Mobile at Blakeney, Norfolk
In March we set off from Edinburgh in our smart hire car to visit Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire over just under a fortnight. I brought with the amateur radio gear, consisting of the Yaesu FT857D, 9AH battery and the Yaesu ATAS-120A antenna.
We were due to visit a number of coastal areas of England and I was looking forward to plenty of mobile sessions during the trip. Fortunately I managed one good radio session from Blakeney on the North coast of Norfolk on the morning of March 16. Read the rest of this entry
Following our return to Edinburgh from our Scottish isle trip, Frank MM0HST was also kind enough to loan me his Yaesu ATAS-120A antenna to use with his FT857D transceiver. This model of antenna is great to use with the FT857D because it is auto tunable and interfaces with the transceiver’s menu system. So once you configure the transceiver via the menu you have an antenna which auto tunes at the touch of a button on 40, 30, 20, 17, 15, 12 and 10 metres.
Read the rest of this entry
Wow, what an amazing March and April I’ve had on 10 metres!
Other than the Easter break where I had a good 20 metre session using the Buddipole which I’ve already posted on – Portable Operation from Lower King, Albany, I’ve been using 10 metres 95% of the time.
I’ve just looked through the log and see that I worked close to 250 DX contacts on 10 metres from March 9 to April 28. This was done over 15 sessions and the majority were using the mobile set up in the car. I did use the Buddipole a few times. For reasons I don’t know, the car set up works extremely well on 10 metres when I’m at Port Walter.
Yes, it’s by the water with obvious advantages but it seems to work particularly well on this band. I’ve generally operated between 08:00UTC and 11:00 UTC and the band regularly surprises me with strong signals when I think it’s dead. I’ve been told on a number of occasions that I’m the only VK/VK6 they are hearing on the band before congratulating me on the mobile setup. I’ve ended up in pileups during most of these sessions, working as many as 30 stations whilst sitting in my motor vehicle.
My trusty Ford Falcon at Port Walter – Click on either of the photographs for a larger view
What has surprised me most is that there are stations calling that I can hardly hear and that I receive signal reports from stations running high power with big directional antennas similar to what I give out. This is certainly not my experience on 20 metres.
I usually operate with 100 watts but today, I lowered my power to 40 watts and saw little difference other than an S point or so. I’ll be out every Saturday and Sunday in the car at Point Walter from 08:00 UTC whilst these amazing conditions prevail so if you hear me, say ‘hello’.
I’ve been staying in Albany over the Easter long weekend and I thought I’d try some portable operation today with the Buddipole antenna. I set up at Lower King by the water this afternoon just before 4:00 pm, with the rig inside the car powered by an external car battery. I set up on 20 metres because 10 sounded fairly quiet.
Initially, I thought I may not have elevated the counterpoise wire sufficiently from the ground (I had suspended it in a shrub) with my first two contacts providing weak signal reports. However, this concern quickly passed after making a number of contacts with good signal reports in countries including Italy, Germany, the UK and Indonesia.
I mainly worked British stations, including three portable operators on the South Coast of England. One of these operators was Pete M3KXZ using just 10 watts from a mobile set up in his car! I ended the afternoon’s contacts with a 5/9 report from Bill, K4VSV in South Carolina which was a good way to end the afternoon.
I took some photographs of the set up which I’ve posted here – please click on the photographs to view a larger version.
Whilst staying at Melville, I’ve been operating with the Buddipole on 20 metres with some excellent results. A few weeks ago whilst in Mandurah operating from the car, I had a QSO with Kim VK6TQ who informed me that 10 metres is currently open most days from around 8:30 UTC to around sunset which is currently around 11:00 UTC.
Due to work commitments, I currently only operate on the weekends and I’ve solely operated on 10 metres the past two weekends which has been a lot of fun with the band wide open. Last weekend I found myself in high demand in pileups both on Saturday and Sunday working 71 stations. I’ve now got to find the time to enter them into my site’s logbook application!
The biggest thrill was being able to set up the Buddipole as a horizontal dipole which I always find quieter than the vertical with virtually no noise. Whilst at this location when using the Buddipole on 20 metres as a vertical, I rarely have a noise level below S3 making it hard to pull in weaker signals.
I found the QSB much heavier than I’m used to experiencing on 20 metres and there were also more weaker signals but an impressive range of countries over the two weekends including Italy, Romania, Hungary, Spain, England, Slovenia, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, South Africa, France, Germany, Dubai, The Moldives, Japan and Indonesia. I was very happy with the performance of the Buddipole with 100 watts.
Unfortunately it had to end and I left the Melville address on Monday this week. I’m still staying in the area about a kilometre away in a good location so I hope to be able to continue to set up the Buddipole on the weekends. Watch this space.