My activation of Kit Hill today (G/DC-003) was carried out in excellent weather although it was cold at around 6°C - but I was well wrapped up.
My main objective was to try out the Diamond 144S10R2 ten element Yagi antenna. Fully assembled it is a little over 2m long but it comes apart and folds into a bag I made. I wouldn’t like to carry it a long distance but it can certainly be classed as portable. Assembly takes just a few minutes.
With two sets of guys it even stays upright!
The bit of cord you might be able to see waving about is attached to the nose of the antenna. I wasn’t using it at the time I took the photograph but I did later when the breeze picked up, tying it to the bracken.
The upper guys are secured by loops and zip ties to a plastic spool which used to carry ptfe tape. It sits just above a tube section and is free to rotate so the antenna can be swung around.
I had agreed with David (GM0EVV/P) to start on 2m CW with the antenna vertical but I was 20 minutes late and he had gone onto 30m by then but I did get a reply to my CQ, Damian M0BKV which threw me for a moment for a while because I was expecting to hear David and my brain tried to trick me into believing his callsign was what I was hearing. Well, they both have an M and a V in them! But the mental clouds cleared and Damian and I concluded our QSO.
With the antenna still vertical I switched to 2m FM and Don G0RQL came back with a 59 + 30 signal report. The antenna was working!
Next was Damian (M0BKV) again which gave me a chance to explain my confusion responding to his CW reply. Ian (G3SPI) was next but there was heavy QRM breaking in, from the nearby mast I think. I’ve spoken to Ian before as he lives locally to me and he is always grateful for a 2m QSO.
Going back to 2m CW for a last attempt to reach David on GM/SS-161 I was rewarded by faint signals. A tweak of the antenna direction and he was finally readable. It was very marginal and we both gave each other 329 reports. A 2m CW S2S QSO at 533 km distance was rewarding. David was putting 25W into a vertical. At my end just 10W but into the 10 El Yagi with a claimed 11.6 dBi gain.
Putting the antenna horizontal I found Don again on 2m SSB and I was grateful for his reply as with only data to go it looked like a four modes activation was on the cards today. But just before turning to data I had another QSO on 2m SSB with Graham (GW4EUK/P) on GW/SW-009 at 157 km distance. He hadn’t spotted and I wondered if I had his callsign wrong when QRZ shrugged its shoulders. Then I remembered he had told me he was from Chichester and sure enough he was on QRZ as G4EUK.
Switching to FT8 I saw a little traffic in Eastern Europe but I couldn’t raise anyone. A G callsign in Yorkshire started calling CQ but again I couldn’t get a response from them. Fortunately, Don rode to my rescue again and gave me an FT8 QSO to complete the set.
A fruitful morning and a few lessons learned. I might get a little amplifier to improve my “reach”. The 45W Microset RV-45 looks suitable for the antenna which has a power rating of 50W. Decisions, decisions…
Very many thanks to all those who replied today. The weather forecast is poor for the weekend so I will be staying indoors and perhaps do a bit of chasing.