2E0FWE /M Day

So after a rather nice lay-in I headed off to hengistbury head with Sweety, Kenwood TH-D7 & VC-1, Baofeng UV-5R and with the IC-705 setup to receive and upload photos at the QTH.

It was a lovely start to the day with great weather. Coming later in the day sure does get busy down there, but it was nice to see so many people out and about.

It was great that everything fitted nicely into a compact box, which I carried on a backpack with some water. I think i will bring a small box/bowl for sweaty next time as well as some ‘treats’.

Here is setup video, apologies for the windy noise, goes with the area and using a phone. My bag tried to make an escape as well, but i caught it ok 🙂

The other reason i come to HH is that it has enough hills and a decent length walk to give me some decent exercise, i don’t mind saying my knees and legs really feel it, but I’m glad to push myself that little bit and am rewarded with some great views and operating conditions.

We reached the far-end of HH (from the car park perspective) and I set about checking the results of the SSTV` broadcasts I had made, unusually I couldn’t see any at all ! Not even static.

no sstv, but contacts on GB3IW

I packed the Kenwood equipment away and kept the UV5R in my pocket for any simplex contacts. I called CQ on 2m (145.500) and had a great QSO with G3TOI who was working thu his great 2M VHF home-brew antenna. We had made contact before but when i was at home on the IC-705 and Diamond X-30, it was great to make a simplex contact on 5W /P.

What had happened ?

Coming home it was clear what had occurred ! I must of knocked the transceiver when leaving and it was set to 144.375 for receive – doh ! Anyhow, glad it was a simple issue rather than anything untoward.

2nd set of field tests – West Howe

I headed back out in the afternoon as XYL was at a training course, which gave me 2 hours to do some local tests. I headed out to West Howe and made a good contact back to the QTH

Whilst not P5 quality, i can at least see the picture and where I am, so I’d say that was pretty good on 5W and about 2-3 miles from the QTH.

I then headed off to Poole Harbour, sadly (and predictably) no SSTV contacts, i think 5W and the dip is asking a bit too much, however i did have a great QSO via the GB3IW repeater on the UV-5R

Improved results from Poole Harbour on the GB3IW repeater

Having driven around west of Poole to higher ground, i could still not make contacts, it was interesting trying tho. In some locations i could still make out the GB3IW repeater as well, and this well in-land. My first good retest was at the Kwik-Fit at Bear Cross.

Bear Cross

The image came out pretty well from about 2.2 miles away.

quick fit at bear cross

I then continued driving towards Hurn and the final test location of Ringwood.

The results from Hurn are very good, a P5 image quality from about 2-3 miles away. Heading to Ringwood did get a receive, but only static in terms of the picture. As I know where it was taken I can make out features, but with no call sign and clear image, its not useful as a radio amateur.

results 2nd time out

Results 2nd time out with the TH-07 and UV-5R was much better than in the morning now that the IC-705 was in tune to the /P transmit frequency. Optimal results seem to be around 2-3 miles currently based on the reception of images.

I think the best/quickest upgrade will be swapping out the TH-07 stock rubber duck antenna and returning to the locations where I had static to see if there is any improvement in reception from the QTH.

Thanks again and 73 ! 2E0FWE

All steam ahead!

So aside amateur radio, my other ‘interests’ is model railways. My fellow rail enthusiast are building this small layout.

Shillingstone prototype

Whilst that hasn’t been taking all of my time, it has taken a fair chunk in trying to find all my N-Gauge track and equipment. I have how ever been very busy in and around the shack !

SSTV

I have got the VC-H1 working. Getting all the cables from around the world (Korea, Portugal, USA) was quite an adventure and took a fair amount of ‘google-fu’ to source. I have a number of videos, but this one is probably of the most interest where I done a field test and the results.

VC-H1 Field Test

The broadcasts from the park resulted in complete susses of received images from my QTH about 1 mile away.

VC-H1 field test results (approx 1 mile max)

I was using a Baofeng with 5W and other tests around IO90BS really showed how the height/hills in the town effected the reception. I think my best chances for long-distance are away from the SE direction where I am behind a steep hill. I will spend some time and do some VHF reception modelling in the coming weeks.

Shack Tidy

So with the 2nd year of my Part-Time MSc coming up time was limited to get the ‘shack’ (aka Home office) into some semblance of tidy. Getting a Radio Shack tidy isn’t just making it ‘look’ tidy, its about getting RF right, every thing that requires ferrietes to have them and good cable management, all whilst be useable, manageable and allowing for further development of other projects.

I started outside and installed good coax, as well as a general tidy up around the antennas. I then installed a thru-window panel, allowing the feed lines to be tidy into the shack. From there I took out all the transceivers, receivers and other radio devices. The bulk of the work was done over the weekend as it took a fair amount of time.

Shack Tidy Day 1

As you can see from ‘Day 1’ there was allot to do just to things in place.

I’m now have installed the transceivers onto the bonding and am looking forward to test out the bonding/grounding results.

Bonding

My next step will be to get my Windows computer re-installed with the necessary chokes and filters to operate well with the computer with no effects from RFI. When that is installed I should have a good idea of how to tidy the cables best as described in the Grounding and Bonding book.

Events

With re-opening of the Poole Amateur Radio Society and enjoying regular on Thursday evenings, I’m getting more out of my radio and understand them than ever. Its great to have good and productive conversations with fellow hams, although the conversation sometimes does drift to non-radio activities, I have been grateful to receive several courgettes which XYL Monica made into a lovely meal for me !

The club is having a field day event away from the QRM of the urban environment. I’ve very excited to be going with my IC-705 and Alexloop ham-pack. I got a new ‘mast’ for the antenna, as you can see here.

Bike Repair Stand as Antenna Mast

Results are really encouraging !

With all the equipment that will be required for the field day I got a hand cart. Sweetly and I had a great time testing it out.

Testing the trolley cart with Sweety.

So I’ve been super busy, but very happy with all with all the amateur radio activities. It will be harder after September to spend weekends like this as I start my MSc Computing Research year in earnest, but undoubtedly the model trains and amateur radio will make a welcome break when time allows me to do so.

A busy weekend ! Dipoles, Verticals and repeaters !

So what a busy weekend ! Having been to Poole Radio club this week and catching up with an fellow member received the necessary advice on how to best install my 80m/40m dipole in terms of location in my QTH.

I then set about building the mast to get the dipole up, its a series of videos, so i put them here in order.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

So TL/DR i didnt make all the progress I wanted, having taken care of my health and not getting too tired, i have ordered a new tilt base for the 33ft mast.

Barenco BE103 on order

The Barenco looks a good bit of piece for the price, if it allows me to tilt a 33ft mast up with ease, worth every penny ! For sure there will be a decent video and review when its installed.

With that the Poole Radio Society on 2M I set about getting my 2M equipment setup. I tried to use the Retevis RT90 but wasnt having much luck with programming and operating it. I got the RT90 as its a good DMR radio and works with my Pi hotspot, but for monday i just needed something simple to use for the 2M net, so i pulled my IC-2200H out and done a factory rest on it.

I was soon on the air with my Yagi and making a great local contact. I couldnt reach the 3rd contact in the QSO on the Isle Of Wight, so over night considered how I would best address this for the monday night net.

J-Pole on 2M

I was really impressed that i got the antenna up in less than ideal weather (rain, wind) and had positive S.W.R. readings

I then set about calling CQ on the 2m calling frequency of 145.500 and was able to make a number of contacts thruout the day.

2m contacts in a variety of good distances in and around Bournemouth

I was really pleased that I was making and having really good conversations with seasoned fellow hams in the area, especially another member of Poole Amateur Radio Society remembered me which was great !

Feeling ambitious, i then set about looking for repeaters. Our local repeater is no-more for at least the short term and no real indication of if/when GB3PBR will return. GB3JB appeared to be just in reach, and i setup the 2200H with the respective frequencies and tones to access it, sure enough I was rewarded with the ‘pips’ that I could reach the repeater !

I monitored thruout the day and enjoyed several really good QSO’s via the repeater, which varied to just down the road (ended up with a simplex conversation off the repeater) to many miles away beyond Dorchester !

GB3JB

I continued to add a choke filter and Y-split to the 2200H so i can use the Yagi and J-Pole should I so wish to.

It has been an excellent weekend on the radio, the shack still isnt as tidy as I would like it, but its getting plenty of QSO and 2m action thats for sure ! I’m looking forward to next week and progressing the 40m/80m dipole some more, it will be excellent to be back on both frequencies again.

Many thanks for all of those that had telephony QSO’s with me this weekend and setting up/checking and giving me loads of info about 2 meter operation in the locality, it really has been great to have a ‘rag chew’ with local operators again.

Stay safe / 73

Alan / 2E0FWE