Radioddity GD-55 HT

The Oddity of Radioddity

I bought this radio mainly out of curiosity. Purchased from an eBay seller us_discounts1. Good seller. It arrived quickly in nice fresh new condition.

First thing is the programming cable has a counterfeit Prolific chip. That's first impression down the drain right off. If you install Prolific USB-to-Serial driver from here, What you are doing is installing an old driver that doesn't know about this particular version of the counterfeit Prolific chip. I would really be pleased if Radioddity replaced the cable with a legal one ASAP.

The radio itself is built like a
tank and does seem to work OK. I'll review a bit more as I get used to it.


NS-40+ 40M 5W QRP Transmitter Kit

Here's a great little CW transmitter QRP kit, the NS-40+ (None Simpler). Very few components to solder and no coils to wind since they are built into the PCB. Assembly, if you are slow like me, takes about 30 minutes. The transmitter works well: great sounding keying and I'm getting a solid 4 watts output into my dummy load. The kit costs $30 from the Four State QRP Group

Now, to make my first contact! I'm excited!! Happy


Belkin Battery Backup Unit

This is a good find. I've been reading about uses for the Belkin Battery Backup Unit BU3DC001-12V Rev B UPS. These units were used for AT$T's Uverse box to keep the phone powered for emergencies. It outputs 12V into a very standard coaxial connector. The internal battery is a 12V 7Ah SLA battery. I picked my unit up on eBay for about $25 used including the battery.

Now that I have one of them, I'd like to get a couple more.

Here's a like to one of the blogs I was reading about this unit:

Belkin Battery Backup

Winradio WR-305i

The Winradio WR-G305i was my first SDR or rather a radio on a PCI card controlled by the PC - maybe a little of both. I use one of those PCIe to PCI expansion bus cards as you can see in the picture for about $30. Most of the PC's I've had lately do not have the original PCI slots, or they get hopelessly blocked by the video card. The PCIe to PCI expansion works great, to my surprise.

I loosely placed a zip tie around the radio and slot board to keep them together, although I don't think there will be a problem with it coming apart.

My PC is running Windows 10 Pro on a home-brew Intel i3 based system with 16 gigabytes of memory. Over the years it has been pretty much trouble free.

Here's the link to Winradio's product page:

Winradio installed on PCI expansion

The end result is a really good quiet receiver with great filtering.

Screen capture of Winradio software

MFJ-464 CW Keyer/Reader

I really want to get back into CW. My hands have been hurting so much lately and I've been trying to deal with the PTSD that I've let CW slip away completely. The last few days I've done some listening and copying, but when it comes to sending I switch to the dummy load and talk to no one. The MFJ-464 will let me send with a keyboard which I think will be easier for me or at least different enough to peak my interest again.

To make the CW reader useful I've found it is imperative to eliminate as much static and popping QRN from the signal. In my setup I have the FT-950 Phones output connected to the Timewave DSP-9+ Input. I have the Timewave Speaker output connected to the MFJ-464 Radio Input. I have the MFJ Speaker output connected to my shack speaker. That setup seems to work the best. Two things help a lot. Make heavy use of the RF Gain and Noise Reduction. In my case I'm adjusting the RF Gain for minimum noise, but making sure the AF Gain is set high enough to light the 'Normal' LED on the Timewave. The goal is to get the Lock LED to turn on and off with the CW signal ONLY, not the QRN. I find that it is getting easier to adjust with experience.

Sending for me with a paddle improved greatly when I set the unit to use Iambic B instead of A. I grew up using 'B' on my Heathkit keyer.


Back to one power supply....

My Pyramid Power Supply PS-36KX's fan has started to sound like a weedeater and i need to take it apart and see what is going on in there. I'll put up pics when I open up the case.

5 Stations - 2 Power Supplies

That was weird. At first when I was typing this entry I could not see the text. It's OK now.

I now have 5 stations in my shack:

FT-950 - main HF rig
IC-718 - backup HF rig
MFJ-9420 - low power (`15W) 20M SSB rig
FlexRadio Flex 1500 QRP SDR
Kenwood TM 281A 2M Rig

I've decided to put the FT-950 on its own fused cable on the Pyramid PS-36KX by itself. The rest of the stuff will stay on the MFJ-4230MV.

I've sold the FT-817ND

Medical bills are stacking up so I sold the FT-817ND hulk on eBay. Was pleased that it sold for $405.00. It'll be an easy fix for a ham with smc skills.

MFJ-986 Differential-T Tuner

One of life's joys is getting new stuff from MFJ. My experience has been generally positive and I have lots of their products all over my shack. This unit works perfectly out of the box.

This time around I purchased an MFJ-986 Differential-T Roller Inductor tuner. Match occurs only at one setting, and is very easy to return to0 using the Differential Capacitance knob scale and the Inductance counter. For example, 7.290 MHz setting is 3 Capacitance and 50 Inductance. Both numbers are relative. One of the first things the manual had me do is turn the induction knob fully counter-clockwise and then press the reset lever through a little hole through the front panel.

Speaking of manuals. Happy MFJ products are coming with a single page sheet explaining that the manual can be found online. However, the online manuals do not contain the most important stuff. In the case of the MFJ-986 manual on page 7, 'Tuning Chart', the recommended Capacitor Value and Inductor settings are blank - that's just one example. I contacted support online and very quickly received a reply from Richard. He told me to send my address and is sorry that information is not available in electronic format. Makes sense to me they'd want to limit some info that is available for general public, but that is what the paper manual was for in the first place. MFJ is sending me a paper manual. Happy

Like I was expecting, the inductance knob is stiff. That is fine since I don't want it changing when bumped.

I took down my 40 meter single band dipole and put my G5RV JR back up. Beauty is that this is my shack and I can have whatever antenna I want. Happy

Here's some picture:

The case is very deep - 16 inches I think. I had to modify the top shelf to fit the case.

2015-05-08 21.07.56

2015-05-08 21.06.15


New soldering station

It has been a while since my blog entry. Happy

Today I finally rewired my key with another cable. I bought a Weller WES51 solder station. Kind overkill for one solder job. I got through it. The iron works great. My hands to not. Both hands were shaking. I hope to get back into CW on my little Flex-1500.


FT-817ND Burned Trace

A few years ago, i think in 2010, i was messing with some cables behind my desk by reaching through the shelf below. In the process I accidentaly gave the power cable of my FT-817ND a pretty strong downward tug. The radio went ‘pppaazzziippppp’ and i could smell ‘magic smoke’. The radio was dead. I quickly opened the case to see if I could find the ‘hot spot’ but I could not see it. Well.... I’ve since had my cataracts removed and I can see better so with the help of my camera i found the burned trace. Here’s a picture of the damage circled in red. I sure do wish I knew someone who could do that sort of soldering. I’d sure like to get this radio fixed - it’s a good one. I was running off the internal battery with a ‘Miracle Whip’ antenna near Fort Worth from a 3rd floor balcony and talked to a guy in PA on 20 meters. Stunning. Happy



DFW Contest Group

I’ve joined the DFW Contest Group, a contesting group in the DFW area. I’ve participated in 2 contests so far. It is a new contest group that has over 100 members. I like the group because I can participate as I like. I am a casual contester and this is allowed. Happy Membership is free. Here’s the link:

Check it out! Happy

California QSO Party

The California QSO party is one of my favorites. There are 58 CA counties to try and contact. This year I managed to contact 32 of them. I still use a very leisurely approach and only answer CQ’s and don’t make any calls myself. I had contacts on 40, 20 and 15 meters this year. The new MFJ-993b IntelliTuner worked great!!! I really like it!!! I operated only SSB phone at 100 watts into my G5RV-Jr dipole.

Here’s a screen shot of the N3FJP contest software:



2011 California QSO Party

I did not do as good as in prior years but I did get 23 contacts. :P I like how the CAQP team has added the rank numbers to the certificate.


Field Day 2012


For me, field day is the most challenging of the contests. Why? Hundreds of portable stations are set up all over the country. They transmit a good strong signal, but their portable antennas seem to be a bit deaf. The end result is that on a 1D home station like mine, it sounds like everyone has turned on their radio and is transmitting at the same time. I’ll hear 4 maybe 5 stations on the same frequency calling CQ FD. They can’t hear each other so there are very few ‘this frequency is in use’ incidents, just the large amount of QRM. If you answer a CQ I have to listen carefully to pick out what station is contacting me. Happy Is it fun? You bet. This year I gave my Timewave DSP-9+ a good workout.

This year I used the Icom IC-718, The MFJ-993B tuner, and the G5RV-Jr antenna. I did not make any contacts with the GAP Eagle. Of course I used N3FJP’s Field Day contest log. I did not call CQ. I just wheeled up and down the bands answering stations I could here. I ended up with just 24 contacts and operated for just a few hours. It was fun.

Field Day 2012 N3FJP

West Virginia QSO Party

Today is the West Virginia QSO Party. My first contact was the bonus station W8WVA. The cleaning ladies are here and I am in the shack with my dog who is barking his head off. Not sure how long I’ll be able to work this contest. Happy In the end I only got 2 contacts.

MFJ-993B IntelliTuner

With the prospect of eventually losing my vision due to Retinopathy, I am retiring my manual antenna tuner and replacing it with the MFJ-993B automatic antenna tuner. It tunes really well and really fast. Quite a bit faster that my former LDG tuners. It beeps to let me know the resulting SWR so I really don’t need to see the tuner in order to use it. I purchased the optional cable to connect it to my Icom IC-718. I like the dual antenna switch. I miss the dummy load that my manual tuner has. So far I like the tuner very well. It works like it should, as have most of my new MFJ stuff. If you’re looking for a good automatic antenna tuner, I recommend this one.

2012-05-16 21.06.51

APRS UI-View32 Working!!

I finally got my packet station working. I purchased a MFj-1270X KISS TNC. The first one was defective but MFJ replaced it with a new one pronto. I was surprised at the level of customer service from MFJ. Lesson learned: don’t pay attention to the griping in the forums. MFJ is a good company with good customer service. The TNC-1270X is easy to set up. I have mine connected via the USB port, but it works equally well on a serial port. I had to re-wire the cable for my FT-1900R, the one I bought for the FT-2800 did not work. All I needed to do was replace the RJ12 connector with the correct wires. I know very little about packet radio, but I am learning. I have it set up to forward packets to the internet. I am not using it as a digipeater since there seems to be enough of them around my area and my packets would likely be duplicates. No need for that. So to recap: I’m using UI-View32 connected to a MFJ-1270X connected to my FT-1900r transceiver running low output power into a copper j-pole up about 10 feet.


At Last - ARRL WAS Award! Happy

I’ve been waiting for this day to arrive since 1978!!! Happy

20120420 -  ARRL WAS award

Winradio WR-G305i - Wow! Happy

Yesterday I received my new Winradio WR-G301i PCI radio. So far I like it a lot. I can see that I’ll want to upgrade to the professional demodulator to get the advance filtering for CW. The audio is really good. The radio is quite sensitive, maybe just slightly better than my IC-718. My camera did a bad job making this video. I will try again when I figure out the best way to do it, perhaps a video screen capture program would work better. Happy


Timewave DSP-9+

I am the proud owner of a Timewave DSP-9+. I have no idea what version of the firmware it has. I can say that it does pretty good eliminating random noise. I do not have CW filters on any of my rigs so this will help greatly on crowded CW bands. Happy

I bought it on eBay for $88.00 shipped. Is that too much? I don’t know and I don’t care. It was ‘Buy It Now’, and that is what I like - near instant gratification. Thanks, Jeff, for selling this to me. I will take good care of it for you!


Soon to be father… MFJ-407B Keyer

Found and bought this on eBay this evening. I need an audible sidetone for a couple of my QRP rigs. I will take good care of it for the prior owner, W3NP. Thanks for selling it! Happy
This looks like it will work for me just fine. I prefer Iambic ‘B’ mode and this will do that.
My paddle is a CT HAM IAMBIC purchased from the maker in Ukraine. I’m trying to build up my fist stamina which has given me fits from the diabetes and twitch in my hand. I did have a contact the other day on my ‘new’ HW-8 transceiver.

Screen Shot 2012-01-24 at 2.53.45 AM

New addition - Heathkit SB-303

I purchased a really nice SB-303 from Joe WA2GZE on eBay. Joe went through this radio and it is in clean, excellent shape. The top scale is a little out of alignment thanks to UPS, but otherwise the radio survived the trip nicely. I have the audio out connected to my Radio Shack DSP-40 audio filter connected to a Polk Audio speaker shown on the left. The sound is good. I will have lots of fun with this receiver, I’m sure.


IC-718 and SignaLink discovery...

I think I knew this, but had forgotten it somehow. When transmitting through the 16 pin accessory port, the IC-718 does not disable the mic input on the front panel. So - when you are transmitting your digital mode stuff, you will also transmit sounds for the ham shack, music, voice, etc. Yikes! I only did that for a couple of years. Fortunately I don’t talk to myself much.

Heathkit HW-8 - I'm in LOVE! Happy

Last night I saw an eBay posting for a Heathkit HW-8 with the matching HWA-7-1 power supply listed as a fixed price buy it now. I have a weakness for ‘biuy it now’ items. I don’t know what these things are worth and I don’t care, just make your auctions ‘buy it now’ and I’ll look at them. Happy
I’ve wanted one of these HW-8 transceivers ever since I saw one at the KH6SP Pearl Harbor Submarine Base radio station. Well, my dream has come true! So happens that the seller lived just a short distance from me and was willing to drop it off to save the trouble of packing and shipping it. I don’t blame him. It’s not every day that an eBay item arrives in less than 12 hours. Happy
All the bands work great. In fact, the radio works perfectly. The tuning is smooth. The audio is pretty good and the Radio Shack DSP 40 makes it even better. It transmits. And it is incredibly clean inside and I’m very impressed. I’ve been listening to QSO’s for the past hour. My New Years resolution is to get back into CW. Happy
It has an ’s-meter’ mod that gives a good idea of receive signal strength in addition to transmit relative power. That is the only mod it has. The rear panel is all original with no extra holes.
I’ve done the mod to replace Q1 with a MFP102 RF transistor and it has improved sensitivity. It is working very well! Happy
This is going to be fun!
Here’s a couple of pictures:


JT65 Time Accuracy

I see this from time to time and have experienced it as well. The PC clock does not keep accurate enough time for JT65. Transmissions start precisely every 30 seconds starting from the top of the minute. If your clock is off by as much as a fraction of a second you will make your transmission undecodable and you’ll never be able to decode others either. It will seem that JT65 does not work. Get Dimension 4 and run it on your PC. I have it synchronizing the time every 15 seconds to ensure accuracy.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. The signal at -1K is timed correctly. The signal at about -10 started about a second too early and will not be decoded. This person sent the call over and over again to no avail since no one could ‘hear’ him. If you can’t decode any signals - check your clock - it is probably off.


CQWW DX SSB 2011 Contest

My little ham station got a needed workout this weekend! I used the IC-718, the GAP Eagle DX and my new W8AMZ G5RV Jr . antenna that replaced my aging MFJ G5RV Jr. Also my new MFJ-949E tuner did a great job! I worked 40, 20, 15 and 10 meters with no problems and got a bunch of great DX. France, Russia, Netherlands, Australia and Germany just off the top of my head. I didn’t call any CQ’s just answered CQ’s from other stations and my pace was casual. Ended up working just over 12 hours and had 58 contacts with a total claimed score of about 9000. I wasn’t feeling too fatigued and took a couple of naps. Overall it was very fun. 10 meters was very open!!

Of course I used N3FJP’s excellent contest logging software!

Screen Shot 2011-10-30 at 12.49.32 PM


California QSO Party 2011

I wasn’t very aggressive this contest and ended up with only 24 contacts, but it was fun and relaxing. I only worked 20 meters SSB and the band sounded pretty good. As usual, I did not call CQ but just went up and down the band answering all CA stations heard. I used the GAP Eagle DX for the entire contest. I used N3FJP’s excellent logging software.

Screen Shot 2011-10-03 at 8.38.11 PM

2000th QSO Logged Today!

Today I passed the 2000 QSO count since moving to Texas in 1985.

Screen Shot 2011-09-18 at 11.04.12 PM

Rosewill RGD-CT505 Alkaline NIMH Charger

Recently I bought one of these little gems from for about $25.00. It does a really good job charging NIMH. It can also recharge an Alkaline battery so that it can be used about 10 more times. It works very well as advertised.

My old charger was starting to reject most of my batteries and refused to charge them. This new charger determined that one of my batteries was bad and I disposed of it.

I don’t have to charge batteries in pairs - the charger has 4 independent charge channels which makes it easy to determine the state of an individual battery.



Yippeee!!! Happy Radio is Back!!!

I am so glad to have my IC-718 back from!! It is working great! Turned out to be the driver transistors were shorted somehow. Radio is now in great shape at a reasonable price. Just in time for the MIQP.



Disaster - kaboom!

Last night I was listening to my IC-718 and all of a sudden I heard a relay clicking sound. The display was flashing and the radio was drawing 25 AMPS from the power supply. The radio chassis was very hot to the touch.

I have sent it to for repair. Hopefully it is not too serious. I know that Cal will do a good job on it. When he fixed my FT-817nd a few years ago it came back better than new.