Monday, September 29, 2008

3X5A QRV in CQ WW CW 2008

Very many thanks to Roger, G3SXW for the following press release:

The VooDoo Contest Group will enter the CQ World-Wide CW contest on November 29-30th from Conakry, Guinea, as 3X5A in the multi-multi category. This will be the group's 15th straight year in multi-multi from West Africa and our 20th straight year participating in CQWWCW. In the 2007 contest 3X5A won this category, first place world, our 6th outright win. This will be our second visit to 3X5A. We will have our usual 8-9 British and American operators, seven one-KW stations and a dozen antennas. We will also be active as 3X5A (no personal call-signs) before the contest, including WARC bands and maybe some RTTY. QSL manager: G3SXW, direct ( or e-mail to g3sxw at for a bureau reply, or paper QSL via bureau; also LoTW. No QSLing rules: just normal practice. More information at:

50MHz FM

Over the last week or so, Geoff, G4EUA,;Paul, 2E0BHA and I have been doing quick tests on 6m FM and we're quite surprised at the paths that we are finding, albeit weakly.

Last week, Geoff heard me when I was north west of Abingdon at Gozzards Ford and he was in Maidenhead. This morning I heard Paul when he was approaching Stow on the Wold in the Cotswolds and I was at Didcot. Around the same time, Geoff heard me, when he was just east of Reading.

Making 'real' QSOs is more difficult, but it's fun to keep trying and see what distances we can hear each other over.

Are you QRV on six metre FM? If so, why not monitor 51.510 and call CQ often? The more people that do, the more fun we'll have!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rescued - by amateur radio

Southgate Amateur Radio Club, eHam,Net and other sources have reported a story of an amateur radio operator who was injured during a hike in Washington state in the USA. He made a transmission which was picked up by a station over 600 miles away. That station was able to initiate a rescue.

Anyway, read the full story from Everett, WA here.

If you enjoy Amateur Radio in the outdoors, this is a great reminder to make sure that someone knows where you are, when you should be back and to make sure there are ways that you can raise the alarm if something goes wrong.

Lookout for GB2AF from 26th to 28th September

My friends over at the Cray Valley Radio Society are putting on a special event station, GB2AF from the 26th to 28th September. The station will celebrate the British Vintage Wireless and Television Museum in West Dulwich.

Their entry from QRZ.COM states:

'GB2AF will operate from the British Vintage Wireless and Television Museum in West Dulwich on 26-28th September, from 08.00 to 20.00 UTC. Activity will be on SSB, AM and CW on the HF bands 3.5-28Mhz and 144MHz.

The event celebrates 100 years of radio from the building in West Dulwich which now houses the Museum. From 1908-1914 a teacher at Dulwich College Alfred Rickard Taylor, 2AF, lived here. He was a wireless pioneer and early member of RSGB. In 1914 the house was bought by the father of the present owner, Gerry Wells. Gerry developed a passion for radio which has lasted to this day, and starting with his work repairing radio and TV sets, he has assembled an astonishing collection of vintage radio and television receivers.

GB2AF will be operated by members of Cray Valley Radio Society for three days 26-28 September 2008. One of the stations will use British valve equipment on 80m and 40m comprising a KW201 and KW Vanguard. We will be active from time to time on AM on 80m. There will be another station on HF and one on VHF, both of those using modern equipment.

The museum collection can be viewed by appointment, please visit the museum web site'

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The latest from Rooster and Peanut

Those brilliant ambassadors for amateur radio and outdoor activities are back! Rooster and Peanut of course.

Their latest video, featuring them - as well as Steve, N0TU and Dave, NK0E can be see here

See Rooster and Peanut in action

CQ WW RTTY this weekend


Well, anyone sending streams of RYs these days marks themselves as a RTTY LID, I feel! But in the old days, any RTTY transmission seemed to be preceded by strings of RYs!

This coming weekend brings the CQ WW RTTY contest which is probably the biggest and best RTTY contest in the world. Perhaps the appearance of a sunspot will improve conditions, we can but hope!

Either way, there should be great activity, so dig out your RTTY interface and computer and see what you can do. It's ages since I made any RTTY contacts from G4VXE and I think I might try and put that right this weekend.

Oh - and in the contest - don't be sending any RYs!

Congratulations to Mark and Gemma

Many congratulations to Mark and Gemma Haynes, M0DXR and M3WPX respectively, who got married last weekend! The happy couple are honeymooning in the Maldives and I believe have even taken a radio with them.

All the very best to you both for a long and happy married life.

50MHz FM

Had a nice little test on 51.510 this morning with Geoff, G4EUA/M. Geoff was on the M4, just east of Membury services and I was coming into the Didcot area. I could just detect signals from Geoff over what must be quite an obstructed path, so we thought that was very encouraging.

We'll keep trying and hopefully when we're both in more suitable locations, we should be able to make a contact.

Anyone else operating 50MHz FM mobile? There seem to be plenty of FT8900s around!

Monday, September 15, 2008

VHF and HF activity update

Things seem to have been a little quiet from G4VXE recently? Why? No real reason that I can put my finger on.

A couple of interesting spots of radio today. The first on 2m, this morning as I was coming out of the village was that I noticed GB3PO identify on 145.650. GB3PO is located in Ipswich, probably 120 miles from here. Though I hear it regularly, it's not common to hear on the mobile, so there's always a sense that conditions are doing something when I hear it. Barometric pressure looks relatively stable this week, so I'm guessing we'll see a little tropo when it falls away a bit.

At the other end of the spectrum, I had a quick look on 80m this evening, towards the bottom of the band. Serge, UA9FMZ, who I worked a few days ago was on and called CQ without any replies, so I gave him a quick call and we had a nice QSO - with good signals between us. On 30m, EA8/DL3HQN was a good signal too, working both Europeans and Americans.

I was thinking that for the forthcoming VHF and UHF tropo season, I might commission the 4CX350 amplifier, just so that I can switch it in for the more long distance contacts. It's been rare that I've missed out with 50w, but it would be interesting to be able to switch the amp in on occasion and see if there's anything a little further afield that I can work.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Somerset 50MHz Repeater

Talking to Paul, 2E0BHA this morning he mentioned that a new 6m repeater is on the air from Somerset. Look on 50.77. I will listen this evening.

Posted with LifeCast

Well! Since I posted this from the train this morning, I have become confused! I checked the repeater list and it looks like GB3FH on 50.77 has been on the air for years! The list shows GB3WX at Warminster on 50.83 (output) as well as GB3ZY at Bristol on 50.80.

The moral of the story, I think, is for me to listen on both 50.77 and 50.83 when I'm close to home and see what I can hear.

If you have any information, please let me know!

Monday, September 08, 2008

The start of the Autumn tropo?

Just a quick post to say that the GB3VHF beacon is around 3 S-points above average this evening, with the F5XAM beacon a little above average. Perhaps this is the start of the autumn tropo season?

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.

A New Way To Update The Blog

Since work have blocked blogger access, a new method needed to be found.

Posted with LifeCast

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

This week's activity...

For a change this weekend, during the commute, I have had the second receiver running on 145.725. There are two repeaters within 'range' on this frequency. The first, and nearest, though over  a tricky path is GB3CG in Gloucester and the second is GB3SN located near Alton in Hampshire.

The interesting thing is that the repeater most often heard is GB3SN. It 'pops up' quite readily when I'm around the village here, as we're reasonably high up and far enough away from the Ridgeway which may screen us to the south, slightly.

Looking forward to the weekend, I'll be over in Wales. I've yet to decide exactly what gear to take, but as it's the SSB Field Day and the 144MHz trophy, there's a call for both HF and VHF gear. Should be fun, as I'll be catching up with a friend, Jack, who's as yet, unlicenced, but we'll hopefully give him a little more info this weekend which will help in getting his licence in due course.


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