An easy walk, but no light in this tunnel

Very difficult conditions for me today on HF. My sincere thanks to those who answered my pleas on SOTAWatch! I was struggling to make out some of the callers so especial thanks for persevering with me.

Hi Andy

Listened for you but nothing heard in West Wales. I was hoping you might have tried 60m which might have given us a fighting chance. Anyway, glad you managed to qualify the summit.

73 Allan GW4VPX

Today’s LAMP tells a story. :scream: 80m would have been the band, 60m may have been challenging for inter UK.

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I think I might try 80m first on 28/11/2017. Please chase.


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If you look at yesterday’s plot you can see how different the bands were.

NOTE the frequency scale is not the same. NOTE

The thing to observe is that on the chart above is that 60m should be working for NVIS and that 40m has a skip of less than 250km. If you look at the earlier post for today’s bands, the 40m skip distance is 780km. I’m guessing that today there was plenty of sporadic E. But it shows the significant differences on 2 days.

Thanks for trying Allan. I’m hoping to get out on Wednesday evening and might try some different bands. My problem with 60m is remembering the discreet frequencies I’m allowed to operate on! By comparison 20 & 40m are easy!

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Thanks for the comparison and clarification, Andy.
So, I wonder what we shall get tomorrow :pensive:

I don’t think the antenna I’ve brought this week will cover 80m. I was thinking of 17m, but (if I’m interpreting your diagrams correctly) that looks even worse than 20 & 40 :slightly_frowning_face:

No, those charts are for “local” contacts. Things like 20m/17m and up are for distant contacts.

Write this in your log book so you don’t forget the scattered 5MHz band plan.

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No probs Andy.

Commit these three frequencies to memory and you won’t go far wrong.

5.3715, 5.395, 5.3985, and 5.4035. USB (there are others)

Both Rod M0JLA and I have made loading coils for 80m which fit between the 40m and 60m link. Seem to work quite well but have a fairly narrow bandwith ( I set mine up to work around 3.760Mhz). Another option is to attach wire from the 20m link to make up the length required for 80m cut to the part of the band you decide to work on. No ATU on both options.


PS. Andy beat me to it :slight_smile:

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Things are starting off a little better today, not that the tend is guaranteed to continue!

Don’t forget that there’s a lot of ears on 7.160!

Also - if you wish to try to work outside of the UK to a country with the WRC15 allocation, the two overlap “bands” are 5354-5345 and 5362-5363 KHz but watch that signals bandwidth and sideband to make sure you or the other station is not emitting anything out of band or into parts of the band allocated specifically for other modes - Here is the WRC15 countries stations bandplan:

73 Ed.

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Indeed Dave! A WABer was first in my log, responding to my initial calls on 2m. When that band went dry (after that solitary QSO), I resorted straight to 7.160, which produced only one contact (Germany). That is unusual as the WAB net is usually a friendly refuge for activators. 20m produced nothing.
Final tally:
1 QSO 2m
4 QSO 40m (1 on 7.160)
I can only conclude that this is a long tunnel (or, in the spirit of portable operations, the battery has gone flat at the other end).

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Condx have not been too clever of late Andy, but you do stand a chance of picking up the further away UK stations. There are a couple in the north of Scotland who lurk around there. I listened when your spot came out, but nothing here, sorry to say. I note that today’s blue line and now gone the wrong side of of yesterday’s red line.

It’s going to be a bit of a struggle inter-G for a few years. 80m has yet to live up to it’s daytime promise and the WAB evening nets have taken refuge on Top Band. (I know that’s not a lot of help for SOTA activations!)

Conditions Tuesday were not too bad.
1st hill 11:30 8 contacts on 60m in 10 min (and I was spotted) BUT nothing on 80m following on; no spot

2nd hill 14:30 11 on 60m in 20 min after a self-spot
5 on 80m following on after a self-spot and a QSY from 3.77MHz to 3.735 which was less noisy

So it looks as if 60m is still outperforming 80m.

Hope things go well for you on Wednesday.

I can remember reading either your or Rod’s description but I’m damned if I can find it now. I had a look in your blog but didn’t see the info there either. Have you got a link to the details for the coils Allan?

Will look for the info for you Andy…it’s somewhere?


You’ve convinced me Rod - I’ll try 60!
Hope no one waited up for me this evening, I’m afraid work interfered :disappointed_relieved:.

Bad luck on work getting in the way, Andy.

Bear in mind that I was expected on 60m and started on 60m. (The wire comes out of the bag ready to go on 60m - no messing about with coils needed.) A few people came back on 80m as well; others might have heard me and replied if I had started on 80m.

Good luck with the next expedition.

Sorry, Andy, I have no idea where the figures for the coils are now; most likely in the cardboard around someone’s Christmas present :slight_smile:

The former is 40mm plastic waste pipe. The wire is enamelled copper close wound; I think 26swg. There is an unknown number of whole turns occupying 16.0mm. (Protected by layers of tape.) The number 29.4 is written on the pipe; inductance in micro-Henries? (I know it took me a long time to get this correct and the two coils equal. The calculations (from some formula found on the Web) gave quite unsuitable numbers of turns; the end result is based on actual measurement in the garden and experience in the field suggests that a little more inductance would be handy as Allan pointed out on Tuesday that the band is noisy above 3.6MHz which is about where the coils give the best SWR. 3.77MHz was the optimum on Tuesday but this evidently varies with the terrain.

Maybe that will give you a decent start.
Edit - I made four coils; all are OK but the first two have joins in the wire and holes scattered over the pipe so the two Mk 2 version were made.