So today was my first Parks on the Air. Armed with the IC705, THD7 and a variety of antennas I set out early from the QTH. The morning walk with Sweety told me it was a cold day, but mild for January, I still wrapped up warm tho.

I had 3 bags of equipment, but the trolley handled it really well, making it quite easy to get to the location I had planned. I started setting up the end-fed antenna, but sadly my enthusiasm got the better of me and ended up snapping the mast when pulling it up ! I quickly setup on the loop and the THD7 on 2M and was pulling in signals from both. It wasn’t a long wait before I had a great QSO with M7PBT on 2M, so was happy to start with that.

When trying HF I could pull in the signals ok. I got a helpful text from G1TEX who was actively listening to me on the HF bands, but sadly I couldnt make a contact. On Tex’s advice, i packed up and moved location away from the Trees. Again the trolly really helped in moving.

Location #2, which was just around the corner, whilst missing a table did have a decent sized bench to sit on and get the equipment on. I could even get me flask out and have a much needed coffee ! Before long G1AJH (Andy) made contact, first on 2M then we coordinated across 17m and 15m, with a weak, but sucssful QSO on 15M. It was just the injection of encouragement I needed to keep going and I continued to persist with calling on 15M, by mid afternoon 15m and 17m had really opened up, I was easily receiving Canada, France and Scotland, trying to break into the pile-ups was really hard work thou, but I kept trying ! Thankfully IT9YAO was amazingly patient and got my callsign and report, I was really made up with making a DX contact on 10W and the loop !

After all the coffee it was time for ‘BoTA’ maybe 🙂 anyhow, I could only giggle at the suggestion made on the G4PRS net last week and felt compelled to take a picture 😀 (Actually it shows how well the facilities are maintained at the Park, its clean and tidy for sure)


I got back home and transferred my paper log to ‘Hamlog’ on my phone, so i could create the ADIF file for submission. Whilst I wont activate the park this time, i will at least show the attempt, where currently there are none.

I really learned allot from today and had huge amounts of fun doing it, yes there was some times of frustration, especially the mast and end-fed not going to plan, but that didn’t deter me from keep trying with what I had.

I think for future activations or any kind of testing, its best to go with the whip and one other antenna, I think taking the whip (attached to the bag) and 2 others was to much, as is, I only stuck with the loop in the end, and not even testing the whip, the time went very quickly !

The most important for me today was that I tried and got out with my radio and I can only get better and learn more by keep going out and trying, which is exactly what I will be doing !

Thanks again and 73 !

2E0FWE / Alan

Parks on the Air (POTA) prep – Avon Heath Park ( G-0362 )

I was originally planning my first Parks on the Air (POTA) this weekend, but circumstances changed and I’ve had to postpone the actual activation. Nethertheless I made good use of the time I did have by going to the park and checking it over. Sweety came along and we had a brilliant walk together.

Arriving at Avon Heath Park my Mazda Bongo will not fit into the regular car park due to height restrictions. There is a large parking area for HGV and PSV’s which other campervan/van type had parked in, so I went there. They should really raise the height of the barrier to 2m10cm like elsewhere in Bournemouth & Poole.

Carrying on from the visitors centre and amenities, there is a nice table/chair next to the reptile and bird lookout. If anything its a great place to sit and enjoy a rest, the pictorial ‘map’ is quite useful as well, but for a full map you can get one in the visitors centre with all the routes. I chose to do the “Viewpoint Trail” which is 3km long.

Sweety and I didn’t need to go far to find a lovely set of table/chairs, not only surrounded by lovely trees, but also a really nice passage to the next section of the park. The area around the benches has well spaced trees, allowing for either using the trees as a place to hook and end fed antenna up, or to put a pole up between them.

The route was easy to follow with well sign-posted arrows to follow, as well as nice posters of the inhabitants of the park. Sweety really enjoyed discovering the woods as well, making plenty of new friends on our walk around.

We had reached the furthest side of the planned walk, although not the park which extends further East from where the photos above where taken. Being the ‘Viewpoint Trail’ small diversions away from the trial give places to sit and enjoy the vistas across the heathland. Even on a cold Janurary day, it was a lovely view, and worth to come here just for relaxing and enjoying the scenery.

Continuing on the pathway I encountered the first real potential problem to operating, that being overhead powerlines. I am unsure if they would interfere with the radio signal by being in the proximity, but of course there is the very real risk to life should the mast fall onto the overhead cables, so that makes setting up in this part of the park a no-go area. We also encountered some very sedate English White Cows, I put sweaty back on his lead right away. Hes pretty good around other animals, but its best to play it safe, we walked by without problem and made it back to the car-park without issue.

In conclusion to the visit I now have a good idea of what I need, or more importantly what i don’t need, to bring with me and the quickest way to go there. Needless to say I’m really excited about coming out and doing PoTA for the first time !

POTA Pre at Avon Heath Park

I then came back home and as time allowed I could test the Sotabeams travel mast I had never setup before, even the ropes had to be cut to length for guying. This was quickly done in the space of my back garden and was really please to get the mast up so quickly and easily.

Testing Sotabeams Travelmast at QTH

Whilst today should of been about going out and operating, I have made the most out of the time I did have, which I think will make my actual activation a really good experience.

QRP Portable + 2M SSTV !

Its been a busy time with radio activities, so much so I’ve barely had time to write up, so today I’m doing two for one !

QRP Portable

So having been inspired by numerous youtube videos to ‘get out the shack’ and being well equipped, I was determined to go out in my Mazda bongo with my QRP setup. The first thing I wanted to do was see if I could use my under-used Alexloop hampack in the Bongo, eliminating the need for any need to be outside of my Bongo.

I tested at home first in my drive way and getting the bongo roof up, IC705 and Alexloop in the Bongo worked well. Receiving signals was not a problem at all !


So I asked my fellow G4PRS members a good high location to also do some UHF/VHF operation. I was not be disappointed when Whiteways Viewpoint was recommend by several members. Not only was it stunningly beautiful, and very windy, there was plenty of space to park and setup. I wasn’t alone in operation !

I setup my Bongo, IC705 and Alexloop. Whilst in the bongo I could get the SWR readings down low, but couldnt get my signal out but when putting the loop in the roof, there was some inductance from the small amount of metal in the roof and the SWR would go high.

QRP Operation Day 2 – Whiteways

I had a great time, and was glad that I had brought along my 2m/70cm Kenwood TH-D7, which I was able to put into the external antenna. I was quickly able to have a QSO via GB3IW repeater on 70cm, an impressive distance of 41 miles (approx)

GB3IW (approx) and Whiteways

I then tried out 2M and calling CQ, I was glad to be received by G3TOI in Christchurch who was monitoring during his HF / 80m activites. We have had QSO’s before, and its always good to catch up, but it was great to be so clear and a good report whilst mobile.

I really added to my portable QRP operation experience by this one trip out, I know now that for my antennas they will have to be outside the Bongo. As such I have got a pop-up tent to sit either myself or the antenna in the tent. I’m hoping to do more /M operation on the 17/18th of January – so keep a look out for me on the airwaves !


Whislt I still enjoy SSTV on HF (Mostly 20m and 80m) I really enjoy it on 2M also. Being able to use FM and upto 50W from my QTH with the Diamond x7000 antenna means I have the challenge of the terrain but the hope that I will also make contacts.

The SSTV calling frequency (144.500Mhz) is very quite in IO90BS, but I advertised the times I am almost always on via my QRZ page, i.e. 8-9AM on Sunday mornings. Whilst I didn’t get anyone during this specific period, I did leave my 9700 and MSSTV running, sure enough whilst walking in from the garden I heard a signal !

I sat down and had a fantastic 2M SSTV QSO with M0UVM, whose location is not geographically far, but still the other side of a large hill I have between me and Bournemouth Town Centre. I was really happy that someone had taken the time to setup MMSTV and put really good pictures in. We are planning more transmission on Sunday mornings with different SSTV modes and power. M0UVM is using an IC705 and only 10W, so doing really well !

Here are the excellent pictures we sent each other

Received Pictures (by 2E0FWE)

Received pictures by M0UVM

Here is hoping that there is more SSTV on 2M !

Until next time, 73

2E0FWE / Alan