This was our first opportunity to go portable VHF this year, making the most of a very warm February afternoon.
The RSGB run a series of contests thought the year, and this was the ideal opportunity to put on the club call M0SNB. We operated from the Secret Nuclear Bunker near Kelvedon Hatch, using the Icom 7300 and 160w from the expert 1.3KFA solid state amplifier.
The antenna was my hombrew 6e for 70 MHz, this is built onto a 4m boom, that breaks down into 2x2m for easy transport to site. I have detailed the antenna build project in this article.
The weather was so good we decided to operate alfresco at the bottom of the 10m pump up mast.
Here is George M1GEO operating with the Icom 7300 and Expert setup on the operating table.
Dave M0TAZ operating the station.
The contest lasted for 2 Hrs, and we managed to work 48 stations all over the UK.
All together an enjoyable contest, thanks to everyone we worked.
It’s the last chance to play some radio over a bank holiday weekend in 2018 before winter arrives!
On Saturday we had a BBQ for 25 people, giving everyone a chance to catch up over a burger.
The radio was split into a number of tents, VHF/UHF and 50 and 70 Mhz for LEFARS, with SNBCG running 2 HF stations. George M1GEO looked after the triband beam 14/21/28 MHz while I concentrated on 7 MHz using my vertical.
Band conditions could best be described as variable, at times allowing some big DX to be worked, and at other times presenting no signals at all due to a solar storm.
7 MHz on FT8 mode on HF helped work in the poor conditions, allowing me to work several stations from Indonesia, Brazil, West Malaysia, Argentina, Cuba, Australia, Oman, China and Arizona USA. Not bad for a 7 MHz vertical antenna with elevated radials.
I took the drone up to capture some nice aerial shot of the setup.
We had attendees from lots of local clubs including Camb-Hams, Essex Ham, LEFARS, SNBCG. A very well attended event, really nice to see everyone having fun and enjoying both the social and radio event.
Suffolk Red hosted a field weekend from their field day site at the Suffolk Aviation Heritage site near Ipswich. The weather was set fine, with temperatures close to 30C and with the option to camp out for the weekend.
George M1GEO, Chris G8OCV and I set up the operating tent and populated it with the following equipment.
HF – Icom 7610 and 1.3K Linear from expert
VHF – Icom 7100 and 300w VHF amplifier from Linear amp UK
RACAL push up mast
Power – Honda 2KW generator
The object was to try something new, so I opted for 9e LFA on the Racal push up mast and tried to work as many EU stations as I could on both phone and FT8. VHF seemed quite lively, and with good take off into Europe I was soon working into France, Germany, Denmark and Belgium.
LMR 400 coax was used to keep the losses down, and the masthead amp compensated for any RX losses.
Masthead amplifier for 144 MHz was originally published in the RSGB magazine RADCOM plus issue 1 designed by Ian White GM3SEK. The details are published on his website, detailed as the DG8 low cost, high-performance preamp for 144 MHz.
Over the course of the weekend I completed 50 QSO in 25 squares, the map is shown below. If you are new, or even not so new to FT8 you may find this operating guide helpful.
Using the club call M0SNB June saw another chance to operate 70 MHz outdoors in the RSGB contest, with perfect weather at 24c. The contest site at the Secret Nuclear Bunker was used, at some 110m ASL it has good take off in most directions.
Using the homebrew 6e 70 Mhz beam, and the solid-state amplifier to deliver 160w worked a treat, with our best DX EI2FG @ 568 KM.