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GB3WP & G6YRK – Rant Time

It’s been a while since I’ve done a proper radio based post, so it’s a bit of a shame that I have to start off with a rant, but it’s required in this case.

One of the local 70cm repeaters, GB3WP seems to have many problems. The largest one seems to be G6YRK, the repeater keeper.

I had heard rumours of the repeater suddenly going off air getting switched off when either an M3/M6 or 2E0/2E1 was using it. At the time I thought no fellow ham could be quite that petty.

What callsign I or anybody else has should not make a shred of difference whether we should be allowed on the air or not. I personally keep my operating standards as high as possible, way above and beyond what Ofcom stipulates in the licence terms, as it’s part of making the hobby enjoyable for everyone. Seems that not everyone feels the same (in my experience, the older generation of hams, some of whom believe that the tests these days are far too easy, etc, etc).

Then I got proved wrong.

I was doing some handheld radio testing with M3HHY over at Distant Signal Radio on GB3WP, as at the time GB3MR was having some issues with the local pirate (see my previous posts for more info on that prat).

Within a couple of minutes of us establishing a QSO, the repeater suddenly stopped responding. After trying to get back in for a good 15 minutes, it came back on air again.
The instant we gave our callsigns, off it went, into the ether. No response.
This behaviour continued for nearly an hour, and after trying to contact YRK directly, we gave it up as a bad job, with quite a bit of pissed off added into the mix.

If I’d not heard stories of the repeater being turned off when the “wrong people” are using it, I might have put it down to dodgy repeater equipment, but even that didn’t make sense, as it had a definite pattern.
We both fired off an email to the Repeater Keeper, only to get no response from that either (surprise, surprise).

That was the last time I personally attempted to make use of GB3WP.

Until I was given an audio clip of G6YRK in action this evening.

Seems that not even M0 calls are immune from being wiped off the air by GB3WP. Chris, M0OGG, has apparently also had this issue with the repeater. Lucky for him, he had the opportunity to speak to the keeper directly about what went on.

Here’s the audio, I’ll pick each part out & go into a few opinions/observations below.

So, Chris (M0OGG) has asked a simple question, and been met with hostility. Dick Move Number 1.

YRK is clearly reluctant to go into “detail” on the air. Probably because he’s talking complete shite. Only when Lewis (M3HHY) joins in with a slightly more defensive tone does Steve (G6YRK) actually say what Chris has been “reported” for.

After all that it seems that an accusation of keying over other repeater users is the bullshit line of the day. (For the record, I know Chris, he’s not the type of person to key over another radio user, that behaviour in of itself is idiotic).
Apparently he has witnesses to this action, and he’s insisting that others were also involved. Not to mention the fact that RDF has been done on (I’m assuming) all of these “offenders”. G6YRK must have quite the army of hams with lots of spare time.
I’m not sure who the other station is, as he doesn’t give a callsign.

As Lewis jumps in & comments, the Repeater Keeper should be saying something to users he suspects of this kind of thing, in my opinion.

The real reason, of course, that he keeps turning the repeater off when others are using it is that he’s a passive-aggressive vindictive moron.

Surprise, surprise, he can’t remember the “exact date”, (because it never actually happened), it’s just “the other day, somebody did it”. Yeah, great evidence there Steve, because apparently the only person around at the time was Chris. How can he know this? When a repeater has a coverage area as wide as GB3WP, this guy is claiming that he knows that only a single person is listening? No, I think it’s bullshit too.

GB3WP Coverage Map
GB3WP Coverage Map

For reference, here’s the coverage map of the repeater. Steve G6YRK must be bloody psychic to make such a comment.
He then mentions a “friend” of Chris, but again refuses to give any names. Again I’m calling bullshit.
Swifty following this he goes into full kick-my-toys-out-of-the-pram mode because he’s been openly challenged.
While he’s correct in his statement that he can do as he pleases with the repeater, it’s not very good form to just switch the thing off when licenced users are having a perfectly valid QSO. If he doesn’t like people using the repeater, he should turn it off permanently & remove the listing from the repeater group.

After this, Steve makes the comment that he knows nothing of the repeater going off, as he’s been out all night. He mentions his Repeater Stasi again, and then makes a partial retraction of his previous statement, now that it “might” not have been Chris previously. Well Steve, we’re finally getting towards something that resembles truth. You’ve got absolutely no idea who is “keying people out”, if it’s even happening at all. So much for “having people all over the place” listening to where transmissions are coming from.

After Chris confronts him again, he returns to the fallback of that as the NoV holder it’s his prerogative to be able to switch the repeater off whenever he pleases.

When confronted with the fact that people pay into the repeater group to help keep them running, he claims that Chris’ signal is breaking up. My arse. Every other station on the repeater can hear him fine.

There’s probably more to add to this, so if I get any more relevant information from other sources I’ll add on to the saga.

73s for now folks!

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Tonight On GB3MR – Free Speech Ranting And Drunkenness

Here we go again on GB3MR tonight, the guy jumped in after I finished a QSO (which was mainly centred on the Marine VHF band & busy channels).
He’s then going on about legality, but he’s clearly so pissed that I can’t actually get full sentences out of it. Here it is for your listening pleasure.




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QSO Logging Systems

As per my site update post, I have migrated my radio log onto a new system, from CQRLOG.

CQR log has served me well since I first started in Amateur Radio, however it’s a bit complex to use, requires a backend MySQL server for it’s database, and as it’s a local application, it’s not possible to share my log with other Hams without some difficulty.
The only other major system with an online logging system is QRZ, and I find that particular site a bit of a pain, and many of the features there aren’t free. (Although it’s not horrendously expensive, I’m on a very tight budget & I must save where I can).

CQRLOG Screenshot

Because of these points, I went on a search for something that would better serve my needs. I have discovered during this search that there’s liitle out there in the self-hosted respect.

I did however find Cloudlog, a web based logging system in PHP & MySQL.
This new system allows integration with the main site, as I can run it on the same server & LAMP stack, it’s very simple to use, is visually pleasing and it even generates a Google Map view of recent QSO locations.
It will also allow me to save some resources on my main PC, running a full-blown MySQL server in the background just for a single application is resource intensive, and a bit of a waste of CPU cycles. (CQRLOG and it’s associated MySQL server is 300MB of disk space, CloudLog is 27MB).

Backups are made simpler with this system also, as it’s running on my core systems, incremental backups are taken every 3 hours, with a full system backup every 24 hours. Combined with offsite backup sync, data loss is very unlikely in any event. All this is completely automatic.
I can also take an ADIF file from Cloudlog for use with any other logging application, if the need arises.

Cloudlog is built & maintained by Peter Goodhall, 2E0SQL.
From the looks of Github, there’s also a version 2 in development, although now I have version 1 up & running, I might just stick with it, unless an easy upgrade path is available.

When I am not operating mobile, new QSOs should appear in this system almost immediately, with their respective pins on the map. (These are generated by the Grid Square location, so accuracy may vary).
If you’ve spoken to me on the air & I haven’t updated it, I’m most likely away from an internet connection, in which case your callsign will appear as soon as I have access.

73s for now folks!

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Recording QSO’s From My Shack

Since my new Wouxun has audio output jacks, I figured it would be useful to have the ability to record what my rig hears, if anything interesting comes on the air.

Under Linux, I use an application called, (creatively enough), Audio Recorder.

Recorder Screenshot
Recorder Screenshot

Using a simple connection to the mic input on a USB soundcard, I can capture everything the radio hears. Unfortunately this doesn’t work for outgoing audio, so it’s not much good at capture of my personal QSOs. For this I will have to set up another radio to act as the main receiver.

At some point in the future I will implement this with a Raspberry Pi as the audio capture server.

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Abuse On GB3MR

GB3MR currently has a big issue with a couple of pirates blocking use of the repeater, and while I’ve not heard anything from them in a few days, today has been much different.
I didn’t manage to get a full recording in this instance, but here’s some of the interference that’s being transmitted. In this case it sounds like there’s a licensed station or two trying to break through but not getting very far. (Sure I heard a callsign or two in there somewhere, whether they’re valid is another thing). Happy listening 🙂

 Luckily it’s not difficult to obliterate the pirate signal when a valid QSO is in progress, and it’s not much of an inconvenience. They must be using a wet piece of string to get such a bad signal in 😉

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Wouxun KG-UV950P Radio

After running on handies for all of my Ameteur Radio life, I figured it was time for a new radio, this time a base station/mobile rig, & after some looking around I decided on the Wouxun KG-UV950P.

Shown below is the radio as delivered:

Wouxun Boxed
Wouxun Boxed

This radio has the capability to transmit quad-band, on 6m, 10m, 2m & 70cm. It also has the capability to receive on no fewer than eight bands. Also included in the feature set is airband receive, & broadcast FM receive.
TX power is up to 50W on 2m, 40W on 70cm, & 10W on 6m/10m.


For once with a Chinese piece of electronic equipment, the manual is very well printed, and in very good English.

Radio Operating
Radio Operating

Here is the radio in operation, connected to my 65A 12v power supply. I have the radio set here monitoring a couple of the local 70cm repeaters.
The display is nice & large – easy to see at a glance which station you’re tuned to. The backlight is also software settable to different colours.
Status indicators on the top edge of the display can be a bit difficult to see unless the panel is directly facing the user though, not to mention that they are rather small.

This radio is true dual-watch, in that both VFOs can be receiving at the same time, this is effected by a pair of speakers on the top panel:


The left VFO speaker is smaller than the right, so the sound levels differ slightly, but overall sound quality is excellent. There is also provision on the back of the unit to connect external speakers.
The dual volume controls on the right hand bottom corner of the control panel are fairly decent, if a little twitchy at times. There is also a fair amount of distortion on the audio at the higher volume levels.
The controls themselves are potentiometers, but the controller appears to read the setpoint with an ADC – this means that if the control is set to just the right point, the selected level will jump around on the display & never settle down.

The radio itself is built from a solid aluminium casting, mostly for heatsinking of the main RF output stage MOSFETs. This gives the radio a very rugged construction.
A small fan is provided on the rear for cooling when required. This can be set in software to either be constantly running, (it’s pretty much silent, so this is advantageous), or only run when in TX mode. The fan will also automatically come on when a high internal temperature is detected.

Hand Mic
Hand Mic

Here is the microphone. Like the main unit of the radio this is also very solidly built, fits nicely in the hand & the PTT has a nice easy action, which helps to prevent straining hands while keeping the TX keyed.
Conveniently, all of the controls required to operate the radio are duplicated on this mic, along with a control lock switch, & backlighting for the buttons.

Another Speaker
Another Speaker

Another output speaker is placed in the back of the mic. This one can be activated through the menu system, to either use the main body speakers, the mic mounted one, or both.
A mounting hook for the mic is provided to attach to any convenient surface.

Radio Back
Radio Back

Here’s the back of the radio, with some of the big heatsink fins, the fan in the centre. To the left is the PL259 RF output, this looks to be a high quality Teflon insulated one. On the right are the power input leads & the external speaker outputs.

External Speaker Sockets
External Speaker Sockets

The external speaker connections are via 3.5mm jacks. I haven’t yet tested this feature.

Remote Mounting Plate
Remote Mounting Plate

The control panel of this radio is detachable from the main body, and a pair of adaptors are provided. This either allows the radio display to be angled upwards toward the user, set parallel, or even mounted remotely. A control extension cable is provided to allow the main body to be mounted a fair distance away.

External Interface Connectors
External Interface Connectors

On the left of the radio is the PC control & programming port, & the mic connector. Wouxun *really* like RJ-45 connectors, they’ve used them for everything on this radio.
Also visible here is the tilted faceplate adaptor.

The supplied software to program the radio, while functional, is absolutely horrific. Hopefully someone will add support for this radio into CHIRP. Anything would be an improvement in this area.


Everything considered, I like this radio. It’s very solidly built, easy to use, and sounds brilliant.
TX audio is great, (or so my other contacts tell me).

Unsurprisingly, the unit gets warm while transmitting, however on high power, it does get uncomfortably warm, and the built in fan does little in the way of helping when a long QSO is in progress. I may remedy this at some stage with a more powerful fan. A little more airflow would do wonders.
If the programming software was built as well as the radio, I’d have zero serious complaints.

At full power, the radio pulls ~10A from the power supply, at 12.9v DC.

As for the antenna I’m currently using, it’s a Diamond X30, mounted on a modified PA speaker stand, at ~30 feet above ground. The feeder is high quality RG-213.

TX Antenna
TX Antenna

When I manage to get the set disconnected, a partial teardown will be posted, with some intimate details about the internals. Stay tuned!