It started with an ad on the SARL swop shop posted by a local amateur radio dealer,Rory ZS2BL. He was offering a swop, a Yaesu FT-897d, + ATU + internal power supply in exchange for a brand new Xiegu X5105. It almost felt as if Rory was targeting me for I had what he wanted and he had what I was possibly looking for. It felt like a pretty unbalanced swop at first but I thought about it the whole night throughout my broken sleep pattern.
I did the deal the next morning. I didn’t use the FT897d much although it was comforting to know it was there! I’m almost always QRP.
I’ve used the Xiegu a few times and have made a few contacts with it from the field using both SSB and CW.
I still had my famous “Framed 817” which has served me well for close on a decade. What was I to do with it now that the Xiegu offered much the same besides the 817 having 2m and 70cm which I’ve really only used as a “half duplex” satellite station on the satellites like FO-29 and AO-7. The fully computer controlled guys don’t like the half duplex idea much but have accomodated me on a number of occasions in the past.
I have an old TH-D7A(g) which I can use for APRS and FM satellites (full duplex) with the Arrow dual band antenna. I heard today that the locally designed antenna as distributed amongst the YOTA 2018 participants will be in my post box by tommorrow which may become the ideal antenna for RaDAR SatComms!
I installed the framed 817 in the shack. I was playing with WSPR. WSPR is awesome, it’s just WSPR but it works. Then I tried QRP FT8 on 40m and was heard once, in Europe. I had gone for a cup of coffee and on my return I found a Namibian station had just worked me on FT8, a complete QSO. All that was needed was for me to click the button “Log the QSO”. I did, for the sake of the Namibian station but I was not physically part of the QSO. The computer did all the negotiations. I was put off FT8 forever!
It was time for the 817ND to go to a new home. It was sent to a ham in Natal. One thing I forgot to pack was the rubber duck antenna that originally came with it many, many years ago. I never used it but I know it’s lying in a corner somewhere!
So with the Yaesu’s all gone to a new home I sat with the Signalink USB and rarely used Yaesu CAT cable and they had to go too. Within minutes I had replies, these items are pretty scarce nowadays in South Africa.
They are too, on their way to new homes.
During the past few days I have basically planned my next few years as a radio amateur, being a QRP only operator supporting on foot RaDAR, SOTA and POTA operations.
I still have an old army radio, the B25 which was given to me by a good friend before he went back to the USA. The B25 stays as a shack bound radio – really only there to support other activators and occasional late afternoon QSO’s.
The Xiegu X5105 QRP HF radio covers 160m through to 6m including the 5 MHz band. It has a built in tuner although I still need to prove how effective it is? It has a built in battery AND charger. It has a simple antenna analyser – good enough for my purposes, It is all mode, even FM! It is LIGHTWEIGHT, way lighter than even the framed 817!
I wanted to sell the HB1A but luckily for me no one committed to the sale. I did repair it myself and there is a bond between me and it. I really enjoy this radio and oh, so pleasant to listen to on a pair of headphones – unlike the Xiegu which can be quite tiring but that story will be written once I have more hands on experience with the Xiegu.
Now even the RaDAR antenna I carry in my pack feels heavy and needs replacement with something lighter.
I have been the master of my destiny, it’s the journey I must travel. The past 43 years as a radio amateur have been awesome too!!!
73 de Eddie ZS6BNE
“The turn of the tide”