I was licensed in May 1965 and for several years, while I was still at school and Uni and had no money, 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 hear me under normal conditions. Before I realised it, the bug had bitten massively.
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 but, sadly, none is into Amateur Radio. In the last three years we have been blessed with three wonderful grandchildren, all boys. Given time there may yet be another Ham in the family ... who knows?
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 suburban 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 QRP 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 thru 6m station is an FTDX5000MP. I mostly use it barefoot but I do have a Ranger 811H amplifier for those occasions when the extra 3db are needed. The antenna for 160 thru 40 is based on a pair of verticals 140ft apart (at opposite ends of the plot) with their tops connected together to form 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 and in 2011 I added a 20ft circumference magnetic receiving loop (built to the ARRL Handbook design) which has helped significantly on 160m. That, and the wonderful digital signal processing in the '5000, has given this QTH a new lease of life on the LF bands. 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 about 30ft. For 6m the antenna is a 5-ele Tonna on the stubmast above the tribander.
The 2m rig is an FT817ND, which also serves as the HF QRP station on the days when I feel like beating myself up, with a Microwave Modules MML144/100S amplifier, giving 50W. The antenna is a 9-element yagi on the stubmast under the HF tribander.
Each of the rotaries is fed with 130ft of LDF4-50 from the shack to the tower, followed by 30ft of UR67 to the antenna, to enable raising, lowering and luffing the tower. (I have since learned how to spiral semi-rigid feeder around the tower - an improvement I may put in if I need to replace any of the hardline cables).
I don't routinely send or collect QSLs.
HOWEVER, if you REALLY need my card, send me yours direct to the above address and I guarantee I will reply. Do NOT include Green Stamps or IRCs - I do not want them!
6977822 Last modified: 2016-01-03 14:19:23, 3751 bytes
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