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I was licensed in May 1965 and for several impecunious years while still at school or Uni I made do with converted military surplus or homebrew QRP equipment on 160m, 80m, 40m and 4m, CW or AM.

I am now active mostly in CW HF contests, although the poor conditions of the last few years have led me to experiment with the WARC bands, and also to make a foray onto VHF and UHF, as a result of which I now know where to find a microphone!

I initially became attracted to contesting because I found I could make QSOs with stations who didn't seem to be able to hear me under normal conditions. Before I realised it, the bug had bitten massively. I first joined the RSGB Contests Committee during the chairmanship of John Graham, G3TR, and have served, on and off, (more on than off!) ever since - well over 30 years. I am now honoured to hold the office of Secretary.

I courted and married my XYL Shelley in a whirlwind romance in the autumn of 1974. It is testimony to her patience and tolerance that we are still together. She is a remarkable lady and turns out to support our Radio Club on Field Days, when she takes charge of catering. We have some wonderful kids, two of whom are still KIPPERs (Kids In Parents' Pockets Eroding Resources) but, sadly, none is into Amateur Radio.

We have been at the present QTH since 1977. It is very low (about 60ft asl) and tucked in under the 300ft Crystal Palace Hill in South London, so DX to the Pacific, Asia and ZL is not easy. In compensation, the path to W/VE/SA is superb considering the level of building. I have also been surprised at what can be achieved from here on VHF with tropo QSOs to EA, southern F and HB9 on 2m. I did experiment with 70cm with best DX being GD and GM, but really that's a step too far from this QTH.  In August 2012 I replaced the 70cm antenna with one for 50MHz and am now learning about six metres.

The HF station is an FT1000MP with a Ranger 811H amplifier. The antenna for 160 thru 40 is based on a pair of verticals 140ft apart with their tops connected together to form (effectively) half a large vertical loop, the remaining half of the loop being provided by the image in the earth. It is fed against ground at the end furthest from the house with a home-made remote-controlled ATU. Over the last ten years the level of LF noise here has increased unbelievably. In 2011 I added a 20ft circumference magnetic receiving loop (built to the ARRL Handbook design) which has helped significantly on 160m. For the HF contest bands I have a 5-ele tribander on a telescopic tower at 44ft agl. For the WARC bands I use a home-made trap dipole up 40ft.

The VHF station is an FT817, giving a maximum output power of 5W. On 2m I add a Microwave Modules MML144/100S amplifier, giving 50W, and on 50MHz a VLA-150 amplifier which gives about 80W. Antennas are a 9-element yagi for 2m and a 5-element for 50MHz, both on the stubmast above the HF tribander. This necessitates over 100ft of LDF4-50 feeder on each band, just to get from the shack to the tower, with a further 30ft of UR67 to connect to the antenna and allow for cranking down the tower in bad weather.  Add in the LDF4-50 to feed the HF Tribander and I reckon the feeders are worth more than the tower !!!

I don't collect QSLs. I don't routinely send QSLs, even through the bureau, because most of my QSOs are not worthy of a card.

HOWEVER, if you REALLY need my card, send me yours direct and I guarantee I will reply. Do NOT include Green Stamps or IRCs ... no-one should pay for a QSL !!

Vy 73

Steve

229676 Last modified: 2012-09-23 22:43:33, 3685 bytes

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