Hello and thank you for visiting my QRZ page.
QTH : Toddington; County : Bedfordshire
QRA : IO91rw [51º 54'N, 0º 32'W]
WAB : Square: TL 02 / WAB Book : 2336 [Worked All Britian see: http://wab.intermip.net ]
DMC: #07329 [Digital Modes Club see: http://www.digital-modes-club.org ]
EPC: #23422 [European PSK Club, see: http://www.eupsk.com ]
30MDG : #6872 [30m Digital Group, see http://www.30mdg.org ]
RAOTA: #2773 [Radio Ameatur Old Timer's Association, see http://www.raota.org - their magazine is interesting.]
My interest in Amateur radio dates back to when I was about 10 years old, and I spent a most enjoyable afternoon and early evening in the back of an old MG sports car with a family friend who was operating Top Band AM (in those days) mobile, that started my interest in radio and electronics. I already had an old valved SW radio so I was able, at weekends to listen to the locals chatting on 160m (and 80m) most running AM - oh how I wished I could have joined in!
I obtained my first Amateur Radio licence during my first term at college studying electronics after leaving school, from The Ministry of Telecommunications in early 1973 as G8HFR [Harpenden Free Radio, well I lived in Harpenden then and it was the era of Pirate Radio (1973-1975)]. The licence was a princely sum of £3-00 plus £1-50 for the privilege of adding /M. I wanted the /M when the local repeater GB3PI - the first amateur Radio Repeater in the UK - had come on the air, and I had my own (albeit, old Mini 850) and I used to operated /M to and from college at the time.
In 1975 I took my morse test (12wpm) in London and posted my Pass Certificate and application form off (and another £4-50) to get my current call of G4DUL. At that time class B amateurs were only allowed to use 2m and above, which I had been using - with a collection of ex PYE PMR rigs, like the Ranger, Vanguard and Cambridge, all of which needed crystals for each transmit and receive frequency. At the time the practice was for simplex QSOs on 2m to transmit on a frequency (I think different areas of the country used different parts of 2m) and after calling CQ one tuned the bad "low to high" or "high to low". How operating has changed on 2m.
Once I got my class A licence I built a three valved vfo controlled Top Band (160m) and 80m CW rig. I did manage to work Poland on it.
After saving for a few years, in 1980 I got a new FT101ZD (with digital readout! for £564 - I still have the receipt) and the then "new" bands. Sadly it has sat around for the last 20 or more years neglected, gathering ever more dust. The display no-longer works, although the receive side did when I last powered it on after I retired (any offers for it?).
I have now got myself a nice little compact FT897D and with the help of a couple of local amateurs, Bob G8EPQ and Andy, G4DAQ I am now back on the air. Currently normal operation is on 40m SSB, PSK & JT65; PSK & JT65/JT9 30m - 10m and 2m (usually GB3BF) and 70cm (usually GB3LT) FM .
QTH: Toddington, Bedfordshire.
The village is located about 10km NW of Luton and 70km NW of London, very close to the M1 junction 12. The village (it had a Town Hall and was a major trading town long before Luton existed) is on the top of a hill about 150m (490ft) asl, although I have the Chiltern ridge to the south and another ridge to the north, so my best VHF directions are NE and SW.
- The village has a large "Motte and Baily" castle mound and is famous for the tradition of the local school children on Shrove Tuesday climbing up on it and listening for the sound of frying pancakes.
- The "Town Hall", next to the church, dates back to Tudor times (although much modernization has taken place since).
- The settlement was established in Saxon times as "Tudings Dun".
- Now, like so many other villages it is mostly a commuter village, although we do have a nice collection of shops.
- The village had 6 public houses, centred around a large village green, although in recent years we have lost three: "The Sow and Pigs" - now a dentists; "The Bedford Arms" (awaiting 'redevelopment'); "The Red Lion", which, for a short time was a 'Raj' but is now empty again.
The Radio station
- I have a quad band FT8900, which at present[Dec/2014] is only programed for the 2m and 70cm repeaters (I can access a total of 20 from this QTH). I also monitor (scan) the 2m calling frequency, 145.5MHz
- My old FT709 70cm handheld transceiver, listens to GB3LT, my local 70cm repeater
- I also use a dual band handheld (TYT TH-UVF9), while out walking or gardening. Unfortunately, except for a few places while out walking the power of the rig (5W supposedly) only allows me to work through GB3LT, but I can monitor several other repeaters and frequencies.
- A Tait 2000 is used for the 4m Parrot Repeater (MB7FM) and 4m FM simplex channels which I scan while in 'the shack' with a simple vertical dipole.
- A FT897 is used for all bands 80mto 70cm, Sadley I unable to fit suitable aerial for 160m aerial into the garden. I currently have a 23m (75ft) end fed long wire (From HyEndFed [http://www.hyendcompany.nl/]). 80m is usually just too noisey to use.
- On 2m and 70cm I have a X50 colinear, mounted at about 5m (16ft) above ground level.
- Operating modes:
- FM: I scan a number of local VHF/UHF simplex and Repeater channels and try to respond to "CQ" calls if the call sign is given clearly.
- SSB: mainly on 40m, with occasional trips to 20m. 15m, 17m and 10m, 6m, 2m and 70cm especially on Tuesday evenings to give a few points away.
- Digital Data modes: PSK31, JT9 & JT65; intially I was very active, but not so active these days. In use an interface from M0AQC (http://www.eagleradiogroup.com/m0aqc.html).
- Digital Voice mode: D-Star; I have only recently become active on D-Star my local repeaters are: GB7DB (with no internet access); GB7AU (not a strong signal, but workable) and GB7PI, a good signal.
Sometimes if the local repeater gets "stuck" on one of the Reflectors after listening for a while I set the radio to skip that channel.
I allso scan 144.6125MHz, which seems to be the current simplex channel.
- SSTV: I monitor 144.500MHz (while scanning the 20 or so 'local' VHF/UHF repeaters) and listen on 20m, 15m and 10m every so often; 20m seem the most active for SSTV and have a few local exchanges of images on 2m.
- CW: I would also like to get back into using CW "live"; not yet on the air with the mode, but hopefully before the end of the year (2016) I will 'pluck up the courage' to go on on-air.
- A good (free) learning resource is Just Learn Mores (http://justlearnmorse.com) and one from G4FON (http://www.g4fon.net/CW%20Trainer.htm)
- A nice CW decoding program is MRP40 (http://www.polar-electric.com/Morse/MRP40-EN/); very useful in checking ones sending to check that the character and spacting is correct.
- Logging: I tried WinLog32, relativelly easy to use, but now I'm using Log4OM, which seems OK.
- I am slowly transferring my old paper logs (1975-1993) to Excel, and then converting that to ADIF format (which is easy!). The hard word is the typing. So far I'm back to compleated back to 1980 - I'm working backwards!
- QSL: either direct (with SAE) , via QRZ.COM, eQSL or LoTW I do not send via the RSGB Bureau (that is not a story for here...), but I have deposited a number of envolopes, so hopefully if you send one via the Bureau it might get to me one day.
- Photography, especially of medieval churches, garden and wild flowers, fungi, lichens etc; landscapes and generally anything of interest. It's much easier photographing things that don't move, although if I have the camera at the ready (correct lens etc) I will attempt to photograph moving objects.
- Computer programming with C# (not that I am an expert).
- I enjoy walking, but my days of long distances are at the moment over, but hopefully I'll be able to do a bit more as time progresses.
- Cycle touring - again I am not able to do much these days (any offers for a touring bike and a semi-off road bike?).
- Visiting Industrial archaeology sites/museums - usually the lesser known ones.
- Model and Preserved Steam Railways.
- Gardening - that I find can be relaxing especially when the weather is nice, but hard work for me these days.
Plans for the Radio Station (in no specific order)
- Extend the height of my end fed, currently at about 10ft (4m) above the ground.
- Experiment with dipoles to compare with my EFW.
- 6m (I have a dipole so far)... it is a band that I have never used before, and so far very little activity. I try to give away a few points on the 6m Activity Evenings.
- A 160m vertical - there are several interesting designs around.
- /P operation during the warmer summer weather.
- Use of relatively low power.
- Get going with DMR
- CW : I really would like to be able to use the mode; I just keep practicing, practicing...
- and that's all apart for the normal house work, cooking, gardening, washing, and (more importantly as far as she is concerned) looking after The Cat.
If you've got this far, well done; I hope to either to have worked you or to work you soon on one band or anther on one mode or another.