How to exchange the GU74b / 4CX800 tubes on your Alpha91b (Alpha99) Amplifier

it finally happend…. After a decade of reliable service, my Alpha91b amplifier broke. Most likely on it’s way to Spain one of the tubes broke. During the comissioning at ED1R contest station, fire & smoke shot out of a chimney. The first shock was big, but a few measurements confirmed that just the tubes were broken. In this blog post I will share the knowledge I gained during during debugging, comissioning and breathing new life into the amplifier.

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5 must have productivity tools for Hams

Productivity toolsDuring the last few years the internet enriched greatly our lives. In this blog post I will share the five best tools how to increase your personal productivity. Regardless if you are just a passive ham browsing the web, actively building Ham Radio equipment or organizing the next Fieldday, these tools will help you to organize your hobby, save time and hazle. I’m using all of them on a daily basis!

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When antennas come down

During CQWW CW we had a shootout from ED1R with our friends from the Bavarian Contest Club. The group around DQ4W organized a Contest-Expedition to Corsica (TK) to get on the air as TK4W. Considering the available antennas, (two A3S, and three verticals) they generated a great score. For details comparisons between ED1R and TK4W click here.

Ulf, DK5TX created a serious of cool stop motion videos of the antenna work. Unfortunately, including the moment when one of the 17m tall masts came down and damaged the mounted A3S severely.

Fortunately nobody was injured and the A3S still worked, even being a bit deformed.

Building a beverage switching box

Listening on Beverage Antennas on the LowbandsThis year we wanted to seriously compete in CQWW CW from ED1R contest station. While the station is equipped reasonably on all bands with Yagis and verticals, there were no dedicated receiving antennas available – yet. Out of my former contest participations from other stations I know that when it come down to winning a CQWW, dedicated receiving antennas are a must have. Beverages provide great directivity and reduce the EU clutter significantly.

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A73A in CQWW SSB 2011

A73A QSL CardThis year I had to honor to be invited by the Qatar Amateur Radio Society (QARS) to operate the CQ WW SSB contest with them. The station set up in a fieldday style on the northern tip of Qatar, about 100km way from the capital Doha. We are directly located at the beach and used almost exclusively vertical antennas. A73A entered in the category Multi Operator / Multi Transmittors, running 6 Stations in parallel. Keep on reading for some pictures and lessons learned.

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Must read: Best “technical” thriller – ever!

Book review deamon

Are you familiar with the following situation: You are watching the latest Hollywood movie with your girlfriend. You could convince here to watch a thriller instead of a romance, which she would have prefered. Over the time, the story evolves good, there is even a notion of romance (to the satisfaction of your girl) but – the movie really sucks when it comes to technical details. Pseudo amateurs hack themselfs within 5 minutes into a SECRET Pentagon’s network and a 5 page emergency report is transmitted with just 20 morse code characters, beaten with a wrench against an old pipe. The longer you watch the movie, the more upset you get about the ignorance and incapacity of Hollywood (film) and book writers…

But – let me tell you – there is one book which really makes the difference!

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WRTC 2014 Promotion Video

Thanks to Al, 4L5A @contesting_atru for sharing this link with us in his twitter stream. It’s a WRTC 2014 promotion video created my nobody less than James, 9V1YC. Enjoy & don’t forget to donate!

W3LPL Open House 2011

Have you ever wondered why W3LPL is so loud? This video will tours you through the Super-Station and give you an impression about the effort behind the callsign W3LPL. Frank invites all friends and contesters on an anual basis to the W3LPL Open House. Unfortunately it’s not me who shot the video, I hope I can attend on day a W3LPL Open House party.

Don’t forget to turn on 720px HD, if have sufficent bandwidth.

Ham Radio 2011 Recap

Ham Radio 2011 RecapThe Ham Radio Convention in Friedrichshafen is the largest Amateur Radio convention in Europe. It’s the place and time to meet all our friends to whom we only talk on the air during the year. Beside strolling threw the big flee-market and the commercial exhibition, I had the chance to speak about my latest project PowerSDR-UI, the DJ Console improvement for PowerSDR. While the convention starts on friday and ends of sunday, I could only attend one day, which is definitely not enough. Next year I’ll be back again for at least two entire days! Since the memories are still fresh and the pictures already uploaded, let’s recap briefly the convention!

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HamNation

Hamnation Logo with Bob Heil, K9EIDI’ve been waiting for this a very long time – finally it came true! Last Month a Ham Radio Podcast started on the TWIT Network. Nobody less then Mr. Bob Heil, K9EID is hosting the show. This is definitely a must see for all hams or persons who would like to dive into the beautiful world of amateur radio. Bob committed to produce a new episode every week.

The first episode of HamNation was joined by Joe Walsh, WB6ACU. Even if you haven’t heard Joe on the bands I bet you’ve already heard his music a lot of times. Do you know the song “Hotel California” ? Exactly, Joe is member of the famous band the Eagles.

If you want to listen to HamNation there are a couple of ways:

  1. Go over to iTunes and search in the iTunes Store for HamNation
  2. Check out the TWIT Network. They provide HamNation in a couple of Audio and Video formats
  3. TWIT uploads all the shows to Youtube. So checkout the Hamnation Playlist

If you have broadband internet access the video version is a must!

Check out here Episode #2: Emergency Communications