I have always enjoyed operating portable HF as you can put up antenna and work bands not possible at home. This coupled with finding an RF quiet location can make HF portable very enjoyable.
Using a 12m spider beam roach pole, an 80m doublet fed with 300 Ohm ribbon cable and Icom 7100 I parked in a rural country lane surrounded by fields. The doublet was cable tied to the roach pole at around 11m, and the pole secured to a farmers fence.
The Icom, Expert 1.3KFA linear and ATU was placed in the boot of the car, and power was provided by an EU20 Honda generator. I started operating at 19:26 with the first call in the log G4JXC Bob from Bristol, signals seemed very good with reports usually over s9, sometimes s9+40.
At times I had a pile-up, really hard to pick out any calls, I did try and pull out a few QRP stations some running just 3 and 4w.
The amplifier definitely helped, but getting a large antenna in the air inverted V means a lot of the RF goes up in the air. Over the next couple of hours, I worked 57 stations in 10 countries. As darkness descended the skip did lengthen out a little, with stations calling me from Sweden, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.
I was also able to monitor my own signal on my KiwiSDR located some 100 miles away. It was fun to work some stations that had also used my SDR, and also catch up with some people on twitter.
A enjoyable was to spend an evening, thanks to everyone who called.
Everyone loves a bank holiday weekend (unless you happen to be working) and last weekend was a 3 day radio event run by LEFARS. The event is based at the Rainbow and Dove PH, yes really a radio event in a pub garden !
The event used the special event call GB2LRS on 7 and 144 MHz, while 21 MHz used the Secret Bunker Club call M0SNB. On 7 MHz the club used a doublet antenna, on 21 MHz we used 400w and 4e home-brew beam aerial. The beam was mounted on a 10m Clark pump up past, with a recently purchased Yaesu G1000S rotator. The linear amplifier was a solid state by Expert 1.3K providing flawless power on the Honda generator.
While the band conditions did provide a challenge, we did prove that even on a quiet band its possible to work DX with some power and a good antenna. We worked some nice DX including Uruguay, Brazil and Philippines to name a few.
In the evenings we turned our hand to 3.5 MHz, and I made a simple dipole to hang from the mast. We placed a 1:1 Balun at the feed point, and fed the antenna with coax. The antenna was cut to provide a match on 3.7 MHz, so no ATU was required. The addition of 400w allowed us to put out what many described as a phenomenal signal. I checked the signal on the Hack Green SDR, and from this screenshot you can judge for yourself. The signal reported by Hack Green was -42 dBm.
Listen to the audio clip of M0SNB operating 400w on 80m recorded via Hack Green SDR
Fred G3SVK also guest operated, working over 100 station on CW including some USA stations. The total number of QSO over the weekend was 320 mostly on SSB. The conditions at times did throw up a few surprises, at one stage I could hear and worked stations in Ireland at 59 on 21 MHz !
It was also nice to see Charlie M0PZT and Peter G0DZB operating portable both using Elecraft KX3s although both torturing their radios with some old school on-off keying 🙂
Thanks to the LEFARS team for organising another great weekend of radio.