My name is 'Philip', I live in the historical old town of Penrith, in the County of Cumbria (Maidenhead locator IO84OQ) on the edge of the 'Lake District National Park', in NW England, from where the majority of my amateur radio activity takes place.
I have been a SWL since 1983 and a Radio Amateur since 1985, using HF/VHF/UHF radios professionally before and since then.
I am now semi retired and since 2011 have been employed by a US Space & Defence organisation, having previously served within the UK Ministry of Defence.
My work can take me anywhere in the World, but you are most likely to hear me using one the following callsigns:
EA6/G0ISW- Majorca island
5B4/G0ISW - Cyprus
W4/G0ISW - USA
I always send QSL confirmation of QSOs immediately for JT65/JT9/JT6M contacts via eQSL, LOTW and send my printed cards too, via the RSGB QSL bureau approximately every 3 months i.e soon after 1st January, 1st April, 1st July and 1st October each year.
My favourite amateur radio activity is VHF Meteor Scatter using WSJT software and during meteor showers I will usually be found on 50.230 MHz JT6M mode and on the ON4KST chat pages.
I am also currently chasing the US ARRL Worked All States (WAS) award on HF and still need confirmed contacts with stations in the following States:
Not worked: AR, ID, NV, ND
Awating confirmation: OR
Since moving house in 2009, still within Penrith, to a designated historical and architectural 'Conservation area' with no visible outdoor antennas permitted, I have to adopt a 'stealth' approach to HF and VHF Amateur Radio and use an ex-Army camouflaged 280' long HF tactical dipole at only 2m AGL, hidden on top of my wooden boundary fence and running through my garden trees and bushes.
Despite this and always using low power I manage to easily work other stations from around the World and enjoy using Data modes best. I am currently spending most time with JT65 & JT9 data modes on HF chasing both rare DXCC and US States for the WAS award.
My 2013 QSL card design above, shows 'Ullswater lake' which I can see from my house, the town centre of Penrith where I live and my main radio a Kenwood TS-2000 HF/VHF/UHF transceiver.
There are lots of mountains and lakes here, the area is very rural with a low population and few Radio Amateurs. It is classed as 'an area of outstanding natural beauty' and has had protected 'National Park' status since 1951, making it a popular tourism destination.
I am an HM Armed Forces (Army) 'Veteran' and retired from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 2011. I have a Royal Signals Amateur Radio Society (RSARS) associate membership number 2384.
My interests are not just Amateur Radio, but also include WW2/Cold War military history and collecting related memorabilia. Currently seeking items connected with submarines, aircraft or espionage, with my latest addition being an Soviet (CCCP) Navy Submarine Clock restored and in use as my main amateur radio shack clock.
My main interest since becoming a Radio Amateur in 1985 remains experimenting with VHF propagation, collecting Maidenhead Grid Squares and trying new data modes. My primary radio is a Kenwood TS-2000. My favourite VHF propagation modes are Sporadic-E, Meteor Scatter and Aircraft Scatter.
I was first licenced as a Radio Amateur in 1985 with the Class B VHF only callsign G1MOG then after passing the 12 wpm morse code test in 1987 I gained my Full Class A licence and chose the callsign G0ISW.
I spent my first 20 years actively chasing VHF/UHF long distance DX and have been mentioned many times in both RadCom & Practical Wireless magazines for my VHF/UHF achievements.
I have chased DX on the50/70/144/432 MHz bands.
My best DX distances on 50 MHz were to Ecquador (F2 9265 km), Jordan (ES 3930 km) and Hungary (MS 1712 km)
My best DX distances on 144 MHzwere to North Africa (ES 2154 km) and Estonia (MS 1790 km)
My best DX distance on 432 MHz was to Switzerland (TRD 733 km)
My favourite VHF propagation mode remains Meteor Scatter (MS) using WSJT software.
My QTH in Penrith is on the side of Beacon Hill (formerly known as Penrith Fell) at an altitide of 160m ASL. I have an excellent radio 'takeoff' to the South East, but behind my house to the North I am obstructed by close high ground as you can see in the Radio horizon image below.
Further away from me I have much higher mountains up to 939m ASL, however they are far enough away that they do not obstruct my signals too badly, the exception being Tropo Ducting propagation which they severely curtail.
Despite these difficult VHF radio conditions and a modest Amateur Radio station I have managed to work the following numbers of Maidenhead locator squares and DXCC (in brackets) via Terrestrial only contacts on the VHF/UHF bands.
50 MHz - 269 (61)
70 MHz - 7 (5)
144 MHz - 108 (32)
432 MHz - 22 (10)
I don't have a current 70 MHz (4m) capability and am considering an Icom-7100 to supplement my home station.
I am also waiting to see if the Kenwood TS-2000 will be replaced by a new model.
From May to August I will be found chasing VHF DX locator squares/Countries via Sporadic E on the 50 MHz or 144 MHz band. On 50 MHz I often listen on
50.230 MHz - JT6M
50.276 MHz - JT65A
50.278 MHz - JT9-1
using WSJT, JT-Alert and WSJT-X software.
I have had good results in June/July 2013 working across Europe. My antennas were Watson HALO loops until 25th July 2013 and are now PAR Electronics OA-50 and OA-144 loop antennas.
I was eager to see how my new antennas would perform with Meteor Scatter on 50 MHz and was pleasantly surprised to find they work remarkably well with DX contacts made with Portugal, Spain, Germany, Scotland, Guernsey, Sardinia and Sweden so far.
During the August Perseids 2013 meteor shower there was a large amount of stations on air and in particular one I wanted to catch was EI9E/P in IO55VD square, but only 350km away from me so meteor reflections were few and very brief although I heard the station many times on 50.217 MHz using JT6M mode.
I noticed other reflections that were between 15-30+ seconds duration without the 'pings' associated with meteors and with a fairly consistent signal level, it took me a while to figure out the propagation mechanism and then using AirScout software by DL2ALF I discovered these were Aircraft Scatter (ACS) signals. I eventually worked EI9E/P via this method, screenshot below.
Most days between September to April I can be found operating on HF primarily using data modes.
5.368 MHz - Olivia 16/500
14.076 MHz - JT65A
14.078 MHz - JT9-1
or any other HF band 80-10m where JT65/JT9 are in use.
Due to living within a Conservation area in Penrith I must hide my external radio aerials, so for HF I use a British Army tactical dipole at only 2m AGL camouflaged and hidden in the garden either on top of my wooden fence or in the trees/bushes!
Despite this I have worked around the World and find data modes fun.
Below my new shack from 2009 to now, compared with my old shack.
I still operate quite often on VHF when mobile (G0ISW/M) in the UK using a Yaesu FT-857D and ATAS 120-A aerial, sometimes HF too, from my own vehicle.
I use145 MHzVHF FM from home with AX-25/APRS packet satellites or the International space Station (ISS).
Sometimes you may here me elsewhere, when I operateHF/50MHz portable in the UK, or abroad, using an Elecraft KX-3, Miracle Whip and military tactical HF dipole.
I continue to maintain an extensive website dedicated to HF/VHF DX with hundreds of useful links at http://www.qsl.net/g0isw/
I prefer to receive traditional paper QSL cards via the RSGB bureau, particularly needed for all my VHF contacts please.
I will send out QSL cards via the RSGB bureau and also use electronic QSL confirmation via eQSL.cc / LOTW too.
Last modified: 2014-02-19 15:32:06, 16127 bytes
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