Updated on 11/01/16
Please note that I use 100% Paper Log, so if we have previously worked, it may take me a while to find the details!
The above picture is of myself, on the summit of G/WB-012 High Vinnals operating 2m SSB. Summits on the Air is a big part of the hobby for me the target was to get to 1000 activator points and gain the Mountain Goat award. I am pleased to say that on the 26th of September 2015, I reached my target, having done all 1000 points solely on VHF and UHF (6m, 4m, 2m, 70cm and 23cm). The photo shows me with the bottle of Ludlow Gold that I drank to celebrate the Mountain Goat award!!
G/WB-012 High Vinnals was chosen as this is the hill where SOTA started for me in February 2010. Plus it is only 3 miles from my home QTH, so is my most local summit.
From home I am mainly active on 2m/70cm FM/SSB/DV, 4m SSB and FM, 6m SSB and HF Digimodes/SSB. As of December 2015, I installed a Raspberry Pi 2 which has been configured to run my DV4Mini hotspot and is connected to my router at home (see photo below). This transmits at 0.4 milliwatts around my house on a small handheld antenna and allows me to access all the DSTAR, Yaesu Fusion and DMR refelctors across the world with my various handhelds.
I am lucky enough to be able to access several VHF/UHF Digital repeaters from home. The main ones I use are GB7VO in Leominster for DSTAR, GB3VM in Woofferton for Yaesu Fusion, GB3VN in Ludlow for Yaesu Fusion and GB7GT in Ludlow for DMR.
I like Digital voice as it offers me very clear audio signals with QSOs that can take place locally, across the U.K or all over the world.
Also in December 2015, I managed to get myself active on APRS, I use the Icom 2820 in the shack and am lucky enough to have one installed in the car. So when connected to a DSTAR repeater, I use DPRS to transmit my position. I have also tried this on FM with the Yaesu FT-1D and had good results, I plan to utilise this handheld when out on SOTA. This will allow my chasers to track my postion before I reach the summit (provided I am in range of a digipeater).
As you can see the antennas at home are on a 8 metre Aluminum pole, on top is a Yaesu 450c Rotator that supports a 4 ele 4m OWL Innovantenna horizontal yagi, a dual band 6/10ele 2m/70cm horizontal DK7ZB yagi and finally a dual band 4/5ele 2m/70cm vertical DK7ZB yagi. VHF and UHF is my main interest in the hobby, I like the harder DX challenge it offers.
There is also the TV antenna on a seperate pole, this was changed in June 2015 to try and receive the newer Freeview channels, unfortuantely I recieved no additional TV channels, but it needed changing as the old one was 30 years old and well and truly past it. However I thought that as the pole was there I should get a small colinear up! This is a Sharman's X30N connected to the Yaesu FT-1D in the shack. It allows me to easily monitor the 4 most local repeaters to me in both FM and C4FM Yaesu Fusion - One project for the future might be to get a triband colinear up for 2/70/23 as then at least I have something up for 23cm.
I do dabble on HF, PSK 31 is the main mode with SSB a close second. The primary antenna is an inverted V doublet which will tune between 60m - 10m (you'll see it pictured a few photos below), its centre is at 6 metres AGL one end goes to the front of the property and is insulated on the PVC guttering at the front of the house, the other goes to a garden fence, this is fed with 300 ohm ladder feeder from an SEM Tranz Match ATU. This normally is tuned on 40m most of the time.
The secondary antenna is another doublet, it is only 10m in length, so will tune between 20m-10m. Like the inverted main doublet this is fed with 300 ohm ladder feed, but unlike the inverted V, the ends are 5m above ground. So in theory should be better for longer distance contacts. This antenna is normally always tuned to 20m on 14.070 MHz, for the PSK 31 centre of activity.
I have a garden measuring 8m x 8m so fitting in anything of decent size is hard, however this arrangement seems the best compromise. My biggest issue, like most urban based amateurs, is coping with the high QRM we now experience. At best my level of noise is S7 and at worse it is S9, this compounding factor is what makes me prefer the VHF and UHF bands.
On the secondary brackets there is a 3 ele 6m OWL Innovantennas Yagi. As you can (below) see I have managed to get it to about 5.5 metres above the ground and I'm using a cheap television antenna rotator. This was originally erected just for the Summer E Season, however I'm going to try and keep it up over the winter. The plan is to improve the Coax from RG-223 to RG-214. Above the 6m antenna is a Sirio GPA 40-70 MHz 1/4 wave ground plane antenna, this is resonant on 4m, allowing me on to FM for local QSOs.
The image below shows the layout of all the antennas at present
VHF and UHF is my main interest, DXing is great fun. Below are maps showing the squares I have worked from IO82 Square on 2m (red) using SSB, FM and Meteor Scatter and 70cm (green) using SSB and FM.
I am a member of the Travelling Wave Contest Group, I represent the group in the VHF and UHF UKAC competitions, we have had great results over the past few years, however the highlights have been;
On a personal level in 2013 I was the winner of the 70MHz UKAC AL section (4 watts or lower category).
I am a member of the Hereford Amateur Radio Society (HARS) mainly focusing on Foundation level training for the group, competeing for the Club in the 80m RSGB Club Championships, as well as encouraging activity on VHF and UHF.
Finally repeater keeper for GB7VO - Herefordshire's first ever Digital D-STAR Repeater.
Many 73 and hope to meet you on the air soon.
7021114 Last modified: 2016-01-20 10:52:08, 7781 bytes
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