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6m and 4m activation

Hi. I’m thinking of getting a 4m transverter and trying out 4m. I could do a 6 and 4m activation some day. Is it worth it? I’ve tried 2m SSb and so far in 2 activations I’ve had 2 qsos on 2m ssb. I’ll keep trying 2m SSb but is 4m any better/worse? Worth a try?

Hi Anthony,
Activity on 4 metres will definitely be less than on 2m or 6m. I would suggest of the three bands/modes 2m/FM is going to give you the best results, followed by 6m SSB (if the band is open with Sporadic E). 4 metres is probably the least used band of the three.

73 Ed.

We don’t currently have 4m privileges in the US. However, if i were to consider trying it in UK (Europe?) what transverter sources exist?

Paul

Anthony,

I agree with Ed. 4m SSB will definitely be less well supported than 2m SSB. Similarly 4m FM less so than 2m FM, but there is a reasonable amount of activity on 4m FM if you are planning some outings into the North and South Pennines areas.

The summit pages should give you a clue on which summits have had successful activations on 4m. Also looking at the database and selecting the mode and band gives more information. I have not looked, but I would not expect 4m SSB to show many contacts.

73, Gerald G4OIG

Additional info:

This says a lot…

This is a good reason not to bother with 4m SOTA.

This is also a good reason to try and stimulate some interest in 4m SOTA.

I hope you choose the latter, stick at it and get some momentum going. Good luck!

Don’t forget as well, that the 3rd Thursday of every month is the RSGB 4m activity night. It is 4m FM from 1800-1900z (7 to 8pm BST) and 4m SSB from 1900-2130z (8 to 10.30pm BST). You’ll need to be exchange Maidenhead locators and serial numbers, but it’s a great way to get lots of QSOs on VHF SSB.

3rd Thursday of the month, BTW, is tomorrow…

Thanks Tom - I’ll try to get on tomorrow evening - please point your beam towards DL as we have 4m here again since yesterday! (only 70.150-70.180 though).

73 Ed.

Paul, there are 4m transverters as kits or ready built as well as the UK models of the IC-7100 and IC-7300 which cover 4m. I guess US models could be modified to cover the band as well. I expect the new IC-7610 from ICOM will also cover 4m in it’s UK/European versions. If you’re thinking about 4m from a summit though these rigs are too heavy for all but the easiest summits. If you want to try 4m while in Europe probably the easiest option is to pick up a FM Handy Talkie that covers 4m.
Here’s one you could get if you are in the London area (near Heathrow airport I believe):

Sorry all - I can’t find any Japanese 4m HTs only Chinese. This Wouxun rig was discussed on this reflector a while ago - WOUXUN KG-699E 4M Handheld Chinese Import

so the owner/owners may have a comment as regards how the HT worked out for them.

Here’s some info on transverter options - including a board for the Elecraft K3.
http://tinyurl.com/kk2rz8x

73 Ed.

Ed

Thanks for the pointers on 4m and i was thinking more as an activator than a chaser.

Maybe I’ll pursue it on a future trip especially given the feedback that its not super popular at this point relative to 2m or 6m.

Paul

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eBay sells a transverter for 4m that comes from a firm/person in Ukraine. They do lots of different frequencies. Works by feeding in 10m band and getting 70mhz out.

Look at this on eBay http://www.ebay.com/itm/291516788438

A guy at my radio club has 4m and says SSb is quite good when proportion is up. He had Croatia on 4m the other week.

Ed, I won’t be on tomorrow myself - I don’t actually do 4m myself!

Wouxun KG-699E - typical Chinese handheld which talks to you and is easy to operate. Physically a bit fatter than most handhelds, especially with the 1700mAH battery pack. I find mine quite sensitive and it has been reliable. The audio reports have been good. The nominal 5 watt output is adequate for summit work in conjunction with a slim Jim. Personally I have never experienced any breakthrough problems, but as always YMMV. As the entire set up doesn’t weigh that much, it can easily be added as an extra band capability. There might be a few knocking about on the secondhand market.

I have considered the Ukrainian transverter kits myself, but have decided to sort something myself… that is when I have time… :wink:

73, Gerald G4OIG

Edit: BTW, the supplied antenna is good for one thing… leaving in the box. Tried it once - never again!

I think that’s the best position. Perhaps a few more countries in Europe will get 4m before your next visit. The fact that there is an after market 4m transverter to go inside KX3’s is interesting and perhaps good for those SOTA activators who use that rig, something small to go with an FT-817 (perhaps the Ukrainian one) would be nice but really the activity level on 4m at the moment - at least outside of the UK is low.

Ed.

P.S. Tom - OK that you won’t be taking part this evening, I’ll take a listen in the UK direction in any case (even if the signals are “out of band” for me, it’ll be good test to see if there’s any Sporadic Es around.

Ed

The Ukrainian tranverter looks promising and I’ll keep an eye on it and also the possibility of homebrewing something.

I tried the SG labs 1.2Ghz tranverter last October in Oregon and liked it so much I aquired one which I will also try on a future UK/EU trip.

With propagation being less than favorable and given the apparent support for frequencies above HF in UK/EU I’m keen to try my hand. In Cal, VHF and up is very spottily supported.

I have my Yaesu vx8g with me and a Slim Jim antenna with the intent of starting activations with 2m and 70cm FM while in G/LD area in 2 weeks time.

Paul

Hi Anthony

I think most of the other operators on here have made the point that 4m SSB will not be very lucrative. I have done an activation using the band and mode, but it was during a contest - so not particularly a fair representation!

If you want a good 4m antenna for SSB that is light and easy to erect, then I will suggest this as your best bet

I have made the 6m variant as well, both from Steve’s website (GW7AAV), both work well.

How do I get SSB on the hill?

In the past I used a Spectrum Comms transverter for the job with the 817 on 2m as the IF. However I have since purchased a Ukrainian transverter and have been really pleased with the results, for the money you cant go far wrong - the IF is on 10m this time.

FM on the other hand, is a far better prospect. This is the mode I use for 4m when doing SOTA, however I never purely rely on it to get me the 4 QSOs, that said on a Saturday/Sunday in Welsh Border/North Wales/South Wales you will work lots of people. I have always combined it with 2m SSB or 2m FM as they’re generally reliable band/mode combinations.

The beauty of FM is that lots of radio amateurs in the UK have an old converted PMR rig on their shelf and it is normally on all the time, sat on 70.450MHz with a dipole connected. They normally don’t hear that much activity, so when they do, they more than often come back to the call. This certainly is what I have expereinced in the 7 years I have been activating. Last Saturday 13/05/17 I managed 11 QSOs at around 1000 from G/WB-004 all on 4m FM

With VHF/UHF it all depends on the time of day and of course the day of the week you activate.

Rig wise for FM - Gerald has hit the nail on the head with the Wouxun KG699e - Mine has had the battery upgrade to 1700mAH, no noticeable weight difference. It is tough little rig and has been with me since the start of my SOTA activations. The antenna is nothing more than a Slim Jim that I made 7 years ago, I have serviced it about 2 times, checking the coax for connections to the ladder feed, checking for water ingress into the braid of the coax and then do an SWR check before re-sealing the coax. It seems to work really well and takes about an hour to make the thing!

This is the design I use - http://www.summits.org.uk/tiki-index.php?page=4m+J-pole

Here are the top 25 Activators in the World - I think Barry M0IML and I are going to struggle to make it to the top spot!

Barry and I used to use the band alot, he moved away to Kent so his activations have become less, I got lazy after getting MG so my activations have got less!!

Well worth a go, but the key is to pick the day and time and take a backup 2m radio IMHO

The other way is to get your hands on one of these hen’s teeth rigs http://www.cqhq.co.uk/2011/07/wouxun-kg-uvd1pl-2m4m-dual-band-review.html

If you spot for 4m FM or SSB I can try to work you from home, have 50 watts on both modes and a vertical for FM and a 4 ele beam up at home for SSB.

73 and Good luck -

Matt G8XYJ

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Ah yes … that was my first and only time on 4m SSB, and it was during the UKAC. I had recently acquired a Ukrainian transverter and thought I’d have a go at the FMAC using a hastily constructed dipole made from scrap, vertically polarised. I stayed on for a few minutes to try some SSB, and even with that set-up still managed a few contacts. I must build a delta loop soon.

Hi Matt, there also appears to be options of multiband with the Wouxun KG-669E as well. (NOTE: 669E not 699E). Either 4m + 70cm or 4m + 2m (not clear if all three are possible via s/w switch) - I suspect these are different models in manufacture. i.e. you say if you want low or high band VHF in your dual band VHF/UHF rig.

http://www.wouxun.com/radios/two_way_radio_KG-669E.htm

Frequency range:
VHF: 66-88 / 136-174 / 245-246MHz
UHF: 400-470 / 450-520MHz

73 Ed.

If you just want FM and a bit of power on 6/4/2/0.7m try a Wouxun from ML&S https://www.hamradio.co.uk/amateur-radio-mobile-radio-wouxun-mobile-radio/wouxun/wouxun-kg-uv950pl-quad-band-mobile-radio-4-6-2-70-free-prog-cable-pd-5648.php

The is a mobile so you will need to swap antennas for the different bands.

I have not taken it on SOTA activation’s yet, the rig’s weight is OK but the power will really add to the weight.

73 de Andrew

Previously used an FT817 with an EA7HG transverter.
http://www.ea7hg.com/es-ES/stransverter
This is good for around 35-40 watts, which is better than some other transverters.
Currently taking an IC7100 out, but this is quite a bit heavier.
No beam at present, so it’s either a delta loop as previously posted, or a 5/8th vertical.
I generally pick an activity/ contest time to operate 4m as you are guaranteed some contacts.

I’ll be on my local tonight for the contest, G/CE-004 but only for an hour or so, until it gets to wet/cold/dark.

Log from last year with the 7100 and 5/8th vertical.

73…Stuart

Hi Anthony

Not strictly SOTA, but you can have alot of fun on 4m in the contests! Tom M1EYP is proof of this with his SOTA style 2m/6m/70cm forrays on the UK activity contests.

I take part, but from the luxury of a car up at 475m ASL on the Eastern flanks of G/WB-004

Nothing more than an 817 at 2.5watts into the Ukrainian transverter (puts out what you put in, max of 10 watts) - So 2.5 watts into a 4 element DK7ZB beam.

The joys of the contest is that you can pretty much guarantee that you will get the requisite 4 QSOs, however whether it is a fair assessment of SOTA activity is open to interpretation - this point has been discussed on here many times and I am going to remain with wooden fence splinters in my rear end!

Here is the RSGB generated contest map from yesterday’s effort (18/05/17)

At 2130 I had lots of rain and S8 of rain scatter noise on the band, heard IO95 and JO02 and PA5Y, but the rain noise made it impossible to hear them well enough to exchange! Gave up at 2200, packed everything away and was soaked through, drive the 7 miles home to discover it bone dry in town!! One of my weaker entries on 4m, however judging by the comments, it appears that I am not alone when it comes to bemoaning the conditions - There were 4 x 4m FM QSO in there, with the rest being SSB!

Well worth a go Anthony, it is great for testing antennas or radios, as well as offering you great experience in how to set up and dismantle a station at speed! Every 3rd Thursday of the month always 2000-2230 local time.

73

Matt G8XYJ

Hmmm, must do better. Just checked the weight of the Wouxun with both batteries (1300mAH and 1700mAH) - 321g. Add 197g for the slim jim and another few grammes for the SMA to BNC lead. I feel some 4m coming on… :wink:

Unfortunately the Sporadic E event didn’t seem to get up to 70MHz last night - or if it did it wasn’t in my direction. I listened during both the UKFMAC and UKAC 70MHz times last night with my DK7ZB tribander (6/4/2m) pointing towards the UK. and heard nothing.

What do you think of the DK7ZB Matt? It’s convenient having all three bands in one antenna but certainly on 6m my Moxon seems to out perform this antenna.

73 Ed.