Welcome to radio on a hill.
The station of G4TRA is being rebuilt in Rodbourne, Wiltshire, where I have agood take off in most directions. Currently my station consists of an IC746 for 2 and 6m, plus my IC 2820 on 70cms feeding a Diamond V2000 on a chimney at 35'. My trusty FT990 feeds through a Palstar AT 1500CV into what can only be described as a "piece of wet string". Actually it's an indeterminate length of wire at 20' into a cherry tree outside the window, fed against a rudimentary ground. Here is a picture of the current set up and apologise for the mess:
Prior to this for the last 23 years G4TRA was located in Wotton Under Edge, Gloucestershire about 16 miles north of the city centre of Bristol in IO81TP. Wotton is on the very edge of the Cotswold Hills over looking the Severn estuary and home for about 5000 people. Check out http://wotton-under-edge.com/ for more details.
Aged 65, I work as an Industrial Designer in Bristol. Having been introduced into amateur radio in 1960 I spent 21 years as a short wave listener gaining my first B class license (G6BDJ) in 1980. There are some real fun pictures of the early days further down. This is the station of G4TRA in it’s 2010 form. I operated all bands from 160m to 23cms from a tiny plot surrounded by houses on the edge of the town.
HF: Icom IC7800, Yaesu FT1000mp Mk5 and FT990, Icom 746 and Kenwood TS830.
6m: Yaesu FTV1000 200 watts transverter for Mk5
4m: Philips FM1000 plus Pye A200 amplifier
VHF: Kenwood TS790E, TR9000.
UHF: Kenwood TR9500, Icom IC-E2820 D star radio mainly through GB7AD.
ATV: Homebrew transceiver and PA for 23cms ATV mainly through GB3ZZ
Power & PAs
HF and 6m:400 watts: Acom 1000.
2m: 160 watts BNOS
4m: 60 watts PYE A 200
70cms: 100 watts BNOS
23cms: 20 watts Mitsubushi block Home brew.
Choice of Heil Goldline GM4 and GM5 microphones, through W2IHY audio equaliser and noise gate
160m: Quarter wave, end fed, grounded loop antenna, through home brew parallel ATU.
80-10m: 80m half wave dipole fed with 300 ohm feeder through a Palstar AT 1500CV. Tuneable K9AY loop for receive.
6m: 5 Element Tonna
2m: 9 Element Tonna
70cms: 21 Element tonna
23cms: Duplex ATV set up includes Tonna 37 element for transmit and Masthead 28 element for receive. Garrex 23cms receive notch filter.
Racal RA1792 and Eddystone 880/2
The History of G4TRA
Here’s the first picture (above left) that I have of my SWL station, where two Halicrafter receivers dominate the dining table. At over 100 lbs the SX28 in the middle was a heavy beast and to the left the old SX24, a gift from the late G3HSR (VK9NS), was well modified. Even that old HMV broadcast set would be a two man lift in these H&S deluded times. The antenna, a random length of lighting cable snaked across the bedroom ceiling and down to the bottom of the garden and into a small chestnut tree. The tape recorder is an Elizabethan LZ29 which had a phenomenal rewind speed, quite dangerous really. This was a time when Britain ruled the Hi-Fi waves and was just before my love affair with Quad, Shure, SME and Ferrograph.
I think "Journey into Space" might have influenced this bedroom Cape Canaveral look-alike console arrangement shown above on the right. The Geloso front end was a good addition to the SX28 IF making a triple superhet arrangement very sensitive indeed. Note the delightful, mainly two-pin mains distribution system in both pictures and also the home brew Philips 5-10 and 5-20 (in 19" rack) audio amplifiers and five channel mixer. By now I had joined the ISWL (G10124) however, the whole thing was getting a bit out of hand as a scrap BAE 6’ 19” rack was coming soon and it was getting hard to find the bed. Mother was not well pleased!
G6BDJ (Bristol Disc Jockey) arrives through the post and I am QRV 2m SSB with a half wave dipole on the chimney. This was soon replaced by a 9XY mounted on a precariously swaying un-guyed 40’ mast. That box at the top contains a coax relay changing the 9 XY polarisation and the Slim Jim in plastic conduit was rotatable too! The 31 year old Tonna and AR40 rotatorstill sit atop my present mast, a tribute to the quality of CDE and Tonna.
My first HF station wth a new call: G4TRA and a TS830S joins my 2m TR9000. The antenna was a 132' centre fed doublet using tuned 600 ohm feeders carried telephone manner on little posts with insulators around the side of the house. The guyed 16 element at 40’ plus 100 watts put a potent 2m SSB signal out from Winterbourne, Bristol. A Creed 7B clanking teleprinter with home brew modem saw me making a few contacts through the RS6 satellite on RTTY
Activating the rare west coast Irish squares as EI3VED with a 13 element portable 2m Tonna from my Ford Sierra was a great laugh. Ask me about the mountain top peat cutters!
In Marshfield at 600’asl with a 60’ Altron mast VHF’ing doesn’t get much better, until the hurricane of that year bent all the antennas somewhat.
Five years into my move to Wotton and a superbFT990 joins the shack. Odd bits of wire and a collinear get me a feeble signal out from this black hole. It was to be another year before a computer was added for SSTV.
Ft1000mp Mk5 and Acom 1000 amplifier made a loud signal on 80m. This was the night before all the shelves gently pulled their way off the wall and deposited this lot around my ears, necessitating a total shack rebuild. The rest is history as they say.
Interference and Noise
Are you finding it more difficult to operate due to high noise levels? Can you only hear S9 signals? Is it impossible to operate on the lower frequency bands? Switch Mode Power Supplies, Power Line Adapters, Plasma TVs, Games Consols and other electronic equipment poluting the RF spectrum can be dealt with by OFCOM: you are a protected user from these spectrum abusing devices. DO NOT put up with this sort of interference. Many radio amateurs have been forced off the air because they simply did not know their rights.Check out these two website for assistance QRM identification:
In an effort to put back a little into a great hobby I do my bit for the RSGB:
BNOS amplifiers especially 144 MHz 180 watts with pre amp and 70 MHz 100 watt version. Cash waiting.
This is my summer hobby mainly, having been into British sporting classics for many years.
Mark Grinnall in Bewdley from 1983 to 1990 converted 350 clients rusty TR7s into fire breathing luxury TVR beaters. There was a long list of options you could have fitted to your fully stripped, repaired and much modified bodyshell, mostly featuring V8 power and full leather interiors. My Grinnall came out of the ill fated Liverpool Speke Triumph factory in 1979, and after 6 owners was sent to Mark for a make-over in 1990, since then it has covered just 29,000 miles. For a total of £16,200 the car was fitted with a 4.0 litre Rover V8 250 BHP engine, a full suspension refit including 5 stud fittings, coil over shocker, plus Panhard rod, resulting in an increase of 5” width at the rear and 3” to the front. A quick PAS rack makes for go cart like steering. The modifications to the body are not a kit; this is a full galvanised steel rebuild. The interior has been fully fitted out in pale grey leather and finest Wilton carpets. It features electric windows, central locking, and a double duck sun roof. Mark only converted 34 FHC TR7s, but the best was this is just one of two 2+2 he ever made, mind you like many 2+2 conversions the back seats are only good for 3 year olds or Freddie my Jack Russell!
To see what Mark is involved in now check this out: http://www.grinnallcars.com/
The club for this car is the TR Register. www.tr-register.co.uk
Jaguar Mk 2
Here is my 1962 Mk2 Jaguar saloon. It’s a one family owned car and totally originally having covered a total of 31,000 miles. The gunmetal grey was one of the first metallic paints options available in the UK and was called Pearlescent, whilst the interior in red leather features more than 50 separate walnut wood fillets adding to the “gentlemans club” feeling whilst driving this old lady.
The Mark 2 gained a reputation as a capable car among bankers, criminals and law enforcement alike; the 3.8 Litre model being particularly fast with its 220bhp (164kW) engine driving the car from 0-60mph (97 km/h) in 8.5 seconds and to a top speed of 125mph (201 km/h) with enough room for five adults. Popular as getaway cars, they were also employed by the Police to patrol British motorways
The Mark 2 is also well known as the car driven by fictional TV detective Inspector Morse played by John Thaw, although Morse's car was the least desirable version (with its 2.4L engine, steel wheels and everflex roof – just like mine). It was often pushed into scenes with engine noises dubbed onto the soundtrack in post-production. In November 2005, the car used in the television series sold for more than £100,000 following a total ground-up rebuild (prior to this, in its recommissioned state in 2002 after coming out of storage, it had made £53,000 at auction - some £45,000 more than an equivalent without the history).
In the original novels by Colin Dexter, Morse had driven a Lancia but Thaw insisted on his character driving a British car in the television series. John Thaw stated in one interview that the Jaguar was "an absolute beggar to drive ". The club for this car is the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club. http://www.jec.org.uk/
Here’s Caroline, my partner’s car. It’s a late 1981 TR7 made at the Canley factory and now featuring two tone gold bodywork. We have one of the rare Lenham hardtops made for this car as an after market accessory, though it seldom goes on the car. TR7s are probably the most affordable of any British classic offering great fun, low cost wind in the hair motoring. Parts are cheap and easy to source and there is little that any weekend automotive engineer cannot sort on the car, but as always with 1970s cars, watch for the rust.
The club for this car is the TR Register. www.tr-register.co.uk
Finally let's not forget Freddie my socially savy Jack Russell. Just spell the word P.U.B. and he's waiting at the front door ready!
Thanks for looking through this page and I hope you have enjoyed reading a little about myself
73 de G4TRA
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