Like many, we have been locked down due to Covid, with few radio events. The August Bank Holiday was a chance to get out and play some radio. The event was organised with LEFARS as a joint weekend of radio fun.
This gave us a great opportunity to try as many bands as possible, with stations operating on 3.5, 7, 14, 18, 50, 70, 144 and 433 MHz over the course of the weekend.
I concentrated on 7 and 18 Mhz, using the ground-mounted vertical on 7 MHz and the 3e monoband on 18 MHz. We setup on Friday afternoon, using the SCAM 12m mast as support for the 18 MHz beam. The beam is further described on this page, and it provides very consistent results. Once set up I checked the VSWR, obtaining this plot.
The 18 MHz beam provided some good results, but much did depend on the propagation and a solar event on Friday evening did cause issues for a time. Propagation did recover, allowing me to work
Martinique, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Panama, Anguilla, Oman, Japan, Reunion Island, Costa Rica and 22 USA/Canada stations.
Activity on 7 MHz was provided by the ground-mounted vertical with elevated radials. I have found elevating the radials provided a more reliable antenna configuration with enhanced performance. This conclusion was reached after reading an article by Rudy N6LF on his experiments with elevated radials.
I have been using 4 radials, on 1m electric fence posts, and I suspect adding more radials would further lower the angle of take-off. Over the course of the weekend, I was able to work USA, Canada, Suriname, Puerto Rico, Oman and Indonesia.
Thanks to everyone I worked, who took the time to say hello both local and DX