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.

Buddipole set up at Lower King Buddipole set up at Lower King Buddipole set up at Lower King

Well I certainly had a very enjoyable evening on air last night and I don’t think I’ve ever had so many contacts, DX or otherwise in the one session. I’ve spent about 2 hours today entering them into the website logbook application that I’ve developed and they number around 35. It is a fairly rare occurrence for me to make many contacts in the one session with my modest setup and 100 watts so it was most enjoyable.

The evening got off to a poor start with poor conditions to the US for the Southern Cross DX Net. I checked in at about shortly before 13:00z and battled with very bad QRN from stations close by and poor conditions.

I gave up on the net and decided to call CQ DX at around 14:00z and I’m pleased that I did. Over the course of the next 2 1/2 hours I worked endless European stations with a pileup the likes of which I don’t ever recall experiencing. I’ve realised today that this was helped by a number of the stations worked spotting me on the DX cluster so thanks to the following stations:- UY7QN, UV7QA, ON5MA, R6AN, RX6CC, YO8SSB. There would have been more contacts but I feel that each station deserves the courtesy of a minute or two to get beyond “your signal is xxxx 73s”.

Countries worked during the evening included Belgium, England, France, Italy, China, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, Romania and Slovenia.

I also enjoyed a long QSO with Owen ZL2OPB who I had not spoken with before and Steve G3TPW near York where I visited last November. Also good to catch up with Paul AX5PAS (VK5PAS using a special event callsign for Australia Day and has a website here) and Jason AX2LAW (VK2LAW who was using a special event callsign for Australia Day).

I finally went QRT at around 16:30z mainly because I was worried that the car battery that I using was running out of charge and would cut me off air at any moment. May the excellent DX continue!

I just realised that I’ve haven’t posted since my UK trip in November, 2012, so thought it was time. It’s been a fun couple of weeks for me with excellent conditions on 20 metres with many contacts and a few European QSOs on 10 meters from the car.

Buddipole set up at Melville QTH

The Buddipole set up at the Melville QTH with thanks to my XYL Helen who provides so much assistance to me. Please click on the photo to see a larger version.

I’m currently staying in Melville which is about 5 kilometres from Fremantle. Although it’s not near the water, it’s fairly high and I’ve had some good results from the car in this area in the past. I think it’s a similar elevation to East Fremantle which has always proved a good location. I can’t explain it but I’ve done a few tests with stations that didn’t respond to me in the car from Fremantle who did in East Fremantle. The most recent of which was MW0YVH who gave me a 5/7 report from the top of the hill in the car at East Fremantle. There’s a place a few kilometres away called Wireless Hill where there’s a telecommunications museum, so perhaps that’s a hint.

Generally when operating at night I do it from the relative comfort of my motor vehicle because it’s too fiddly to set up and tune the buddipole in the dark. However, I’m able to stand the buddipole on a balcony of sorts at my current home QTH which gives it some height and I’ve had excellent results with my first two setups. I tried it for the first time here on Saturday, January 12 and last night (January 18) and some of the highlights include the following QSOs:-

Time (UTC)




My Signal


Visit to Blackpool

Dave G4AKC pedestrian mobile on Blackpool promenade
Dave G4AKC pedestrian mobile on Blackpool promenade

I’ve spent November in the United Kingdom staying with my partner Helen’s father in Edinburgh. As soon as I knew I was visiting, I arranged to visit Dave G4AKC and his wife Tracy in Blackpool. I speak with Dave and other members of the Real HF mobile group with some regularity on 20 metres and am also impressed with how well they do with their various portable/mobile setups often with low power.

I was able to slot in the Blackpool visit with a visit that I did with Helen’s family to York for her father’s 87th birthday. I hired a car for the return trip to Blackpool and stayed with Dave and Tracy who kindly offered me accommodation for two nights on November 17 and 18.

It was fantastic to see Dave’s various portable setups and even better to see the trolley in use that he uses with so much success on the Blackpool promenade when we speak. I realised after speaking with him, how obsolete my knowledge is these days. I think it’s about time I made the effort to work towards the Advanced licence to better my knowledge and give me more access and options.

Dave had arranged an outing on the Sunday morning at around 07:45 UTC where he and various other members of the Real HF mobile group would operate, followed by a breakfast at a nearby pub. As has been the case for so much of my trip, the weather on Sunday was better than expected with sunshine although fairly cold and windy (no surprise there at this time of year in the UK!).

Dave, Phil 2E0UDX and Pete G6UOI drove to Fairhaven Lake about 5 miles from Blackpool whilst  Stephen G7DIE operated pedestrian mobile from the Blackpool promenade. Dave and Phil operated from their motor vehicles whilst Pete went pedestrian mobile, walking on the beach with his backpack set up – a brave man in that wind.

Pete G6UOI Pedestrian Mobile

Pete G6UOI Pedestrian Mobile

Pete G6UOI Pedestrian Mobile

Pete G6UOI Pedestrian Mobile - using kitchen chopping board as insulator!

Unfortunately the conditions were disappointing with few contacts despite many CQ calls. The band was particularly noisy and there was a European contest occupying much of the band. The guys were also inundated with calls from stations in Spain and Italy despite their Asia/Pacific intentions. I had a good laugh when Phil exclaimed “I didn’t realise that EA7 was a state of Australia!” after yet another Spanish station responded to his DX call.

Phil 2E0UDX mobile in his van

Phil 2E0UDX mobile displaying that award winning smile

It was strange for me hearing Europe as a local nuisance when I’m used to it being so far away and treasured DX. That said, the guys all had a QSO with a VK6 station a few hundred kilometres from Perth, my home QTH and also with a VK2 station. Breakfast was certainly welcomed after walking around in the morning cold and we were joined by Tony G7OEM, Brian M0OYG and Ian 2E0EDX all of whom I have worked from VK6. To use an old CB radio expression which I suspect is not used much, if at all in the ham radio world, it was a great experience to have an ‘eyeball’ with people I’ve worked from the other side of the planet. It is certainly an experience well worth having and I hope it’s the first of many.

We all enjoyed a hearty breakfast and it was great chatting with the guys and getting to know them. We generally don’t get much time to talk on air since one of the aims is to maximise contacts, particularly when you’re operating with a limited power source and mobile.

The group after a hearty breakfast

The group after a hearty breakfast

Dave went out later in the day around mid-afternoon to the Blackpool promenade where he usually operates from pedestrian mobile. There was excellent propogation to the USA but unfortunately a US contest on 20 metres was occupying most of the band and Dave’s CQ attempts were unanswered since those on the band had other priorities. It was great to see Dave’s pedestrian mobile set up in operation. 

Thanks again to all the guys, some of whom had come from Southport and to Dave and Tracy for their kind hospitality.

I always enjoy speaking with Dave G4AKC whenever he’s operating pedestrian mobile in Blackpool.

I received an email from Dave yesterday advising that the weather was looking good there today (i.e. not raining :-)) and that he’d be operating mobile. So earlier today I drove down to the Estuary near where I’m currently located in Mandurah and fired up the rig in the car using the Outbacker antenna mounted on the bumper bar. 

This was just after 08:00Z and I was pleasantly surprised. I spoke with Dave and also spoke with Ian 2E0EDX (Ian has a website here) and Phil 2EOUDX who were coming through loud and clear. I even heard Dave loud and clear when he reduced his transmitting power to just 1 watt! I would have liked to see how the Buddipole performed but didn’t have the time or inclination to set it up.

Still with a 5/9 signal report from Dave and 5/8 from Ian, I’ve got nothing to complain about!

I’m visiting the UK next month and will be visiting Dave whilst there which I’m really looking forward to.