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FISTS number 14046

Been fascinated by radio ever since I can remember. The above photo is my "shack" in the early 1960's (a serious health hazard, but I survived !). Started by building crystal sets and moved on to one and two valve TRF type SW receivers. After meeting a local amateur (John Ashford, G3KYU) in my early teens I became hooked on amateur radio and particularly interested in 2 metres which in the late 1950s was in its early /experimental days. I went on to purchase an unused SCR-522 US army/air force transceiver (on the left in above 60's shack photo, see link below and circuit diagramme at bottom of page).


I built a power supply for it (on shelf in photo) and with much help and encouragement from John G3KYU, converted it to operate with a free running oscillator which covered the two metre amateur band (AM mode). Not a lot to hear though! Later went on to dabble in other ex gov. radio equipment including the 19 Set and a number of kit projects. My interest in radio then went on the back burner for many years as career, family and life's events (six children!) took over but inspired by seeing a friend's son using 27 MHz CB in 1981 and then trying this mode myself for a while, I got the radio bug again. Within a year I had a full amateur licence under my present callsign, and was the proud owner of a new FT-102.

My XYL now also holds a licence under the callsign G0PTS and in the present shack we operate with an IC-7400 and an IC-7300 The main HF aerial is a 215 foot doublet (66 metres of Kevlar reinforced wire)) at a height of about 40/50 feet, slung between two trees. The doublet is fed with 300 ohm ribbon which terminates at a 4:1 current (G Whip) balun. A short length of coax runs from balun to a remote, RF sensing auto-ATU (LDG RT-100) and then there is about 40 metres of Westflex-103 to the shack. For VHF/UHF I use a 70cms/2m/6m vertical triband antenna (Diamond V-2000) mounted at a height of about 30 foot.




My predominant radio interests are HF/CW. I mostly use the onboard keyer in the TS-590 and a Kent Twin Paddle Key.  I have several straight keys and like to use them from time to time in a QSO when it can be a bit more QRS. 

I also enjoy a bit of operating QRP and "/P" with an IC-703, usually from my caravan located in a remote/isolated (radio quiet) spot, running on a solar power charged battery. I like to experiment with simple (often "stealth") wire aerials thrown up into trees or slung from my 12 metre Spiderbeam mast.

I do a bit of digital mode operation (with the IC-7300) and the software I use is HRD/DM780 V5.24, mostly using the amazingly powerful "Olivia" mode. 





I am a regular user of the "Reverse Beacon Network" and whenever possible my station is set up online as a volunteer "Reverse Beacon", using "CW Skimmer" (usually on 40 metres).  The SDR receiver for this is a "Cross Country Wireless, SDR-4+" coupled with a Wellbrook ALA-1530 Active Loop Antenna at a height of 12 feet (see photo and links below). The CW spots are sent to RBN via "Aggregator" (see screen capture with Skimmer in action on a busy 40M during the "Coupe du REFcontest" Jan 2015, with Skimmer Band Scope and a recent 20m RBN log).





I have recently been using the "WSPRlite " propagation and antenna testing device (by Sotabeams) with my doublet antenna currently on 20 and 30 metres. The results are recorded on their excellent DXplorer software.

I have been running it with power levels from 200 mW down to just 5 mW and the results have been extremely interesting especially since band conditions are not that great presently.  I was quite surprised to be received in Florida with just 100 mW on 10 MHz and amazingly in New Zealand on 200 mW also on 10 MHZ.  How on earth 0.2 watts into a bit of wire up a tree can be recieved on the other side of the planet beats me!  The results are of course pretty random at any time and not an accurate or calibrated measure of antenna performance. But I reckon it does give a good relative indication of what may be possible with any particular antenna system and shifting propagation patterns/conditions.  Now planning to try it out with some different antennas, /P and on 40 and 80 metres too.  A brilliant bit of kit in my opinion!


I have had two careers.  I started off (after years of study in London) working in the building industry as a chartered architect, however I retrained in my late thirties and for the last 20 years I have worked as a "special needs" school teacher (working with young people who have severe learning difficulties and in particular, promoting/developing ICT).

I am now retired. This has given me more time to enjoy the hobby, my large family, my grandchildren and especially to spend time on my other great interest; playing classical piano on my old Yamaha Grand Piano (which I also tune).

Fists Membership nr: 14046 RAOTA Membership nr: 2651 First licensed 1982



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