Monday, September 08, 2008

Simplicity Portable in Wales

This last weekend, we went to the 'Downsizer Fibre Skills weekend' in Carmarthenshire. Julie was keen to do some knitting, weaving, needlefelting and what ever else came along and I was happy to enjoy the Welsh countryside. As it turned out, I spent more time helping recover a friend's Land Rover from the bottom of a ditch and then repairing the fencing, but that's entirely another story.

Jack, who lives on the farm where the event is held is keenly interested in amateur radio and is looking forward to getting his Foundation Licence in due course. We had some fun playing with the FT817 and a portable aerial last time we visited the farm, so I wanted to see what we could do this time.

On Saturday morning, we had a listen around using the FT817 and the ATX-Walkabout antenna. Sadly, the bands were pretty poor and there was little to be heard. I always keep the MP-1 antenna in the portable box. This is a surprisingly good antenna for the size and does give a little more antenna gain over the ATX-Walkabout, particularly on the lower bands.

With the MP-1 we were pleased to find 20m going well, and it proved of interest to be able to hear the Japanese stations taking part in the All Asian DX contest. Some of the signals were very good, but the contest had just started and it didn't really seem worth while to call with 5w to a small antenna.

Morse still provides much interest to spectators and I was pleased to be able to demonstrate (and translate) some contacts. AO5FX from Spain proved a super demonstration QSO as we were playing around.

Simple radio, but very pleasurable and I hope interesting to the other attendees at the weekend.

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