New addition to the work bench

Or floor…

Possibly the most popular cheap but good/excellent quality 3D printer right now. Decent build area of 220×220, a big community, and compatibility with common components. Hotend needs upgrading to allow more interesting materials, but already started on the knobs for the mcHF UI board, currently being interfaced with my old SoftRock RXTX 6.3.

Funny how 3D prints look better in real life than magnified on a screen – the layers above are 0.12mm and barely noticeable to the naked eye.

Only PLA at the moment so no leaving in hot cars or operating in WA, but at least it’s usable and will allow me to rework Chris M0NKA’s original front panel for my purposes.

LimeSDR Mini

Finally finished putting the finishing touches on my limesdr mini, namely a 3D printer enclosure and a fan. I went with the quietest fan possible which unfortunately meant 10mm thick so it looks a bit excessive…

Longer term this opens up lightweight options for 2.4 and 3.4Ghz

SOTA station storage

I’ve been inactive for so long so it makes sense that the most streamlined part of my station is the storage…

Recently repacked after yesterday’s activation of Federation Range:

In there is everything required except for a squidpole and batteries.

  • FT-817
  • MTR3b with single lever palm key.
  • Decent whip for the H/H
  • Charger and various cables including crocodile clips
  • ATU
  • 88ft doublet
  • 3 band trapped EFHW plus matching unit.
  • 20m GP
  • Multi-band homebrew (ARRL home brew comp design) 80-20m amp
  • 10m 1/2 wave vertical
  • Various lengths of rg-174/rg-58 coax
  • Miscellaneous bits like pencils, pens, pencil sharpener, leatherman like tool, straps and lengths of cord.

80m station complete(-ly untested)

On a whim I bought the QCX kit for 80m thinking to compliment the 40-30-20 MTR. The only problem was antennas. My goto choice up until now has been an EFHW of some kind which gives adequate performance in a small light package. Rebuilding for 80m was one option but more sacrifices would need to be made than I was happy with.

I settled on a 88ft Doublet fed with some of the very light 300ohm tv line I also bought 6 years ago during a clearance sale thinking it might come in usual one day. Idea of using a pool noodle as the winder came from KK4NQQ on the Sota reflector

The ZM-2 was a Christmas present to myself.

All put together in time for the Mt Hotham weekend…

I/AA-039, I/AA-053

I researched the summit possibilities in the area we were staying for New Years and quickly packed the MTR away in the cupboard… no no and no… it’s pretty much all like the the following:


Piz Boe I/AA-341 on the left hand side below, might be easily accessible in summer with a hike from the cable car (behind). Activated 8 times.

Finished QCX

Work has kept me stupidly busy this year… the only project completed is a build of the QCX kit from QRP labs (and a new trapped antenna for the MTR). Built for 80m to complement the 40/30/20 MTR3b and provide a morning NVIS option.


The case was custom build out of 1mm Al using a home made brake and follows the design of the LNR Precision MTR case. 

Sensitivity seems fine and puts out 3.8W on 80M on initial measurements. Now I’m only missing an antenna…

Arthur’s Seat VK3/VC-031

I’ve driven up Arthur’s Seat a few times, run up it more than a few times, and driven past it even more often. Still hadn’t got around to activating the thing…

I rarely take part in the VHF field days as a proper contestant, but I often use it to test out my 23cm station. I’m also keen to reward those who put the effort in and head out with decent stations. If I remember, I usually try to give out a few contacts, mostly on the higher bands.

Arthur’s Seat has a good takeoff to the south, west, and north depending on where you set up so, despite the trees, is not a bad place for UHF/Microwave work. Especially nice are the numerous picnic tables.

I was headed down the peninsula to meet up with some other members of our astronomical society and had just enough time to squeeze a single band activation in on 23cm.

The easy and smart way to do 23cm is to liaise on a lower band to establish beam headings, but there is a particular joy in getting random QSOs on this band. My 10el Yagi has a very broad beamwidth anyway.

Because I had no intention on entering the contest, I put a spot up on sotawatch. About 10 minutes of calling later I was rewarded with a QSO with Andy VK3VKT, followed by VK3ER/P in/near the wombat state forest, and VK3BCU. No regular SOTA chasers, likely due to the hour and lack of alert. I could have qualified the summit in 30 seconds if I put the 2m rubber ducky on the 817, but I would have been there for another half an hour working the hordes… the weather was pretty miserable with a freezing southerly wind.

Not successfully qualified, but 3 more 23cm contacts, summit activated, and an Andrew 2 Andrew. What’s not to like? Longest was 113km with VK3ER/P.

Only 15 minutes or so late for the meeting.