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GM4FVM Scotland flag Scotland

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The photo above shows GM4FVM during the International Geophysical Year from July 1957 to December 1958.

Since 2007, GM4FVM has been located at IO85wu in South East Scotland in Ayton village which has about 600 inhabitants. Ayton is 60 km South East of Edinburgh, near the border with some other DXCC, and situated along the main A1 road and east coast railway linking Scotland with another part of Europe.

For meteor scatter skeds please email using the address above - log in and scroll over the address space above.

eQSL preferred. Direct and buro works, but I really like eQSL. I use a paper log, so I do not use electronic logbooks.

The best way to get my QSL is to send me one first. Erm, that is pretty well the only way to get my card.

First licensed as G8JWG in 1975, I have also used the callsigns G4FVM and EI2VPB.

I have started a radio blog at http://gm4fvm.blogspot.co.uk/ which I might try to update from time to time!

Generally I work the bands 12, 10, 6, 4, and 2 metres. Sometimes I turn up on other HF bands. I use SSB, FM and data modes (PSK, JT65, JT9, JT6M, WSPR, FSK441) mostly, plus some slow CW. I use WSJT-X. and HRD

Provided that you have something polite to say, you may email me at the address above (you have to log in and put your mouse over the address to see it).

Antennas are:-

Vertical == Sirio Gainmaster 5/8th wave vertical dipole on 10m (also used on 12m), Sandpiper 1/2 wave (6m), Sirio J-pole (4m), and dipole (2m),

Horizontal == G4MH mini beam, 2 element 6m HB9CV, 6 ele 4m yagi, 10 ele yagi on 2m.

I often work QRP with an FT817 or a Flex 1500, from 5 watts down to 1mW.

The general operating situation is always changing as I juggle the rigs around, but just now it is this -

--- on HF I use a Yaesu FT-817,

--- on 6m I use an Icom IC-7100,

--- on 4m I use a Flex 1500 and an M+E ME4T-Pro transverter: and,

--- on 2m I use the Icom IC 7100

There are various linear amplifiers by RM (HF), TE Systems (4m), and Microset (2m). Despite this I like to use low power down to 1mW if I can. For meteor scatter I have to use more power, but I generally believe is using as little as I can.

EPC # 17049

Computer for digital modes is home brew 4-core AMD Win 7 job. My Icom and Flex rigs do not need interfaces for digital modes. I use ZLP interfaces with the FT-817 (ZLP interfaces are great value on eBay), or homebrew interfaces if I am portable overseas.

Other interests include railways, technology, science, The Sky at Night, propagation, and generally "what makes things work". Sport (on radio or TV these days) cricket, cycling (Vuelta, Giro, Le Tour etc). NO FOOTBALL.

My interest in radio started around 1965 with Philips and Sinclair Radionics kits. From these I build simple oscillators, then crystal sets, and eventually regenerative, TRF receivers. Finally I moved on to building superhet receivers.

Before I was licensed I was a Short Wave Listener (BRS35412). At home I had various radios and eventually a Trio JR-599 which covered HF and 2 metres. At The City University London the radio club (G3UCU I think) had an RCA AR88 and a Withers TW 2 metre converter. I remember sitting in the radio club shack with the dim lights of the AR88 and the converter valves creating an eerie glow late at night. Being 15 floors up was tough when it came to moving the AR88, but it was handy for very tall verticals slung over the side of the City University halls of residence.

When I was first licensed as G8JWG for VHF only, I got my first transmitter in London - an EMSAC TX2. This was a crystal controlled all valve transmitter which produced about 7 watts of AM, or AM with some FM component. In those days people in G-land just got a crystal and transmitted on that frequency, and then tuned the band to find anyone calling them. So that was what I did. As someone said, "a sort of duplex". I still used the Trio JR-599 receiver. The Trio JR-599 was the best receiver I ever owned and a joy to operate.

When I moved to GI the "bandplan" was that everybody used 145.8 AM. This was before repeaters. Later I bought a 2m SSB rig, a Trio TR-7010. This produced 8 watts and I used it mobile. At the time there was a lot of mobile activity on 2m SSB. When I got my full licence I bought a Yaesu FT-101E, plus a 2m transverter. I used data modes from the start, and I produced RTTY using a full sized Creed TTY teleprinter, plus terminal unit. Those were the days. Some people still love FM and RTTY (but I don't love them any more).

When I passed my morse test in 1976 I was able to use 4m (we did not have 6m then) and I used a Pye Cambridge in my car. I remember driving around listening to broadcast stations from Poland on 70.260. Now I have worked an amateur station in Poland on that frequency.

I am posting on the right a photo of me taken in 1978. It is from a security pass which was issued to radio amateurs in GI. The idea was that the security people at road blocks would understand that radio amateur radio enthusiasts would have radio sets in their cars. It did not work as the police and army never understood what it was for.

In those days you could not drive for more than 15km without being stopped by the army.

Anyway, that was what I looked like then.

I do not have so much hair now and I am twice the weight.

I was the Chairman of the Queen's University of Belfast Radio Club and I held the club licence for several years in the 1980s.

I have to thank Paul, GI4FZD for this photograph (left) taken about 1980. Thanks also to GI4DOH for the information on Lawrence. It shows the Bangor and District Amateur Radio Society Ford Transit van at a rally. On the left beside the mast is Richard GI4DOH. I am on the right near the van drivers door. The amateur between us is Lawrence GI4HXL.

Those darkened shades I was wearing were supposed to help me with headaches, something which I still get sometimes. I cannot explain away the wide shirt lapels and the "gutties" (white gym shoes).

I am not sure why GI4DOH was wearing dark shades, but I think it was to confirm his status as a gangster look-alike.

In the background I can see a Vauxhall Chevette with a 2m aerial. That was my vehicle of choice in those days. However, the position of the antenna suggests that it was not my car. I think that was Ron's car (GI3HXV). Ron won the prize that day for the best fitted mobile rig at the rally.

I am an accredited trainer and examiner for the UK licence at all levels. However, the local clubs are not interested in developing new talent so I am not able to run any courses at the moment. Isn't that a crazy shame? I provide my services for free and it would cost the clubs NOTHING. But that silly attitude could change, so if you are interested in getting your ticket, get in touch. At least I can point you towards some more information to further your interest.

Tired and exhausted? Stiff and sore? Come from a celtic background (mostly Scots or Irish)? Family history of diabetes? Like me, you may have haemochromatosis. This is a genetic gut/blood disease which is now treatable. Not much fun, but manageable treatment and the disease is often survivable these days. If your iron level is too high you can receive regular (often weekly) venesection - which is nasty but saves many lives.

http://www.haemochromatosis.org.uk/. I will add their information card on the right.

If it looks scary don't worry if you are not descended from Celts. Yes, it is common amongst Scots and Irish, but if you are not in the at risk group you are very unlikely to be affected. If you are in those groups, remember that you may have the disease and show only vague symptoms until it is too late, so watch for feeling tired, stiff, cold, heart problems, liver disease and look for skin colour changes.

If in doubt, ask your doctor to test your blood iron levels and liver function. It only took 23 years to diagnose me.

Significant dates for my favourite bands: 2 February 1975 G8IMU 2m (First QSO)

28 October 1976 GM4FGS 2m  (First DX QSO = outside my own DXCC) - over 18 months later!

11 April 1977 GI4DOH/M (First 4m QSO)

23 April 1977 GI4CFQ (First 10m QSO)

25 February 2010 GM8BDX (First 6m QSO)

That first HF contact was reported in the local newspapers. The "Ireland's Saturday Night" was a sport newspaper and it had a radio column which reported my first steps into "the big league".

Ayton sunsetJust to round off I am putting a photo of a recent Ayton sunset in here.

It is not great quality as I took it on my phone camera. It is taken from a path I often walk along, looking West towards the railway and the banks of the Eye Water in the distance.

I think a lot about sunsets. It all comes from the Sun, all those X-rays and charged particles which make our ionosphere live (sometimes).

I doubt if I can explain my radio interest simply. I love the bands around VHF - in other words 10m to 2m, with the odd excursion to 12m and 70cms on either side. I also love to note the effects the Sun is having all around us. I know that people have looked at the sky for generations and marvelled. Nowadays I am receiving radio signals scattered by the ionisation trails of bits of dust which are the remnants of meteors, comets and asteroids which were broken up by the Sun hundreds of years ago.

Makes you think?Shack 2

Anyway, the picture to the right shows me operating GM4FVM under supervision from Katy (note the tea cup).

Katy joined the team in 2004 from the Cats Protection Centre at Spion Kop in Nottinghamshire. She was born in the wild and so she does not like strangers much. She does not like other things that enter her space, such as cats, dogs, grouse, owls, deer, badgers, plumbers, the French Air Force, etc. Well, she really does not like anyone except GM4FVM and if he is not immediately available, Mrs FVM. Katy does like the sound of JT65. And she likes moths and tuna.

Later she moved to Scotland and took on a Scots accent. She has three roles at G4FVM:-

1) she manages the CAT interface for the FT-817,

2) she is in charge of record keeping - you can see she is warming up the log book by sitting on it, and...

3) she wakes GM4FVM in case there is an early morning F2 layer band opening. She does this at 05:45 most days. She has a specially sharpened set of claws to do this, which she also uses to attract the attention of local voles and field mice.

Often, she sits on the operators knee as he works the world.

73 de Jim GM4FVM and Katy GM4FVM/KT.

1871137 Last modified: 2015-04-13 20:29:41, 11993 bytes

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