Beam or vertical for VHF? No doubt, the arguments will rage on forever. Last year, I took the X-510 onto GW/NW-43 Cyrn-y-Brain with mixed results, so I decided to give it another couple of outings on both G/SP-004 and G/WB-004.
My activation of Titterstone Clee on Friday was interesting, in as much as the VHF conditions were pretty much flat and activity on the 2m band was quieter than I would have expected (Olympics + holidays maybe). However, despite all this, the signal reports I was receiving were very impressive. Nearly all my reports were end stopping with the the six or seven Watts, I was running. An impressive contact of 135 miles was made with Paul GO4APL in Caterham and also a tricky 92 mile contact with a somewhat surprised Rob GO0HRT in Banks. OK, these would be routine contacts using a beam, however, to get them, I would have needed to work an awful lot harder and picking out Rob on the back of a beam would have been very difficult.
It was pretty much the same story from G/SP-004 on Saturday.
I’m still not convinced I’ve seen the best of this of this bad boy and I’m really looking forward to giving it a blast when VHF conditions are a little more favourable.
Just a couple of comments…
Is an X-510 practical for SOTA work?
Absolutely not. 2.5 Kilo’s of antenna and three swagged 5ft poles, making about five Kilo’s of your kit before anything else, not good news! A word of warning, this antenna at 33ft (including poles) is a real handful to erect in the wind and certainly not for the faint hearted. In fact, if I’m 100% truthful, anyone attempting to take this antenna on a SOTA activation, should reasonably expect to be sectioned
BTW, forget any ideas about saving weight by trying to mount this beast on a fibre glass pole, …one gust of wind and a fibre glass or even carbon pole will promptly disintegrate.
Does this antenna perform well? You bet it does, 3 x 5/8 on the 2m band will give some excellent gain and you can well expect to be sent a shed load of bills, for bent needles, as well as blown fairy lights, by the chasers.
There’s no denying, using a high gain collinear on a SOTA activation is about as much fun you can have at a couple of thousand feet ASL on the VHF band and something I’ll continue to enjoy. Sure, it’s time consuming putting the thing up and pulling it down and a real PITA to carry, however, when you look at your log book at the end of an activation and ask yourself ‘was it all worth the hassle’, the answer for me pesonally, is a no brainer.
BTW, I’d be interested in any of the Chasers/listeners comments after Friday and Saturdays activations?
Thanks to all the chasers this weekend, great to have you in the log.