Retired science teacher, I served in the Royal Air Force 1954-56, which was where I first developed an interest in wireless communication. I bought a government surplus T19 radio(ex-battle-tank), using it to swl for a while. When visiting Austria to meet the parents of my first wife, one of her family's friends, I discovered, was a licensed ham, Armin, OE9AHI. He provided the spark. (no pun intended).
To gain a licence in the UK required studying and passing a City and Guilds written exam. No multiple choice questions in those days, just pages and pages of written answers, probably ten sides of A4. A few weeks later I was given G8DWC.
.First station in 1970 was on the 144MHz band as my first callsign, G8DWC, limited me to vhf frequencies. The tx was home built around a 6146b tetrode with amplitude modulation from a valve amplifier and frequency control by a crystal oscillator. Receive was via a FET converter by G3HBW into the 10 metre band of a Trio all bands receiver, this being the only piece of commercial equipment.With this setup I managed an RSGB vhf award of 15 UK counties and 5 countries.
30 watt 2 metre tx built in1970, modulated for AM by a pair of EL84's in push-pull
Being crystal controlled, split frequencies were de riguer, and one had to tune the whole band of 144-146 Mhz to find the station that might be answering your CQ. Then Bill Lowe started to import the Liner 2, a little crystal controlled ssb transistorised rig, which became ubiquitous and made portable operation possible. This was put to good use on the heights of Dunstable Downs and the country and counties list improved. The yl did not object to log-keeping from the back seat of the vehicle even when other couples parked nearby were engaged in more mundane pursuits than the thrill of radio contesting. She has now been the xyl for thirty four years and has given me the nickname "Aerial Man". Along came Yaesu with the FT290r and portable vhf became much easier.
Passing the Morse test and gaining the A licence as G0AQT, an HF rig was needed and a Yaesu FT707 and straight key were put into service into a series of wire dipoles, YV5EUX, Luciano, in Caracas being the first entry in the log with the new call.
Digimodes came onto the scene thanks to Peter Martinez, G3PLX, and a BBC-B computer was put into service, with the main modes being Amtor and RTTY. One memorable contact using FEC was with a ship's "Sparks" as his vessel was off the coast of New Zealand.
Nowadays it is mainly BPSK31 and CW from a Kenwood ts870s into a doublet for theLF bands and a Cushcraft R5 1/2 wave wertical for HF, helped by two SEM Tranzmatch tuners of great age. Two metres activity, what little of it there seems to be, is with a Kenwood tr751e and Microset sr100 ampinto an LFA yagi on a chimney mast.
The house is Victorian in period (1892), three stories high and situated 1 mile from the sea , 200 ft. above sea level, with a clear takeoff to the English Channel.
The photos show the Cushcraft R5 halfwave vertical but this is now relaced with a Cushcraft R6000, the ex-windsurfing mast on the gable of the house, supporting the inverted-vee doublet (160 ft. long, fed with 300 ohm slotted feeder and tuned with an ancient SEM Tranzmatch atu. It helps that the roadway outside is "unadopted" and so one leg of the dipole can go above it and into a pine tree. The 2 metre LFA yagi mounted on a Yaesu rotor on the chimney.
Where did the last 41 years go?
6397628 Last modified: 2015-07-16 00:33:34, 3938 bytes
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