G4TRA was located in Wotton Under Edge, Gloucestershire about 16 miles north of the city centre of Bristol in IO81TP for 23 years. 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.
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:
3548 Last modified: 2013-12-23 20:09:45, 20965 bytes
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