Radio Station

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This is the 'heart' of my amateur radio station.  Bottom left is the main HF transceiver the Kenwood TS-890 with the KPA500 (500w amplifier) to its right. The Elecraft K2/100 sits on top of the amp.

On the middle shelf is the HF speaker and Icom IC7400 standby transceiver. To the right is a home brew 20A PSU sitting on top of the Elecraft KAT500 auto ATU.

The top shelf house a few bits and bobs - to  the extreme right is the Kenwood TM-271 2m transceiver.  

Down below on the desk is my trusty Vibroplex twin paddle, probably the only thing in the shack that hasn't changed in the past 40 years! Two new additions are a wireless keyboard to 'talk' to the TS890 and a small home made keypad which can activate eight memories/commands for the Kenwood. A small rotator controller for a 6m beam sits at the right. Individual items are more fully described on the Current_HF  page.


I was introduced to amateur radio by a friend at school. In those days (mid 50's) there was no such thing as Single Sideband (SSB) and we could listen to amateur AM transmissions on a standard household receiver provided it covered the short wave bands.  Most of them did.

Reception reports were sent to the stations we heard and more often than not we received a QSL (confirmation) card. This was all quite magical in days when we had neither TV nor telephone at home.

My interest lapsed after leaving school, by then I had discovered things like girls and motorcycles which were far more interesting. Marriage and a family pushed radio activities even further into the background. When my elder son (Duncan) was about 13 he developed an interest in radio and short wave listening and my own interest was rekindled. Eventually, we both sat the RAE and obtained our passes, but whilst I struggled with the Morse code, Duncan developed other interests (girls, motorbikes, see above). I am pleased to report that (after almost 25 years) Duncan was able to find his old Pass slip and obtained a Full Licence in Jan 2004. His call is M0KGK.

Bringing up a growing family money was in short supply in the early years and I couldn't afford to buy equipment so I modified an old AM transmitter that someone had given to my son and stripped it out for CW operation. With an Eddystone 680X for reception and an indoor dipole in the loft, I successfully negotiated my first contact on CW with DF9ET in Germany. If anyone can find something that tops the adrenalin rush of one's first contact, I'll have some of it!!

From 1980 to 1994 I was very active on all the HF bands. By the end of that period all the kids had left home and financial constraints were not so tight and I was able to purchase more up to date equipment. I'm not sure it gave me any more satisfaction, but it looked more presentable. By 1994 my interest was beginning to wane a little and a succession of house moves with my work meant that there was little incentive to erect permanent aerials, so my call sign was hardly heard at all until we returned to the Isle of Lewis in October 2002.

My primary mode of operation is CW. Whilst I'm happy rag-chewing,  I'm not averse to chasing DX if it pops up on the band.