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Four seasons in one day


#1

Activation Report for NW051 & NW053

Having never walked these summits before I was unsure how long they would take to reach Trig, so decided to set out early to give me plenty of time to Ascend.

Foel Fenlli GW/NW-053: Roads from Helsby to Car park were very quiet with only the odd nutcase driving like a bat out hell to get nowhere fast. Arrived in more than enough time to ascend gradually using the right hand easier route that both Richard and GW0DSP recommended. No sooner had I got on walk that the clouds descended and with the path covered in about an inch of loose snow from the nightime fall made the going a bit more slow.

Upon reaching the Cairn, the clouds were still around me so no views across to Moel Famau or Moel Gyw. decide to use cairn as a support with a couple of guyropes just to stop it moving. Attached wire dipole to top of perch rod and the beam about a third up facing what I thought was north/south. checked dipole on 20m and SWR went off scale??? tried it on 40m and all band below 1.5 ??? ( I have checked my measurements since coming down and they are correct for 14.285 so still experimenting atm.)

Started on 144.300 and Steve Gw7AAV came straight back to me and we QSY to 330. Thanks for Spot Steve. 14 contacts including an S2S with Carolyn GW6WRW/P on MW-038, She chased me so I agreed to look out for her later when I was on 053. Moved to 7.062 and only got 3 contacts GW7AAV and two european stations Slovenia and Germany, band was noisy with QRM so decided to go QRT and get down for some early lunch in car. overall a nice summit when clouds disappear.

Moel Gyw GW/NW/053: Again arrived at Car park in plenty of time and spotted the road/track to begin from on other side of road. Sun was out this time and no snow on ascent. Found the walk up a bit more taxing than I thought, probably due to tired from previous summit. section from signpost to Trig was over heather and a bit wet but manageable, this part I found quite steep and the Trig never looked any closer for a while.

As soon as I had setup the beam,the weather turned and I sheltered as best I could behind Trig with wind and snow coming in sidewards from my back. covered up FT897 with my bag and got on with it. 145.500 gave me G4BLH and a few more went to 575 but in use so eventually landed on 145.475 FM. 11 contacts with G4BLH spotting me Thanks Mike. GW0DSP said Carolyn was on 145.525 so decided to try to get 2nd S2S with her but she had apparantly gone back to 80M, Sorry I missed you Carolyn!! I decided I would be a bit mad and tried SSB 2m aswell during Poor weather, it stopped snowing halfway through my contacts but remained windy. 5 contacts on SSB and decided that was enough as it had just started snowing again so descent was going to be done in sideways snow! Made it down OK and sun came out on Journey home( What more can I say ,God decided I wasn’t righteous enough Hi Hi!!!)

My overall opinion of the day was that it was tough going at times for my poor old Knees but I was so pleased with myself for getting the two in. I must say I more than thoroughly enjoyed the Day and was still buzzing when my XYL came in from work at 6pm.

All Contacts have been logged on Database as usual and I am most grateful for all who chased me and made the day more than worthwhile.

73

Tony


#2

Good stuff Tony. From your report, it sounds like you took the hellishly steep heather clamber as your final approach to Moel Gyw summit. I once considered this - but then quickly reconsidered! From that point, I always turn south to follow the main path to the junction of paths south of the summit, then double back to take the signed path up to the summit - much gentler!

Glad you’re enjoying the SOTA.

73, Tom M1EYP


#3

In reply to M1EYP:

Yes Tom I did go right round to back where the signpost is, I am a big bloke with bad knees ,so thats my excuse. A Seasoned Summit Veteran like you will probably think most summits are gentle HiHi. But when I get my weight down hopefully I will feel the same.

Weight is coming off nicely thanks to GP and his wonder pills.

hope to be able to have you accompany me up soon.

73

Tony


#4

In reply to M6ADL:

Hi Tony

Thank you for the summit to summit on the first hill. The contact was made via my HF dipoles,the swr is only just good enough for the 817’s finals not to fold back on 2m; the pattern the antenna produces in the horizontal mode looks like a hedgehog :o) and modelled it suggests it produces 9bdi gain in some directions.

BTW the modelling may not be totally accurate and most probably nothing like it in the real world. Either way you look at it it’s not a good antenna for 2m but for the odd s2s it works :o)

Sorry I missed you on the second hill :o( I did look for you when Mike told me you were about but wasn’t really expecting much; very little vertical radiation from the antenna.

HF propagation yesterday was dire in the morning; 80m signals were up and down with plenty of people worked; 60m nothing except one very weak ground wave to Quentin (GW3BV) in Aberystwyth and one long skip to Ken (GM0AXY) in Edinburgh; 40m saw only Quentin again and Michael (DJ5AV); the afternoon was a little better but not brilliant with 60m open again. So don’t be disapointed with your first forray onto the lower bands.

I would suggest you build an 80m dipole; there are plenty of chasers and QRP contacts are far easier than the higher bands atm. 40m can be hard work unless conditions are just right and 20m you are just competing with high power stations.

Keep experimenting with portable HF, when conditions are good the whole UK will be open to you and working DX is fun.

Carolyn (G6WRW)


#5

Hi Tony,

I might be an SSV, but also a “big bloke”, carrying 18 stones of myself everywhere with me as well as pack weight.

It doesn’t matter how much walking I do, the weight never comes off, but at least I get fitter!

Tom M1EYP


#6

In reply to M6ADL (A man for all seasons):

Hi Tony, great work on those two summits. Do not let the failures get you down it is all part of the self learning process which you seem to have taken on board. Try something and if it doesn’t work analyse the results and try again. If it does work analyse the results and ask yourself can I improve on this. The Internet lets you share the highs and lows with a wider audience than was previously possible and for those that know to point you in the right direction. Some details of the dipole dimensions and feeder arrangement might help us to help you. I wonder if the SWR problem could have been down to odd 1/4 waves in the feeder?

I do not know who said it but I read somewhere in the dim and distant that “It is not the good days in the mountains that make us mountain men”. The quote goes on along the lines that in adversity we find triumph and seems to point to the fact that the harder something is to achieve the more we can revel in our achievements. I have found it to be true in that the more I have my day spoiled by poor weather, mist, low cloud and no view or equipment failure the more I want to get out and do it right next time.

Good luck with the weight loss program I seem to see-saw between Telly Tubby and Fat B****** my self despite going to the gym and eating like a church mouse. Maybe it’s the Guinness or maybe my chocolate addiction or maybe I am just a well fed church mouse. I wonder what the magic pills are? Not dried frog by any chance? (TP fans will understand).

Best regards Steve GW7AAV 73


#7

In reply to G6WRW:

Hi Carolyn, thanks for all that it obvious works as we both a 5-8 report so keep up the good work.

The problem is still there with my Dipole I have tested all and no shorts in either the Flexweave or the Coax so back to the drawing board.

Thanks for tha S2S and sorry about 2nd summit

catch you soon

73

Tony


#8

In reply to M1EYP:
19 stone for me atm Tom but lost a stone in 4 weeks with pills from GP.

They are called Orlistat and do some strange things to your output HiHi. Not being any more descriptive than that but check on Google for more opinions on them.

They are definetly working so I can stay on them for upto 2 years.

73

Tony


#9

In reply to M6ADL:

What is the design of your dipole?

Carolyn


#10

In reply to GW7AAV:

Thanks Steve,

The one thing you can always rely on with me is get my teeth in and dont let go till its sorted.

I have checked and double checked the dimensions and they are spot on for 14.285.
I have had my multimeter test for shorts and that all connections are good so no problem there.?

dipole description:
I have a Dipole Centre with an SO239 connector on it, I use Flexweave coated Wire the same as I use for my G5RV at the shack. I used the formula 468/freq which gives me a dipole leg measurement of 16.38 feet and that is what each leg is measured to. I use Mini 8 coax to feed it.

I am now considering fitting a Choke Balun or Coax coil air Balun and try testing again?

I will get there in the end.

The pills have been described in my answer to Tom further up the forum they dont work for everyone , are very expensive if you dont get them from your GP. and he will only keep you on them if they work.

thanks for help up the summits speak to soon

73

Tony


#11

In reply to M6ADL:

Hi Tony

Your dipole needs to be 5% shorter for an inverted v

For coated flexweave this will get you closer

136.8/frequency in MHz = 1/2 wave length, divide that by 2 to give the length of each leg.

Start slighly longer and cut back

But for inverted v dipoles over 20 metres the ends of the legs need to be raised very high before it will begin to perform correctly; this happens naturally if the 20m portion is part of an 80m linked dipole.

Carolyn


#12

In reply to M6ADL:

I used the formula 468/freq

Which I think is not accurate for an inverted V. Also the dielectric of the insulation on the Flexweave will affect the calculation.

I am now considering fitting a Choke Balun or Coax coil air Balun and try testing again?

That wont change the VSWR.

Normally you work out the length using formulas and add a bit. Then you set up the antenna in a typical environment where it will be used and measure the VSWR in situ. Then you prune lengths to get the VSWR to a number you consider to have the right magical properties. Something like an MFJ-259 is useful to do the measurements.

The ends of the antenna need to be at least 1m AGL or it will have a worse VSWR and will be lossy.

No wonder your knees hurt if you are lugging an FT-897 and mini-8 and Flexweave up with you!

Andy
MM0FMF
(currently 102kgs which is 20 more than my doctor wants!)


#13

In reply to G6WRW:

Thanks Carolyn, back to the drawing board

73

Tony


#14

In reply to M6ADL:

All you have to do is shorten the elements you already have. If you haven’t got an analyser and can’t borrow one then revert to the old way…

  1. Setup antenna
  2. Apply RF
  3. Measure VSWR
  4. Snip 1cm of each element

repeat steps 3 & 4 until whatever magic number you want is reached.

  1. Put it all away
  2. Take up hill and have fun!

Andy
MM0FMF


#15

In reply to MM0FMF:

(currently 102kgs which is 20 more than my doctor wants!)

Andy

No doubt you will be campaigning for a bonus: perhaps a multiplier for the “fuller-figure”?

73

Richard
G3CWI
(80kg and far too fat)


#16

In reply to G3CWI:

Yes a BMI multiplier to penalise racing snakes like Robin and John YSS!

Seriously, my diabetes control has improved massively since I started SOTA. But having now got used to, nay addicted to exercising I need to continue the process and loose some lard. With obesity being a major problem in the UK (cost to NHS etc.) both you and John G3WGV should be proud that your creation has encouraged quite a few people like me to get off their lardy bums and get exercising.

The MM0FMF delardification plan calls for a controlled reduction in the TLI (total lard index) by 7kgs by August. That doesn’t sound too difficult really.

Andy
MM0FMF


#17

In reply to MM0FMF:

In reply to M6ADL:

All you have to do is shorten the elements you already have. If you
haven’t got an analyser and can’t borrow one then revert to the old
way…

  1. Setup antenna
  2. Apply RF
  3. Measure VSWR
  4. Snip 1cm of each element

repeat steps 3 & 4 until whatever magic number you want is
reached.

  1. Put it all away
  2. Take up hill and have fun!

Andy
MM0FMF

Thanks Andy thats what I hope to do on Saturday.

73

Tony


#18

In reply to M6ADL:

I do not have the luxury of an antenna analyser & have to do things the old fashioned way. I am aware that you successfully tuned your 20 Metre dipole & I did listen for you earlier today, & although I heard some phone activity on that frequency I didn’t hear you.

I spent a short time on Saturday in a nearby convenient field “doing things the old fashioned way”, with a view to fabricating a 60M / 80M dipole using not flexiweave, but normal stranded coated copper wire.

I do have some experience of HF & have had some succes with wire antennas I have made for 160M 80M 40M & higher, but even I was taken by surprise at the effect that can happen simply by taking a simple dipole away from a straight configuration, into a “Vee” configuration.

Avoiding the fact that I first chopped off too much from either end of my 5MHz dipole (being more used to lower frequencies where a couple of feet doesn’t matter as much! HI )A Ram was looking at me in a funny way & the field was full of sheep droppings. Sheep are usually very timid, I thought it was strange until I noticed his horns, but to be fair, I had said hello to one of the lady sheep earlier.

He just sort of sauntered by & carried on about his business.

After re-attaching the parts of the antenna I’d cut off earlier, I acheived a minimum 1.2 / 1 VSWR towards the top end of the 5MHz channels & proceeeded to call CQ on 5.3985 MHz. After a couple of calls Robin, GM7PKT came back to me & gave me a report of 55535 with me giving him 55545 which for 1700z with band conditions not ideal I was more than happy with :slight_smile:

I then packed up my radio,pole & antenna, & made my way home.

I did not finish tuning my antenna for 80M operation, but that will shortly follow.

The formula that Carolyn has already given for an Inverted V dipole, is not too far away from my measurements “in the field”, although I did use a different type of wire.

It may not change the resonant frequency of your antenna, but the use of a good ground spike, or a decent counterpoise can lower your minimum VSWR & widen the bandwidth of your antenna, in my experience anyway.

Best of luck & enjoy your radio :slight_smile:

73 Mark G0VOF


#19

In reply to G0VOF:

Hi Mark,

I started testing on Saturday morning with 16feet per leg with the intention to cut back, but when I checked I had 1:1 on lower end of band and 1:4 on higher end so left it as it was.

Finland station calling on 14.267 called him back and had 5-5 report from him with him using beam was giving me 5-9. so happy with homebrew as it is.

When up on Shining Tor though , only just got my 2M ssb contacts in before weather deteriorated so bad we had to come down so no HF again, never mind better luck next time.

73

Tony


#20

In reply to M6ADL:

That explains why I didn’t hear you Tony, I should have been able to work you on 20 Metres from Shining Tor even though I don’t have a dedicated 20M antenna.

I’m hoping to get out this weekend & finish off pruning the 80M sections of my 60M/80M dipole, hopefully somewhere with less sheep droppings!

I plan to take an Antenna tuning unit with me this time, so even if I do make a mess of pruning the aerial I can still give my radio a good match. It should also let me work bands other than 60M/80M.

If the weather is good I may be on a summit, probably SP-014 Longridge fell, but if not, I’d certainly appreciate any reports if anybody does hear me calling CQ.

Best of luck with the aerial & I hope to work you soon.

73 Mark