Month: October 2015

CQ WW SSB 2015

This weekend saw a casual entry into the CQ WW SSB contest, taking part with George M1GEO, Dave M0YOL, Dave G7UVW and Chris G8OCV.

I used my TS990, 4e homebrew beam on 21 MHz and HAL 1200 solid state amplifier delivering 400w. 28 MHz was a vertical @ 12m and 1.9, 3.5 and 7 MHz was a doublet antenna at 25m. We set up on Friday afternoon, meaning we was ready to play radio for the 1AM start on Saturday morning. The evening provided good conditions on 7 and 3.5 MHz, and through the day 21 and 28 MHz remained open.  Power was provided by 2x 2KW EU20 a silent run generators.

Room with a view

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3.5MHz looking busy

22418778476_a5be9ac774_kThankfully Dave M0YOL allowed us to use his caravan awning, this provided welcome relief from the rain on Saturday. We complete some operating on Saturday and Sunday, closing the station just after 3PM. This allowed us to pack down and head home before it got dark.

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Over the weekend I managed to work 551 QSO in 79 countries.

QSO per Band – (DXCC) 22281497689_620db97656_k

  • 1.9 MHz – 5 (4)
  • 3.5 MHz – 46 (17)
  • 7 MHz – 134 (39)
  • 21 MHz – 279 (57)
  • 28 MHz – 87 (28)

The 4e beam on 21 MHz worked really well, i’ve used this for a few contests now and always been very pleased with its performance. A blog on its construction can be found here.

 

All together a very enjoyable weekend, with good band conditions.

QSO maps showing EU, Asia and JA
Thanks to everyone we worked 73 Dave M0TAZcq_ww_ssb_EU cq_ww_ssb_USA cq_ww_ssb_JA

GB0SNB – Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker.

Spent some time this weekend operating from the Secret Nuclear Bunker at Kelvedon with George M1GEO. The bunker has a permanent special call GB0SNB and we put this on the air both VHF and HF today. It was nice to see 7 MHz in good shape, full with the JOTA and WAG contest.

Here are a few pictures from the day.

More information on the bunker is available at the GB0SNB website.

Here is George M1GEO maintaining the GB7KH repeater.

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Ever wondered what the inside of a DSTAR repeater looks like  (TXM)

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Inside a DSTAR repeater.

And the Icom 7100 with retro microphone

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73 Dave M0TAZ

Don’t get in the way of TX3X

Looking on 7 MHz RTTY today I noticed a cacophony of noise covering around 20 KHz of the band. I couldn’t hear the DX station but the DX cluster confirmed it was the DX station TX3X from Chesterfield Reef. The cluster suggested they were 7.045 and listening up, I could hear people calling from 7045 to 7065. I couldn’t hear the DX station on my wire antenna so settled for working some EU station calling CQ in RTTY.

I first worked Special call TM51SP, followed by  DC2TL Markus, HB9CQV Jochanan and then a club station DL0GC. All these stations had to position himself below 7045 to avoid the malay of split noise created by TX3X.

Don’t get me wrong I enjoy working DX stations, and if I could hear him I would have tried, but what happened next was unnecessary. A station without callsign asked DL0GC to stop transmitting as he was causing “interference”   to the DX station. That’s not to mention the 20 KHz of noise being created by callers to TX3X. They then proceed to tell DL0GC to stop QRMING !!

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RSGB 21/28 MHz contest

The RSGB contest provided an ideal opportunity to focus activity on the higher HF bands. Previous John M0UKD and I had built beams for  28 MHz 3e beam and  21 MHz 4e beam using the design on DK7ZB website.  28 MHz is a compact design using a 3m boom, and 21 MHz is somewhat bigger at 5m boom.

The Racal PU12 mast was used for the 28 MHz antenna and Clark 10 for the 21 MHz antenna. Power was provided by the Honda 2KW silent generator and the radio was provided by George M1GEO the Icom 7700 delivering 200w RF.

John M0UKD helping to assemble to 21 MHz (Left) and 28 MHz beams.

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The operating was alfresco as the October weather was  sunny and warm. The shack table was positioned close to the mast ready for armstrong rotation.

The Clark mast was modelling some new blue legs, recently fabricated by Brian 2E0FHU. They worked perfectly and once assembled they provided a sturdy base.21317020033_44fe6db48c_z

A quick check with the MFJ analyser confirmed the antenna was spot on resonance, and so the CQ calling could commence.

Despite a valiant effort on both 21 and 28 MHz conditions did not support the number of QSO we had hopped, in fact you could say it was a challenge to work anyone at times. QSO could be hard to tease out, and we decided the best method was to work anyone we could  hear. Some big DX did arrive, as we managed to work ZS6AI, ZS5DCF, CX8DS, VP8NO and PS8BR to name a few. The bands did seem to be open, at one stage we listened to a CW beacon in South America that was very loud (apparently 10w).

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M1GEO George driving the Icom 7700.

 

 

 

 

 

21 MHz beam (Left) on Clark 10m mast — 28 MHz beam on Racal PU12 mast.

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Despite the lack of activity or poor band conditions we enjoyed our time operating outdoors in the sunshine.

Both homebrew beams worked well, and this may well be the last time we operate outdoors in 2015.

Further pictures from the day are available online.

Thanks to everyone we worked 73 Dave M0TAZ

New antenna testing at GB0SNB

Exposed on the side of a 50 meter mast the antenna often requires maintenance. George M1GEO and Chris G8OCV have over the years perfected the best way to mount the antenna, and on this occasion is had lasted close on 2 years. Antenna maintenance in the afternoon sun is much preferable to winter rain, so we too advantage of the weather to pull up the new doublet antenna.

 

The doublet is 40m per leg, into 300 Ohm ladder line and then a 4:1 Balun.

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The centre of the antenna is made from a plastic chopping board from one of the discount value stores, ideal for insulators. The wire is multi strand 13A flex, ideal for antennas and hopefully robust enough to survive the winter weather.

The centre of the antenna is pulled up onto the mast, elevated to 20m and the ends are on one side into a tree and the other a warning siren.

Dave M0TAZ (Left) and Chris G8OCV working 80m SSB

 

 

Its quite difficult to locate suitable points for the antenna ends, and elevation without snagging in the local trees is always a challenge. Once setup we managed a couple of QSO on 80m.

73 Dave M0TAZ

© 2015 Dave, M0TAZ