Last year was my first attempt at the Islands On The Air contest. Operating as 2E0HPJ I decided to give it a good crack in the 12hr section – especially once it had been decided that the Bittern group weren’t going to be running a club station.

I had great fun, learned a huge amount, and I’m delighted to have found out today that I came 27th in the 12hr SSB low power single operator unsassisted category.

I’m now looking forward to this year’s competition, and seeing if I can better that.

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I’ve been playing with an Android tablet at work for R&D purposes – I’m not enough of a gadget head to part with my own money for one – and naturally the first thing I started to search for was what apps there are to support the Amateur Radio fraternity.

They seemed a bit fragmented, and few obvious lists of what was available, so I thought I’d make one

I’ll update it as I discover more.

My current project is seeing if I can get an AllStar station set up.

I’ve got an old laptop running the ACID CentOS distribution – all going swimmingly apart from the fact that I’ve not been able to find a USB Soundcard fob yet that will play nicely with app_rpt – I can’t get any audio out. All the documentation I’ve found relates to older models – the ones I’ve been able to get on eBay seem to be newer. Ho-hum.

Talking of eBay, I bought a PMR Products K4 Repeater as taken out of an ambulance – not necessarily for the repeater controller, but because it contains a Kenwook TK-752 VHF tranceiver and two TK-852 UHF tranceivers, and also a Procomm DPF70/6 UHF duplexer and assorted useful bits of mounting hardware.

The radios I believe have been modified to be ‘controlled’ by the K4, and have audio and control signals coming out of the back to a 9pin D – but that could be just what I need.

Digging in to how to program these things I come across problems of modern technology not necessarily playing well with ‘old skool’ – first I have a good old trip down memory lane wiring up serial leads and converters, now it transpires that I need to resurrect an old PC running no later that Win98 with a floppy dirve to run the programming software. Lucky that I (hardly ever) throw anything away and I would hope to have all the necessaries in a junk box somewhere.

Well that will be ‘fun’, but I hope I will be able to reverse engineer what’s going on with the data transfer so at least I can run it off modern hardware in the future.

Not much progress other than boxes with lids off and cables strewn everywhere, and Jim has a big grin on his face!