QRA JO01OX, WAB TM23, Fists #16909 GQRP #15161 DMR-ID 2342670

November 9th, 2018

A new toy in the shack, a Hilltopper-20 from the Four State QRP Group. This is my first QRP rig for 20M.

The kit arrived well packaged but sadly I got caught by UK customs and had to pay a customs charge of £15 and a Royal Mail collection fee. In total this added an extra £22.62 to the price of the kit making it quite expensive!

When opened the box contained:

The box did not contain the build instructions but these are readily available on the internet.

The build process was quite easy and took me a couple of evenings. The only trouble I had was identifying the capacitors as not all of them had the markings suggested in the build instructions. Luckily, I own a small capacitance meter so I used that to ensure that I was placing the correct component in the correct place!

On powering up it all seemed to work but the paddles were the wrong way round and the keyer was in Iambic Mode A! The instrcutions suggested that I could change this by holding down the function button when applying power and waiting for the correct option and hitting a paddle. This didn't work for me and, with the help of the supplier, I came to the comclusion that I was running old firmware. The latest firmware is available at https://4sqrp.groups.io/g/HilltopperKit/topics and can be downloaded if you join the group. The next trick is to re-program the Arduino in circuit.

On the PCB there are holes for the necessary connections required to re-program the Arduino. I soldered some header pins there and connected the board up to an Arduino UNO with the chip removed. The connections are quite simple TX -> TX, RX -> RX, +5 -> +5, 0 -> 0, Reset -> Reset. You can then use the standard Arduino IDE to upload the new firmware!

If anyone needs help with this please ask...

October 30th, 2018

The ISS (RS0ISS) spent the weekend sending down SSTV pictures again this weekend. I left the VHF radio on 145.800MHz and managed to capture the images below. The antenna being used was a simple vertical dipole. The images would be far better if I had used a directional antenna but I was out for most of the time.

September 24th, 2018

Received QSL confirmation from Alred, DK7AK, for a 30m QSL using the Isotron!

Also Received QSL confirmation from Roland, HB9BQR for the contact from GB2BRS at Bawdsey.

September 16th, 2018

A day out operating from Bawdsey Radar. They have some new picnic tables there and one devoted to Morse Code.

With help from John, G0MGN, we put up a vertical 40m antenna and fed it with a Yeasu FT-897D.

And managed to work a few stations...

I was not happy with the log entry for G6VLD. The callsign and the fact that they were claiming to be a Marconi Museum in Cornwall did not add up and I spend all evening pondering it. If you turn G6VLD into dots and dashes you get:

    --. / -…. / …- / .-.. /  --.

If you take the same pattern but change the spacing you get:

    --. / -… / .…- / .-.. /  --.

GB4LD, which, according to QRZ is The Old Marconi Hut, Bass Point, The Lizard, Cornwall, England. So all the dits and dahs were correct, just the spacing was wrong!

September 11th, 2018

Always nice to receive a QSL card. Not bad on 10 watts.

September 10th, 2018

Built a new Isotron for 30m - see here.

September 4th, 2018

Due to the costs associated with Azure I stopped hosting the G0PJO website there. It has more moved closer to home and is written using the Microsoft Core technology. This will now be so much easier to update so... watch this space!