All my 6m contacts since 2003 – all modes. Need to focus on Caribbean next season!
So few months ago I joined the local VHF contest group – Drowned Rats Radio Group – M0HRF. Not quite used to a local amateur club actually doing amateur radio after the few years spent in Radio Society of Harrow but all going very well so far! Great to socialise and play radio with a great bunch of very enthusiastic lads.
We took part in the July 2015 RSGB Field day and came 2nd in our category – here’s a picture of some of our big twigs and the certificate:
We also came second in the 2m Backpackers event – next year first for sure!!
With current HF conditions being very poor I was looking for something radio-related to give new challenges. A superb article by Tommy Read M1EYP in the August 2015 Practical Wireless on the Summits on the Air (sota) programme really grabbed my attention and excited me. I won’t explain SOTA in detail – look here http://www.summits.org.uk/tiki-index.php?page=SOTA+Chasing+for+Beginners or here http://www.sota.org.uk/AboutSOTA But HF amateur radio, open-air, mountains, pile-ups – what’s there not to like!
I purchased the very capable mobile Yaesu 857 rig, a Tracer Power http://www.tracerpower.com/tracer-lifepo4-battery-packs.html powerpack (which comes with a powerpole connector – very convenient), and some antennas and light-weight antenna supports from www.sotabeams.co.uk . My nearest sota summit is Wendover Woods G/CE-005 in the Chiltern Hills near Tring which is at a massive 267m ASL (lol) – http://www.sotawatch.org/summits.php?summit=G/CE-005
So last Saturday I drove to the woods and parked in a convenient lay-by near the mountain bike centre. It was a beautiful sunny day – lovely to be in the open air playing radio! A short walk to the trig point and I set up the antenna and rig – after some adventures trying to guy the sotapole I eventually just secured it to the trig point with bungee cords.
I started out on 40m with a bandhopper two dipole antenna and conditions were actually very good. I used the sota goat app on my iPhone to spot myself (self-spotting is acceptable and recommended for sota) and the hamlog app on the iPhone to log contacts as I had forgotten a pen or pencil!). I worked stations in England, Wales, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and Scotland – see full log below. I then switched to 60m using a half-wave end-fed dipole and had another few contacts. 60m conditions were much noisier and difficult compared to 40m which was quiet with most calling stations being 59+. You need 4 contacts to officially activate a summit.
Here’s the log:
08/08/2015 0929 7.191MHz SSB DL0SY/P
08/08/2015 0939 7.191MHz SSB M3FEH
08/08/2015 0940 7.191MHz SSB G0FEX
08/08/2015 0942 7.191MHz SSB G8MIA
08/08/2015 0942 7.191MHz SSB GW4CQZ
08/08/2015 0943 7.191MHz SSB M0MDA
08/08/2015 0944 7.191MHz SSB DL2EF
08/08/2015 0945 7.191MHz SSB DK7ZH
08/08/2015 0946 7.191MHz SSB DK5WL
08/08/2015 0947 7.191MHz SSB MW0URC
08/08/2015 0948 7.191MHz SSB M0TVU
08/08/2015 0949 7.191MHz SSB ON7DQ
08/08/2015 0950 7.191MHz SSB PC2B
08/08/2015 0951 7.191MHz SSB G4AFI
08/08/2015 0956 7.191MHz SSB GM4COX/P
08/08/2015 0958 7.191MHz SSB PA7ZEE
08/08/2015 0959 7.191MHz SSB PA3CDN
08/08/2015 0959 7.191MHz SSB G0RQL
08/08/2015 1000 7.191MHz SSB M0SGO
08/08/2015 1001 7.191MHz SSB M3ZCB
08/08/2015 1002 7.191MHz SSB M1MAJ
08/08/2015 1047 5.3985MHz SSB GW4BVE
08/08/2015 1055 5.3985MHz SSB G0RQL
08/08/2015 1058 5.3985MHz SSB G8ADD
08/08/2015 1100 5.3985MHz SSB G4WSB
08/08/2015 1101 5.3985MHz SSB M0VCM
08/08/2015 1102 5.3985MHz SSB G0TDM
The scenery around the trig point is very beautiful – here’s a few more pics. Unlike the actual Wendover Woods centre, which was packed to bursting with picnicking families and activities, the trig point field was empty – a solitary walker and two mountain bikers were the only visitors in over two hours.
This is a great website (http://wg7j.reinalda.net/gridmapper/gridmapper.php) that enables you to display the 6m grid squares that you have worked. Actually you can display for any band, mode etc but I use it to show the 6m squares as think it’s really interesting to see where the Es cloud have formed.
Below is a picture of all the 6m squares I have worked (224) since being licensed (click to see large picture). A red square means the QSO is unconfirmed in LOTW whilst green is confirmed.
Been a while since the last post due to Christmas and New Year when not much radio was done. Last week was spent skiing in Font Romeu Catalunya and the only radio activity was opening the local repeater F5ZEZ on 145.6625 with my Icom IC-90 handheld. Repeater had a few local QSOs on it – especially in the mornings.
Look closely and you may see the repeater (or not…):
Back in Blighty I had to pop to Lynchy’s to get my Yaesu DXC 1000 rotator controller repaired which was not turning on. Turned out to be a faulty capacitor – must have been a Friday afternoon fabrication job as the controller is less than two years old and has hardly been used.
However I took the opportunity to pick up a Sark 100 antenna analyser which is a very useful piece of kit. Read (and watch) all about it here: http://www.hamradio.co.uk/accessories-general-antenna-analysers/adonis/mydel-sark110-vector-impedance-antenna-analyser-pd-5427.php
Here is what the SWR and Impedance at 80m looks like on my trapped inverted L described in previous posts:
Recommended as a very useful tool if you do anything with antennas beside extending your handheld’s telescopic for the local repeater!