Category Archives: Amateur radio

G1NOX – SK

I learned yesterday that Mal Guthrie, G1NOX, Dartford, had gone Silent Key. I never met Mal in person but since my return to radio four years ago we had many contacts, and he came across as a very caring and interesting guy. I know he enjoyed dancing (jiving) and liked old cars, but we discussed so many things.

Mal had OFCOM withhold his details and you would not find him on QRZ.com, yet he was a stalwart on 2 metres SSB, calling CQ pretty much every day on 144.30 SSB. He worked us locals, and up and down the country with a decent set-up and was also on 70 cms. I know he enjoyed working serious VHF DX too, though I think he did not keep much of a log as many of us do.

There will be many people throughout most of the UK who will remember Mal, mostly for 2 metres, and he will be much missed, and certainly very much by me. RIP Mal, a really nice chap.

Sporadic E and a tale of the unexpected

MOONRAKER 70MHz Base Vertical Antenna

An exciting couple of days after my previous post about working the Spanish station on 4 metres!

Yesterday things started to happen on 144 MHz and in just over 20 minutes from 1510z I worked IK0FTA, IK0SMG, IK0RMR, and IK0BZY all in JN61, all 59. I did not hear anything else in terms of DX on the band though some other stations did. I felt pretty pleased with this “haul.”

Then, much to my surprise (again) having gone back to 70 MHz for a look just after 1800z I worked 9A2SB (JN95) and 9A1Z (JN86). My 50 watts SSB and small Moonraker vertical are doing well, far better than I hoped. I think I rather like 4 metres. I certainly did not expect this sort of DX on 4 with the antenna I have, but this is terrific! I have worked just four squares and three of them are rather distant, and 9A2SB is nearly 1,500 km away.

One giant leap on 70 MHz

Moonraker vertical antenna SQBM412

As I mentioned last time, I purchased a small vertical antenna for four metres. It is the Moonraker SQBM412. A friend of mine, Mike, G8EFG kindly installed it on my garage roof a couple of weeks ago, and it is only less than four metres above ground, although my QTH is quite decent for VHF.

Activity is lower than I had hoped on 70 MHz and I had managed to find just one station which was an FM contact. Then last Friday, 3rd June I heard a station on SSB calling CQ at about 30 miles distant. He was very weak. I called him but he either did not hear me or he was looking for DX as there seemed a possibility of Sporadic E propagation for better appointed stations than mine.

Then tuning around I heard EA4CZV calling CQ DX and I called him more in hope than expectation. After some persistence on both sides we completed the SSB contact and I have IN80 as a new square and actually only my second one as the other is the guy down the road I worked on FM.

Of course, with a vertical and not a yagi I have little or no antenna gain but maybe the polarisation factor is less critical at this sort of distance, which was 1280 km, not to be sniffed at.

I am therefore very pleased with the antenna and have said so in my review. Maybe I can work some more DX with it on four metres. It is going to be fun trying!

Progress re 70 MHz

I have put my money where my mouth is as they say and have purchased a small vertical antenna for four metres, or 70 MHz if you prefer. I have also acquired a stand to put it on, with a short pole to which to clamp it. I just need some help to put it where I want it, so that is the next step.

Of course, a small vertical is quite modest as opposed to a yagi for 4, but with the Sporadic E season coming up I might work a little DX, especially as polarisation may not be critical over the long paths of Es propagation. I hope I will be on the air in time to find out, with my IC-7100, which is still in the box it came in. I shall see…

I also look forward to working stations in the UK too. I gather activity is not high, but there are apparently pockets of amateurs active in various localities. I certainly want to give 70 MHz a good go and will put on my thinking cap about 50 MHz too.

Explanations

My antennas

It is another fifteen months since my last post here. In all I was away from amateur radio for seven and a half months from November 2020 until mid-June 2021.

My interest has always been VHF, so I missed the first half of the 2020 Sporadic E season and did not catch much of the second half as it took me a while to get going. I did work an EA6 on 2 in June. I had some nice tropo QSO into Sweden on 70 cms in July, OZ on 2 and 70 in September and OK1GTH on 2 in November. All stations worked with SSB. That is about it as there has been little decent tropo over the whole period since June 2021.

Being currently not as able as I used to be, although I hope for some more improvement, I have some projects on the backburner. I would really like to put up a couple of antennas for four metres and maybe six metres (70 and 50 MHz) but need to enlist some help as the Sporadic E season is almost here again.

My absence

I have not posted recently as I have not been on the radio. I was taken very seriously ill last November and have been in hospital up to a couple of days ago, Friday 15th January. I am currently in a care home. I hope to make a full recovery but it will take time. I hope to be back on the radio and G4MCU.net soon.

September 2020 tropo

IC-9700

After a long time with no decent tropo it has been an interesting week with a good opening to Scandinavia and the Baltic. Conditions were first good on 17th September when I worked OZ on 23 cms, but on 2 metres it seemed initially that the good propagation was going over our heads on the East Coast, with the West, Wales and Northern Ireland being favoured into Scandinavia. I cannot complain too much. I did make some good QSOs as the days moved on, the highlights being on 2 metres SM4GGC at 1183 km and on 70 cms SP1MVG who called me when I was just finishing with OZ1BNN. Poland was a new country on 70 cms and obviously a new square.

I run 100 watts on 2 metres and 10 watts on 23 cms with my IC-9700, and 50 watts on 70 cms using my FT991.

Here is a summary of the most pleasing contacts, all SSB:

2 metres
17/09/20OZ1BEFJO46
18/09/20DK4EEJO41
DL2RZJO54
19/09/20GM4YXIIO87
GM0OQVIO85
20/09/20DG8LGJO44
DL0CXJO43
DL5BBFJO42
SM4GGCJO691183 km
OZ1BNNJO55
OZ6OLJO65
21/09/20SM7GVFJO77
OZ8ZYJO54
GM4JOJIO97
SM6VTZJO58
70 cms
17/09/20SM6VTZJO58
OZ9FWJO65
20/09/20DJ8MSJO54
DL4EECJO33
MM0CEZIO75
OZ1BNNJO55
SP1MVGJO74987 kmNew country on 70 cms
21/09/20SM7GVFJO77
OZ4VWJO45
23 cms
15/09/20OZ1FFJO45
20/09/20DB8WKJO33

23 centimetres with the IC-9700

Since February this year I have added 1296 MHz to my repertoire. I have the 10 watts from the 9700 and my old 23 element Tonna which I used back in Billericay thirty plus years ago when I lived with my parents. That was prior to going QRT for those three decades, but the antenna has been perfectly preserved in the garage.

I started by working at a distance of about 150 miles G8JVM in Shropshire having started on 2 metres. Since then I have managed to work a good few in the UKAC monthly Tuesday night contests and in addition PH0V at 307 km which is 192 miles when conditions were quite good. I also have worked since PG3T at 272 km, 170 miles. I added another country with F4HRD, although Jeff is only 70 miles away.

I have also worked PE1EWR at 202 km a couple of times and PE1JPD at 321 km.

There has not been a really good opening such as I remember from the Eighties, but overall, I am pleased with the progress so far.

Activity on 2 metres, calling CQ and QRZ.com

Conditions are often not exciting on 2 metres, but I try to maintain my SSB activity, working who I can hear and calling CQ daily. Often after calling CQ for a long time I get no response but notice frequently that my QRZ look-ups have increased by one or two while I have been calling.

So, I say to those looking me up, “why not call me rather than just checking my profile?”.

Sporadic E on 2 metres at G4MCU so far in 2020

Firstly, the good news. On 25th May I worked LZ1ZP in KN22 during the afternoon. On 29th May I worked IT9YLF in JM68 and 9H1TX in JM75 (worked before in 2019). After a couple of failures with stations I then worked IZ8DSX in JN71.

On 31st May I worked IK8EVE in JN71, whom I also worked in 2019.

The big disappointment was the big opening on 29th May when I heard many stations but did not complete with most. The problem was getting through the pile ups, given that I am in JO01 which is a densely populated square hence lots of stations were hearing and calling the same people as I was.  I heard UT3UX, UT9UR, UR5RQP, 9A2B and 9A2RD. Had I been logging as an SWL I would have been delighted. As it was, I ended up disappointed. Still, not working stuff I wanted is not the end of the world, is it?