TX Factor

Episode 25

A post-election special - well, not really! Just a look at some more new and innovative AR products from this year’s Hamfest, including a potted history of the ever-popular and much revered range of transceivers and kits from Electraft with co-founder Eric Swartz WA6HHQ. There’s our free-to-enter draw with some excellent prizes from ML&S and RSGB to be won.

In this modern era of connectivity, we take the ever-present Internet for granted; it’s always there and continues to deliver our data from A to B without issue. But what would happen if that vital link failed? We visit Southampton and Portsmouth on the UK’s south coast to see how two city councils, assisted by a group of dedicated amateurs, plan to maintain their communications infrastructure via radio links alone, should the Internet go down.

Wot! No Internet? - TX date 13th December 2019

Detailed show notes for Episode 25 or download the show notes as a PDF

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Show Notes for Episode 25 (TXF025)

Please note that all URL links included in these notes are, to the best of our knowledge, correct and have been tested, although from time to time some may appear not to be working at the time of reading this. Sorry for the inconvenience, however, these things do happen, and a search on Google or similar should provide you with more up-to-date links. 


Weatherquest is a privately owned weather forecasting and weather analysis company based in Norwich on the University of East Anglia Campus. Jim Bacon G3YLA is one of the founders of the company. We visited the Weatherquest HQ in episode 13 of TX Factor where we had a fascinating chat with Jim and Steve Nichols G0KYA about how terrestrial and space weather affect radio propagation. If you haven’t watched that episode yet you will definitely find it very informative. You’ll find full details of WQRadar and how to download it at weatherquest.co.uk


If you were intrigued with the idea of combining your phone and handie into one device and never needing a code plug or repeater list again then you can find out more at rfinder.shop

Elekraft K4

We were really lucky to get an opportunity to talk to Eric Swartz WA6HHQ, one of the founders of Elecraft and to get the lowdown on the new K4 straight from the man himself. You can see all the specs of the K4 and the whole range of Elecraft radios at their information packed website at elecraft.com


This handy device simply connects to the headphone output of your radio and, as you saw in our feature, it already offers many ways to transform your listening experience. Richard tells us that there are more features to come and that it’s updateable by using a computer and a USB connection. Definitely a device that is set to grow! Find out more at sotabeams.co.uk

RF Repeater Linking

The South Hampshire Repeater Group’s efforts to ensure that they have repeaters that will function when emergency conditions take out the Internet and power infrastructure made for a fascinating feature. We hope it will inspire other groups to think about doing the same thing. The Internet has proved a useful adjunct to amateur radio, but we definitely need to be able operate without it.

Don’t worry if setting up 5GHz point-to-point links sounds too techie as they simply used the off-the-shelf solution provided by the Ubiquiti kit, which is as easy to set up as a home Wi Fi router. The cost worked out at about £250 for each end of the 21 kms (13 mile) hop and this plug-and-play equipment gives them a very stable 100 Mbs link. All the clever stuff is in the dish that you saw in the video and it’s simply connected to a computer via an ethernet cable. It is licence free at lower powers or with an amateur licence or a £50.00 Ofcom licence higher power can be used.

For shorter hops of 5 kms (3 miles) the cost comes down to around £150 or less. There are many other uses for these amazing bits of kit. Some are in use in Devon and Cornwall to relay 4G-derived Internet in to rural locations with slow broadband and poor 4G. Find out more at gb3sh.co.uk and ui.com

Free-to-enter draw 17 - now closed

Thanks again to Martin Lynch and Sons for providing the excellent Yaesu FT-25E 2 Metre mono-band 5W handie as a competition prize. You can find its full spec at hamradio.co.uk

The Callseeker Plus 2020 and the RSGB Yearbook 2020 are just two of the many titles covering a huge variety of radio topics that you will find at rsgbshop.org You don’t have to be a member to shop there, although you will benefit from discounts if you are!

Please note this draw closes on January 24th 2020

For a fully detailed PDF fact sheet of episode 25 (TXF025) show-information click here