New to amateur radio, or a seasoned operator some people have never experienced the fun of operating out portable. The thrill of operating in a low noise environment.
If you going to take out your VHF/UHF handy, make sure you have a good antenna fitted. The stock antenna or the fake cheapo antenna on eBay is exactly that mostly useless. VHF operators sometimes take a vertical antenna with some gain to take advantage of an elevated location.
If your hill walking with unlicensed operators, then consider some PMR 446 radios as they provide good range and the ability to keep in touch with your fellow walkers.
Speaker wire makes excellent antenna wire, lightweight and strong, and I would suggest you make a few dipoles and maybe wind them onto a former so they are easy to deploy.
If you are taking the equipment in the car, then you may want to consider getting a telescopic mast. These can be deployed behind the car with a suitable mount.
Para style cord is great for putting up guy ropes. You will also need some tent pegs to secure items in the ground. Flimsy tent pegs often bend, why not try these more robust pegs.
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.
I once again took part with the in the 50MHz trophy cup with the SNBCG, the contest runs for 24 Hrs from 3 PM on Saturday. This year the contest had been booked for one of the hottest days of the year, with temperatures reaching 30C (around 220F in old money)
We set up Saturday morning, using the 5e 50MHz beam and a 10m pump up mast. A solid state amplifier provided 400w and a light weight tent to keep off the sun.
The most important issue throughout the weekend was trying to keep cool, with copious cold drinks from the fridge. Fred G3SVK was kind enough to lend us a fan and this became an essential item for the shack.
Fred spent some time operating on CW, working mostly EU with the odd notable exception.
Sunday 11th June was the #2 backpackers, hill toppers and QRP contest. The RSGB contest ran from 10 till 2 PM and had two categories 25w or 5w. I decided to enter the 25w category, the radio had to be battery powered and the power limit was 25w.
The exchange is a signal report, serial number and then your locator, so a typical exchange may be 59, 001 in JO01DP.
I worked a couple of stations who was aware it was an activity day, but not aware of their locator. I found the best way is to look it up online or download one of the many phone apps that will do this for you. I started a little late at 10.30 as on this occasion I was operating alone.
Using the Icom 7100 and a 68Ah leisure battery I was able to operate for the complete contest. I used a small netbook to log, it’s important to find something that can be battery powered for the duration of the contest. I did have one unexpected problem, if the laptop was within 1m of the radio it did cause some QRM, interesting, as I had never noticed that before.
The RSGB have a series of Christmas Cumulative contests covering 50/70/144 and 433 MHz. The contest is a chance to put down that turkey sandwich and head out to play some radio in the winter sun. The contest run for 2 hrs, and activity is over 4 days. You can read the rules online, and activity is typically quite high.
Icom 7100, 9e Portable Tona and RF power was provided by a Linear Amp 300w solid state amplifier. The mast was a Racal PU 12 at 5m as the band was wide open with tropo propagation, this provided some interested DX. Mains power was provided by a silent running 2KW Honda generator.
We managed to work 51 stations, with our best DX into Spain, EA1FDI in IN53 at 1143 KM.
The QSO map showed some great openings to the South and East.
The temperature dropped quickly once the sun set, providing a spectacular sunset and the motivation to pack away quickly. Altogether a great afternoon playing radio, with some great propagation for a change.
Thanks to everyone we worked, and all the best in 2017.