browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.


Various reviews of amateur radio items

Review of DX Engineering’s Radial Plate


This review of DX Engineering’s Radial Plate was prompted by the installation of a Four Square array, and a two element 40 Meter vertical array at NK7Z. I decided to evaluate each item in the building of the arrays separably, then review the entire system as a whole later. Years ago I had promised myself I would never spend fifty bucks on a piece of metal with holes in it. After making the decision to build a Four Square for 30 meters, and a two element phased array for 40 meters, I decided to revisit that decision, as I had a lot of ground radials to lay and connect to antenna bases.

My plan was to buy the needed parts for a single monopole, construct it as perfectly as I possibly could, and then duplicate that process for the other five antenna. Part of that process was to buy a radial plate for the ground radial system so I could keep all of the wire under control… I bit the bullet and bought one! I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived, it is so pretty… So perfectly built… So heavy… I actually didn’t feel so bad about spending fifty bucks on a piece of metal with holes in it! Continue reading »

Categories: Accessories reviews, Antenna Reviews, Info, Reviews, Station | Leave a comment

Review of Ameritron’s SDC-102 Screwdriver Controller


This review of Ameritron’s SDC-102 Screwdriver Controller was written as a result of perhaps 5 months of use of a new Ameritron SDC-102, in a 2004 Tahoe four wheel drive sports utility vehicle. The Tarheel 100HP antenna is mounted on the stock Tarheel antenna mount, which in turn is mounted to a Tarheel trailer hitch mount, which lives on the rear of the Tahoe in the trailer hitch receiver I am working on a quick weatherproof disconnect for that setup. When finished I’ll add it to the review section, or start a new section on homebrew stuff… Continue reading »

Categories: Accessories reviews, Ameritron: SDC-102, Antenna Reviews, Info, Reviews, Setups, Station | Leave a comment

Review of LDG AT-1000 PRO II Autotuner


The size of the boxes is very close, with the AT-1000 PRO II being the larger of the two… This caused me a bit of pain as my setup is VERY tight… The PRO II is about 1/4 inch wider… It almost did not fit. I had to remove the carry handle from my Icom IC-756 PRO 3 to get it to fit, and it was tight… I do miss the meter, and the thought of paying $130.00 for an external meter makes me take a deep breath and say… It’s OK… I have not bought the meter yet… I hope the meter takes power from the Icom like the tuner does… See the review for more on this… I will add to this review on the meter if I decide to shell out another $130.00… Continue reading »

Categories: Accessories reviews, Antenna Reviews, Info, LDG: AT-1000 PROII, Reviews, Station | Leave a comment

Review of the LDG AT-1000 Autotuner


I had always wanted an Autotuner, and for the price I could not pass it by. Over the past 4 or 5 years this tuner has performed flawlessly. So far I have connected it to a GAP vertical, an 80 Meter Dipole, a B&W BWD-90 antenna, and a random length wire, about 250 feet long. In all cases it has matched them fine… In fact, it will take my GAP Challenger and match it on 160, a band it was not designed for at all… Continue reading »

Categories: Accessories reviews, Antenna Reviews, Info, LDG: AT-1000, Reviews, Station | 1 Comment

Review of Icom 2720H VHF/UHF Mobile Transceiver


This review of Icom’s 2720H VHF/UHF mobile transceiver is not going to be a highly technical review, it will be a review on use of the radio, I am a fan of Icom rigs, so there is also a bit of bias in this review… I have owned and used two Icom 2720H’s for several years now, one in each vehicle .. It is a good rig, but it does have it’s faults… One of them being the programming. If you have a computer, all is well, but if you are on the road, and need to change anything, (anything at all), get out your Nifty Mini-Manual for it… You will need it. Continue reading »

Categories: Icom: 2720H, Info, Radios reviews, Reviews, Station | 1 Comment

Review of N6FN’s Nifty Mini-Manuals


Like many aids I suspected that I would not really use them… Turns out I was wrong, the cards are handy to have in the car, as well as the books. I keep the Kenwood card on me when I take out the HT, and the book for the 2720 in the glove box of the car. The fonts look as if they were selected to be readable, and the use of Bold for headings, and non bold for the actual information is well thought out. Major Categories are in Bold Red, while sub categories are in Bold black, while the actual data on how to do something is in normal black text, all on a white background. all in all it looks very much like an index in a book, and is easy to follow. For instance, in the Kenwood card, the section om Memory programming is titled “Memory Programming”, in red, under that are 6 steps, (in blue), each step further broken down into actions, (in black), covering exactly how to program the memories. It sounds complicated, but if you look at it, your eyes just go where they need to… Very well thought out, and very easy to use. Continue reading »

Categories: Accessories reviews, Info, Reviews, Setups, Station | Leave a comment

Review of the Challenger DX Antenna by GAP


This review of the Challenger DX Antenna by GAP Antenna will not be a highly technical review, it will be performance based. First off what is the GAP Challenger antenna? It is a vertical, which can be ground mounted. It has a limited number of radials, because it is not the traditional vertical, it is a vertical dipole, this gives it several advantages over a standard 1/4 wave vertical. Chiefly the reduced number of radials… Continue reading »

Categories: Accessories reviews, Antenna Reviews, GAP: Challenger DX, Info, Propagation, Reviews, Station | 1 Comment

Review of the iMate by BetterRF


This review of the iMate by BetterRF was prompted by my entering the last SS contest, and getting really, really tired of saying my call sign over and over… This device allows for remote triggering of the four memories in my Icom 756 Pro 3. Triggering is accomplished by simply pressing a button on the iMate, which is labeled for which memory you wish to trigger. The iMate does not allow for programming, only triggering the playback of a previously recorded message. It also does not store the messages, you only get four messages, four for CW and four for voice. The iMate inserts between your Microphone, and your radio, after any level conversion hardware for digital. This allows for an easy install, without re-wiring your entire station audio chain. The device is a small plastic box, with controls mounted on the top of it. This allows for easy placement on your working surface. Once installed, you just press a button leaving the Icom radio controls set as you normally would. I leave my Band scope up at all times, and after the last SS, (first phone contest for me, I normally do RTTY and CW), I realized that I could not live without the band scope, (the 756 PRO 3 will not show the band scope if you are in memory playback mode without teh iMate), hence the purchase of the iMate. Continue reading »

Categories: Accessories reviews, BetterRF: iMate, Info, Reviews, Station | Leave a comment

Review of Hamlog by Pignology


This review of Hamlog by Pignology was prompted after a three week trip to Arizona, and one heck of a lot of QSO’s all kept on paper. The entry time involved, and the possible loss of the little scraps of paper which I kept the log on convinced me that I needed a better mobile logging program. I looked for a decent logging program for mobile use. It had to be able to run on my phone and my iPad, as well as be able to export the contacts via an ADIF file. I tried a few progrmas, then found “Hamlog” by Pignology LLC. Hamlog, runs on pretty much all platforms, (IOS, Android, and web interface), and generates the needed ADIF file. It is easy to use, and seems to work fine for my mobile uses. The user interface was important to me, it had to be easy to use, and have large type. Hamlog is simple enough to use, my wife will fill it in for me while driving, all I need to do is to tell her what to put in what field. During our trip I used an iPad 1 as the input device. When the battery on the iPad ran down, I used my Android phone… That feature is what sold me on Hamlog, the ability to have a cross platform logging program. Having the same log on iDevices, and on Android devices is wonderful. Continue reading »

Categories: Info, Pignology: Hamlog, Reviews, Software information, Software reviews | Leave a comment

Review of W8WWV’s S-Meter Lite


S-Meter Lite will graph S-Meter readings in real time, save spreadsheet ready files over very long time frames of your S meter values, assist in generating a pattern for your beam antenna, show RF levels in S units or in dB, and show signal level differences in dB between one signal and another on the same graph. Continue reading »

Categories: Cleanup, Info, Propagation, Reviews, RFI Mitigation, Software information, Software reviews, Tools, W8VVV: S-meter Lite | Leave a comment