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The Cloud - 2010


#1

First activation of the New Year for The Cloud. Heard those most unexpected of words from a seasoned chaser “thanks for the new one”. It turns out that The Cloud is not that common on 5MHz. In fact looking at the activation history it seems that several band slots are worth doing on The Cloud.

Thanks for the contacts!

73

Richard
G3CWI


#2

In reply to G3CWI:
New for me on hf too Richard, so very much appreciated! Thanks.

73 Graham G4FUJ


#3

it seems that several band slots are worth doing on The Cloud.

It has never been activated on 12m. And I only recall ever doing one single QSO on 10m SSB (S2S with Steve G1INK) and just a handful on 10m CW.

MM12 and MM10 aerials are projects for later this year. Need to finish the 30m dipole first though.

Tom M1EYP


#4

In reply to M1EYP:
Hi Tom,
I think you are making a very good case for someone inventing a dipole with links in it that will work on all HF bands.
I Wonder!!
73, Frank


#5

In reply to G3RMD:

I wonder how long it takes to change the links? I mean, you’ve got to get up, go to both ends of the dipole (sometimes over rough ground), if necessary lower it to within reach (and it probably will be necessary on the higher bands) open or close the links, raise the dipole, go back to your operating position and start up on the new band. Say it takes a few to several minutes, multiply that by the number of bands you wish to operate on, and operating on several bands means that you are adding significantly to your summit time.

A doublet or W3EDP and you only have the time that it takes to re-tune (a few seconds with my EDP as the bands are marked on the dial,) and you don’t even need to get to your feet!

I suspect a link dipole is a great idea if you are only interested in a few bands and operate from summits with easy ground rather than the boulder fields of the Stiperstones or Watch Croft (to name a couple of lower summits that you might have to boulder hop on whilst changing links!)

Donning my tin hat!

73

Brian G8ADD


#6

In reply to G3RMD:

I can understand that a linked dipole for all bands would give all band coverage. (Duh!) But wouldn’t a vertical, base loaded for multiband operation, make more sense for above 30m?

Andy
MM0FMF


#7

In reply to MM0FMF:
My thoughts too Andy, 160m - 40m as flat as possible for NVIS, 30m 90 degree inverted v for both H/Vish leaving 20m through to 10m vertical. As i see it so far, still I am trying to improve my operating this year especially in CW, when I see the topic of aerials i just get drawn in and distracted once again! Sean M0GIA


#8

In reply to MM0FMF:
Hi Andy,
The only type of vertical antenna that has produced results or me on the higher bands (used one to work VK8 in Alice Springs on PSK 25W, 14MHz, about an hour ago) is one that has elevated, resonant radials. The joys of multiple radials (or trapped) coupled with the delights of achieving resonance on a number of bands on an exposed mountain top in the rain,I prefer to leave to braver souls. An inverted V dipole at 20 ft (or so), on the higher bands would be guaranteed to produce excellent results and has the merit of simplicity. I have tried ATU solutions on mountain tops, and they have been useful as a means to catch additional rainwater, to supplement the bottled variety.
73, Frank
PS thanks for the summit on Sunday.


#9

Hi Frank,

I think John GW4BVE has done just that, and I recall that the details and diagrams are on the unofficial Flickr SOTA group.

Most of the time, I choose a band for the activation and just do that, so resonant single band antennas are ideal. Admittedly, I do occasionally have a longer day out and “play”, but setting extra aerials up, or taking one down to put a different one up is no problem.

I also like to use typical inverted V dipoles below 10MHz, and vertical with radials (Magic Moggys) above. The dipole Sean and I built yesterday will be interesting on the ‘crossover’ band of 10MHz. At present, the angle will be more like 30 degrees to the horizontal, rather than the 45 suggested by Sean, but that will be easy to experiment with simply by making extra peg loops along the guy lines.

First will be to verify that the antenna is working as intended - ie no connector problems, and flat SWR around 10.15MHz - or make the necessary adjustments if not. Hopefully do that later this week.

Tom M1EYP


#10

In reply to M1EYP:

I’ve had a great deal of success on 20m with this type of corner fed delta loop:

http://www.arcticpeak.com/antennapages/la8oka_corner_fed_delta_loop.htm

Observing the author’s side ratios it will exhibit low SWR across the usable sections of the band without any requirement for an ATU or matching network. The only disadvantage is that you need 2 fishing poles to reliably support it.

Is it any more effective than a resonant dipole? in theory I doubt it but at the relatively low heights we have to work with and the feed point only a couple of feet from the ground I’ve found it far more effective for working DX. 59+ into VK and 59 into Argentina from my first effort at building this thing last summer isn’t too shabby.

73, Chris


#11

In reply to G3RMD:

I have tried ATU solutions on mountain tops, and they have been useful as a means to catch additional rainwater, to supplement the bottled variety.
73, Frank

This puzzles me a bit, Frank. The only routes of water ingress into the parallel tuner for my W3EDP are via the input socket (should be nil as it is a bolt-on type) the antenna and counterpoise posts (also bolt-on) and via the gland on the bolt-on capacitor. It should be at least as waterproof as an FT817, and a lot more waterproof than my 857 with its ventilation holes! I can visualise problems where in a more complex tuner such as a T or Z-match the capacitors are mounted on internal brackets and brought out through a metal panel to reduce hand capacity effects, but a simple grommet should cure that. The other thought is that water might get in by running down the coax but I would imagine a nice fexible sealant would block that route.

73

Brian G8ADD


#12

In reply to G8ADD:

It should be at least as waterproof as an FT817…

My credit card says that you are labouring under a misapprehension Brian… “FT817” and “waterproof” do not go together in the same sentence. I now expose as little of the kit to the elements as possible having been relieved of a few quid along the way!

73, Gerald


#13

Brian,

The one thing I do know after 888 activations - is that nothing is waterproof. I too have learned (the hard way) to double protect everything.

Tom M1EYP


#14

In reply to G4OIG:

It should be at least as waterproof as an FT817…

My credit card says that you are labouring under a misapprehension
Brian… “FT817” and “waterproof” do not go
together in the same sentence. I now expose as little of the kit to
the elements as possible having been relieved of a few quid along the
way!

Indeed, Gerald! I was more than a little apprehensive when activating Titterstone Clee last month in dense, low cloud. There was condensation forming all over the rig and droplets of water running down the coax! In future, I’ll take care to protect the FT817 with polythene sheet or clingfilm.
I got away with it once … but I won’t risk it again.

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#15

In reply to G8ADD:
GM Brian,
I was trying to make the point (not very well!) that my experience, supported by Gerald and Tom it seems, of activating on summits in bad weather, has convinced me that one should not include non essential equipments or components in ones inventory.
In that unique weather situation, which activators have grown to cherish, when the fine mist/clag is being driven horizontally across the summit by a gale force wind, the fewer connectors, cables, equipments etc that one deploys, the better.
Your observation, that getting up and down to change links on a dipole is less than attractive, does not convince me. I personally welcome the opportunity to stretch my (near 70 year old) seized up limbs between bands. These days my dipole is suspended from two fully extended and joined walking poles, so reaching the links presents few problems.
I believe, Paul (G4MD) uses an ATU to good effect, so he can be the proven exception to the rule.
73, Frank


#16

In reply to G3RMD:

“I believe, Paul (G4MD) uses an ATU to good effect, so he can be the proven exception to the rule.”

Yes, that is one thing that Paul and I differ on - he likes to have the ability to change bands quickly with the minimum of fuss. Like you Frank, I enjoy a break and a band change is an opportunity for just that.

If I am on an extended stay on a summit running both VHF and HF, I usually split the operations and lower the pole to remove the beam before putting up the HF dipole. I must admit though, since VHF is my preferred method of operation, I have taken it one step further and now I usually only take my 10MHz monoband dipole out with me. If the band is in poor shape, then it’s an early finish, but having said that I’m generally the one to be the last to QRT - you will no doubt recall Bardsey!

73, Gerald


#17

In reply to G3RMD:

I also use a tuner on my very rare outings, but I also use a link dipole. It is only cut for two bands at present & is resonant in the middle of the 80m & 60m bands, which are the HF bands I use the most. The tuner gives me full band coverage on both of those bands & also allows me to work on other bands very quickly. To date I’ve used the 60m dipole succesfully on 40m, & the 80m dipole on 10m & even 6m. To put in links for all the bands I would to like to work on would make it very complex & highly likely to get very tangled up, but I am going to at least add links for 40m & 20m before my next outing, which hopefully won’t be too far off.

73,

Mark G0VOF


#18

I finally got up The Cloud G/SP-015 for the first time in 2010 this morning. It was cold and slightly damp for the ascent by torchlight at 6.45am. On the summit, I set up the new 30m dipole, keen to sample propagation on that band in the morning greyline.

Only three stations were worked - one from Ukraine and two from Slovenia - although strong signals were heard elsewhere on the band. No doubt further experiements will continue as the greyline shifts earlier and I (hopefully) continue my habit of early-morning activating. It has been a difficult task to resume this habit!

So, the first activation of my favourite local lump has arrived, but alas, no point. Three QSOs was the lot. I did SWL HA7UL/P on HA/KM-029 on 40m CW, and then I tried to fire up the VX-7R for the customary departing call on 2m or 70cm FM. However, the handy was found to be completely out of charge!

I guess I’ll be back.

73, Tom M1EYP


#19

In reply to M1EYP:

About time too, I was wondering why G3CWI was my first contact from the Cloud in 2010. You’ve even missed some good VHF contests Tom!

I was monitoring the other day when you were alerted to work G/SP-004 & replied to Jimmy’s CQ call on 145.500 FM at 11:22z. I lost him as he suddenly cut out in mid transmission. Suspecting an antenna problem I spotted him anyway as maybe someone more local could work him on just the handheld…

I then went to have a listen on 30m…

You were weak but fully readable on 30m CW here in Blackburn, probably 519, with the the stations calling you very much stronger, so I would think that aerial is working quite well over the terrain between SP-004 & here. Even though I don’t use CW that much, I usually have my key plugged in & ready to go, as you never know when you might need it. I wouldn’t say this was one of those situations, but I really wanted to know what had happenned to Jimmy!

About 20 minutes later I heard Jimmy calling again on 2m FM so thankfully I didn’t have to use my very rusty CW on 30m!

There do seem to be more taking part in the RSGB UK Activity contests this year, so you shouldn’t be short of contacts on the VHF/UHF bands if you decide to do your usual evening activations of G/SP-015 this year Tom.

But really, I had to wait until 17th January to work the Cloud???

All the best 73,

Mark G0VOF


#20

Blame the snow Mark. I’d have done 2 Tuesday night UKAC’s this year by now if I could have got my car to the usual parking spot.

We were similarly bemused by your sudden disappearance from 2m when we were on Shining Tor. We checked and double-checked all our connections, but all was OK. Glad that you made the contact in the end.

No Jimmy with me today, so how about a bit of “rusty CW”?

Tom M1EYP