Saturday, 29 December 2012

Psalmopoeus irminia. Venezuelan sun tiger

I thought it was about to happen and it did, my P.irminia tarantula sling has molted again. This is about the third time it has molted since I have owned her/him. It started about the size of my little finger nail and is now about 3 or 4 cm in size.

It is now starting to look a lot more like this picture but its still not know if its a male or/female, things can change.

I am really hoping it will be a female as she will look just like this one, if its a male it will change quite a lot and not be quite as striking. In fact it will go a more grey/silver colours.

One of the main differences between male and females is that in most (if not all) live for different life spans. Males generally do not live as long as females and often the difference is quite substantial.

So the male looks quite a bit different although it is still a great looking tarantula.
By choosing to grow on tarantula slings it is impossible to tell the sex of the spider at such an early age. So its really 50/50.

Out of our seven tarantulas four of them are slings and three are young adults. from the adults we know that the Avic Avic is female, the B.smithi is male but we don't yet know the G.rosea as she hasn't molted since we bought her a year ago and she/he came unsexed.

So we just don't know the sex of some of them yet but if I could get to the molt of the P,irminia maybe I could sex it, but getting the molt now thats easier said than done ! this is one quick tarantula.

Sunday, 23 December 2012


OK I think I have most of the issues sorted out with this antenna, none of them I have to say are the fault of the antenna but have come about through using a loft space antenna rather than a n outdoor one. The benefits of not having to go outside each time I operate are huge.

The Magitenna was giving me issues on the 20mtr PSK31 band, going back to basics and re organizing the cables in the shack sorted out this problem and I can operate on 20mtr with no issues now.

Minor issues with the 30mtr band have been resolved by making and using an Ugly Balun. This was really easy to make with a great web page that gave a great explanation of what it does and how it works. Check out this page at Hamworld I have to say Brian at Hamworld and Nigel at M0CVO antennas have been really helpful in getting my RFI issues sorted out. Now I don't know these guys personally but my emails to them have been met with really helpful answers.

My next  job is to bomb proof my heating thermostat and boiler which is shorting the contacts on the thermostat on select frequencies. Again great advice from the guys above and I am hoping to get the thermostat changed very soon and ferrite's on the boiler lead also.

Now the Ugly Balun seems to have really smoothed out the feed from the antenna to the radio and has resulted in a better SWR with the auto-tuner.

The signal reports from this little antenna have been really good and I have had some great contacts from all over Europe and even down as far as South America.

So with a little house keeping and some good advice my shack is now running pretty smooth again, there is some testing still to be done but that all part of being a Amateur Radio operator.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Great amateur radio weekend.

Here is an update on the Magitenna antenna  which is 7,5 meters in length and located in my loft. I have had the chance to use it this weekend and I have had a great time with it. There is a but ? I will get to that.

This map shows most of my recent qso's the important ones for this antenna are Paraguay and Kazakhstan, Greece and Jan Mayen Island.

Over the weekend on which I operated on 80,40,30,20,17,15 and 10 meter bands on PSK31 and SSB over 3 sessions operating about 12 hours overall, I managed 48 contacts.

I already had the USA and Canada on 5W SSB not too long ago and also a great contact with Dubai on other antennas.

So overall a great amateur radio weekend with lots of great contacts throughout Europe and beyond.

 Now for the but , PSK31 was great on 15,17 meters but even though 20 meters tuned fine it kept spiking and causing DM780 to freeze.I did update HRD and DM780 to the latest version but it did'nt make any difference.
 I have no problem on 20 meter PSK31 on my Buddipole so I am not really sure why it is doing this. If I kept the Signalink TX switch really low it was ok ish but that only allowed for about 5w output on a 25w setting.
 The ALC is always zero but spiking to about three on the ALC scale (not good).

So overall a great weekend with operating on most bands. The QSL cards are all done and ready to send to the bureau tomorrow.

This antenna is a great addition to my shack but not perfect. The key for me is that its winter and for a few months I don't have to go outside and set up antennas each time I operate so that is a big bonus.

To see my restricted operating conditions check out .

If I could sort out the ALC problem on 20 meters it would be almost spot on. Watch this space.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Twitter feed

So I was chatting to a friend about blogs and thinking that I had everything covered she surprised me with the question, " so if I update my blog will it go on Twitter and Facebook" ?

 Now I often Tweet and Facebook at the same time from Hootsuite and I often add to Twitter that I have updated my blog, but now I am thinking how do I feed Twitter and Facebook to my blog direct.

Google here I come and within seconds I find Twitter feed, this allows me to have my blog sent to Twitter and Facebook as soon as I update it.

 But does it ? well that's what this blog update is about finding out if this works, so here goes. Lets see if this works Kirsty ?

Tuesday, 11 December 2012


      M0CVO Antennas MAGITENNA now installed in the loft.

So if you have checked out my profile on  ( M0GYY) you will see that my amateur radio conditions are pretty limited.

So after checking out lots of alternative antennas I finally settled on this one, but does it work ?

I fitted the antenna on Sunday 9th December 2012 and to be fair the bands here in Portishead South West  England were pretty poor, propagation was not very good at all.
However not one to give up and having installed the antenna I powered up my Yaesu 817ND as my test rig and got on the air. I scanned the 20mtr band and IK2VFR was calling CQ SSB. So giving it a go I called in reply and had a great QSO using 5w. My signal was confirmed as a 5/9 all the way with congrats on a great 5w contact. So far so good.
So with a few days off work and a chance to spend a few hours hours on my radio I changed to my Yaesu 450D.
7 hours of operating over two days resulted in 20 contacts using PSK31 and SSB on 80,40,20 meters. To be fair I was really pleased with that.
Firstly I have never really operated on 80 and 40 meters from my home qth so that was a first for me.
So all is good ? ..... well almost, the antenna worked fairly well but I have a problem keeping the ALC from spiking on 40 and 30 Meters and I have not managed to solve that yet unless I go below 10w output.
On 100w SSB I turn on the bedroom lamps and the heating thermostat starts clicking, to be fair it did that with the Buddipole as well so I have to reduce power a little.
Overall and after only 7 hours of operating I really think that this little antenna is performing better than my previous set up.
I have another few days off soon so I will give it another go, hopefully conditions will be better and I can really see what this antenna can do.