144 MHz UKAC operating report.

Operating report from the Tue evening 144 MHz UKAC. This event runs from 20:00 Hrs to 22:30. Further details can be found on the RSGB VHF pages.

The idea of the event is to promote activity and club participation on the VHF and UHF bands. Anyone who is a member of the club can participate, as your club is affiliated to the RSGB. You dont need to be an RSGB member yourself to take part or enter a log.

Dave M0TAZ at the operating table.

the setup

Tuesday evenings in the summer provide an ideal chance to operate outdoors, taking in the evening sun and enjoying the fresh air. Lets not mention about getting bitten by the bugs ! (stop your not selling this)

Logging by lantern

logging by gas light

With the assistance of John M0UKD and using the Icom 7100, 9e Tonna and 12m Racal push up mast we was set up and ready to go  20 minutes before the start of the contest. Logging was completed using the excellent and free program Minos . The mast was hand rotated, with the operating position close to the mast, it could be rotated mid QSO if needed. Over the course of the next 2.5 Hrs we managed to work 57 stations, best DX being Scotland at 507 KM

The mast and antenna

mast view

The QSO map is shown below.

qso map 144ukac

Dave M0TAZ

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Working VHF portable from the Peak District

John M0UKD and myself decided it would be fun to work a few in the VHF NFD from Mam Tor at 517m ASL. Using John’s FT 897d and 20w battery power and his 6e homebrew PEGTENNA.

The walk is quite short and the “summit” is not a SOTA, its a simple walk up from the National Trust Car park. The walk is well defined up a stone path, most of the way is simply steps to the top of the hill. The views to the South are quite good, but the path is not so good to the North West, North or North east.

We selected it as its a simple walk, and as we only intended to operate for 1 Hr, it would be nice to select a quick activation.

Once on site, at the top of the hill we discovered two things, it was very popular with families, dogs and children and it was also very windy. The hill top was several degrees below that of the car park, and with the wind chill it felt distinctly chilly.

Here is Dave @M0TAZ supporting the antenna.

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We found a location just off the top of the hill to operate, and called CQ

Here is John @M0UKD

ukd op

Best DX for the day was F4HJC/P in JN19 at 579 KM.

We worked a total of 24 stations is 60 minutes.

A map of the QSO’s can be seen below.

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Working Portable with the Homebrew 4e 21 MHz Beam

GB2NWA – North Weald Airfield

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Members of the HRC and LEFARS ARC operated portable from North Weald Airfield. Using a homebrew 4e 21 MHz beam we managed to work 120 station in 35 countries despite variable band conditions. The setup included a 10m pump up tower and Icom 7700 and a HAL 1200 solid state amp.

GB2NWA

gb2nwa

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Icom 7100 and WSPR 2.12

I was looking on-line for resources on how to configure the Icom 7100 for use with WSPR  v2.12. The WSPR software can be downloaded free from K1JT website and runs under most version of Windows. I currently use Windows 8.1.

The problem is the Icom 7100 is not currently supported for CAT, and I was trying to get online with WSPR on 70 MHz in time for the sporadic E season.

I read online that various people had some success, but I was unable to find all of the setting on one page. After trying various options I can confirm its now working, so to assist others here is the configuration that worked for me, and I hope for you.

WSPR 2.12 Set up, firstly looking in the station parameters, set the following. You will need to select your correct COM port, and ensure CAT is ticked. Set the radio to Icom 7100 and data rate to 19200, data bits to 8, stop bits to 1. I setup the handshake to be “hardware”

Station setupI also needed to make some changed to the radio, under SET, Connection, CIV I changed the radio address to CI-V to 70h, and checked the CI-V baud rate was 19200.

Icom setup

 

Using these setting I was able to connect to the radio, and PTT via CAT. This enabled me to run WSPR on 70 MHz. Good luck, hopefully this is helpful if you are trying to connect this fine radio to WSPR and hope to see you on the bands soon. 73 Dave M0TAZ.

 

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21 MHz 4e Beam Part #3

Members of the Havering ARC took part in the LEFARS radio event over the bank holiday weekend 23/24/25 May provided the ideal opportunity to test the beam. George M1GEO and Chris G8OCV provided the 12m SCAM mast and so the fun began. The club operated from a farm site in Harlow, giving us enough space to test event the most ambitious projects. As described in parts #1 and #2 the antenna has a 5 meter boom, and although it isn’t too heavy it still provides a challenge lifting this onto the mast.

On the tower

 

Once again a quick VSWR check using the MFJ antenna analyser suggested it was ready to go, and so the next phase was to pump up the mast. The Scam provides 12m (45ft) of elevation, and provides a suitably robust (heavy) construction that makes it a firm favourite for our HF field days.

Its up

The station was a Kenwood TS990 and Explorer 1200 Amplifier. Here is a picture of George M1GEO working a pile up.

George M1GEO

Over the course of the next 3 days we were able to test the antenna, band conditions seems reasonable on the day and improved early evening on most days. We found the directivity to be good, and pointing towards Japan in the early evening provided a pile up of JA’s calling us.

Some highlights VU3DMP Chetz from India

Some really nice calls from Japan as well including JJ1LWA Hal near Tokyo using 200w and 3E beam

We also found conditions very good into the USA late evening and working West coast with signals 59+ was quite a surprise. It was also nice to see the GB2LRS station generating some interest on the HF band, with one USA station suggesting the phonetics should be GB2 Loud Radio Station !

The USA and JA pile ups were quite a surprise, listen to one here and see what you can pull out.

The the weekend finally coming to an end on Monday we had worked 600 stations in 58 countries, the highlights being A9 Bahrain, C6 Bahamas, BY China, VU India, HI Dominican Republic, EP Iran, P2 Papua New Guinea, KL Alaska, XE Mexico, and YB Indonesia. The top two countries in the log were 376 Q into USA and 71 into Japan.

You can view the log and statistics on line.

I think given the quantity and quality of stations worked this weekend I can now declare the 4E mono band for 21 MHz a success. Thanks to everyone who worked us and made the weekend possible.

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Homebrew 21 MHz Beam Part #2

Now the exciting phase, nearing the end and a moment to complete the final stages.

Construction of the matching phase, and mounting the driven element.  The antenna feed point is 28Ω, and the method of feeding the antenna is described on DK7ZM site. Once constructed from 2 lengths of 75Ω and formed into a choke this could be mounted.

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The driven element was separated with a solid plastic tube, this extended 250 mm into each side of the element. The bolts and wing nuts would provide the ideal termination point for the coax.

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The next phase was getting the aerial into the air, and checking the VSWR. The design suggested it was quite broadband, and as you can see it was 52Ω @ 21.030 MHz. A little lower than planned, but it was 1:3 at 21.250 MHz and so well within design.

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The band seemed quite lively, and we could hear a special event Indian station working a huge pile up of EU and NA. Despite calling a few times we wasnt able to make that, but a little further down the band we did hear VK and a Taiwanese (well he was from Leeds) working a few.

After finding a frequency and calling CQ we was able to work WA7M Gavin in Arizona USA.

More tests to follow soon …

73 Dave M0TAZ

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