Tag Archives: propagation

RSGB Convention 2019

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Bletchley Park – a taster

The weekend before last I attended the Convention held 11th to 13th October. It was my first, having been away from amateur radio for more than thirty years until my serious return in February 2018.

On Friday 11th I took the time during the day to visit Bletchley Park, which should perhaps be the subject for another post.

The Convention started with a welcome dinner, self-service, on the evening of 11th, sponsored by Martin Lynch. There was a choice but I had the “Indian”, which was fine.

The following morning the lectures began, and most I attended were in the VHF stream, starting with an interesting talk by Simon Watts, G3XXH, about Airborne Maritime Reconnaissance Radars for the RAF, 1946 to 2010. I slipped out for the HF propagation talk by Gwyn Williams, G4FKH before returning to VHF for the report on the IC9700 by Sam Jewell, G4DDK. I was most interested as I have just bought one. In the end I was not sure whether he thought the rig was a super DX machine for VHF. I will have to make up my own mind in due course.

After lunch on the Saturday I attended the talk by Chris Deacon, G4IFX on polarisation of 50 MHz signals via Sporadic E, the one by Marcus Walden G0IJZ about tropo ducts, and later the presentation by Richard Banester, G4CDN concerning 2m ionoscatter. Fascinating stuff.

In the evening there was a formal dinner which was good, but I did not stay for the after-dinner address as I was very tired.

After breakfast on Sunday, probably the best meal of the day, we heard from Noel Matthews, G8GTZ, about EME from the 32m dish at Goonhilly, which was very entertaining, and then from Chris Whitmarsh, G0FDZ about working 122 GHz and up. Something for the really clever guys! Neil Smith G4DBN then spoke about decoding with MGM (if I can hear it, why won’t it decode?) and after lunch he also spoke about getting started with MGM, substituting for M1BXF who was unwell. I hope he is better now.

That was the end of my Convention, which I enjoyed, and which was good value for money, I thought. In between the lectures I had time to visit the various stands. Martin Lynch as sponsors had a long bench, and Icom, Yaesu and Kenwood were also represented. There was a substantial RSGB bookstall where I bought my book on the IC9700 (very useful), and in another room various organisations were represented, such as RAIBC, CDXC, and the UK Microwave Group.

I am looking forward to next year. It was a very rainy weekend, but we did not have to brave the weather as all walkways between the buildings were covered. The accommodation was adequate although I did have a couple of issues with my room, but that is a minor complaint. All-in-all, time well spent.

2 metre tropo on 14th and 15th September

20190916_215503We had an interesting opening over the evening of 14th and the following morning. It started with a couple of very strong French stations in JN18. I then found the following all worked on SSB on 14th:

DL2GWZ/P   JN49

OE5XBL   JN68, 700m asl, 988 km

DF6MH/P  JN57 2400m asl, 902km

DJ6AG   JO51

On the morning of 15th when there was a contest in Central Europe:

OM3RM   JN88  1263 km!

OE3REC   JN77  1147 km

OK1DOL   JN69   906 km

F5LEN/P   JN38

OE/OK5SE/P   JN77  1137 km

OK1KKI   JN79   1059 km

Plus, some more local Continentals.

My return to 2 metres SSB after 30 years absence was only in February 2018, so OE, OK and OM are new countries on the band for me from this QTH. The Slovak Republic was a particular surprise, being so strong and my thinking he was Belgian until he gave his locator. It was early and I was still half asleep; at least that is my excuse.

The above was my first DX foray with my FT991 running 50 watts rather than the 25 watts from my old FT290R and small amplifier, but I am not mothballing the old radio and will keep it ready to go.

Late June tropo

IMG_1245Having missed out on all the Sporadic E on 2 metres save IK8EVE (JN71) on 1st June it was good to be treated to some decent tropo. Starting on the evening of 27th June, on 2 metres I worked with my 25 watts all on SSB:

DF2WF   JO30

DM8MM JO31

DF0WD  JO42

DJ6AG  JO51

DK5DQ  JO31

On 28th June in the evening on 2 metres:

SK7MW  JO65

SM7XWX  JO65

OZ6TY  JO55

OZ1BEF JO46

DL3TW  JO44

DL2RZ  JO54

On 29th June in the morning earlyish

DK3EE   JO41

SM7YES  JO67 and incredibly strong signal.

On 29th June, SK6VHF (JO57) on 144.404 MHz was audible until about midday but faded as pressure fell so that when we were down to 1012 millibars at 1700 I knew the event was over.

I did try my luck on 70 cms with my one watt, and worked on 28th June:

SM6CEN  JO67

OZ9FW   JO65

So, a little bit of fun finding and working a little way away. I seem to have some advantage with sea paths, being near to the Thames and Crouch estuaries, and reaching mainly stations near the coast in Scandinavia.

More October tropo

This was a week or so back, so I am reporting somewhat belatedly.

Starting on 24th October There was some enhanced propagation. In the afternoon on 2 metres I worked EI9KP in IO54, in Sligo, for a rare square. In the evening I worked:

F6DBI    IN88

F6FGQ  IN78

F9OE      IN78

And on 25th:

GJ7LJJ/P IN89

F6GPT   IN94

F4EZJ     JN05

And I heard EA2TZ who did not stay on frequency to work calling G stations.

I also worked on 24th with one watt on 70 centimetres F6FGQ immediately before the contact on 2 metres.

A limited opening but a nice one.