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23cm on Cairnharrow GM/SS-191

Having been QRV on 23cm with the homebrew transverter for a week and two days now (!) I was quite keen to get down to the Galloway hills this week when I saw Gerald G4OIG would have 23cm gear. I saw that Cairnharrow, my “local” hill down there, is LOS to Cross Fell and so wanted to try that for my first S2S on 23cm.

It was great to make contact from Cairnharrow and get the 23cm QSO in once all (or at least most) of the 2m callers had had a chance. Gerald was doing excellent business indeed on 2m. The path was over 117km and we had under half a watt at each end for 23cm; I think signals were getting towards fully quieting FM at both ends. We finished with 70cm as well. I’ve put some photos of the station at my end on Flickr (linked to the SOTA photostream) at http://www.flickr.com/photos/gm8oti/

Having had a 95km contact over an obstructed path in central Scotland last week using SSB, I was pretty confident we wouldn’t have a problem. Now I know it’s on, it would be great to get some 23cm contacts down across the Irish Sea into North Wales, Lancashire and beyond. Sorry Yorkshire is hidden behind the Lake District - or is this just my Lancastrian background prejudice :wink: - the Galloway hills have a great takeoff to the south.

Looking at the database, 23cm contacts have been a bit thin on the ground in GM land, but there are lots recorded in G-land so I’d like to give it a go. I will alert for 23cm once I get back down to Galloway at the end of July and in August.

Sorry for the delay in the Cairnharrow activiation from my end, but I wanted to be sure of that 23cm S2S. Glad there were a few callers around on 2m - thanks to all for the contacts. It was a lovely day so I had no rush to get down from the summit - at least, not by then, once the breeze had started. When I arrived the mist was still on the summit, and it was very still, and I was being eaten alive by the vast hordes of midges. It’s rarely so still on a Scottish summit so that’s not normally a problem!

73
John GM8OTI

In reply to GM8OTI:

Hi John
Great pics, lovely take off down there. Hope to work you at the end of July.

I wonder if you will be using SSB and KST or if your main interest is SOTA contacts. The UK microwave group is mostly about technical exchanges but there are those on there who would be keen to work you, have had some success with the occasional posting without upsetting anyone… its linking everyone up thats the problem. There is alot of capability in IO83 on 23cm, others are in deepest “pancake land” and so dont have access to hills!
Hear you again soon.
73
Robert GM4GUF

In reply to GM4GUF:

Hi Robert

My interest is in amateur radio in many of its forms, and SOTA and microwaves happen to coincide at present! The SOTA points (nonexistent, I’d been up Cairnharrow twice before this year) for me were irrelevant yesterday, but I was happy to give points to chasers on 2m as well, and would be very happy indeed if we had some 23cm chasers - which we clearly do in G-land, looking at the database. So there isn’t a main interest here, unless it’s homebrew of microwave gear! I’m certainly very keen on SSB because of its potency (and frugality with batteries) but am happy to use FM to any chaser or activator needing that; the transverter will transvert both quite happily. (Sorry chaps/chapesses, you would not want to hear my CW, I’m a G(M)8 through and through …)

What you mention is what I’d wondered about - maybe an ON4KST posting a couple of days in advance would be OK, but equally maybe all there would have forgotten about it by the time of the activation! Maybe setting up skeds by email, in conjunction with SOTA alerts where appropriate, is the best route. I think the microwavers have to a certain extent got out of the habit of getting up hilltops (indeed, that’s more or less how it was described in the 2009 Callbook) whereas they used to have to do it. Those of us who find if a fun way of doing microwaves now need to work out how to attract their attention. It’s all fun, whatever!

We’ll have to work on this one …

73
John GM8OTI

In reply to GM8OTI:

The UK Microwave Group’s Low Band Activity Contests might be good days to try:

http://www.microwavers.org/files/contests-2010.pdf

73

Richard
G3CWI

In reply to G3CWI:

Many thanks Richard, yes I fully intend to be there when possible for future events - I joined UKuG to get up to speed on things like that. Was out for the UKAC last Tuesday and had a lot of fun from my local hill near Edinburgh; with a bit more oomph I should be able to work some G stations, Robert seems to do well from Tinto.

I intend to work my way up the bands with homebrew - I thought 10GHz SSB might be a bit tricky to start with! - so hope to work you there eventually.

73
John GM8OTI

In reply to GM8OTI:

Hi John
Agreed on all your comments. Not sure I want to try and use KST on a hill unless the WX is good. As you say KST is hopeless for posting in advance unlike SOTA.
Somehow it needs a site which the microwavers will look at regularly for advance activations not just the instant skeds, vanishing off the screen, probably a revised KST. Unless I am missing something which already exists.
Abit beyond me, I have difficulty getting my PC to do anything :slight_smile:
73
Robert GM4GUF

I don’t think it would be rocket science to modify my SMSBOT to post to KST from an SMS. That gives the ability to access the KST chat from an internet connection on a phone or post a directly to it with an SMS for those with older phones or marginal net connections. With 160 characters to play with you can pack a fair amount of info into an SMS.

Hopefully, I’ll get my 3cms gear “SOTAised” this year. I’ve got the antenna and stuff for the feed. Just need a PA which I hope to get at Friedrichshafen this weekend.

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to G3CWI:
Hi Richard

Yes I have entered the short low band contest early in the year which was as good as the UKAC RSGB events but the other UKMG contests are mostly all day. I find the activity is too spread out time wise to be much use, at least up here in GM.

73
Robert
GM4GUF

In reply to MM0FMF:
Hi Andy
That maybe the answer simply to post on KST without trying to interact, then when they get fed up with seeing my call on there someone might take pity and turn the beam :<)
Cheers
Robert
GM4GUF

In reply to GM8OTI:

Excellent report John. I was so pleased that we had no problems making the contact and I can confirm that you were fully quieting at my end. The receiver in the Standard C710 is surprisingly sensitive, indeed marginally better than the FT-736R that I used to have. It was a pity that I could not provide SSB - my 817 was being used by Paul at the time. I’m sure that I could have coped with the additional 2kg of transverter as the walk in to Cross Fell was quite straightforward and we only stopped once briefly on the way up Little Dun Fell to take a photo of the clouds lying on the Cumbrian hills: the clag that soon rolled across to envelope us!

Looking at your kit, I feel almost guilty running what I do - a handheld, 1m of coax and a 4 element toast rack. I’ve put a photo on my Flickr page so you can see the reason for my guilt: http://www.flickr.com/photos/18897403@N00/4731464360/

It would be good to do another S2S test sometime. I’ve still to activate Blencathra, so perhaps we could get something arranged around that one.

73, Gerald