Debut activation report... G/CE-002

A trip up the M5 gave me the excuse to make my first activation… I thought I’d do a nice easy one, so I took a slight detour, and hit Walton Hill, G/CE-002

Taking the tips from Richard (G3CWI) I parked at SO942802 and meandered leisurely up the footpath, and set up my newly acquired SOTAbeams MFD with my VX-8DE

I was expecting a nice clear signal. But what neither G3CWI’s tips, nor Tom M1EYP’s activation report, mention was the QRM… measuring S9+ at times on 145FM. Is this something that others have experienced up there?

My first three QSOs were a real mix of 59 and blanket QRM so many thanks to Matt (M3WDS) in Cheltenham, Terry (2E0WHG/m) on the M5 near Cheltenham and Gareth (M3CNG) in Daventry for bearing with me as we fought the conditions.

And just as I was about to give up, the QRM lifted, and I fitted in a very clear QSO with M0ERT in Reddich. Thank you.

Having got my four QSOs bagged it was time to go… but having taken much longer than expected, the planned detour onto G/WB-010 as I approached Telford had to be postponed.

In reply to M6ADB:

Walton Hill is my closest SOTA summit and I have activated it several times. I have never experienced blanket QRM although there are some pretty potent stations in the area and the strongest of them can appear to spread over adjacent channels. This is just the front end of the receiver being overloaded, of course, any genuine spreaders in the Birmingham/Black Country area would soon get told off! I am not familiar with your rig, but if the front end gain can’t be reduced you can get a good reduction by changing the polarisation of your antenna, go horizontal for FM and this will cut down signal strengths by some 20 dB, plus you will now have notches in the polar diagram, and you could rotate the antenna to put the interference source into the notch.

Hope that helps!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to M6ADB:

Hello Andrew,

Congratulations on your first activation! Well done … and I hope we’ll hear you from many more summits in the coming year.

I have activated Walton Hill on a couple of occasions in the past year and I can’t say I have encountered any breakthrough at all. I have used FM on 2m and 70cm and also CW on 7 MHz, all using my FT-817ND transceiver. Some hand-held transceivers are rather susceptible to front-end overload by commercial transmitters. (My Alinco DJS-1 is particularly bad in this respect.) I don’t know the VX8DE, so can’t comment about that one.

Just one final query … I was listening out for you on both 70cm and 2m yesterday, but didn’t hear you. I noticed you spotted yourself on 145.800 MHz. That seemed rather a strange choice of frequency, as it is not in the FM Simplex part of the band and in fact it’s the downlink frequency used by the International Space Station! You would do better on one of the recognised FM simplex channels, for example 145.525, 145.475, 145.450, 145.425, etc. (See the RSGB Band Plan).

Good luck! I hope to make a QSO with you on your next activation.

Walt (G3NYY)

I have activated this hill with 817 and SOTA Beam, but also on VX-7R handheld with RD, and a cheap converted PMR handheld. Never experienced QRM difficulties as far as I can recall.

Experimenting with a beam as Brian suggests may well solve the difficulties. Great Orme GW/NW-070 may prove “interesting”!


In reply to G3NYY:

spotted yourself on 145.800 MHz. That seemed rather a strange choice of >frequency

It is for FM. Everbody knows that’s the AM frequency for Edinburgh and has been for the last 200 years :wink:

In reply to M6ADB:

Congratulations for your 1st activation. Some handhelds are better than others at strong signal handling. Most of the modern DC-daylight coverage handheld suffer when you put a proper antenna on them. Try enabling the attenuator if the VX8 has one. Some of the vintage handhelds from 25+ years back and the electronic handbags like the TR2300, FT290 etc. are much, much better at strong signal handling.


In reply to G3NYY:

I noticed you spotted yourself on 145.800 MHz

Oops… typo in self-spot :frowning: I was, of course, on 145.500 (and QSYed down to 145.475)

I was listening out for you on both 70cm and 2m yesterday

Thanks… hopefully we can QSO next time

Thanks for the other comments… I’ll experiment further in future