Tuesday, July 25, 2006

HF Mobile operating

Nice chat on the repeater this morning about working mobile on HF.

Although I only use the FT817, I find I can make some reasonable QSOs on HF, particularly on 10m. I've made contacts on CW, SSB and FM from the car - including via some of the 10m repeaters. Not bad for 3 or 4 watts.

The antenna is a Comet UHV6, which allows 50/144/432 MHz and HF coverage by screwing in a coil to the top of the antenna. I have the 7/21/28MHz options and have been using the 28MHz one for most of the summer. Both the 21 and 28MHz extensions are quite short and don't add much to the wind loading of the antenna - so I'm quite happy to use these on the motorway. I'd be a bit more reluctant with the 7MHz extension which is a bit bigger!

Phil, M0PSH talked about using the Moonraker mobile antenna with a Firestick Magmount base which he was pleased with and Wolf, G4SSX used G-whips.

If you're in range of GB3WH (145.650/J) in the morning between 7am and 7.30 local, do drop by and say hello!

Monday, July 24, 2006

5MHz 'Experiment' continues, but....

It has been announced that the 5MHz experiment that concludes at the end of July 2006 will continue until 30th June, 2010.

Existing NOV holders need to reapply - the form may be downloaded here

The operating notes on the RSGB's Spectrum Forum seem largely similar to the previous set. Still they expect people to swap SINPO reports - why do they persist in this folly! If the experiment is supposed to be scientific then use PC soundcards and take proper measurements - but SINPO - for heavens sake! How on earth is that better than RST reporting?

Many people who applied for NOVs in the previous batch didn't use them - not being impressed with the attempts to force quasi-military style operation on them, perhaps?

This is a shame, because 5MHz is a fascinating frequency to operate on, both for local (intra-UK) and DX working. As a Short Wave Listener, I heard many Tropical Band stations from Africa and Indonesia around these frequencies.

But the people who know how to make the best use of the band experimentally are unlikely to be the people to be attracted by the way that the 5MHz Experiment is framed.

In fairness to those that are managing the experiment, we have to be pragmatic and realise that the spectrum use has to be justified to the authorities - but I'm saddened that the opportunity to make the experiment more vibrant and interesting has not been taken.

New DXCC Montenegro active..

I didn't have too much radio time over the weekend, but I was pleased to have a QSO on 20 CW with 4O3T, operating from the new DXCC entity of Montenegro on Sunday evening around 1915z. Great signals and easy to work from here.

I'm pleased to have it safely in the log and will be looking for the guys on the other bands. It should be easy to work and I'm sure it's going to crop up in various contests over the years, so no big panic!

Check out the 4O3T website at http://www.yu6scg.cg.yu/international-dx-festival-montenegro-2006/

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Wireless access points - QRM?

Although I'm not serious about my 50MHz activity from here, I'd been very limited by what I could hear or work because of the level of local noise I had on the band (S7 to S9 throughout the band).

Last week, the D-Com Wireless Access Point that I'd had for nearly three years packed up, having given good service. I replaced it with a Cisco/Linksys unit.

To my surprise and delight, the level of noise had dropped by an average of 3 or 4 S units, with some frequencies completely clear! This is a result!

Of course, now I'm starting to think about a dedicated antenna for 50MHz!

Friday, July 21, 2006

CEPT operation on 50MHz now permitted in Greece

I read today that 50MHz operation is now permissible by CEPT licence holders, visiting Greece. This is good news, assuming it's true.

The situation has been unclear about what, exactly, was required to operate in the past. Explicitly, it was clear CEPT licencing regulations didn't originally apply. On one occasion when I was operating from Crete, I was told that I couldn't use my callsign, but I could use the callsign of the station owner, who did have a 50MHz permit. On my next visit, I was told that I could use my own callsign! So, I have a feeling that there were some local agreements and tacit understandings in place.

Whatever, it will be good to have the situation clearer.

Commonwealth Contest 2006 (BERU) Results

The results of one of my favourite contests are available on the web at http://www.beru.org.uk

Not a great result for G4VXE this year, but I think I was a bit time restricted - but it's a contest that I've always enjoyed ever since my time in Canada.

This contest's not everyone's cup of tea, but I think it's great!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Excellent VHF conditions this morning

Driving to work this morning, I switched on 2m, listening to GB3WH near Swindon and was surprised to find the repeater occupied by stations in Yorkshire! M0IOK, 2E0EYC and M3ODQ/M were all good signals from the Humberside area.

The Buxton repeater, GB3HH was clearly audible from Didcot station car park.

I called CQ on 145.500 driving down the A34, without success!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

eQSL reaches 100,000 members!

Dave Morris, N5UP reports:

"On July 12, 2006 at 22:20 Central Daylight Saving Time, W8DXF becamethe 100,000th registered member of eQSL.cc! Congratulations to BobLewis of Blanchester, Ohio."

If you've not tried eQSL yet, I recommend it!

Friday, July 14, 2006

CU8AO worked on four

CU8AO was worked on 4m yesterday, 13th July. He was worked, I know from, GD, GM and GW. He was working on 70.625 - listening lower in the band around 70.200.

I'm still looking for any Portuguese station - but the timing doesn't seem to have worked out yet.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

WRTC 2006 Winners - VE3EJ and VE7ZO

I was delighted to read this morning that the WRTC 2006 winners have been announced. John, VE3EJ and Jim, VE7ZO won the competition from N6NJ and N2NL in second place and top Europeans YT6A and YT6T in third place.

I contested with John and Jim in Canada, when I lived there. I can testify to their skill, but also to the fact that they are genuinely nice people.

Congratulations, guys - it's well deserved!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

WRTC Provisional Scores

The IARU HF Championship and the WRTC in Brazil ended at 12z. The provisional results are shown at http://www.hagasoft.com

Adjudication of the results will now be taking place - with the logs being cross-checked. And that reminds me....send in your log to help the adjudication, by 1800z. Take a look at this article here for how to do it... http://www.eham.net/articles/14268

I have to admit some bias here - I'm delighted to see John, VE3EJ and Jim, VE3ZO topping the provisional scores. Hope it stays that way...

Italy to Japan on 50MHz this morning

Popped into the shack at around 0700z to listen to 50 and 70MHz. There was some propagation to Italy on 50MHz, but what was interesting was that I6BQI was working into Japan. I didn't stop long, but I heard him work a JA1, who I couldn't hear, of course - but very interesting.

Azores beacon on 70MHz

I was interested to see DX spots of a beacon in the Azores yesterday, CU8DUB/B on 70.612. This could prove an interesting one - it will be great if there is amateur activity on four from that area.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

9A on 70MHz

Just before 1730z, I was looking around on HF when I noticed a DX spot from G7RAU on the Isle of Wight for 9A2SB on 70.200. I disturbed Bitzy the cat from my lap and nipped upstairs. Sure enough 9A2SB was there. QSB was fairly pronounced - but a moment or two later he came up and we made a quick QSO. Very pleased with the meagre 5w or so to the vertical!

GB5HQ going great guns!

The IARU HF Championship and the concurrent WRTC are well in progress now. I've been pleased to work GB5HQ on all bands on CW now - how the 10m CW guys heard me from Yorkshire, I can't imagine - but they did! I've even made some SSB QSOs on 160/80/40 which is unusual for me, so that's 9 band slots which I'm pretty happy about.

I used the inverted L to make the 160m QSOs, but the Butternut on all other bands.

Tomorrow I may well see if G4VXE/M can work some band slots! I made a couple of 10m CW QSOs from the car today.

Friday, July 07, 2006

A first - then listening to bigots!

Driving home this evening, I put on 29MHz FM. The HB9HD repeater on 29.660 was really strong, so after a QSO finished I dropped a call in and was delighted to work Dave, G4SCJ through the box. My first ever 29MHz QSO through a repeater and considering it was using about 3w from the FT817 and mobile antenna, I thought it was pretty decent.

Having concluded the QSO, I listened to the repeater some more. It was pretty much all UK stations using it. A QSO then developed between a gentleman on the South Coast of England and a lady in the East of England. All was going well until the RSGB got mentioned! Well, it seemed that they both had something to complain about. Or at least they thought they did! Goodness me, they had a chip on their shoulders - for reasons that weren't immediately apparent! But they broadcast their prejudices all over Europe! Belonging to the RSGB wasn't the thing for them.

I wondered whether to ask them if they enjoyed using the WARC bands, or perhaps had a 5MHz NOV, used VHF repeaters, perhaps worked DX on 50MHz - ever listened to 136kHz. Perhaps they enjoyed receiving QSLs through the bureau? Perhaps they hadn't been worried about PLT causing the HF bands to be useless.

I resisted the temptation to challenge them! But it was a classic case of someone holding a relatively minor issue against the national society, opting out, not realising, or caring about the essential work that goes on in the background to keep the hobby progressing.

We'd all agree the RSGB is less than perfect. What is perfect? But it's so much better than nothing. Those two amateurs would be lost without it.

World Radio Team Championships this weekend

WRTC takes place in Brazil this weekend. It's like the Olympics of ham radio.

Interestingly, some of the competitors are writing blogs which you can see here http://www.ncjweb.com/wrtc2006blogs.php

Lots of friends out there - it would be hard to single anyone out for a special good luck!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

OFCOM release the draft of the new UK licence

OFCOM have released a draft of the new UK licence at

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/aradio/lifetimelicence/licenceformat.pdf

There are a few changes inthe draft document:

1) The requirement to keep a log is removed, unless you are specifically asked to. Most DXers will continue to do so, I'm sure!

2) Remote control of an amateur radio station is now possible without an NOV

3) Foundation licencees may operate on 10m

4) The licence is free - but you must validate it every 5 years

5) Operation from alternative premises may be carried out as /A

Review of the proposals and discussion continues, so please note that these changes have NOT yet taken effect!

70MHz first to Luxembourg during VHF NFD

Sean, M1ECY reports...

I was suprised to hear this evewning that the RustyRadios ARCG hasworked a UK first.

I was operating the group's 70Mhz station for the start of NFD, and at 08.08 I worked LX1JX at a distance of 473 Km via tropo.

Our station comprises Ic7400, spectrum transverter (25W) and an Eagle8 ele beam mounted at 10m AGL - we were operating from JO02AA (RAFBarkway), and will be entering the contest in the low power section.

QSL cards will be exchanged as soon as possible!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

VHF Conditions this morning...

Driving down to the station in the morning, I'm usually on the Vale of White Horse 2m repeater, GB3WH. This morning, conditions were much better than normal, with stations from Leicestershire and even G8SSL in north Nottinghamshire accessing the repeater with ease.

There's a 144MHz activity contest this evening, so that could be good if conditions hold!

GB5HQ needs YOU!

News from Dave Lawley, G4BUO...


To all UK contesters

The IARU Radiosport contest is less than five days away now, and theGB5HQ team has been working very hard to be ready to compete against themajor HQ stations. We need the help of as many contesters as possible tocome on and work us, phone on CW, on all six bands topband to 10m. Thecontest period is 1200z Saturday to 1200z Sunday and full rules are athttp://www.arrl.org/contests/rules/2006/iaru.html

WRTC-2006 takes place at the same time in Brazil so there will also belots of 4-letter PR and PQ calls active. See www.wrtc2006.com

Contrary to what was suggested on here a while ago we are not saying"come on a work us but no-one else". We want you to come on and enjoy the contest, and make as many QSOs as possible but if you work our maincompetitors (DA0HQ, SN0HQ, R9HQ, TM0HQ) on more bands than you work GB5HQ, then you'll be helping them more than you'll be helping us.Because of skip, there will be times when other HQ stations are louder than ours, at least on the HF bands, but our 80m station should be a 'beacon' around most of the country so if you call them, they'll be able to give your our working frequencies on the other band/mode slots. All
the stations will be interconnected over the Internet using Starlogsoftware by G3WGV.

For info, here are the main locations of our stations around the country though we do have the ability to swap roles to some extent, and we have a backup station located in Anglesey who may take over if any of themain stations has a problem.
10m SSB Suffolk
10m CW Yorkshire
15m SSB Somerset
15m CW Kent
20m SSB Suffolk
20m CW Devon
40m SSB Stirling
40m CW Cornwall
80m SSB Buckinghamshire
80m CW Yorkshire
160m SSB Stirling
160m CW Guernsey

DA0HQ get a phenomenal level of support from German hams, and this is a large factor in their success in this contest. We have a chance ofwinning this contest for the UK, but to do it we need your support, so please work GB5HQ on as many band/mode combinations as possible, andencourage all your club members to do the same. Awards are available for working us on three or more slots, see www.gb5hq.com for moredetails and for pictures of the stations which comprise the RSGB HQ entry in the IARU contest.

Many thanks,Dave Lawley G4BUO

On behalf of the RSGB HQ station GB5HQ

Sunday, July 02, 2006

VHF Field Day weekend

There was plenty to do here this weekend, and the VHF array is stuck beaming west, so there was never going to be a huge amount of activity from G4VXE in VHF NFD. Nevertheless, it is one of my favourite contests and an opportunity to make contacts on bands which would generally be deathly quiet.

I missed working any UK stations on 50MHz. I wanted to work G0FBB/P as my friend Justin, G4TSH was operating there. But the noise level was S7! The good news was that I managed to work some YU stations from the KN04 and KN05 locators, so quite happy with that. On 70MHz, I was pleased to work a couple of stations with the 5 or 6 watts to the vertical; G4RFR/P on the south coast near Poole and my friends at the Newbury Club, operating G5XV/P.

I had more ERP on 144 and 432MHz, though all beaming west! Despite that, there were a few interesting QSOs. MM0CPS/P was an outstanding signal on 144MHz - sounded like he had a big array and I was pleased to work him from IO84. I was also pleased to work GW8BGV/P (that's from memory...) over in IO72, which you don't hear much these days. I ended up working about 10 stations on 432MHz too - in some new locators. Off the back of the beam, I heard PA6NL - which I was impressed with.

Great contest - will be sending in a checklog.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

VHF Field Day - this weekend

A quick reminder that it's IARU Region 1 VHF Field Day this weekend. If you've got VHF gear of any sort (bear in mind that most activity will be on SSB), take a look over the weekend and make some contacts!

All around Europe, stations will be on the highest points that they can find, so you ought to be able to make some good contacts.

Here at G4VXE, the beams are, unfortunately, stuck beaming west, but I'm sure I'll find a few stations to work later. Look on all bands between 50MHz and 1.3GHz (including 70MHz here in the UK).

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