warmers, you just do not want to leave it in a corner collecting dust, I know, I have a lot of these doing this at the moment.

But finding a Tuner these days is a little difficult, there are two main issues here.

  1. Built to a level where the Tuner is Capable to hold the Power level of 5000W for a constant 1 minute of time.
  2. 99% Accuracy of all Bands between 0 and 60MHz

Ideally there are a couple more items which would be nice but not essential I suppose.

  1. Crossed Needle Display (Not essential but nice)
  2. Vernier Dials with small and repeatable markings (Very Important)
  3. Built in Dummy Load (Not essential but nice)
  4. Balanced and Coaxial Antenna Outputs (Not essential but nice)

Now Martin Lynch has just started selling a make that looks as though it would meet most of my plus points, they have just taken on LazTuners which look pretty good, they do not have the Crossed Needles but instead separate Forward and Reverse like in the old days, they look to be a little steam Punk which it not too problematic as though they are accurate and repeatable, the only problem here is that they do not offer the large one yet, and it is this one that I am interested in – the LazTuner LT-ADVANCED 10 although it would have to come with N-Type Connectors as we do not have a lot of use of the 7/16” Coaxial Sockets.

The Only problem here is that Martin Lynch is Useless as they do not know much about LazTuners and when contacting Laz themselves they do not offer any brochures, Information or even photos of the ADVANCED 10 Tuner and in a e-mail response from them all I got was watch the YouTube video on it which has about 3 seconds as a glancing shot. – Bloody Useless, and I am sorry but if a company cannot even offer a few minutes to provide you with information as a prospective customer, but instead only offer you with one sentence in an e-mail, and suggesting something that offers no real information and detail of something that may cost more than a lot of the gear that I have here at present.

At least I got a response from them, a lot more than I can say about Palstar.

Last Updated : 28th May 2024

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