Tag Archives: contest

TOKYO HY-POWER HL-700B 600 Watt Amplifier purchase

So I have just taken delivery of a very gently used Tokyo Hy-Power HF linear amplifier.

The previous owner (retired communications and instrumentation technician for a large, multi-national organisation) replaced both fans with ultra low noise “Arctic” fluid bearing units. These are installed in 2 speed via voltage regulation manner: Low speed during stand-by (RX) and High speed during TX. Continue reading

DX Commander Contest Antenna achieves top placed UK IOTA Station

IOTA-graphicI’m absolutely delighted to report that I was placed 4th overall in the world for IOTA-Fixed station, Unassisted, Low Power, 12-hour section. This was from a holiday home and I installed the antenna inside 1-hour.

Results here  – but what makes this more remarkable is that I only used the one antenna from 80m through 10m; DX Commander All-Band-Vertical.

For 80m, I confirgured the DX Commander as an Inverted-L, replacing the 30m element. Of interest, 30m was still achievable (albeit with a 4:1 SWR). Although 17m is not a contest band, I did notice some slight interaction with the new 80m element, however SWR was still acceptable without an ATU.

I logged 300 QSOs however I notice after adjudication, that fell to 289. Pretty good, only dropping 11 QSOs. And I was amazed at how effective the 40m element produced such startling results on 15m, effectively as a 5/8th. Even 10m as a 2.5m long, ground mounted quarter-wave was getting in the action with short skip too.

All in all, I’m extremely delighted that I test-proved this antenna from a holiday location in competition with my peers, who were using genuine fixed-station antennas.

CQWW SSB 2014 Example QSO recordings

DSC_0041Had a ball with CQWW this weekend putting just over 1,000 QSOs in the log. 10m was very busy. The band scope on the TS-990s radio was extremely full with hardly a gap from 28.300 to 29.000 (and some!).

A couple of times, I used Audacity (software) to record out the back of my Kenwood TS-990s and caught some interesting sound-tracks.

Mostly, I forgot to hit the record button, particularly when I hit a very fast pile-up to the US but I found time to catch the tail end of this one after it had slowed down a bit.

 

Here’s a “perfect” example of a CQWW “rubber stamp” contact.   Continue reading

160m RSGB Club Calls Contest 2009

One mistake (apart from entering) was going S02R for a few moments and sliding up on the 2nd VFO to the fellow on 1950. I carried on CQing until my off times coincided with his off times before giving him a blast.

Woops! I bluffed my through the contact since he took rather a long time in repeating everything and I nearly lost my run freq, so half way through his over I started CQing again – and still managed to work out the report! I was logging both him on 1950 and my own contact on 1947.20! I must have sounded deaf to the poor fellow who I kept asking strange question to on my own frequency, to piece together the report at the same time as working the chap on 1950, “Did you say Member or Club”? and hoping for short, to the point answer.

Very funny, but I stopped that pretty quickly.

40m 3 Element Vertical Yagi Antenna

We’re putting together a Multi-Two entry for CQWW this year and it’s pretty clear from our experience with CQWPX that we not only need gain to the US on 40m but we need excellent front-to-back ratio. A new antenna was required.
A two element yagi was considered but we don’t have a tower for such a beast. We did though have various 10m fishing rod blanks and a load of aluminium scaffolding tubes. With some analysis, we feel we can build a high gain array utilising Yagi’s principles of a driven element in the middle and a reflector and a director element front and back.

Original modelling was conducted with MMANA however, the team has recently started to convert to modellilng with NEC2. James’s NEC model confirmed my 5db gain using MMANA at 10 degree take-off angle.

40m Three Element Vertical      3d Far Field Vertical Yagi     40m Far Field

The feedpoint for each element will be at 9 meters above ground using 6 meter scaffold pole sleeved with a 4 meter inch and a half steel pole. The 10m Sky Blue Leisure flag poles sleeve to the inch and a half steel poles. I’ll take some pictures tomorrow of the build.
Make no mistake, these will be monsters with 8 raised radials per element. Today, I made the insulated guying blocks for the radials. This is going to wipe the floor!

Watch this space.

Region 1 Field Day 2009

M0XXT SSB Field Day 2009Field days seem to whoosh by in a seamless tirade of bodily abuse that starts in the balls of the feet, grows through your hands and wind blown cheeks before reminding you that you are starving hungry and you’ve only just taken over the driving seat.

A very dissapointed 1012s QSO this  year and we still can’t work out why we lost ground so fast with the other leading stations, even on 80m where we should have held our own. Certainly having a tribander at only 35 feet is a hell of a penalty to have to suffer every year, but why our 40m and 80m runs were not producing the numbers that the other high-flying entrants were managing? I just don’t know. High probably does mean might. Last year’s 1,000 foot entry was very different on the higher bands to this year. Mostly, we were firing right through a heavy forest. I wonder how much attenuation there is in 500 yards of dense oak trees that are about 80 feet tall? Well, you get my drift.

Filtering this year was amazing. We used a second rig as a dedicated 2nd receiver using James’s new Band Pass Filters, made to Bob Henderson’s designs and we had negligible breakthrough. I can’t wait to use the new permanent multi-two station when we have the stub filters in place too.

Anyway, although I’m gutted that we probably didn’t even make the top three, we still had a good time and achieved some learnings too. Contesting for me is about three things, learning, competing or having fun. Ideally, all those things. This year I had all of them but not at the same time. Knowing that we were beaten within 2 hours of the kick off made me push extremely hard, but we just couldn’t catch the leaders. Grrr.

Oh well, next year we’ll be back, stronger, cleverer and with a better strategy.

C.

GB7HQ Amateur Radio HQ Contest!

In 2006, GB7HQ was actually GB5HQ. It was changed due to concerns by the CW crews that too many errors were creeping in due to misheard calls.

I originally wrote this article in 2006. It was published in the CDXC magazine in the same year. I’ve just remembered that I never published it here.


Fraser working GB5HQ

Frazer G4BJM

I am still pinching myself having operated the “beacon” station, 80m SSB as GB5HQ for my country along with Lee (G0MTN) and Fraser (G4BJM). Operating GB5HQ was the highest highlight of my hobby career yet. It inspired me to dig deeper and to discover more about myself and it certainly gave me the chance to stay awake for 24 hours!

Continue reading

Tower Update

DSC_3207Last night, we finally fitted the rotator housing and G450 Yaesu Rotator to the tower and tested it out with a small VHF ZL Special which we’ll use for VHF NFD in July (being at 1,000 feet means that we might be able to get away without high-gain antenna arrays, time will tell).

Barry (M0DGQ) is working on designs for a hinged rotator cage which means we will be able to use a 20 foot aluminium pole at ground level. Maybe next year..?

Anyway, we can now claim the record for putting up a 35 foot antenna: 20 seconds with a hydraulic switch :)

Callum

Mobile Lighting Generator Mast

My_VT-1_at_half_height.jpgA 10k generator and a lighting tower; the ultimate toy for a radio amateur. You get a generator, a hydraulic 10m tower and big, big lights – all in one package. It’s heavy but with a braked trailer and the right vehicle, it’s breeze.

Picture shows tower at about half-height and Barry has kindly offered to make a rotator housing for the very top of the unit which we’ll sort out this winter.

It’s easy to climb on top to make adjustments (mandatory at a field day with rotator housing fitting etc) and only 20 seconds to “wind” the tower up. Fair dinkum, it’s not a 100 foot tower but horses for courses, a great little easy-to-use package.

We should be operational for next Spring (2008) where we can enjoy some lazy days out in the Cotswold Hills on VHF – as well as HF Field Day (which was the initial reason for getting it!).

Pretty, eh?

Callum.

M0MCX and CQWW SSB – 2007

This year, I played single op, low power all bands with a couple of full wave NVIS loops for 80m and 40m and a fishing rod stuck on a 6 meter aluminium pole fed via the SG-230 ATU mightily hoisted to feedpoint for all other bands.Worked almost exclusively S&P and achieved 500 QSOs over weekend for just under 140k points which for me was my best score yet (30 x 50 feet garden).It was a trifle difficult to raise it up without crashing through Wendy’s new greenhouse however there’s at least some benefits to being a bit meaty!

How I would have loved to have run high power with my new ACOM but I don’t have the antennas at this QTH to warrant it – and in any case, I’d have blown the SG-230 up! :( This weird vertical worked remarkably well, even on 160m however 15m was the best fun and most relaxed and having James in the shack (Foundation Candidate) for 15 hours on Saturday made the contest a very friendly affair – however all the chatting and demonstration meant that I was down on straight Qs but a good day’s radio for both of us all the same.

Voice started to go early on and I’d left it late to install and go through learning curve with my new MK2R+ (I must get around to installing this!) so I nearly had no DVK on hand. Luckily for me, Lee had lent me his DVS-2 for SSB Field Day in September so it rescued my failing voice early on. Very funny when someone needs clarification of the call but only needs last letter and I croak out something resembling XRay – but in a voice only my Mother would recognise (yes, there were stations NOT running super check partial!?!).Bed at midnight after scoring with the standard top-10 NA stations on 40m.Sunday I tried a little harder. Stations heard on all bands all the time but most productive was 15. Found 20m very difficult not having a yagi or higher gain antenna – it was just a mess of noisy frantic stations. Fastest scoring was above 14.300. Best fun was 15m.

I still can’t get over 13 countries on 160m with a 7 meter whip!

NB: Remember to send your log off!

Callum.

SSB Field Day 2007 with M0XXT/P and our new amp

ACOM 2000

This was our first time out with our shiny new callsign with Chris (G1VDP), Tim (M3SDE), Lee (G0MTN) as well as myself as the main ops able assisted by Marti (M1DCV) and our 12 year old scout helper, Aidan – who ran the spotter station for the first time in his life – thanks Aidan. Colin (M3OFW) popped in a couple of times and took great interest in the setup – welcome to Colin.

For antennas, we went to town on qtr waves as well as dipoles for 80m and 40m but we let ourselves down by the tribander which we couldn’t get to work properly – showing fluctuating SWR, particularly on 20m where we could really only effectively run lower power. We found out afterwards that only one strand of copper was being used as the main feeder at the connection point to the driven element. Clearly a serious blow and we should have made many more Qs on 20m.

As a first time QRO /p station, we targeted ourselves at half a million points but fell short, mostly because of a lack of a big session on 20m but also due to lack of mults on 15 and 10 in my opinion. However, we aired the new tent and generator as well as my new ACOM and it all worked perfectly barring band filtering between stations which is being corrected by some band filtering currently on the drawing board of my friend Barry (M0DGQ). The main run station was my trust MP with Inrad roofing filter but due to a blow-up of my Mk5, we reverted to a backup plan of a TS2000 which actually performed pretty well as a spotter connected to a vertically polarised 40m loop which worked “all band” on receive. All coax was 50m lengths of Westflex.

Highlights was being called by ZL and VK on Sunday morning on 40m between 7:30am and 8:00am local time as well as hearing Tim asking for GW0AAA’s serial number again and again on 10m. I was out dropping the 80m and 40m verticals in the morning but was happy to hear a multi coming through. I found out later that some QRN gave him too much grief and we never made it, sorry chaps!

In terms of shifts, Tim and I worked the night – although I got the better shift; midnight to 3:00am. Tim went graveyard through to 6:30am (he’s a star!) and only woke me so that I could work the ZLs and VKs coming in. Is that because I’m older? :)

I realise that the interesting thing about these team events is how you put on a better show the next year etc. Of course, doing this with the open section means that you gradually get bogged down each year with bigger and better ideas until finally one becomes completely sensible and joins the likes of the Bristol chaps and string up a long wire or doublet with 100 watts. I believe that we have a couple more years left of being completely daft I think so perhaps there a chance of getting a higher score one year.

This is a new callsign / club with a new direction and a number of people need to be thanked for riding this wave with me, particularly all those mentioned above: Tim, Chris, Lee and Barry – and of course young Aidan and all those other young scouts that we hope to introduce to contesting over the years.

Anyway, just over 1,000 QSOs for 381,477 points.