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G4YSS: GD/GD-001, Snaefell, 06-09-18


Guilty - also a pirate radio listener - Radio 270 or radio Caroline, and in the early Day Radio Atlanta (which became Radio Carolinr North). all from Hull in East Yorkshire. Could also copy most of the forts in the Thames Estuary in better conditions. kept a scrapbook of all of the News reports - happy days.

Oh yes and “Radio Rag” during the Hull University “Rag week” for many years - that was strange - it seemed that as it was for charity, and only on a week a year, that someone turned a blind eye to them!

I guess you all know that since the start of the year radio Caroline is back on Medium Wave using 1 KW on an ex BBC World Service frequency (648 KHz) allocated by Ofcom and using an ex BBC transmitter site to provide local radio to Kent. The station should be audible up in Northern England at night. Of course this preservation group run station has been available via the Internet and Smart Phone apps for some years but that’s not real-radio - where’s the crackle in that?

Special programs from the studio on the last Caroline ship, the Ross Revenge moored in the River Blackwater happen from time to time but the actual main studio is on land (Internet piped through from the ship I believe). The TX is also on land.

As they say, it only took 53 years to get a licence issued for the station!

73 Ed.


Many thanks for another of your excellent interesting reports John. Like Brian, I missed the 80m session, but had a listen for you on 160m without success. Not as though I was expecting much with my small antenna which just about makes it to 80m in an around-the-garden fashion. If I ever move I must invest in a larger patch of real estate.

The Isle of Man is definitely in my activating sights, though I won’t get away with a visit on my own. I will need to tie it in with a series of visits to “the sights”, so GD-001 will probably be a train ride plus a 2m session, hopefully with SSB included. Other summits might fare better.

73, Gerald G4OIG

P.S. The “lost” 2BP would probably be Zoli YO2BP. You get used to recognising parts of callsigns on CW. :wink:


Oh yes, I’d forgotten there were the 60 and the 75. I remember the central light now you mention it. Now I understand. I think the Landy petrol and Diesel were the same block a 2286cc. Now I see why yours looked like Ruby and yet was a different model.

Your missus in that Rover reminds me of mine in our 109 Safari LR with it’s 3.8 bread van engine. She had to have a knob on the steering wheel to get round corners at low speeds. Undaunted, she used to go shopping in it and once too 9 of her mates for an evening out at the Coachman, Snainton.
73, John.


Hi Ed,
Yes, 648 (ex BBC-WS freq) is what’s on my car radio daily around Scarborough but you need to be further away at night. They also borrow 1368 from Manx Radio for anniversary weekends. I never heard Atlanta. You’ve got one up on me there but the rest of them I have picked up, albeit some of them fleetingly.

I am only now, after all these years starting to be able to stomach Band-2 VHFM broadcasts. I quickly get bored if a station doesn’t fade to nothing and back, crackle and distort. I am so used to AM and offshore 1964 to 1990.
There are some books on a shelf outside our room here. Found one on the history of Manx Radio last night. A lot about Caroline North in it.

If I do go on 20m I might get you from GD2 today. Going to be windy. We’ll see if I can get out of it well enough for a protracted stay. Just leaving.
73, John


You will SO love DAB then John. Compared to FM, DAB sounds thin and devoid of life. They try to cram so many stations into the mix there aren’t enough bits to do proper quality audio, so most stations are not really stereo or stereo with no separation, there’s no dynamic range either. In a word, terrible. Oh, and there’s bugger all coverage. I can drive around the remote parts of GM and FM works, maybe scratchy, maybe mono, but it’s there. DAB? There’s just a little symbol showing no signal. This happens in Edinburgh too.

It’s not transmitted with enough power and being on 220MHz, propagation is very different to 100MHz. If I stand on the roof I can see Blackhill and Kirk O’Shotts masts. Line of sight at 25miles or so. Yet I need to faff about with antennas to get a peep of a DAB signal on the kitchen radio at home. What a crock!

Skip FM John and go straight to DAB… it’s so unreliable and horrible you’ll love it! :wink:


I saw the spot raised by Roy G4SSH for you, went to the frequency and heard nothing, neither you nor your chasers. I thought that there should be good propagation conditions with the UK at that time on 20m and knowing the way you normally work and often get helped by Roy G4SSH, I guessed that Roy might have raised that spot well in advance while you were changing your set-up, so I decided to wait on the frequency. Once again, my patience payed off for me because I was there when you send your CQ call, I responded to you and you picked me up immediately.
I was in our rental flat so I chased you with my endfed wire in the 25m above the street level balcony and my IC-706 putting about 50 watts out.
Despite the unusual callsign, I knew it was you, John, but honestly I didn’t realize you were in a summit at the isle of man until now after reading your activation report.
Thanks very much for the SOTA QSO and the nice report.



You take a reasonable amount of kit. And then you are amazed at ‘weight’ of my ex-army morse key I use? :slight_smile:


Hi Andy,
Yes I am so old now and have been listening to AM for so long that I am now irrevocably conditioned. Can’t help it. FM just doesn’t excite me but I think I’m just not a normal listener and amongst the amateur community, I won’t be the only one. We tend to look behind and deeper. An interest in how the programme gets to us. The offshore era was exciting and nothing now comes close.

As for DAB. Yes I can see your reasoning there. I had the same experience coming off GD2 3 hours ago when trying to listen to the cricket. I was getting a few seconds then nothing but it’s a square wave and it hurts rather than satisfies my ear 'oles.

My son tells me and apparently, as well as being non-stereo it was out of date almost before it was launched. There is another later/ improved version which we should have had but our current receivers wouldn’t pick it up. We’d have to buy new ones. The poor quality and cramming more stuff into less bandwidth is affecting HD TV too, it seems.

It certainly sounds like you have a worse service that in North Yorkshire. I regularly use it for the Test Match and for a station in Scarborough called Coast and County and it’s OK, hardly ever dropping. Olivers Mount TX is close I must admit. It’s bad where you are so you need to complain before they think it’s OK to drop the AM and FM services. AM is still best for GM because it’s a lumpy-bumpy country.
73, John


Yes, DAB is an perfect SNAFU of mad officialdom. The codec was rubbish when it was selected and there is no way to support new standards. We’re stuck with 25year old technology. Like most people, you’ll have noticed a small advance in technology over the last 25years but we get none of that with DAB! Secondly, the quality is dire due to over compression but it is marketed as DIGITAL and poor old Joe Q. Public doesn’t realise that digital doesn’t guarantee an improvement. So we have awful audio quality being forced on us with a system that barely covers the population centres of Scotland never mind the remote bits. But the government seems determined to kill off FM. It’s not like there’s some desperate demand for 20MHz of spectrum around 100MHz. Spectrum at 800MHz and L, S band sure. But 100MHz?

A simple test, listen to The Archers on R4 FM stereo and then R4 DAB. The analog (and by inference lower quality) FM signal is in wide stereo with ambience. The DAB one is unlistenable.

Coverage would be solved by using satellite downlinks. In fact my car receiver has both Band III (220MHz) and L-Band (1.5GHz) receivers ready installed. Just no L-band signals.


Hi Guru,
Very good to work you and now you showed me behind the scenes. Sorry I sometimes take a while to pull out the 20m dipole links. Good job you know how Roy and I operate! You have been paying attention. However, in this case I had already been on 14.052.6, called CQ and worked Bert DF5WA almost immediately. Then there was nothing so I went up to 14.285 for about 10 minutes to call in SSB without luck. Coming back, Roy’s spot must have worked then and you were first station in from a pileup. On 20m Roy can’t hear me like he can on 80 so there is a bit of guesswork on his part and phone texts sometimes have quite a lot of lag.

You did well with 50W to the end fed wire but it’s at a good height. I am very pleased you were happy with the IOM contact. It’s nice to be useful as you will know when you activate. The ‘T’ prefix is only for club stations and you don’t hear it often. Why you didn’t realise until afterwards.

Pleasure to work you. I know Roy works you a lot. I am often on the other end of 145.400 walking the dog and keeping up with the SOTA.

73, John


Nice to work you from GD002 today John. You were being hit by QRM from the contest stations but with timing we got the contact in between the splatter peaks - thanks. 40m was perhaps the better choice today as I found the background atmospheric noise level on 20m to be bad.

73 Ed.


Hello Dave and welcome.
Yes, that Morse key has far too many molecules for my liking. HI. Thanks for reading. I hope to be out again in GD at least once more and it would be good to work you, especially in CW. There aren’t many M6 CW ops especially of your experience. You’d do great in the WPX CW contest!

Give me a call.
See you at SARS, probably the 17th.
73, John


Hello Ed,
Yes, I could tell that you were really struggling to hear me but a good QSO was achieved quite quickly. 40m was an afterthought. I’d already done 80, 160 and 20. You were my final contact of the day on short wave, then it was 2m & 70cm for a handful more. Conditions can’t have been bad. I ended up with 87 QSO’s which is a lot for me. Mind you it was another long stay of six and a half hours. It didn’t seem that long, especially when rain and fog were replaced by sunshine, though there was a stiff breeze throughout. I was lucky with the WX and the radio.
73, John.


A great non-SOTA (and very non-hill) walk is the Tollesbury Sea Wall circular route on the River Blackwater estuary in Essex. It’s about 5/6 miles I think. At one point you get the nearest you can get on foot to the Ross Revenge - the Radio Caroline ship. I’m touring down that way this coming week so I’ll probably be indulging in that walk once again.


Oh dear, sorry Gerald,
I completely missed your reply! Thank you for it.

Yes the tourist stuff. Just come off a 1 Horse Power tram along the sea front. Engine was called Charles and ran on carrots. Wife declined the use of her handbag as a receptacle for the exhaust.

Also been to the top of GD1 on the train, the day after the activation. Thick fog I’m afraid and the missus nearly getting blown away at the trig. That’s two SOTA’s she’s been on this week. I drove her to the very top of GD5 yesterday and worked my lad /M to /M in East Anglia on 3.760. Might go back and put it on as a SOTA but may give the 1-pointers a miss due to lack of time and going to town (multi-band) on the others.

I wish I could lend you my garden but even I have to fold 50 feet of one leg back on a 160m dipole.

I sincerely hope you are fit and well and the scars are smoothing over nicely. Onward and upwards from now on.

Apologies again. I don’t seem to be getting much right with the reports from here. Pressure of work!

You might take a listen tonight (11-09-18) on 160m mid evg. from GD3, all being well and if I’m not wiped out by the WX.
73, John


I was very pleasured working that qso with you John, yes indeed the QSB was
a very big problem but as you say before i never give up easy, tnx and all the best John cu agn 73. de SV2HSZ.


Thanks Mike for your comment.

The Isle of Man seems like a long time ago now but I can remember the effort we both took to log one another. We made it in the end though and now you have confirmed your call sign. Your motto is mine, ‘Never, never give in.’ I hope we can have more QSO’s in the future.

All the best to you too Mike,
73, John.