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LA1KHA's PP3/MN1604 Challenge


#241

Battery: #1
Activation #9
Date: 25/02/12
Summit: G/LD-003
Band: 17m, 30m
Finish Voltage: 8.31V
Rigs: home brew for challenge -RockMite based. ‘MRM-39’ -30m, ‘Helvellyn’ -17m
Ant: Inv. Vee dipole at 3m above ground
QSOs: 4 (2 on 17m, 2 on 30m)
New DXCCs: 0
Cumulative QSOs: 65
Cumulative DXCC: 14 DL,EA,F,G,GW,HA,HB9,LA,OM,ON,OZ,PA,S5,SP
WX: very windy, severe wind chill. Mainly dry with occaisonal mist (fog!)

Found it very hard to do CW today, I started to shiver very quickly today giving rise to a very wobbly hand. I don’t think I have ever felt so cold! I deployed my ‘mountain shelter’ (KISU in some circles), which improved the wind chill situation, but added a lot of QRM! I was struggling to hear my rig with the volume at full.

I’m very happy tonight though. I hatched a plan a while back to activate Helvellyn on 17m as there were no contacts logged on the database for this band. I started project ‘Helvellyn’ a couple of Month’s ago in order to be the first to log contacts from this summit on 17m. I built my rig specially for this activation. I have named the rig ‘Helvellyn’ as building it seemed like quite a mountain to climb! http://flic.kr/p/bxjNzi

John, G0TDM, in Penrith is the first to chase G/LD-003 on 17m.

There had only been 1 logged contact on 30m from Helvellyn, so I have upped that by 2.

Who will be first to activate G/LD003 on 20m?

With my 4 QSO’s I qualified the summit on QRPp CW :slight_smile:

73
Colin
M0CGH


#242

Battery: #1
Activation #10
Date: 03/03/12
Summit: G/NP-005
Band: 17m, 30m
Finish Voltage: 8.11V
Rigs: home brew for challenge -RockMite based. ‘MRM-39’ -30m,‘Helvellyn’ -17m
Ant: Inv. Vee dipole at 6m above ground
QSOs: 4 (30m)
New DXCCs: 0
Cumulative QSOs: 69
Cumulative DXCC: 14 DL,EA,F,G,GW,HA,HB9,LA,OM,ON,OZ,PA,S5,SP
WX: Every season - wind,sun,hail,snow & rain! At least I wasn’t too cold this week, I had my duvet vest on underneath my duvet jacket underneath my goretex jacket! I was lovely and warm :slight_smile:

Turned the rig on at 10.45, took 30 mins to get my first QSO in the log. My last, and 4th, contact was in the log at 11.59 - thanks Mike, DJ5AV, for saving the day!

I tried 17m for a few minutes, but there were no takers this time around and my battery had already suffered enough! Will the battery see me through the next three summits? If my battery could get me through the 500 activator points mark, I would be very happy!

73
Colin
M0CGH


#243

Stats 12/03/2012

Battery: #1
Activation #11
Date: 12/03/12
Summit: G/LD-010
Band:40m
Finish Voltage: N/A
Rig: RockMite 40 from Small Wonder Labs
Ant: Inv. Vee dipole at 6m above ground
QSOs: 12
New DXCCs: 1 GM
Cumulative QSOs: 81
Cumulative DXCC: 15 DL,EA,F,G,GM,GW,HA,HB9,LA,OM,ON,OZ,PA,S5,SP
WX: No wind,warm and sunny! Operated in tee shirt (got sunburn to prove it!)

Battery: #1
Activation #12
Date: 12/03/12
Summit: G/LD-007
Band:40m
Finish Voltage: N/A
Rig: RockMite 40 from Small Wonder Labs
Ant: Inv. Vee dipole at 6m above ground
QSOs: 11
New DXCCs: 1 GI
Cumulative QSOs: 92
Cumulative DXCC: 16 DL,EA,F,G,GI,GM,GW,HA,HB9,LA,OM,ON,OZ,PA,S5,SP
WX: No wind, warm, alternating between sunny and misty

Battery: #1
Activation #13
Date: 12/03/12
Summit: G/LD-022
Bands:40m and 30m
Finish Voltage: 8.04V
Rig: RockMite 40 from Small Wonder Labs and home brew 30m rig (MRM-39)
Ant: Inv. Vee dipole at 6m above ground
QSOs: 12 (6 on 30m, 6 on 40m)
New DXCCs: 2 OE,OK (both on 30m)
Cumulative QSOs: 104
Cumulative DXCC: 18 DL,EA,F,G,GI,GM,GW,HA,HB9,LA,OE,OK,OM,ON,OZ,PA,S5,SP
WX: A little cooler than earlier in the day but very mild for the time of year. No wind, quite misty.

A brilliant day - 35 QSO’s in total and 4 new DXCC’s. Weather was very mild throughout the day. Gained 31 activator points earning me my next certificate (500) at 503 activator points :slight_smile:

72
Colin
M0CGH


#244

15-Apr-12
Battery: #1. Activation: #1
Summit: G/SP-017. Band: 30m
Radio: Rockmite 30
Antenna: Inverted Vee Dipole @ 6m agl
Battery: Duracell Pro-Life
Finish Voltage at room temp: Not a clue
New DXCCs: 7
Cumulative DXCCs: 7 (S5, G, DL, LA, HA, OZ, OM)
QSOs: 11. Cumulative QSOs: 11

Many thanks to Colin M0CGH for the rig.

Tom M1EYP


#245

17-Apr-12
Battery: #1. Activation: #2
Summit: G/SP-013. Band: 30m
Radio: Rockmite 30
Antenna: Inverted V Dipole @ 6m agl
Battery: Duracell Pro-Life
Finish Voltage at room temp: Not a clue
New DXCCs: 1
Cumulative DXCCs: 8 (DL, G, LA, HA, OE, OM, OZ, S5)
QSOs: 1. Cumulative QSOs: 12

That nice chap Fred Talbot led me to understand that the weather would be dry this morning, at the end of the Granada regional news last night. The problem is, once you’ve got it into your head you are doing a SOTA activation, it is difficult to cancel. So off I set in heavy rain at 5.48am on the morning of Tuesday 17th April 2012, arriving in lighter rain at the parking spot around 30 minutes later.

The walk up Gun G/SP-013 was soggy as anticipated. I got the 30m dipole up quickly on the summit, so I could get inside the bothy bag, and out of the rain as soon as possible. I connected up the Rockmite 30 and self-spotted.

It seemed a busy band, but that was probably because I could hear all of it! Keying seemed a little better this time, but still some way from perfect. I must give my paddle a proper test.

Well, lots of calling for both SOTA G/SP-013 and WFF GFF-014 brought just one QSO, and that with OE6WIG. Some very bad QRM came up on frequency, and I just about heard OE6WIG advising me to QSY because of it. But I couldn’t, because I was using the Rockmite!

So I gave up with just the one QSO collected, and trudged back to me car. The Cottage in Dalehall provided a sausage, bacon and cheese double oatcake for my breakfast, before I drove around the corner to the work QTH.

Tom M1EYP


#246

In reply to M1EYP:

So I gave up with just the one QSO collected, and trudged back to me
car.

WOW, that’s a bummer, Tom :frowning:

The Cottage in Dalehall provided a sausage, bacon and cheese
double oatcake for my breakfast, before I drove around the corner to
the work QTH.

At least the story has a happy ending :wink:

Mike 2E0YYY


#247

In reply to 2E0YYY:

It can happen when you have a single frequency radio with only 170mW of power! Check out some of the posts above - at least I am not the first!

Early mornings being a good opportunity for me to activate, I hope that horrid mechanical QRM on 10.115MHz is not a regular feature of that time of day.

Tom M1EYP


#248

In reply to M1EYP:

Tom, opening the score with 11 in the log is very good going! I bet you’ll appreciate the FT817 a whole lot more than you did before! I think it does good to rough it for a while!

Sorry to hear that the keying is not up to scratch - I found that I missed a lot of ‘dits’ off, i.e, sending M0CGS instead of M0CGH, I thought it was just me. I hope that you manage to cope with the rig.

Maybe the rig could be returned under warranty and fitted with an original chip to see if that improves matters - see how you get on. There is the possibility of adding a ‘Jackson Harbor’ keyer chip - some people say it’s a better chip than the PicoKeyer.

I think you are off to a good start.

73
Colin
M0CGH


#249

18-Apr-12
Battery: #1. Activation: #3
Summit: G/SP-013. Band: 30m
Radio: Rockmite 30
Antenna: Inverted V Dipole @ 6m agl
Battery: Duracell Pro-Life
Finish Voltage at room temp: Not a clue
New DXCCs: 0
Cumulative DXCCs: 8 (DL, G, LA, HA, OE, OM, OZ, S5)
QSOs: 0. Cumulative QSOs: 12

Another 5.30am BST get-up in horrid weather, and up to Gun G/SP-013 again. Awful. Couldn’t raise a single contact. In the end, I made one QSO on 2m FM with the handheld, just to record the walk as an activation. Elsewhere on 2m FM were two chaps understanding why Anders Behring Breivik did what he did - eek. Time for a sharp exit.

Tom M1EYP


#250

Wx might still be horrid, but at least it won’t be early morning, which doesn’t seem to be working too well for QRPP 30m ATM. Perhaps my success in winter with QRP 30m, where I was going out at 4am for skeds into El Salvador led me to believe that it could work!

I have a WOO this afternoon, so expect me to be QRV on 10.1153MHz CW (no QSY possible) from Gun G/SP-013 between 1530 and 1715z (4.30pm to 6.15pm BST). It will be also valid for WFF chasers as Peak District GFF-014.

Tom M1EYP


#251

After work on Thursday 26th April 2012. The weather was still horrid. Gun G/SP-013 was so waterlogged that I was surprised they weren’t trying to drain it to solve the water shortage in the south east. The view was the grass within a few metres of the trig point, topped by a wall of grey. It was horrible.

And even worse while it was raining, which it did for most of the time. Still, I had ascended with the full intention of enjoying myself, so I erected the 30m dipole hastily and bedded down inside my bothy bag. The Rockmite 30 QRPP rig was connected up, a self-spot placed on SOTAwatch, and off I went.

Good it was too. Lots of contacts were coming in from SOTA and WFF chasers. Not at the same 2/3 per minute rate as would be the case using 5 watts from the 817, but easily enough to keep me interested. Some of the exchanges were very easy and straightforward with excellent copy both ways.

Things got a bit interesting when OZ1HDF started calling CQ on top of me. With no QSY available, I battled on, and was surprised to find I could still work the chasers. Then it slowly dawned on me that my rig was wide open, and that it could well be that OZ1HDF was on a different frequency!

I finished with 26 QSOs in the log after 71 minutes of operating. This was very satisfying. I got on much better with the keying response this time too, so I could be set for some real fun with the Rockmite 30 and Kjell’s challenge.

26-Apr-12
Battery: #1. Activation: #4
Summit: G/SP-013. Band: 30m
Radio: Rockmite 30
Antenna: Inverted V Dipole @ 6m agl
Battery: Duracell Pro-Life
Finish Voltage at room temp: Not a clue
New DXCCs: 8
Cumulative DXCCs: 16 (9A, DL, G, HA, HB, I, LA, LZ, OE, OK, OM, OZ, RA, S5, SM, SP)
QSOs: 26. Cumulative QSOs: 38

Tom M1EYP


#252

2-May-12
Battery: #1. Activation: #5
Summit: G/SP-013. Band: 30m
Radio: Rockmite 30
Antenna: Inverted V Dipole @ 6m agl
Battery: Duracell Pro-Life
Finish Voltage at room temp: Not a clue
New DXCCs: 0
Cumulative DXCCs: 16 (9A, DL, G, HA, HB, I, LA, LZ, OE, OK, OM, OZ, RA, S5, SM, SP)
QSOs: 2. Cumulative QSOs: 40

Quite a nice afternoon up on Gun, which was much less boggy than any time in recent memory. Perhaps United Utilities decided to action my earlier suggestion. Two ladies were taking photos of a dog, which was posing atop the trig point. This dog clearly loved having the camera pointed at it and was surely destined for a career as a canine supermodel. It did not love my fishing pole or unravelling wires of the 30m dipole as I was setting up. It was going beserk, although it was harmless enough. The ladies decided to continue the walk so as to settle the dog down, which meant they had to stop asking me questions about amateur radio. Such is life.

Not much action on the Rockmite. But the two stations worked, SOTA stalwarts OE7PHI and DJ5AV, were both solid copy both ways.

Tom M1EYP


#253

24-May-12
Battery: #1. Activation: #6
Summit: G/SP-015. Band: 30m
Radio: Rockmite 30
Antenna: Inverted V Dipole @ 6m agl
Battery: Duracell Pro-Life
Finish Voltage at room temp: Not a clue
New DXCCs: 0
Cumulative DXCCs: 16 (9A, DL, G, HA, HB, I, LA, LZ, OE, OK, OM, OZ, RA, S5, SM, SP)
QSOs: 3. Cumulative QSOs: 43

A stunner of an afternoon saw my return to SOTA and the PP3 Challenge after a brief flirtation with the HuMPs award. I set up right on the edge of the summit, allowing myself a wonderful view across the valley to the Peak District hills. It was definitely shorts, T-shirt and sandals weather, so “kitting up” was basically the application of factor 15.

It seems a busy 30m band including a DXpedition made life difficult for chasers trying to work me. I wasn’t really aware of this, as I hear the whole band through the headphones from the Rockmite 30 anyway! No music from the Voice of Russia today though…

Anyway, just 3 QSOs on 30m CW today (OE, OM, DL), followed shortly after by three more on 2m FM. Followed shortly after by more sunshine lapping up, at the Harrington Arms in Gawsworth, where Richard G3CWI had cycled out to meet me for a beer. Callsign in use was MQ1EYP/P.

73, Tom MQ1EYP


#254

Wide awake at 4am on Saturday 26th May 2012. Only one thing for it - off to the Gun G/SP-013 for some early morning CW on 20m. Thing was, stupid old me had forgotten that (a) it was the WPX CW contest weekend, and (b) the CW filter needed putting back in my FT-817. So you can well imagine how near-impossible 20m CW operation was!

Surfing around the upper end of the contest activity, around 14.079 to 14.102MHz, I made 12 QSOs, which included NN5J (Arkansas) and 3V8BB (Tunisia). However, it was no fun listening to this din, so I uncharacteristically went up to 20m SSB, 14.264MHz. This netted a further 27 QSOs, mainly from SOTA and/or WFF chasers. It was very nice to speak (on phone) for the first time to several chasers that I have worked many times on CW. The pick of the bunch was W7CNL in Idaho.

When things went quiet on there, I decided to take down the 20m groundplane antenna, and replace with the 30m dipole, and resume the LA1KHA PP3 Challenge. S51ZG and OM7DX were straight in for me, but then there was nought. I had all sorts of problems, with my paddle doing funny things. The speed went up in excess of 35wpm, but I managed to work out how to put that back to my preferred 25wpm!

The paddle also reversed, with dashes on the left and dots on the right. I wouldn’t work out how to fix this, but it dawned on me after a few minutes that I could simply turn the paddle upside down! What I couldn’t resolve was the very high CW pitch - so I just put up with that.

Since returning home, I have had the Rockmite 30 in the shack together with the instructions, so I was able to work throught the menus to restore the preferred settings, and also store a couple of memory keyer strings for next time!

26-May-12
Battery: #1. Activation: #7
Summit: G/SP-013. Band: 30m
Radio: Rockmite 30
Antenna: Inverted V Dipole @ 6m agl
Battery: Duracell Pro-Life
Finish Voltage at room temp: Not a clue
New DXCCs: 1 - SV
Cumulative DXCCs: 17 (9A, DL, G, HA, HB, I, LA, LZ, OE, OK, OM, OZ, RA, S5, SM, SP, SV)
QSOs: 2. Cumulative QSOs: 45

After packing up, I called on the VX7R, and added five QSOs on 2m FM, taking the total for the activation to 46. I wandered back down to the car at around 8.50am BST, and listened to “Sounds of the 60s” with Brian Mathew on BBC Radio 2 while driving back home.

Thanks to all stations who worked me. I suspect I am going to pay for my early-morning antics tonight - because I have got a gig…! Maybe a few zeds in order this afternoon…

Tom MQ1EYP


#255

2-Jun-12
Battery: #1. Activation: #8
Summit: G/LD-045. Band: 30m
Radio: Rockmite 30
Antenna: Inverted V Dipole @ 6m agl
Battery: Duracell Pro-Life
Finish Voltage at room temp: Not a clue
New DXCCs: 0
Cumulative DXCCs: 17 (9A, DL, G, HA, HB, I, LA, LZ, OE, OK, OM, OZ, RA, S5, SM, SP, SV)
QSOs: 0. Cumulative QSOs: 45

Nothing doing. QRM. That is all…

Tom MQ1EYP


#256

In reply to M1EYP:

On a philosophical point, can a period of operating with no QSOs actually be called an activation?


#257

Not according to SOTA GR it can’t. I was simply following your report format for the challenge and entering into the spirit of the experiment. And I do believe that you yourself have already set the precedent…

Tom


#258

In reply to M1EYP:

Oh dear Tom. Sorry to hear the RM-30 is not pulling in the contacts.

I really need to dust off my PP3 and get it on the air again.

Do you think it’s the band, or do you think it’s the power, that’s causing the difficulty? I have an 18MHz challenger, so maybe I might be better using that now that the daylight period is longer.

Maybe we should investigate putting plan ‘44’ into action! :wink:

73
Colin
M0CGH


#259

Hi Colin,

The rig is great - I love using it - many thanks for building it for me.

The issue is a much simpler one. That is, if the frequency is in use, then I have got no chance! Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t, luck of the draw.

It isn’t immediately apparent from listening whether the QRG is clear or not, but when the chasers come back saying PSE QSY UP 2 and such, then that is a good indication!

Tom M1EYP


#260

In reply to M1EYP:

The rig is great - I love using it - many thanks for building it for
me.

No problem Tom, it was a pleasure!

It isn’t immediately apparent from listening whether the QRG is clear
or not

Yes, that is a bit of a problem when you can hear a good few kHz of the band (both sidebands too!) at the same time. I tend to ask ‘QRL?’ twice with my call and if no-one responds, I will call CQ. Only once have I been asked to QSY because the frequency was in use - this was after receiving no response to a couple of 'QRL?'s and calling CQ for a few minuntes! I was calling at around 15wpm and the guy asking me to QSY was sending at at least 30wpm+ -it wasn’t until the guy eventually slowed down that I understood what he was asking me to do!

I have been busy trying to hatch a plan to build a more selective receiver - lots of ideas, but no circuits yet! Richard G3CWI hinted that a superhet should be do-able for reasonable current draw.

Good luck with the challenge Tom, I hope the 30m propagation improves soon.

73
Colin
M0CGH