A couple of years ago, I bought a 19 ele F9FT yagi for 70cm at the Salop Amateur Radio Society junk sale. Yesterday, I got around to attaching a feeder, and arranging a support for it, in the form of a surplus telescopic aluminium mast, approx 3.5 metres high. I have had this lurking in the garage for about 40 years, so it was high time that I added a rotating guy ring and a ground spike to make it useable.
Flushed with success, I headed up to Long Mynd G/WB-005 for the RSGB 70cm UKAC.
It was already dark as I parked up, but easy enough to follow the clear path up to the trig point without need to turn on the torch. There is something very special about walking in the dark, a connection to the landscape without distraction perhaps.
Just beside the trig point is a topograph, which serves well as an operating desk. This is a popular summit, however, so I wouldn’t recomend this during the day.
I found that the ground close to the topograph was solid, and wouldn’t accept the mast ground spike, ot the guy pegs, so I had to set it up a metre or more away. Not a problem, except that in the windy conditions it was quite a stretch to keep one hand on the log to prevent it flying away, at the same time reaching the mast to rotate it, not to mention the headphone lead.
On the plus side, the antenna was very stable and did not turn much in the wind - it must be quite well balanced, aerodynamically.
Activity was fairly steady for a couple of hours, but seemed to tail off quite sharply at 10:00pm local. After a few more minutes of tuning / calling CQ, I decided to call it a night.
So, for my first venture onto 70cm SSB, I made 56 QSOs, 11 locator squares, and ODX of 288Km. This using the FT817 and 5W. Several familiar SOTA callsigns, but no S2S that I’m aware of!
Closer control of the beam might have helped, as it is very “pointy” but all in all a fun evening.
A combination of darkness, a cheap phone camera, a head torch, and high wind wasn’t conducive to photography, but here is the antenna ready to carry off, just to mark the occasion: