160m Club Calls

Last night with the able assistance of John M0UKD we attempted an entry in the 160m club calls contest. As the name suggests this is a 160m contest, designed for clubs to have teams of members on air. The exchange is a little strange, RST, Serial, (member, Club HQ or non club) and then 4 letters for your club HAVE (for Havering). The rules and contest exchange are available here for further reading.

As you may recall, Saturday night was heavy rain. The forecast suggested it would be very windy and a little wet, it was in fact very wet and not windy. Our nominated operating position was grass based, and we soon took the view this would be less than desirable. Not only was the car likely to get stuck, but the prospect of getting muddy and wet before even starting!

160m Club Calls

We decided to use plan B, a tarmacked location with access to put up a large doublet. The plan was to use my 18m roach pole and a dipole / doublet  (2 x 40m) fed with 300 Ohm feeder.

After the initial “what the hell are we doing moment”  we decided to brave the rain, and was set up for around 20 mins late (around 8.20). In the process of setting up a local farmer came over to check we wasn’t trying to install a new caravan based settlement close to his home. He was “reassured” to see it was just some blokes with a very large pole. At one stage he asked “haven’t you got anywhere dry to do that” ….. A good question, well presented….”no”.

The next challenge was logging, we opted for SD and the first attempt caused much swearing. The exchange is not standard, and while the program should take this into account… lets just say it caused some stress.

The contest lasted for 3 hrs, and topband was very busy. At times it was hard to find a space to call CQ, and we had quickly worked 30-40 in the first hour. In the end we worked 69, not bad considering we had a very high noise level (s9) and I have no doubt we had people calling that we just couldn’t hear.  Not sure why that was, only one local farm but who knows, even poor farmers have Range Rovers and plasma TV these days…

73 Dave M0TAZ

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Portable with the roach pole on 1.9 and 24 MHz

Today the weather was ideal for some /p over Hornchurch Country Park.

Equipment

85Ah Battery, Icom 7200, 18m Roach Pole, Inductor 340µH.

The roach pole provided 18m (60ft) of antenna, and when coupled with the inductor at 15m provided a match at 1830 kHz. The ATU was used to provide a match at 1910 kHz, the club top band frequency. It makes it all a bit critical having the inductor so high, but the big advantage is that the bottom 15.5 metres has a lot of current in it, leaving only the 2.5 metres above it at a high impedance, making a better radiator. Ground was provided by a chicken wire fence, which I have used many times before with good results.

Dave M0TAZ 18m roach pole

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CQ World Wide 2014

The club took part in this years CQ World Wide contest this year from the Secret Nuclear Bunker. The event was organised mainly by George, M1GEO and Dave M0TAZ. We operated two stations, one on 20m with George’s monoband 3 element Yagi and one on 15m with Dave’s 2 element Quad. We also operated on some other bands with a doublet.

The total stations we worked was 1743. George M1GEO has compiled some very interesting statistics which are well worth a browse. Take a look at them. The full log can be viewed as a 35 page PDF file. Some photos can be seen in the gallery. More will be added as they come in! There is also a QSO Map.

CQWW 2014 - G4HRC

CQWW 2014 – G4HRC

We worked 109 countries in many CQ zones, 33 out of 40 were worked. It was a great event and one I’m sure one we will add to the calendar for 2015!

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“Millimetric Microwaves” by Chris, G0FDZ

Thanks to Chris, G0FDZ for giving a fascinating talk to the club this Wednesday on the microwave bands. Chris is one of the few amateurs in the UK that is operational on the bands up to 241GHz, what he calls the other ‘Top Band’. On display were three of his homebuilt transverters, some of which are dual band capable, covering in total 24GHz, 47GHz, 76GHz, 134GHz and 241GHz. All using an FT-817 as an IF.

Chris, G0FDZ and his microwave equipment.

Chris, G0FDZ and his microwave equipment.

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So you want to work VK and JA on 10w ?

One answer is to to learn a low powered digital mode, CW fits the bill but things have moved on in the last 100 years and computers have provided an even better, more robust form of digital communication.

What am I talking about? No not the internet, but low power digital modes like JT65, JT9, Olivia, PSK to name a few… In this article we was going to concentrate on JT65 and JT9, like many modes its hard to know where to start, what software and what frequency should you listen to.

So what is JT65
Its a low power digital mode invented by Joe Taylor K1JT in his original paper and I quote “It is easy to show, however, that neither the encoding nor the modulation of CW is optimum. When every dB of signal-to-noise ratio counts, as it does in amateur meteor-scatter and EME contacts, there are very good reasons to explore other options. Personal computers equipped with sound cards provide a golden opportunity for experimenting with the wide range of possibilities.”

The JT65 protocol uses 65-tone frequency shift keying with constant-amplitude waveforms and no phase discontinuities. The original mode was optimised for EME QSO, but later versions JT65A, B and C had a more HF focus. The mode used in the programs we will look at is JT65A although its usually described as just JT65.

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Work The World Weekend, 23-24 August 2014

This weekend sees activation of GB0SNB for the Havering & District Amateur Radio Society’s Work the World Weekend.  A chance for club members to operate outside of a contest and to experiment with equipment and to have a less intensive style field day.

Taken just as the sun was setting, the two large antennas can be seen with the club caravan and members vehicles.  The black dot suspended above the caravan is part of the 40 metre dipole configured as an inverted-V.

The antennas

In total, we made just shy of 1000 QSOs during the weekend.  The total was 973.  Not bad going at all, and I think the RSGB Bureau will be busy!  The breakdown goes something like this:

Band SSB CW RTTY PSK Totals
40 metres 120 0 0 0 120
20 metres 138 221 36 39 434
17 metres 72 347 0 0 419
Totals 430
468
36
39
973

It is worth noting here that all of the CW QSOs were made by Fred G3SVK!

During the weekend we managed to work 68 separate DXCC entities, 16 on 40 metres, 47 on on 20 metres, and 41 on 17 metres.

The weekend saw a few firsts for GB0SNB.  First QSO with Anguilla (VP2E), Bahrain (A9), India (VU2), China (BY), Mongolia (JT) and Puerto Rico (KP4) to name a few.

Some more images and further reading can be seen on the GB0SNB.com site.

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