2M SSTV comes alive

Very early on 22nd of June my IC9700 let out a loud SSTV incoming signal on 144.500 – I typically monitor the 2M SSTV band in hope of some ‘local’ activity, so I was very suprised to hear something this early.

Within a few minutes several pictures had been received.

SSTV Test Card – source unsure

The first i was unable to make out the full text, but the next one provided some more useful information.

SSTV message from martellotowergroup.com 2M repeater

I had never seen this repeater before and was wondering if a new one had been setup in the locality, going to the website I found that the SSTV repeater was based in Clacton – some 232km/144 miles away ! The line-of-site rule for 2M was blown away by looking at the elevation profile between the QTH and the SSTV repeater.

elevation and distance between QTH and SSTV repeater

As the the morning went on, more signals went in and amazingly i was able to activate the repeater with the access tone and receive my own picture back. I then had an excellent QSO via the repeater with G4LVD based in Ipswich !

via MB7TV G4LVD
My sent image repeated back with the MB7TV overlay
Completed QSO via MB7TV to G4LVD

Having completed the QSO I was left wondering, how is it I could suddenly receive the SSTV repeater which is so far away. A posting to our clubs mailing list provided the insight – a temperature inversion had caused a opening on VHF between the QTH and MB7TV. Not really knowing what a temperature inversion was, I looked that up, and the met office giving a great explanation. I was just lucky to be listening at the right time and to receive the signal from so far away!

With that I wondered as these are predictable, there must be some forecast, sure enough I found a site that looked to model the inversion that was seen this morning.

https://tropo.f5len.org/forecasts-for-europe/

This means that I will be able to at least listen out at these times and try a QSO again. I’m not sure if I would ever be able to reach the SSTV repeater on mainland Europe, but with P13DFT in Delft in the Netherlands and another Germany, it will be great fun trying ! Heres to more ‘temperature inversions’ and more SSTV QSO’s on 2M!

2E0FWE – AO91

Today (19/6/22) was my first attempt of using satellites put in place for amateur radio. Having read up and joined Amsat (a very modest fee for quality content!) I targeted AO-91 as my first satellite.

AO-91 – GoSatWatch

I could see there was at least a possible chance of making a contact at 09:14 BST, so I set out with the Arrow II 146/437-10WBP 2m/70cm antenna and my TH-D7 hand-held.

Having got the antenna built and radio ready (I pre-programmed the optimal tuning in the shack) I setup a comfortable postion to operate from.

I made sure i was ‘aligned’ to the sky with a real magnetic north compass to ensure that I would stand the best chance of being able to hear the satellite as it came over on its relatively low and short pass.

I was astounded that with pointing the antenna on frequency I was soon hearing QSOs from Italy and the Netherlands via the satellitle on 2m and 70cms. As I was about to try calling my THD7 stopped working ! In a rush I got the THD7 plugged into the Bongo power and could continue to receive, but was unable to complete a QSO this time.

Whilst the battery had got the better of me making a QSO, I was really happy that the antenna and receiver worked and even on a ‘low’ short pass I was able to hear QSO’s. I was amazed at how quickly people gave callsigns and grid locations – there was little time more for anything more – I can see why people recommend recording contacts on satellitle and make the log book after.

I headed back to the shack and tried the AA battery pack that came with the THD7, this also failed to power the radio, so I had to engineer a solution ! I found a ‘spare’ connector from an adaptor set and ‘butchered’ that to make a DC power supply from the batteries I usually use on the IC705, these would be more than enough power for the THD7, even with the squelch fully open, to operate receive and transmit for the times the satellites came over.

Conclusion

Whilst my first attempt at satellites didnt result in a QSO I gained valuable experience and could confirm my antenna and transceiver worked correctly. Whilst the in-built battery was bad, and replacements unreliable/dangerous, I was able to manufacture a replacement. I’ve since ordered a ‘cheap’ Digital voice recorder and headset for QSO’s – I think I have a splittler cable, but will find out when the digital recorder arrives how to drive both headphones and recorder.

In all I was very happy to go from 0 experience, to at least listening, which is pretty much what I done on all the bands in the past anyway, so was very happy to make my first steps in amateur radio satellite communication.

G-0202 Garston Wood RSPB Reserve – POTA – QRP – Take 2 !

Following last weeks attempt, I headed back to Garston Park to attempt activating the park again. Armed with two lots of battery packs, mains charger and the iPad with SDR-Control loaded onto it I was determined to activate the park.

Having quickly setup, I was approached by two friendly chaps asking what I was doing with the equipment I had setup. Their initial assumption was bat watching ! (Makes senses with an antenna I guess !) We had a great conversation about parks on the air and also bat watching. Its something I’ve never heard of and with this park being quite near without a lock on it, something I wouldn’t mind trying – an overnight PoTA and bat watching. I’ve looked up some equipment and the bat watching website, so I’ll be looking into that later on in the year, probably when dusk/evening comes in a bit sooner.

Bat detectors – yes they exist !

With that I setup the IC705 to the IPad and SDR-Control – have to say that this application is fantastic – other than having to adjust the connectors in the IC-705 if I want to use the radio independent of the app, its as close to getting to 0 touch to getting on the air in FT4/FT8 modes.

Having experimented with FT4 at home and also updated my version of WSJT-X on the QTH windows machine, I was amazed at the rate QSO’s are completed. For me with a QRP radio and wanting to try battery usage where possible (I don’t always operate from the Bongo) this was great. At the QTH FT4 contacts where made in rapid succession, likewise in the field, when an opening came, the FT4 contacts came flying in ! within several minutes had equalled my previous weeks telephony contact ! I then went over to FT8 to try my luck there, sure enough, the QSO started to come in. The one problem with Garston Wood is the really weak mobile phone signal – for PoTA you really want to self-spot to get that first log on the page, then more will follow, sure enough I was determined to ‘self-spot’ and was rewarded with more FT8 QSO’s.

The SDR Control app made logging and contacting as easy as it could be, I was amazed at how well thought out this application is. It can be configured to automatically log, which I tested for the first time today and confirm works wonderfully. Essentially this means you could run FT8 & FT4 completely hands free.

I exported the log from my ipad to my icloud storage, with a bit of simple ‘grep’ and redirection I had the file in the format ready to submission to the POTA Administrator.

cat alanpota.adi | grep 20220529 > 2E0FWE@G-0202-20220529.adi

I tried SSTV with the black cat app, but it wouldn’t integrate with SDR Control, so I tried the old fashioned method of picking up a microphone, but whilst I could pick up SSTV from the IC705 with my own ears, the ipad app was pretty much deaf out in the field. As I am great fan of SSTV this is the one thing the SDR Control App is missing – if a way could be found to integrate either the black-cat app into SDR Control so they can run both the same time, or SDR Control had its own native SSTV app, that would be amazing !

I tried a few more SSB contacts on 20m, but to no avail. With the weak phone coverage self-spotting was tricky and when I could self-spot it would take another ‘strong’ station to come in over the the top of me to make that frequency out of use to me. I tried 2M and although hearing some activity (always glad just to hear something!) couldn’t complete a QSO.

So today turned into all about Data, and how important to activate a park SDR Control is, being my 2nd visit, I was determined to get the 10 contacts to activate, and I wasn’t let down by the application. Being restricted in self-spotting also meant that when I could get onto the POTA website, I was consistent, and I was rewarded with a FT8 contact from K3VAT in the US.

I’ve had a fantastic time of late travelling around to various PoTA locations and this was by far the most challenging one so far, with limited mobile coverage, varying conditions and generally being a bit busy, it was great to get the 10 QSO’s needed to activate the park.

My next ‘planned’ PoTA is quite a few weeks off, and its getting further afield to find ‘unactivaetd’ parks, but I’m really excited about it, until then I’m going to be utilizing my season ticket for Upton Country Park, with lovely weather and long evenings, I can head over after work and set up for a fun evening of ‘parks on the air’ close to home.

Until then 73 and hope to catch you in the log book !

Fulll QRZ log

Kenwood THD7 APRS & GPS (Bongo is back!)

Firstly the Mazda Bongo is back from Wales after the brakes have been repaired in Bangor ! Very grateful to Kevin at Bangor Kwik-Fit for sourcing all the parts required to get the Bongo back on the road.

Replacement caliper, disk and pads on the Mazda Bongo

When I returned home I found a package from America waiting for me, which turned out to be the connector cable between the Garmin eMAP and Kenwood TH-D7. The only place I was able to find this was an on-line shop in the USA.

Glisson Cable for THD7 and Garmin EMAP

When I contacted them they was unable to ship to the UK ! I contacted a friend in Portland who was kind enough to order it for me and send it on to me here in the UK, I was really grateful to get the ‘final’ piece of kit required to use APRS and GPS with my Kenwood TH-D7.

I setup the emap and TH-D7 to produce packets via the beacon method and setup my home computer and IC-9700 to relay APRS packets.

Whilst I have a dual-boot machine, for simple reception and digipeating I’m able to use Direwolf in Windows. I was able to ensure my APRS packets are being transmitted and received before going out and doing a field test.

Windows APRS Setup

I headed out with the Mazda Bongo on a trip to one of our local farm shops and then to Poole harbour which made a nice way to spend a trip out and combine with some real data creation.

Trip to Farm Shop and Poole Harbour

On return to home I was able to look at APRS.FI and see my route had been nicely recorded and received via various Digipeaters around the IO90BS area. I was quite suprised that the coverage was as good as it was giving the hilly nature of the route and small low-powered 2m/70cm antenna on the side of the Bongo.

GPS Data in APRS received by M0VPN-1

Clicking on anyone of the data points will show all the data received and relayed, and from where. In this case we can see I was doing 22MPH on a heading of 101, this was received by M0VPN-1 whereby it was then put into APRS.FI website.

Conclusion

Whilst it took some time to get all the components I needed to get GPS and APRS working with my older Kenwood TH-D7, it has been well worth the wait. I can now setup position reporting and include useful messages, this will be in particular use when en-route to amateur radio activities (weekly club, conventions, POTA activations) and to send messages to other APRS users.

I would recommend that if you are looking to get more from your 2m/70cm experience and have the budget invest in a radio that has GPS & APRS, it may not seem obvious as to why it could be useful to start with, but certainly could be something you may well find yourself using when you have it.

2E0FWE APRS & GPS

QRP POTA Bongo G-0079 12th Feb 22

Having originally intending to go out on the 13th, the adverse weather and changes on planning on the home front made the 12th a better day to go. Whilst cold it was a great day to go out and try another park activation.

Weather at QTH and around IO90

The park being activated today was G-0079 New Forest – Kingston Great Common National Nature Reserve. Another nice close park and after researching found a nice place to park up to operate from the Bongo.

Research position to operate from within the park boundary

For this activation attempt I wanted to use the Alex Loop Ham Pack antenna, as I had already used Toy Box antenna the previous week, and with the cold operating from the Bongo would be a good way to get on the air.

The Alexloop and Bike stand was really easy to setup, maybe even easier than the whip and radials, but it was quick to get on air. The bike stand held the alexloop no problem at all.

To start with I used the MAT-Tuner on 20M as I planned to do FT8 then SSTV, so I wanted to see if I can move about the band without re-dialling the magloop, in the end, I removed the MAT tuner and went to 30m. My SWR went up to 1.5 but was making more and more contacts.

By lunch time the QSO’s on 30m where coming in rapid succession, not quite a pile up, but enough to get the park activated. I also enjoyed a ‘rag-chew’ on 70cm via GB3IW, not for PoTA, but it was good to make a /M to /M contact whilst doing FT8 on HF. I also done a SSTV test from the my mobile location to back to the QTH, that came out quite well for 5W

SSTV on 2M received back home from G-0079

With it just being over midday and enough FT8 qso to activate the park, I tided up and headed back for a fantastic afternoon out with the station manager. We really enjoyed the afternoon out and the lovely views across to the IoW

In conclusion i can say that the Alexloop Ham pack antenna is amazing, its incredibly light and very easy to setup. The sensitivity of the dial is incredible, getting the SWR down low to 1.5 on 20M and 17M was no problem. I don’t think I will need an ATU with it, its better to dial it in and get the power into the antenna and a very small increase in reflected power back.

I really enjoyed doing PoTA, just getting out with the transceivers and making contacts is great fun, be it FT8, SSTV or Telephony, every time I go out, I am getting more experience and enjoy operating away from home more and more.

I am looking forward to my next PoTA activation and trying another antenna, hopefully the 40M end fed which I think will return the best results yet in terms of RF performance, but lets see…

POTA G-0079 12Feb22 QRP Bongo

QRP POTA G-0362 6th Feb 22

So after a week away I decided to try my luck at Avon Heath Park (G-0362) again. This time I was determined to activate the park in any way I can with the IC705. I really wanted to prove the HFJ-350M toybox antenna was a viable portable antenna. With the Comet CGW-560 radials connected I have tuned it before at the QTH, but never out in the field, where anything and everything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

I had purchased a pop-up privacy tent, i had tested and set it up at home, it was really easy (of course). At Avon Heath I encountered two problems. High winds and very stoney ground. The pegs I had would of been fine on firm soil and no wind, but the winds kept the tent blowing away. With one huge gust my tent was gone but i captured it, only for one pole to snap ! I am hoping it can be repaired and used on other less windy trips. I will have to find some of the good ‘corkscrew’ pegs I have used camping before, but have mostly used up/used at home.

The ground at Avon Heath is very sandy, I’m not sure if its a good conductor or not, but I lay the radials over it as I had little alternative. I also found I had left a connector to allow using my rigexpert directly to the antenna at home. This was very frustrating as I was sure I had packed it ! I was able to tune the antenna using the IC705 in built SWR graph, and on 40M FT8 frequency got the SWR down to 2.0 – 2.5, whilst not ideal, it was at least workable.

FT8 Reception across Europe

I was able to check on-site using PSK Reporter that my signal was getting out good enough to be received – the above screen shot is from when I returned home. I did find the mobile app took some getting used to, but still workable (with gloves on !)

I spotted myself on the POTA app page and for 40M FT8, and sure enough I was getting quite a few contacts quite rapidly – not sure if it was because of POTA or just people making FT8 connections, I was just grateful to be making QSO’s on a very compromise antenna and relatively low power.

I had one major annoyance in that when my laptop booted up, the date on it was incorrect, thankfully I could quickly use the wi-fi on my iphone and sync my clock against rolex.ripe.net to get my time correct, however this would mean my 1st contact via WSJTX would need its log entry corrected.

I continued to stick with FT8, determined to activate, i had a great flurry of activity, then the longest time calling CQ, I think this must of been band conditions. When i was making QSO’s I would get to received signal report, but not the import RR or 73 to log it. This was really frustrating as both my computer and mobile phone battery where becoming depleted much quicker than anticipated. I only needed one more QSO to get the 10 needed to activate the park.

I turned on the THD7 and called CQ on 2M for POTA, thankfully and with much joy on my part I contact M7PBT and we quickly moved to 145.575 on 2M. I got a great 59+20 reception report from the higher location, and the final contact needed to activate the park !

I re-spotted myself to say I was going QRT as the weather was going decidedly southwards, so I packed up as quickly as I could, but ensuring there was nothing left behind and keeping the park tidy.

I know FT8 isn’t every ones ‘flavour’ but for me today, it done what I set out to do, activate the park. I also proved that the toy-box antenna is at least viable in data modes on 40m and was very easy to setup, just a case of laying out the radials.

I again with hindsight realised that I took way too much and my initial plan of just my backpack with the IC705 and my laptop would of been more than sufficient for todays digital operating. The backpack really proved its price tag in being strong, comfortable and able to take all my equipment and has space for the THD7 to clip on.

In the cold weather having a cup of coffee and boiled egg really kept me going and energized. I was annoyed at being out in the open with the IC705, I didn’t want to get it wet, but with light rain it was perfectly ok. I think a big poncho will be my best bet.

I did find my laptop was really lacking, the battery almost running out only after a few hours operation and the poor mouse control really shows how I’ve become a ‘touch here on the screen’ person now if I don’t have access to a mouse (laptop only has 1 USB port for IC705 connection). I think a Windows Tablet will help me allot with digital modes and logging software.

My other main learning was that the logging software I had come to depend on wasn’t very good, in its 2nd outing it messed up the log files, resulting in me having to manually craft them. PoTA only except ADIF format, whilst text readable and not binary, can be edited. In my case I had to add my 2M QSO to the WSJT-X export.

I’m awaiting confirmation of my activation but again have learned a huge amount and had a fantastic time out. I want to do at least one activation a month, so am looking for another nearby park which has yet to been activated. PoTA is addictive !

2E0FWE QRP POTA at G-0362

QRP POTA G-0362

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 πŸ™‚ anyhow, I could only giggle at the suggestion made on the G4PRS net last week and felt compelled to take a picture πŸ˜€ (Actually it shows how well the facilities are maintained at the Park, its clean and tidy for sure)

Conclusion

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

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 !

QRP Bongo QTH

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 !

SSTV 2M

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

A windy walk and fun on 2m/70cm

Being a long weekend and an extended time off, it seemed right to head out and enjoy the good weather, albeit quiet windy ! After the excesses of Christmas and nice stroll along the coastline at Heingstbury Head would help me feel less guilty about everything I had eaten and drunk in the last few days..

Christmas Dinner and nice bottle of white wine.

Having packed my back-pack with the Kenwood TH-D7 and SSTV unit Sweety and headed off in the Mazda Bongo. It was quite busy when we arrived, but Sweety was quickly off his lead and enjoying a good run around ! The Wind was really strong but I got up the first hill and made a ‘test’ SSTV transmission back home, which worked really well !

Test 2M SSTV Transmission from HH
Isle of White (needles) across the

I didn’t use the replay test this time as I was keeping warm and making it across the hill. Once on the other side towards the Isle of White clearly in view I setup for another test transmission using the repeat function, I got a great picture back, but I think moving the radio caused a few a few interruptions, but no complaints !

interference from moving antenna

I settled down with a nice bottle of water whilst Sweety continued to enjoy running around and having a good sniff.

A nice rainbow and a sniff

I had a nice QSO via the IoW Ventnor repeater, GB3IW some 25 miles away with a good signal report and newly licenced M7 called David, who was enjoying Echolink and how he was getting on the air with a UV5R as well.

I really enjoyed the THD7 in being able to do both SSTV and a QSO, the walk was really invigorating as well !

Hoping I will do more /P and /M in the New Year, in the mean time I have a couple of projects around the QTH to finish off as well… πŸ™‚

73

Alan / 2E0FWE

A trip to Yeovil & IC-9700

After much consternation about the state of my shack and the amount of equipment in it I took the plunge and decide to sell all my duplicate equipment. That meant my first HF rig, the TS690S, and the DSP Unit, along with the 10M Yaseu would go. I asked at my local club first, people was kind of interested in individual things, but I didn’t want to split the Kenwood equipment. I then contacted the establishment I had bought it from, Lindars in Yeovil, and Justin got back in touch – we got a ‘bundle’ price agreed and I was off to Yeovil !

I had a pleasant drive from the QTH in Bournemouth, taking just over an hour. Some road works meant a minor diversion, but was quickly able to navigate the back roads to my destination!

Once there I met Justin, who was attentively helping another customer – he really is passionate about radio and helping, it was good to see – i knew my equipment would go into good hands and make other enthusiasts happy with their purchase from Lindars.

This was my first visit to a radio shop in person since the 1980’s – Hastings used to have 3 radio shops at the peak of the “C.B.” years – my favourite one being in the marina where we could get sweaters with our ‘handles’ on (yes, “shambles” was my handle..) and next to a shop which had a G Scale model train in the window ! Great times.

The shop was stocked with the most amazing equipment, it was fantastic to see such a great variety – from valves to modern receivers, it was all there in one shop. The temptation to the Icom receiver was great – but had already set my mind on the IC-9700.

I bought some books on QRP and then headed back home, not before stopping off in a great farm shop to get some Somerset cider and local made scones.

Fast forward a few days later and my new IC-9700 had arrived ! The 9700 is some what heavier than the 7300 for sure – for the first time I made an un-boxing video and connection. As I’m using a single feed line, I’m using a multiplexer to split the signal.

IC-9700 unboxing

I’ve had the 9700 for just over a week now and going back to the G4PRS net on Monday evenings I was able to pull in more signals and get great signal reports back. I’ve made telephony QSO’s on 2M as far away as Hastings in East Sussex ! So the extra ‘whiskys’ are really helping.

I’ve got far more to learn about the 9700 and it will take time but I’m sure I’ve got a fantastic shack setup that is now easier to work and slightly more tidy πŸ™‚