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 – G-0211 – Upton Heath

With the weather being so lovely and time allowing day time operation, I headed out to Upton Heath – this is just opposite Upton Park but separated by the busy A35. Although once in either, you wouldn’t notice that it is there !

Upton Heath (G-0211) and Upton Country Park (G-0443)

I brought my wagon along to help transport the radio and accessories from the car to the heathland, with just a short walk to find a good bench to operate from it was no problem at all.

I was able to be on the air quickly with the excellent Alex Loop ham-pack antenna, I used a bungee to attach it to a direction post as my bike stand is still in the back of the bongo in North Wales, but the bungee was excellent to use and changing frequency across the 20M band was very easy to get low S.W.R. across the operating frequencies.

I wanted to get better at Telephony contacts so started with Phone on 14.241 and used the PoTA App to self-spot, within minutes I was trying to manage a pile up ! I was getting so many call signs at once, it was hard to distinguish them and get back, thankfully I got most, but some I couldn’t complete, but that’s what experience and patience will teach me ! I managed 6 Phone contacts, whilst I appreciate all of them, it was great to get a fantastic signal report from K1RO in New Hampshire ! I was so glad to have a break and a drink of water with me.

I then moved onto FT8 and completed enough QSO’s to active the park, with reports coming in from all over Europe.

FT8 – 20m

Whilst I had been operating for just over an hour, I wanted to give SSTV a try, my previous attempt was thwarted by a very busy 20m band, but today I was able to get thru a fantastic signal from HA1AD

With my water supply fast running out and time getting on, i packed up having had a fantastic time at Upton Heath. It is definitely a park I will come to again, its nearby, really accessible and lovely location to work from.

Youtube – QRP POTA Upton Heath

Bongo Broke and Sudden Local PoTA

So I planned my trip to Wales carefully, ensure that I had packed all that I needed for my weekend in Wales. I booked a campsite, only to find when I got there they don’t open the main gates until 8AM, so that would mean being late for lectures ! Instead I stayed at the lovely Bangor Business School Hotel – not as cheap as camping, but very much getting me there on time and a good nights sleep.

Sadly on the way up the Bongo’s breaks made the awful noise of metal on metal, so on Thursday I booked it in for a Saturday ‘break check’ – low and behold, new disc, pads and caliper required ! With that my planned PoTA activation for Snowden was off, and I headed back to Bournemouth via Train whilst my Bongo is repaired in Bangor.

I unloaded my radio, alexloop and computer along with my suitcase from the Bongo, a total of 4 bags. The train required no less than 3 changes and the underground – but in all this travelling the alexloop and Icom bags really proved how good they are. The Alex loop is incredibly light and was easy to carry, whilst the IC705 and the radials was slightly more weighty, choosing to carry that one on my back it was easy to carry around. My other bag continued 2*Battery so weighed a fair bit, but wasn’t to bad.

It took about 9 hours to get from Bangor back to the QTH in Bournemouth, but I had done it ! Only thing which I had ‘lost’ is the antenna of the THD7, on the scale of things, I wasnt going to complain ! (it must of slipped out the bag at some point)

With that doing PoTA from the Bongo is on hold until I get it back, hopefully this week if the caliper arrives in time ! (which means a return train trip to Bangor, luckly I love trains πŸ™‚

POTA 22/3/22 – Upton Park

The weather in Bournemouth is being fantastic, not wanting to bury myself in over 40 research papers the whole day, decided to go out and do a local activation at Upton Park – I have been there to visit before, but not for PoTA. As it was so nice, I really wanted my XYL Monica to come along as well, as there is plenty of facilities there, i.e. tea/coffee/light snacks and decent clean toilets, all within a short walking distance from the car park.

xk8 – faster than the bongo, but not quite so good for radio within it !

With the Bongo still being in Bangor, the XK8 is getting plenty of action, whilst I cant easily operate, it got all that I needed and XYL to Upton Park without problem.

To activate a park, you only need to be within the boundary, and as the tea room is within the boundary of the park, was a perfect place to setup. There was some curiosity as to what I was doing, but no problems with putting my alex-loop in the table and then running my laptop into the IC705, we bought some nice tea and cake, plus a bottle of water as the temperature was really getting up at midday !

Even with the antenna in a compromised location, I was getting out just fine on both 17m and 20m.

PSK Reporter report from Upton Park

As soon as I self-spotted on the PoTA app, i was getting more calls, amazingly 2 from the USA ! Albeit FT8, it was really satisfying to get so many DX contacts on 10W.

For the first 30 minutes, the contacts came in very quickly, but after 12:30 there was a real slow down – i said to XYL Monica that if it was only 2-3 contacts made, I would of come back the next day (you can do activations over multiple days) but I was on 9 and need just one more ! I tuned to 20M and sure enough made my last contact there quite quickly once I had re-tuned the alex loop and found a clear part of the FT8 bandwidth to operate in.

With the 10 contacts made which are required for a park activation, I packed up and we headed out for a lovely drive around the Dorset countryside. At home I processed my manual log thru the excellent Excel spreadsheet to produce the ADIF file and sent that off to the regional POTA administrator, hopefully my results will be processed in the next day or two..

POTA G-0443 Activation contacts

QRP POTA – G-0258 Martin Down

Having originally planned to go out PoTA the week before and found that the IC-705 had developed a fault with its SQL/RF/AF Gain knob, that had to be repaired, was fixed and turned around very quickly by Icom UK !

After Sales Service is important

So I lost a weekend of PoTA activation, I did make good use of the time tidying my Mazda Bongo up and enjoying time out with it still around the gorgeous Dorset/Hampshire countryside.

Having got the IC-705 back in re-instated my visit to Martin Down. Having not been there I thoroughly enjoyed this excellent video on Martin Down and more, which gave me enough information about the location without having to visit there.

Lovely video about Martin

I put my planned action on the PoTA website and headed out on the 12th of March, it was a lovely drive up and the location was fantastic. I set about setting up my IC-705 and Alexloop Hampack antenna. When I went to transmit via WSJTX on FT8, the radio and transceiver kept disconnecting ! I went back and checked over the basics, but couldn’t find anything out in the field as to what the issue was. Having not packed an external table/chair and feeling a little despondent headed back home.,

Portable Problems !

After having a nice afternoon out with XYL Monica, I got the 705 and out the bag and started working through the problems I had encountered. In the video above you’ll see how i switch out the antenna, computer and cables finally identifying the issue with the Alex Loop antenna.

Alex loop antenna ‘fix’

Upon closer inspection I was able to find that there was a considerable ‘cut’ in the coax, wether this all three (outer, braid and feeder) hitting each other wasn’t clear, but restoring the shielding by way of some strong tape and its proximity to the inner loop resulted in the transmit issues being resolved

I re-registered my planned activation on the PoTA Website for the 13th and headed back out, full of determination not only to make FT8 contacts, but also SSTV and Telephony.

Come the 13th I headed out early to ensure I got a space suitable for my Bongo where I could park in a good position to the antenna, this was easily setup and getting on everything in position is becoming very routine now. Operating from the Bongo in cold/not warm conditions is really brilliant, and means I don’t need to carry tents,etc to do an activation and keep warm/risk my IC-705 getting damaged by rain/weather,etc.

Once setup the issue with the radio disconnecting happened again ! This time knowing where to look I reapplied the ‘fix’ in the field, and was back on the air in no time. I achieved the 10 QSO on FT8 to activate the park in just over 1 hour and 10 minutes, they ranged around to the world to right here in England. I was very satisfied with how the 705 and the magloop antenna was performing.

FT8 RX/TX Report via PSK Reporter

Using the PoTA app from my phone I could see numerous people re-spotting me which undoubtedly helped in the succession of FT8 qsos.

Having gotten the 10 QSO’s needed to activate the park, I then turned my attention to SSTV on 20m (14.230) – reception was amazing, I got the IC-705 and Magloop tuned in no problem, another technique I have ‘developed’ since going portable of tuning the antenna to the frequency to get the best S.W.R and signal output (where as at home I use multi band verticals and Endfeds). I tried for an hour to have a QSO, but sadly I couldn’t make a contact this time, but did receive some great pictures. For the full gallery of RX, see here

Upon arrival at home I did receive a very nice email that my SSTV picture had been picked up my a KiwiSDR in Germany ! ( Thank you Tommy/ LB6DIΒ )

CQ POTA BW Mode on 10W

After an hour of SSTV I turned to Telephony – I’m not the most confident HF Telephony person, but doing PoTA gives me a real opportunity to improve my HF QSO style. I do find that that with PoTA people do tend to do the ‘rubber stamp’ contest style of QSO, but are nevertheless very enthusiastic to make the contact and really patient in getting call signs out to ‘activators’ (operators in the park).

In the end I managed 6 Telephony contacts all over the globe with a good mixture of reports, I was really really excited to do so well with such relative low power and portable.

2E0FWE – QRP – POTA Martin Down National Park

Once home I had the challenge of getting the log book fully into ADIF format. This is the one thing that some non-technical people may find a challenge, but I have been able to find this excellent page on how to create a mixed log using Excel (on Windows). I was able to complete the spreadsheet and run the macro to produce the ADIF file for submission to PoTA Administrators easily, so now I just need to wait for the file to be processed for my activation to be complete !

I can say that operating mobile and doing PoTA is by far the best part of amateur radio for me now, it is incredibly satisfying to go out with such lower power and in lovely locations to operate from.

POTA log book uploaded into QRZ

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

PoTA – 1st Activation (G-0362) !

1st Activation !

It is done ! I have become part of PoTA History by activating Avon Heath Country Park (G-0362). There are plenty of other parks in the area and I’m really excited to continue my PoTA activities.

I have since reverted my Laptops OS back to Windows 10 – I found the USB Driver for Linux wasn’t working correctly with the IC705. Going to Windows and running the default Icom driver I found no issues at all ! This also means I am using recommended logging software for PoTA as seen in the video below.

N3FJP ACLog for POTA Activators

This will make logging much easier going forward.

I am planning to go out again 13th Feb 22 @ G-0079, which is quite near me and a familiar location to me.

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

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 !

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