Shed Workshop: Attenuators

Our next shed workshop will be held on Sunday 4 September at the QTH of Bernard ZL2BD from 1pm to 3pm. All are welcome. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided at the conclusion of the Shed Workshop.

Malcolm ZL2UDF, Bernard ZL2BD and Mike ZL1AXG will give you a talk and demonstration of attenuators and their use in amateur radio construction.  

The workshop will look at different options including the options of purchasing a pre-built attenuator or constructing one yourself.   There will also be some discussion on where they are used and how to avoid damaging both your attenuator and associated equipment.

Shed Workshop Sunday 3 July – IC7300 Tips Part 2

iCOM IC7300 Hints and tips – Second session

1pm – 3pm Venue John ZL2XJ QTH

Mike ZL1AXG and John ZL2XJ provided a follow up talk on using the IC7300 covering the remaining topics not covered in the earlier June workshop.

This included more detail on storing settings on the SD-Card and using it to record voice messages for use in contests or to record QSOs.

There was also a further demonstration of software using the USB-B port including logging software.

Tea, coffee and cake followed the workshop with nine participants.

June Shed Workshop – Tips and tricks for the iCOM IC7300

A number of members have the iCOM IC7300 transceiver as their primary base transceiver. One member has an iCOM IC705 which has a similar user interface.

This workshop provided an opportunity for members to share their tips and tricks in using the IC7300. Even those who didn’t own this rig, were able to learn more about iCOM’s user interface and its strengths and weaknesses. While the iCOM is straight forward to use, there are a number of traps that people discover as they go along. For example, if you have been using the rig on 10m FM (or similar) you may have adjusted the squelch control (which is shared with the RF volume control). When you switch back to 7.055 MHz for the Branch 50 NZART net on Sunday, you may find you can’t hear anything. Not even any band noise. You panic! What has gone wrong with my $2000 appliance? You may find the same result by turning both the RF Gain up full…. The answer is simple, always check the RF gain setting if you can’t hear anything. It needs to be set at about 11 o’clock if you want to hear something!

Presenters included Malcolm ZL2UDF, Frank ZL2TTS, John ZL2XJ, Bernard ZL2BD, and Mike ZL1AXG.

The presenters covered a range of topics including, pre-operating checks, simple controls (Gain controls, band switching, changing frequency on the waterfall display, using the attenuators and pre-amps, etc). They also delved a bit deeper into less frequently used features, including interfacing the rig to a computer, how to use the accessory outputs (e.g. to provide band-switching on a linear amplifier) and how to build a small interface to switch between pre-recorded voice messages for contest calling, and an explanation of various display modes (e.g. seeing RX and TX audio spectrum graphs on the display).

The shed meeting was held at John ZL2XJ’s QTH . A follow up session may be organised to cover things that we did not have time to cover – such as saving settings to the SD-card, software options for digital modes, and using the networking features of WFview software for remote operation.

Shed Workshop on 6 March: The ZC1 test jig & a replacement vibrator

For anybody who has been around in amateur radio for a while, the ZC1 will be well known. It was developed by Collier and Beale during WW2 for use by the NZ armed forces. As it covered both 80m and 40m, it was highly prized by hams, in an era when commercially made equipment was hard to come by.

On Sunday 6 March 2022 Bernard ZL2BD gave a talk (on Zoom) on a ZCI test jig that he built, and has used to test the working of several ZC1s. The club owns a ZC1 that is for sale to any member interested in purchasing it and was tested using this test jig.

Bernard also demonstrated a replacement vibrator that doesn’t require modification of the ZC1 power supply. He is still working on variants to perfect this.

11 members and visitors joined in on the Zoom session, which was very well received by those attending.