QTH: Windsor, Berkshire, United Kingdom. Locator: IO91QL, WAB Square: SU93
I'm a keen portable operator and if the opportunity arises, I try and take my radio's out and about with me to make a couple of relaxed QSO's - particuarly when at the seaside!
As well as HF operating, I have recently been getting to grips with DSTAR using my Icom 'ID51E Plus' hand held radio. I really enjoy using this mode as it makes good use of the otherwise quiet, under used VHF/UHF bands. Its also ideal when the HF bands are in poor shape. I have to say it is very strange holding crystal clear QSO's with 'DX stations' - using just a hand held radio!
Below is my DSTAR 'go box'...... its small and ideal for popping in the front seat of my car or taking with me on business trips. It consists of a DV4MINI inconjunction with a Raspberry Pi operating 'headless'. This connects with my WiFi at home or my 4G TP Link MiFi when out and about. I use a 10AH Tracer battery to power the Pi and keep the TP LINK charged. I also keep my FT60E in the box to make some quick satellite contacts using
SO-50 or just to listen listen to local airport traffic.
Probably the best use of DSTAR is when mobile. I can't tell you how much more fun it is to make worldwide contacts without all the hassle associated with HF antennas festooned on my car roof - now that is a seriously good benefit!
I know some consider the VOIP linking process is not 'proper' radio but I don't look at it like this - its a great way for hams to make long distance QSO's with relativley simple equipment, encourage innovation and crucially, keeping those VHF/UHF bands active. Most of my contacts are with likeminded people using physical radio equipment - bridged via the internet of course! That said we shouldnt forget the many DSTAR repeaters in use everyday, I occassionally make use of the Amersham repeater in Buckinghamshire, some 20 miles from my QTH and I'm extremley grateful to all 'keepers' who maintain U.K. DSTAR repeaters for our enjoyment. Bless everyone one of you!
Because the utility box worked so well for my DSTAR set up, I also use an identical 'go box' for my QRP HF station. I have managed to squeeze my FT817, 7amp SLA batttery, T1 auto ATU and microphone into this box. I also have my digimodes interface hooked up ready for use with my laptop when available. QRP is great fun and I have really enjoyed getting out in the fresh air - sometimes in some quite challenging locations! Portable antennas vary depending upon the terrain but all are wire antennas.
At my home QTH, I use my FT857D (100 Watts) with an inverted 'L' antenna matched at its base by an external ATU (CG3000) to operate on all of the HF bands. The antenna has a 23ft vertical section with a continious loading coil at the top of my fibreglass mast, which then extends horizontally for a further 30ft back towards my property. This whole set up and a smaller number of above ground counterpoise wires, provides reasonable multiband operation.
As you can see, my amateur radio style is very much a mix of different operating methods. I'm not a serious DX'er, contest station or SOTA mountaineer but everything I do with my radios, I enjoy - which ultimatley is what our hobby is all about!
P.S. My brother Keith is also a licensed radio amateur and a keen 2M SSB & HF RTTY operator, why not check out his QRZ page - M1VHT. He lives 300 miles north of me in Hadson, Northumberland.
73's for now