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After a break

After a break of about 4 years I have dug out my 817 and 857 ready for some new activations. I confess I abandoned Amateur Radio after suffering a significant amount of abuse on the air whilst trying to activate Bredon Hill on 40m ssb.

Hopefully I’ll get the kit tested over the weekend. I disposed of my old LiPo batteries. I have one LiFePo that is unused. And I found two Par End Fedz that I had forgotten that I had completely unused. Looking forward to renewing old acquaintances.

Anything much changed in recent months?


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Hi Tony

Welcome back to the fold. Like wise I returned this April after a 7 year break due to ‘domestics’ and ill health. What’s changed - SOTA has got BIGGER and as a result there are more stations chasing you, if the propagation allows. The down side is the operational standards of some leaves a little to be desired. But its still as much fun now as it was 7 years ago.

I enjoyed my return to the hills and I hope you do as well. Looking forward to some S2S QSO’s.

73 Glyn

Hi Tony good to see your return,we did work when you were on Bredon Hill on 2mtr ssb,I wonder if you will be activating with 2mtrs ssb again? 73 Don G0RQL.

Hi Glyn,

Thanks. I’ve done lots of mountains over the last 3 years without the radios :frowning: including national 3 peaks in 22 hours and Yorkshire 3 peaks in 9 hours. Plus several trips up Coniston Old Man. Hopefully get some winter activations in South Wales. I must dig my winter kit out as well…



Hi Don,


73 Tony

I will see you there as South Wales is this winters target area


Hi, Tony, nice to have you back!

As for the malice you experienced, I can only recommend “nil illegitimati carborundum”!


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Welcome home
4 years away
Came back last year after 10 years away glad i did now and discovered Sota

Not been same since :smile:

PS might be idea get in touch with ofcom and renew licence as after 5 years they need renewing on line…


Thanks Karl. Yep all done. Airwaves seem quieter than I was expecting on VHF. I wonder if my antenna is working!


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In many locations two metres is close to dead now and it takes longer to qualify a summit. On the other hand, call CQ on 20m and get spotted and you suddenly find out what its like to be rare DX!


That is certainly the case. However I suspect that the reason is quite complicated. Firstly the Foundation licence allows HF so most new Hams go there because it’s more ‘exotic’. Secondly, VHF was artificially busy in the old days because of the ‘B’ licence Hams who were not permitted on HF. With the removal of the CW requirement and the amalgamation of the ‘A’ and ‘B’ licences into the ‘Full’ licence the Ham activity is now more evenly spread across the spectrum.

73, Colin G8TMV

Don’t forget UKAC’s are great fun and they do bring the best out of VHF when contacts are needed.


Yes Brian - it does seem as though the majority of former class B licencees who were confined to VHF due to not passing the Morse Test quickly migrated to the HF bands once OFCOM took away the need for a 12 WPM Morse Test.

I still enjoy activatating on 2m FM whenever it is possible to qualify a summit easily and quickly, These days I tend to use at least 40 watts of power to a vertical dipole to guarantee success. As we know, this strategy is only possible in certain parts of the country within reach of a conurbation. I have found from experience 2m FM use is too risky a strategy to use in the south of England, most of Scotland and in some parts of Wales and Northern Ireland.

73 Phil G4OBK

It has happened before. Between the start of the B license in 1964 and early 1968 the lowest band we could use was 70cm, and it became very busy, in fact it was much busier than 2 metres. Then in early 1968 the 2 metre band was opened up to the B’s and immediately most of the activity migrated to two, leaving 70cm as a bit of a wasteland. 70 is the better band for tropo, and the beams were smaller, but 2m had novelties such as Ar and Es to offer and it was easier to get second hand commercial equipment or construct your own, so 2m became the bread-and-butter band. This time around the opening up of the DC bands to the B’s just emphasised a trend that had already started as the casual chatters moved from their radios to mobile phones. I don’t think we will ever see again the days when on an ordinary evening or weekend first 70 and then 2 were so busy that you couldn’t find a clear space for a QSO!


Yes - good point Brian. I think mobile phones, social media and the like have probably also had a reducing effect on ham radio operating generally in terms of natter nets and non competitive parts of the hobby, although for some of us on here these thngs provide an extremely useful and interesting medium adding to and supporting our radio interests.

73 Phil

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It will be interesting to see how I get on, Bands seemed busy this morning on equipment test including 2m sideband. I have discovered that my batteries are not as good as I thought. The LiFePo started okay, then the voltages went all over the place and the whole thing started expanding - and that is in use, not charging!! That one has been consigned to rubbish. (bucket of saltwater first.) The internal on the 817 also only lasts about 20 minutes. I think I need to invest in new power. Something lightweight…

I shall go out with a SLAB after lunch and the 857 and see what I can do from the top of the local hill.


Needless to say I totally failed to get out last year (2016). Bah! A health scare Nov '15 put pay to my planning. Fortunately it was just a scare, then I got roped into other activities. (Never EVER volunteer for anything!) Anyway, I have invested in a new radio to replace my ageing FT817ND and a new fibreglass mast from SotaBeams. Therefore I WILL get out in January 2017. My accompanying dog is recovered as well. No excuses this year.

2m seems quiet at the moment. I still find myself irritated by competitions on HF at the weekend but am planning 40m and 20m activations on SSB. I just need to learn morse…


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I’m always Monitoring 145.500 when in the Shack I’m located on the West coast of Wales & work quite a bit of VHF/UHF fm/ssb from IO72RC near Cardigan. Will listen for your call. I was off the air for 14 years but have renewed my interest in the hobby. Welcome back.


Don’t forget 60m, with a low inverted ‘V’ dipole it will give very good all around coverage.

Colin G8TMV

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Hi Tony,
Contests are usually restricted to the “old” HF bands - i.e. not allowed on the WARC bands, hence 60, 30, 17 & 12m should be contest free. Unfortunately at the moment, I wouldn’t recommend 17 or 12m because of the lack of propagation, 30m in Europe is CW/Digital data modes only and 60 metres you need a university degree to avoid working out of band and still get contacts into the continent from the UK!

Ed (DD5LP / G8GLM / VK2JI)