I pretty much have already got a viable system. Just fine-tuning the details after a couple of outings that were very useful and informative tests.
I worked MM0XPZ and GM6ZAK on 80m at around 15:00z on 13/2/19, and GM4COX a little earlier on 60m.
No GMs on either band late morning on the same day, from a different summit.
Hope to catch you before too long.
I’m interested in Tom’s experiences with 30m. It was my “go to” band a few years ago, never failing to give me contacts around europe. I used a dipole, and had no thoughts of DX, but you’ve set me thinking perhaps I should give it another go…
I used to do a fair bit of 30m too. As you say, great for Europe, but I don’t really recall any DX* either. But that was with a dipole in the daytime. On the greyline with a vertical + elevated groundplane it will be a different matter.
*actually, I did once work YN Nicaragua from The Cloud on 30m!
I usually operate on 30 meter CW as well as 40 and 20 on all my summits. When there is a contest going on, 30 might be my only practical option for contacts.
In the US there is no SSB on 10 MHz.
I had been using a trapped end fed wire antenna for 20,30 and 40 meters. Just rebuilt it without the traps as a linked end fed wire.
Was watching for you Tom but could not see any signals from you or chasing stations. I did notice later as the sun went down a bit I could see more EU stations scrolling though on FT8. I tried to chase Andrew VK1DA as well on 30m cw but lost him in the qsb so did not score the qso. Good fun.
Ian vk5cz …
Hi Tom, there was no indication from your activity and spots that you had heard me at all. At one point I was calling CQ on 10.115 and you spotted doing the same, so that seemed to prove there was no propagation between us. So after making 4 contacts on 30m cw I took the opportunity to work a wwff op on 20m to give him a contact and grab a new park, then called on 20m cw, working just one JA.
If I had known you were hearing my signal improve I would have stayed on 30m cw in the continued hope of making a contact, since that’s what I went up there for… better luck next time and perhaps a back channel for liaison would help?
73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH
I use Facebook messenger with JP1QEC when we are chasing or activating summits It works well and is almost real time comms with a very slight delay to work through the networks between us. Its been hard work chasing anyone this week very depressed band conditions for sure.
73 CZ …
Hi Ian, yes I use that with some ops, others I use Discord, which seems pretty easy and helpful to use.
But beyond just one becomes unmanageable. The lasts thing I want when I’m up to my armpits in guy wires and antenna feedlines is a phone to answer, where someone says “are you on the air yet?” To which the obvious answer may offend…
73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH
My attempt to convey this information is the post 24 up the thread. Bit of a long shot, but my ancient old phone was about to run out of charge! BTW I soon QSYd away from 10.115MHz when I noticed you were spotted on the same QRG. I couldn’t hear you at that point, but figured I was never going to if I was working chasers on the same QRG!
Have you thought of putting a link in the 1/4 wave vertical??
If you measured 5.3m of wire, that would be (300/14.100Mhz) / 4 = 5.3m (a 1/4 wave on 14.100mhz) then simply add links of 2.1m, on the radiating element and the ground plane guys, that would get you up to (300/10.140Mhz) / 4 = 7.4m (a 1/4 wave on 10.140MHz)
Are the groundplane wires acting as guys?? Hence the 10m fishing pole???
Just a thought, that would you offer a dual band antenna for the same wire. Just make some strain relief links out of chopping board and get some bullet connectors or spade tags and you have the antenna made! I bet Mr SotaBeams has some old plastic kicking about the workshop?
If I was going to multiband one of my groundplane verticals, I would be more likely to do so via the trap approach.
Yes, I’m a big fan of the elevated groundplane thing - had some stunning results with it over the years on 6-10-12-15-17-20. I just wanted to try such an antenna out on 30m, which I think is optimum for Far East / Oceania DX (including S2S) opportunities at the present time.
I don’t really need to go multiband - I’ve usually got a specific band in mind when I go out, and if doing a longer activation, I fill my time by cycling through the modes as opposed to bands. I do SSB, PSK, JT65, FT8 and CW, so plenty to keep me entertained!
Having said that, I’m going to be using my little HB1B CW transceiver again soon, and will use a SOTABEAMS Bandhopper 4 (80-40-30-20 linked dipole) with that.
Ah yes, I did see that when I got home. I didn’t want to stay another hour as I had promised to be home by sundown, which was around 0900. I have the impression that the half hour after I decided to close down might have been the best half hour of conditions. But if I had delayed longer I would not have met my deadline.
We will have to try again.
73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH
Thursday 21st February 2019 - Gun G/SP-013 & Shining Tor G/SP-004
There was little chance of answering the question “30m - what can it do?” - not when I’d left the 10m Travelmast at home! I’d been a sensible chap for once, taking my pole in from the car after a damp activation, wiping it down with towels and storing it with the end caps off. Unfortunately, this change in MO caused me to forget that the mast wasn’t it in the car as I left the house!
No problem I thought, instead I’ll check out the Youkits HB1B CW transceiver. Richard G3CWI had kindly repaired this for me a few days earlier. I was very pleased as the rig had been out of action for a long time, and it is a favourite of mine that I really enjoy operating with. Anyway, that plan was soon as dead as the 30m plan, once I realised I hadn’t thought to bring any earbuds out with me (the HB1B doesn’t have a speaker).
So there I was at the parking spot for Gun, in my car, with unexpected heavy rain lashing down. Both my radio agenda items were not possible - see above - and I even thought about going home activationless. I then started to think about nipping up to the summit with the HT and just putting up with the weather for half-an-hour or so.
Then the rain stopped and the skies began to clear. I decided to do an activation on good old 20m using another of my groundplane antennas. The going was fairly slow, but a variety of modes allowed a respectable number of contacts to enter the SOTA log.
20m SSB: 3 QSOs
20m CW: 5 QSOs
20m FT8: 6 QSOs
2m FM: 4 QSOs
A change of plan at home and a glorious sunny afternoon gave me the opportunity, and idea to have another crack at testing out my 30m GP and HB1B. I invited Richard G3CWI out on the trip, more for his antenna analyser than his company between you-and-me, but don’t tell him that. Main thing is that I did remember to take the Travelmast and earbuds out of the house this time.
The walk up Shining Tor was very pleasant in the sunshine, but there was a fair bit of breeze which concerned me with regard to deploying a 10m mast. We checked some mapping to determine the extent of the AZ on the lee (north) side of the hill, and continued downslope after the summit to get a little more shelter. We found a good flattish grassy spot to the right of the path, and where we determined the wind would not be too disruptive to the large vertical antenna.
The aerial went up and was found to be resonant on 9.6MHz. I cut off some of the vertical element, and the CF moved up to 9.880MHz. Repeat a couple of times, and I got it to 10.110MHz - perfect! I verified that the SWR indication on the FT-817 was good right across the band, and started activating.
9 QSOs were made on 30m CW, and everything seemed to be working nicely. I then swapped the FT-817 for the HB1B, and thoroughly enjoyed using that rig for the first time in nearly two years. It’s such a pleasant rig to use, and 5 more 30m CW QSOs were made.
Walking back over the summit on the way back to the car, I put out a few calls on 2m FM with the handheld, resulting in three further QSOs.
The return journey was punctuated with a refreshment stop at the Stanley Arms, Bottom o’th’ Oven. Jennings Cumberland - always a favourite for a sunny SOTA day.
…and so I’m now ready to have another crack at early morning greyline DXing with the 30m GP - which is the main reason I built it.
Tomorrow (Friday) morning, I should be QRV from around 0700 to 1100z, on The Cloud G/SP-015. 30m CW and FT8.
Almost mission accomplished. 2 VKs, including a S2S, plus a ZL worked on 30m CW in the activation currently in progress.
No DX on FT8 yet, but trying for that now.
Tom, Was chasing you this morning FT8 & watched your S2S with F5LKW/P F/AM-337 on 30m. Saw JA, VK, ZL, HK plenty of DX out there on both 30m & 40m.
73’ Don GW0PLP
I got Andrew too, wonder who the other VK was, in VK6 could hear some chasers LP chasing Andrew very weak, so suspect that may have been a LP Contact. Had a look SP but was pretty quiet. Was not around for long but was surprised to see 30 open.
The other VK I worked was VK4TJ. No prizes for guessing who the ZL was!
Nice activation lapping up the sunshine under the cliffs on the north-eastern ledge of The Cloud. Very happy with the new antenna and the design modifications I made after the first couple of outings. These were:
- Used extra strong military green wire
- Used a custom made centre plate
- Guyed to the centre plate, not just to the ends of the radials
- Used brand new guying cord for this
- Used guying rings and insulators of decreasing size up the mast to keep the radiating element in better control
- One extra radial - now 4, instead of 3
It was because of the wind that I went down to the sheltered ledge at the edge of the escarpment. The only issue here was space for the radials - this is a large antenna. I managed to deploy the antenna, but two of the radials were angled upwards from the feedpoint (ie pegging point on higher ground), not down as is customary, and three of the radials were all directed within a 90 degree angle! So far from the optimal groundplane, but it still did it’s job, and importantly, there was no windload on the mast.
The main objectives of working DX on 30m was met, with the bonus of working a DX S2S on 30m, and a S2S on FT8. Some DX on FT8 would have been the icing on the cake, but the phrase “water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink” springs to mind…
30m CW: 23 QSOs - DXCCs: DL, EA, F, G, HB, I, LA, OH, RA, SM, SP, VK, ZL
30m FT8: 29 QSOs - DXCCs: 9A, DL, EA, ES, F, G, HB, I, LY, OE, OH, OK, SM, SP
2m FM: 10 QSOs - DXCCs: G, GW
Total: 62 QSOs
VK1DA on VK2/ST-053 - 30m CW
F5LKW/P on F/AM-337 - 30m FT8
G7OEM/P on G/SP-014 - 2m FM
An interesting thing to note as I was about to walk off the summit, there is a new marker post up there on one of the paths, designating it as a “shared trail” for walkers and mountain bikers. Cycling until recently was entirely prohibited on The Cloud, though a great many ignored that restriction.
Other than that regrettable development, a very pleasing activation. I’m feeling gruntled.
Once again, I was a lurker on FT-8, but never heard the slightest peep from you. No chasers, either, but I guess I know why, if you rung up zero QSO’s. Glad CW saved the day…73 John VK4TJ.
29 > 0