BaoFeng UV5R Spectral Purity Testing

I have heard that the so-called “Cheap Chinese Radios (CCR)”, in particular the BaoFeng UV5R, fail FCC emission testing.  I have a UV5R that is affixed to my Fox Hunting RDF antenna.  I re-enabled the transmitter (normally programmed off to avoid accidentally blowing out the active elements of the RX-only RDF antenna) and tested it yesterday.

Executive Summary:  My particular UV5R fails the FCC 97.307(d) limit with a worst case spurious emission (3nd harmonic) of 53 µW.

FCC Limit: For a transmitter having a mean power of 25 W or less, the mean power of any spurious emission supplied to the antenna transmission line must not exceed 25  µW and must be at least 40 dB below the mean power of the fundamental emission, but need not be reduced below the power of 10 µW.

Test Setup:  UUT feeds a 40 dB Power Attenuator, the output of which is feeding a Siglent SSA3021X Spectrum Analyzer.  The SA calibration is valid through November of 2017.

Test Settings:  Start Freq 50 MHz, Stop Freq 600 MHz, RBW/VBW 100 KHz.  Input Power to SA was 40 – 3.74 dBm, or 36.26 dBm (4.23 watts).  Markers placed at fundamental, 2nd, 3rd, 4th harmonic.

Worst Case Spurious Emission:  The absolute power is -52.77 dBm + 40 dB = -12.77 dBm = 53 µW.  The relative power is 49 dB below the carrier.



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Christmas Bunting QSO

I’m a little late getting the Christmas Tree lights installed on our pine trees in the back yard, but my friend John, WA1ABI, announced he was all ready with his tree lights, and expected to make a QSO with Rich, KC1ARO, today at 17:00 local time on 3.513 MHz

In desperation, I ran 150 feet of RG8X from my K3 onto our deck.  I had a 100 foot string of LED lights wrapped around a run of about 30 feet of deck railing — about 12-feet off the ground.  I took both leads of the lights and clip-leaded them to the center conductor of the coax.  The shield of the coax was attached to a 8-foot run of 1/2″ braid that was attached below the deck to my station ground (counterpose system of a 1/4 wavelength wire for 160m to 10m stapled to the house siding about 6 feet off the ground + three 8-foot ground rods).

I recorded a few seconds of both KC1ARO, and WA1ABI transmitting so their signal levels on the P3 and S-Meter could be seen.  After this I joined them both with some signals of my own.

John was S9 to S9+10 (MOV format): wa1abi

Rich was S5 to S7 (MOV format): kc1aro

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DXCC Standings at Beginning of Dec

I had a bit more time to spend on the air after the hustle/bustle of the Summer & Fall.  My DXCC Standings are as follows:


So over the last 3 months (September/October/November), I picked up two new countries fox my Mixed category, and eleven more band-countries toward my Challenge.  VERY slow progress.  At that rate I won’t hit 300 for another 3 to 4 years, about the same time that I will hit 1500 on the Challenge.   With solar activity declining, I want to shoot for DXCC on 160 meters.  Antenna work is underway.

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K1 Tuner Completed

It took about an hour to wind the 5 inductors and install the remaining components, so the entire kit took about 2.5 hours to assemble.  Some minor changes need to be made to the K1 itself, and the meter circuit needs to be calibrated.  I’d guess another hour.


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Finally Building the K1 Antenna Tuner

I had a ball building my K1 Transceiver.  It has worked out very well, and has a fantastic receiver.  My only issue so far is that the transmit power folds-back aggressively.  If the SWR is high, the power will immediately drop back to 0.5 watts, remaining at that low level.  As a consequence, some of my automatic tuners will not work with the K1.  With that in mind, I purchased the internal tuner option earlier this year.

I finally started putting the kit together, which is very straight-forward.  With about 90 minutes into the process, I have all the parts except the inductors and connectors installed. As with all the Elecraft kits, the inductors need to be hand-wound.  These are pretty small/simple, so that’s not a big deal, but it will probably take me another 90 minutes to wind the 5 cores and install them.


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DX Surprise

After uploading my NPOTA log, I checked my confirmed contacts and was pleasantly surprised to find two ATNOs in the log:


TL8AO was an ATNO for me, and the LotW entry showed up within a few hours of our contact.  On the other hand, I’ve made dozens of contacts with Gibraltar on several bands.  ZB2TT just happens to be the only one to use LotW and confirm.  Thanks Bob!  My confirmed count improves to 257 (and 271 worked, so 14 still awaiting confirmation).

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NM22 Log Uploaded to LotW

Finally typed up the 110 QSOs for yesterday’s activation of NM22 and uploaded them to LotW around 2100 UTC today.  53 of them instantly matched, so I guess most of the park hunters are quick to upload their logs.

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NM22 NPOTA Activation Success

Emboldened by my success at the local beach running 20-meter SSB from my truck, I figured that I would give a NPOTA Activation a try.  So last night I registered a two hour long activation of NM22, Roger Williams National Memorial Park, starting at 17:00 UTC today.

RI is a small state to begin with, and there aren’t as many opportunities for NPOTA Activations as in other areas, but at least with the exception of Touro, they are easy to activate and close-by.  Some checking indicated that NM22 had been activated 13 times before with about 1,170 QSOs total, so I knew there would be folks looking for it.



I pulled into the park at about 16:45 UTC, and found a parking spot away from trees and other things that might detune my antenna.


I was on the air around 14.265 MHz by 16:56 UTC and continued to work stations until 19:13 UTC.  After 140 on-air minutes I had worked 110 stations, in 35 different states (oddly enough zero DX).  The band conditions were not great.  At times you could literally hear the bottom of the band drop out, but 3-5 minutes later signals would be back.  So there was lots of QSB and QRM to deal with.

Conditions were actually a bit better than yesterday.


And it was a good thing I mostly spotted myself, but there were several other nice Ops who spotted me as well:


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Success on 20-Meter Mobile

During JOTA 2016, my HF station had some RF issues due to the use of an off-center-fed-dipole (OCFD).  This type of antenna almost always has common-mode current issues on the coax.  Ultimately we solved it by making a 5 inch diameter coil of coax, about 8 turns. But prior to “fixing” the issue, Pete, W1LAB, pulled up his SUV and allowed us to use his Hustler 20m vertical.  It worked surprisingly well — what we were hearing on the 135 foot long OCFD, 40 feet up in the air, was coming in the same S-level or better on a 4 foot tall vertcial antenna.  Given those results I figured I needed to give things a try someday.

With my wife at work today and some spare time on my hands, I headed over to Compass Rose Beach and popped a 20-meter vertical on the roof of my truck using a 5-inch Hustler Mag-Mount.  I did a bit of tweaking with my antenna analyzer and finally had about 3.5 inches of the whip sticking below it’s ferrule mount (the manual suggested 4″, which probably would have been spot-on).

This antenna produced the following SWR distribution:

14.000  1.5:1
14.100  1.0:1
14.200  1.2:1
14.300  1.5:1
14.350  1.8:1

Because this was just a quick experiment, I had chosen a MFJ 1620T over the Hustler due to lower cost ($15 vs about $65) and extended length used on the roof mount (7′ vs 4′). The single 5″  Mag-Mount is strictly a stationary mount — it would never hold the 7′ long antenna even at slow mobile speeds.  I also had some RF feedback issues that were fixed by putting a 10-turn 5″ coil of coax right at the radio end.

I spent a hour on the air and worked seven stations in Spain, Saint Lucia, Bonaire, TN, FL, IL, and MN.  The antenna performed well to the South as expected, as well as to Europe.


MFJ 1620T Vertical antenna on Hustler MBM mount – Jamestown RI dead ahead


Icom IC-7000 operating 20-m SSB. Powered by 30AH LiFePO4 Battery

Band conditions were just "Fair" on 20m today.

Band conditions were just “Fair” on 20-m today.

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Amazed at 400th Anniversary of Cervantes Radio Event

I am absolutely blown away by what the URE (Union Radioaficionados Espanoles – their equivalent of the ARRL) – put together to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes.  The event last for only THREE WEEKS, starting September 19th and containing through October 9th.

Spanish hams have been operating under 14 different callsigns, racking up over 660,000 contacts as of today.  That’s a rate of about 50,000 QSOs per day on all bands from 160-m to 10-m; operating SSB, CW and various digital modes.


They have various “print your own” certificates for various achievement levels.  For example, the “Gold” certificate for contacting at least 6 different stations on each of 3 different bands looks like this:


Lots of effort and planning clearly went into this, their webpage provides an online log, automatic score keeping and production of certificates.  A store gives people options of purchasing printed certificates or buying mementos.  Other tools identify AN400x stations that are currently on the air, global rankings, statistics, and team challenge information.

Imagine a DXpedition that had 650,000+ contacts.  Now imagine that DXpedition being to Spain!  Yet that is EXACTLY what happened.  Spain has over 60,000 hams, and over 12,000 of them belong to the URE.  What they have accomplished is nothing short of remarkable. Hat’s off to the members of the URE that made this fun event available worldwide. They have provided a template of a successful radio event that could be emulated by many different groups.

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