G4YSS: GD/GD-001, Snaefell, 06-09-18

G4YSS: Activation of GD/GD-001, SNAEFELL, 06-09-18

GD/GD-001, SNAEFELL on 160m-80m-20m CW/SSB QRO & 2m-4m FM QRP
All times BST (UTC + 1). UTC for radio operations (denoted ‘z’)
Unaccompanied from Bungalow Station Layby
G4YSS using GT0OOO/P

FT817ND HF/VHF/UHF 5W Transceiver
MX-P50M HF 50 Watt Linear Amplifier (80 thru 10) with 160m capability
Adjustable link dipole for 80-60-40-(30)-20
Loading Coils for 160m at the 40m breaks
6m/ 5m home-brew CFC mast with 1m end sticks
One Turnigy 11.1V, 5 Ah Li-Po battery (100% depleted)
One Turnigy 11.1V, 2.2 Ah Li-Po battery (est 90% depleted)

IC-E90 4-Band, 5W, VHF H/H with 1.3 Ah integral battery for 4m-FM
Extended set-top helical for 4m-FM QRP
2m Band Vertical J-Pole

Reserve Rig: Baofeng UV-3R, 2W, 2m/ 70cm H/H (not used)
Pack-weight: 9.7kg approx

Garmin Geko 301 GPS
Hitachi MP3 Player (not used)
DAB Cube (not used)

Better late than never, I thought it was time that I had a crack at IOM activating. Our last visit was in 1975 a few hours after we were married so Denise and I booked in at the Arrandale Hotel, a traditional guest house in Hutchinson Square, Douglas. I must say it’s been a good choice. Friendly, comfortable and at reasonable cost. Rose, the proprieter also booked the ferries for us, which brought the additional advantages of convenience, discount and ATOL protection. The IOM is neither in the UK nor the EU so it’s worth checking your insurance.

From a place called ‘The Bungalow’ which is a station on the Snaefell Mountain Railway at the intersection of the A18 and A14 roads. Here there is a layby (SC 3962 8678). This enables a start altitude of more than 400m, leaving about 220m to climb, with a distance of 1.4km one-way. Path waypoints are as follows: SC 3962 8720; SC 3967 8764 and SC 3967 8789.

After a 15 minutes drive up from Douglas and some preparation, I was walking by 10:48. After a short distance you pass through a kissing gate, which is rather a tight squeeze if you’re carrying a rucksack and antenna mast. After that it’s plain sailing up a well-worn grassy/ rocky path of variable gradient; steeper near the top. Before reaching the summit, you cross the railway near the top station and cafe. There you meet the ‘tourists’ as if I’m not one also! I GPS marked the trig point (TP-6035) on arrival at SC 39770 88095. There was no one else walking up.

I thought the antenna would be easy to erect but that proved not to be the case. Maybe I was just out of practice and there was a goodly NW wind blowing. The place I chose overlooking the handrailed concrete path, was barely large enough to accommodate an 80m dipole without encroaching on the paths that the railway travellers were using to access the summit. To avoid accidents, I made a small adjustment but the wire still wasn’t sitting right. There are no guys; just the dipole and the ground to hold the mast up, so the included angle is critical for every wind speed.

SNAEFELL, GD/GD-001, 621m, 8 pts, 11:11 to 16:50, 10 deg C. Wind strengthening to approx 30mph. Overcast with sunny periods. Two light rain showers with mild precipitation static. LOC: IO74SG. WAB: SC38. Trig: TP-6035. EE mobile coverage.

3.557 CW - 6 QSO’s:
I was pleased to get the Scarborough Special Events Group chairman - G4SSH in the log first. This is the first time that our SSEG G(-)0OOO club callsign has been aired with a letter ‘T’ in it and I think Roy was looking forward to working it. A few years ago, Phil G4OBK aired GT7OOO/P from IOM for us. The exchange with Roy was 589/ 339 and I was using 50 Watts.

Continuing in the same vein but with 30 Watts, further stations trickled in as follows: G4OBK Phil; G4TGJ Richard; GM3YTS Rob; GW4VPX Allan and G0HRT Rob.

Callers were 579 to 599 with me but there was significant QSB. My 30 Watts was reported at between 559 and 599. 80m was working reasonably well and the reserve band, 60m wasn’t required.

3.760 - 7 QSO’s:
Roy posted the SSB QSY for me which meant back to work: G4IAR Dave; M6JIQ Jimmy; M3FEH Karl; M0TMD Helen; G0RQL Don; EI3GYB Michael (reporting rain and 12C in Mayo) and finally G6NHW Pete.

I think it was Jimmy who fell into the trap of writing down the clubcall and then not knowing which were oscars and which were zeros. If you read this Jimmy; no worries, you’re not the first and you certainly won’t be the last. I get tongue tied with it myself at times.

Most reports were in the range 55 to 59 but I had trouble working Karl who I could barely hear but who was fortunately hearing me 55. QSB brought my report from Pete up from an initial 22 to 47. Power was 30W. I got a 57 from County Mayo which gave me hope for a repeat on Top Band later but it only nearly happened.

1.832 CW - 1 QSO:
A lot of time was wasted due to an increasing wind speed. When I inserted the 160m coils they sagged to the ground which meant repositioning the end sticks to add tension and alter the included angle into wind. Just about then a squall came along. Dark clouds sent down some rain and static wiped the receiver which I quickly disconnected. A strong gust came along and the mast snapped at the base and fell down.

This was a new 1m long base section made earlier in the year from ¾” ali tubing and a carbon fibre rod to go into the ground. The idea was to make a VHF beam support with the spin-off advantage of adding 1m to the existing 5m HF dipole mast. The CFC rod was only a half inch diameter so it had to be sleeved up to fit the tube, using another bit of ali tube. Unfortunately the latter sleeve was not of aircraft quality, being more like soft ali. One good gust and it gave up – a clean break.

By the time I’d reconfigured things, I was over 5 minutes late. Tuning 1.832 I could hear signals immediately. I was not at all ready. No log, stuff scattered around which could have blown away and no final check on resonance but if I hadn’t acted then, I might have missed the opportunity. Pulling the mic from under a pile of gear, I called on the toggle switch in response to Morse from G4OBK - QTH Pickering, North Yorkshire. I was pleasantly surprised when Phil heard me and gave me a report. I had nowhere to write it but I think it was 229 and Phil got the 339 going back quite easily. Power was 50W to the loaded 80m dipole at 5m centre height and 1m ends.

The path for this QSO is about 240km with the Pennines in the way so we were lucky and it was unexpected. I thought there might be one or two others but after 10 minutes I gave up calling in favour of a QSY to SSB.

1.846 SSB - Nil:
15 to 20 minutes of calling on here with 50W, brought nothing in the way of QSO’s but I know Michael was trying from Co. Mayo in Eire. I clearly heard the last two letters of EI3GYB, as ‘Yankee Bravo’ in his distinctive accent but I just wasn’t getting back to him. Pity and better luck next time.

Roy G4SSH, Phil G0UUU and I (self spot) all posted spots for Top Band but I suspect that nobody else heard my weak signals. However, Phil, G0UUU heard the Top Band signals weakly via an online receiver in Nantwich, Cheshire, with 80m much more readable.

14.052.6 CW – 17 QSO’s:
After 70 minutes with just the one Top Band CW QSO to show for it, I gave 20m a try and I’m glad I did. First to come back to my CQ was Bert DF5WA. I don’t think it was in response to a spot because Bert spotted me after his QSO. Roy followed up with a reminder of the next QSY to SSB. I had a brief time away calling on 14.285 but on returning, one CQ caused a pileup. In fact there were sufficient callers to prevent the picking out of a single callsign. Eventually I sorted out one or two and started to slowly work through the rest. The problem was that they weren’t hearing one another very well and just when you were about to read a callsign, somebody else would call. The QSB didn’t help either and I lost a few in it.

Chasers worked: EA2IF Guru; EA2DT Manuel; DL3MBE Hans; OK2PDT Jan; SV2HSZ Michael; R6AF Vic; OH3GZ Jukka; OE7HWE; F8FKK Claude; F5JKK Eric; AC1Z Robert (NH); IK2LEY Fabio; S56RPJ Janko; OM3CUG/P Igor S2S OM/ZA-034; SV2OXS Christos and IZ1FPR/ QRP Ric.

Almost everybody got 579 to 599 from me but there were some weaker 559’s at the end. The incoming range was 549 to 579 with a 519 from Italy and a 339 from Greece. Despite 559 both ways, it took forever to read the callsign of SV2HSZ but I wasn’t going to give up easily. Every time the QSB took him down and I had to ask for umpteen repeats. Worth it in the end and most ops were patient while this was going on.

Towards the end of this hour-long session, the 5Ah main battery failed and was replaced by the reserve, a 2.2Ah. This part of the activation took 55 minutes from 12:55z and power was mostly 30 Watts increasing to 50W where required.

14.285 SSB – 27 QSO’s:
Limiting myself to 30 Watts with the tiny reserve battery, the following stations were logged: OE6GND Gerhard; SQ9MDF Leszek S2S on SP/BS-034; DG2GMW Michael; DD5LP Ed; OH3GZ Jukka; SV2HSY; EA2DT Manuel; OE6SQD Andy; IK2JYT John; EA1DR Oscar?; IU4HMP Sandro; I8OCA Tony; IK2XDF Paul; EA4CX Manuel; CT1ASM Jo; LZ2HT Ivan; LZ7PW Alex; S59DXX (Club Stn); VA3HWC Harry (Ontario); LZ1BY Dimitar; S51GL Miran; EB1DJ Alex; W1OW Bill; EB1IFK Santiago; OE3AOW Alfred; US4EM Eugen and IS0FFT Giovanni. The final station was worked at 14:45z.

I expected the battery to fail and cut me off abruptly at any moment. Ironically current was wasted explaining that if I disapeared, it would be permanent. Futile really because by the time it happens, you have a new and ignorant audience puzzling about what happened.

Most stations were coming in at 57 to 59 with similar coming back in most cases. I got 59 plus 10dB from EA1DR in Santander and one report of ‘72’ which I had to have repeated. It’s my first readability seven in over 30 years of operating and that’s with a West Yorkshire accent. There were some 44’s from Spain and one from over the pond.

The QSO with VA3HWC was cross-mode with Harry sending in CW and me replying in SSB (599/ 55). I could have switched to CW but that’s often the kiss of death for the QSO; not knowing which way the rig’s going to ‘jump.’

Ed DD5LP helped with the SQ9MDF S2S QSO but only the timing. Thanks Ed! We successfully exchanged with 52’s in the end.

Bill W1OW coincidentally was in Douglas Mass. named presumably, after the town we are currently holidaying in. Finally, the ones that got away: OM7OM and a station with 2BP in the callsign.

There were a few repeated QTH’s which makes me wonder if some ops were phoning their mates. Many of these QSO’s were unrecognized as SOTA chasers so I expect the GT callsign must have appeared on the DX Cluster at some point early in the proceedings.

145.400 FM - 2 QSO’s:
After packing up the HF gear, I contemplated a move further up the slope for a good all-round VHF takeoff but couldn’t face the half gale. Instead I stayed put and erected a longer mast than usual by adding an extra section – the one broken earlier. Trouble was the coax from the J-Pole wasn’t long enough to reach the ground so I had to move the rig slightly up hill.

After doing around 33 QSO’s with 30 Watts on 20m, I thought it prudent to use just 2.5 Watts of FM for the 2m session. Flicking round the band, I observed that it was as dead as a Dodo and the SWR was sky high but this kind of thing happens when you connect the VHF antenna to the port where the HF dipole goes.

As soon as that was corrected strong signals leapt out of the 817, which had been left parked on the preffered Scarborough channel of 145.400. A confident female voice from someone who sounded like they were fresh from working many callers in an efficient manner, was heard. Could this be a SOTA station, I wondered? Once again I wasn’t ready but called anyway, without a clue of who I was working. It turned out to be Caroline M3ZCB and the clue came with, ‘I’ll hand you over to Martyn’ (M1MAJ/P).

After four 59 reports we had the two S2S’s in the log; GD1 to SP10 – Winter Hill. I asked about the burnt patch which apparently is extensive but not right up to the summit. Now it was off to find my own frequency and hope there wouldn’t be too many callers.

145.550 FM - 5 QSO’s:
With 2.5 Watts, a couple of returns to S20 and a self spot, I logged the following chasers: MW1FGQ John in Holyhead; G4VFL Andrew in Eggremont; MW0ISC Steve - Mold; GI4KBW Peter in Jordanstown (IO74BQ) and M0JCQ/P James S2S on Red Screes – G/LD-017.

All were 59 to me. Incoming reports were in the range 57 to 59 with a 55 from Andrew, a 54 from Steve and 51 from James who was just using a rubber duck equiped handie for the S2S.

70.450 FM - 1 QSO:
Standing up with the IC-E90 held high, I replied to Andrew G4VFL who was calling when I switched on. The exchange was 59/ 51. Andrew was horizontally polarised and using 20 Watts. My power was about 3W.

There were no answers to further CQ’s so I switched off and packed up the last of the gear. While I was doing this, I heard a shout from below. It was hard to hear in the strong wind but it looked like the last tram was leaving and the driver was asking if I was expecting a ride down. After a reply in the negative and a ‘thanks for asking’ he returned to the tram and it moved off with the café staff aboard. Kind of them to ask, I thought as I was left alone.

The walk down took 18 minutes and for the last part I walked with an Irishman who’d come to the IOM 30 years ago to do one job and stayed ever since. He was an ex AM CB’er so we had radio in common. He spotted my car, or should I say my XYL’s car, from a distance with its two mag-mounts and HF/ VHF whips. I told him about the Foundation Licence. The time was 17:08.

That’s when I spotted a beautifully restored 1950’s Rover 110 which was about to move off. ‘Hold on a minute while I get a photo.’ The couple inside obliged, winding down the window to tell me the car’s name was Ruby and she that was used daily. I remember getting a 3.9:1 differential from a scrap one of these to make my Land Rover go a bit faster. Scrap? Perish the thought!

This activation felt slightly weird. It seemed like all radio and hardly any walking, in fact a bit of a steal for eight points. The number of people filing past all day just added to the strangness. Not one of them out of breath, though I did see three or four wearing boots as if they’d walked up like me.

Plenty were curious as to my activity and some seemed to have some background to call on. Several asked how far I was getting and one chap seemed to know it was ‘short wave.’ I replied that I was doing the low frequency of 1.8 MHz and the question came back,’Is that the CQ one?’

Most had been prepared for how cold it might be at the top when alighting from the trams but a few obviously hadn’t thought about it. The last ten metres to the trig would be a shock, with the cold wind full in your face. At least the views were good, there was very little rain and it was too windy for flies.

160m was just a token effort, done more in hope than expectation so to get one QSO was gratifying. I should think Phil G4OBK would have been pleased and rightly so. It was a reward for all the work he’s done on antennas at his new QTH.

80m worked after a fashion and was intended to bring in the UK chasers and WAB collectors. Judging by the number of them that were missing it might have fallen well short of that but it was getting up into Scotland, Ireland, across to Scarborough and down as far as Devon.

20m has had mixed reports of late but has probably been more popular than 40m for SOTA over the summer. I was lucky in that it was having a good day when I needed it, though many stations were probably after the Isle of Man and the GT prefix than logging the SOTA, WAB square and trig point on offer. No matter, anything that fills the log these days is acceptable and it did get me over the Atlantic which has been far from guaranteed of late.

I expected a few more on 2m but it was late afternoon plus the fact that I was pushed for time by then. The one contact on 4m, like the one on 160m, added to the statistics and was welcome.

This was the first time on the air for GT0OOO. GT7OOO was used by Phil G4OBK a few years ago.

There is a sequel. The XYL and I went back the day after via the tram (12 GBP each and takes 30 min up and 25 min down). Sadly all we saw was fog. Never mind; the cream scones were good!

80m-CW: 6
80m-SSB: 7
160m-CW: 1
20m-CW: 17
2m-FM: 7
4m-FM: 1
Total: 66

Walk data:
10:48: Left Bungalow Station (400m ASL)
11:11 to 16:50: Snaefell summit
17:08: Arr. back at car

Summit time: 5hr-57min
23min up 18 min down
Total: 2.8km (1.8 miles) / 220m (722ft) ascent

Thanks to all stations worked and to spotters: G4SSH; GM3YTS; G0UUU; DF5WA & SV2HSZ. Thanks to Roy and Phil for responding to texts. Thanks to Andy MM0FMF for registering my temporary phone number with the SOTA SMS self-spotting system.

73, John
(G4YSS using Scarborough Special Events Group Club Call GT0OOO/P)

Photos: 1-2-6-12-14-18-21-27-33-34-36-52-55-58-59-60

Above: Bungalow Station on the Snaefell Mountain Railway

Above: The path up Snaefell from Bungalow Station. (Mobile whips for 80m & 2m)

Above: The path up Snaefell from Bungalow

Above: The Snaefell summit café and tram station

Above: The Snaefell tramway leaving the summit station

Above: The final approach to the summit of Snaefell GD/GD-001

Above: Snaefell’s trig point (TP-6035)

Above: GD/GD-001 Snaefell summit

Above: GD/GD-001 Snaefell summit activation point looking towards the tram station

Above: Rain imminent

Above: GD/GD-001 Snaefell activation on HF (No, the mast on the right!)

Above: GD/GD-001 Snaefell activation on VHF (2m-FM)

Above: GD/GD-001 Snaefell activation on VHF (2m-FM)

Above: GD/GD-001 Snaefell. On the way back to Bungalow Station. Irish man ahead.

Above: Bungalow station. Chance meeting with a Rover 110 called Ruby.

Above: Bungalow station. Ruby’s dash board.


Thanks for the activation John. I listened for quite a while after our contact and you kept up the 5-9 signal down into southern Germany until you finally QSYed or QRTed (not sure which).
It turns out you were my second GD contact, not the first as I thought - but it’s rare that I hear GD so I really appreciated the contact!

Best 73 Ed.

Thanks Ed. Glad to oblige with a GD. It was a good day. I enjoyed it.

I went QRT when the frequency dried up. It was getting late and there was 2m-FM still to do. I thought about 40m; there was life there, probably SOTA life, but you can’t do everything. A lot of time was spent prising out contacts on 80m and over an hour gap between 80 and 20 for one contact on 160m. You really have to work hard on that band. Six hours for 66 contacts is about the normal QSO rate for me. Laughable really when you consider what the real expert ops manage. Time whizzes by unless you’re freezing slowly to death in winter but this was comfortable operating.

Maybe we’ll work again soon if I decide to put 20m on again. No plans for the next one yet. Rain today. Motor museum! We’ll see what the WX brings.
73, John

Hi John,

Great report. Always fascinating to read of activity from those islands.

Some comments on your remarks re the 817 and switching to CW. On the “USB” bands above 10 mhz it is a very safe move. The rig transmits cw at a 700 hz offset up in freq from the USB zero beat, so you can be heard in the USB receiver on your ssb frequency. (This is assuming you have set the offset to 700 hz). The dial however indicates your transmitted carrier frequency, while you can hear the USB signals that you were talking to previously, if you are still using the ssb bandwidth filter.

Re the signal report of 72, is it possible that it was the QRP version of “73” rather than a signal report? After all, the readability scale is 1 to 5.

Great effort activating on 160.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

That takes me back! I used to have a Rover 80 in the same livery (4 cylinder 2286cc version) :sunny:

Great report as ever, John, nothing heard here, but I have a poor antenna for 80 / 160, and a high noise level…


Hi Andrew,

Wow! A reply from down under.

Thank you.
Full understanding and an excellent explanation of the 817 that makes sense. I think it was like that on my old FT77 and maybe the CIR Astro 200 but some rigs change the display when you change the mode and that must have destroyed my former confidence a long while ago. I don’t like to see the display change from carrier and thank goodness my 817 and IC706 don’t do that.

It must have been on 80 or 40 I got into trouble with the mode change and maybe lost a contact, as I don’t venture up above 10MHz very often.

What happened (and it must have been on 40m) was a series of changes of dial settings and switching between modes. Me saying send me a long over in CW and I’ll net you in. The over wasn’t long enough for my fiddling and I heard nothing so back to LSB and repeat and repeat again. What I should have said in LSB was, ‘I’ll call you in CW and you net in on me.’ Much easier for me to just hit the mode button and nothing else, as I readily get flustered with this kind of thing. At least now I know what to do on the higher bands.

I never thought of that with the ‘72’ but yes, I have used it for QRP. I think it was the report in this case and maybe the explanation was the English word for five getting confused with that for seven. When you don’t know English very well or are learning it and maybe you’re new to the game, it could be possible. It was maybe a bit naughty but I wasn’t really mocking, just adding a bit of humour to the boring report. I make lots of daft errors all the time, especially in CW which I’m not brilliant at.

As for 160m; it’s my speciality. I’ve been doing it since 2004 from SOTA summits. Daylight is not good so I have quite a few overnighters, early winter mornings and dark winter evenings in my SOTA record. It certainly tests the navigation skills, pitch black, think fog etc. I must say, there are a small band of avid enthusiast for 160m SOTA chasing here. I get great support but I certainly need it!

Great to communicate with you on here.
I don’t think we’d make it on 160 but maybe we’ll work higher up one day,
73, John G4YSS

Hi Adrian,
Sorry you could hear nothing but noise. It’s a job to know what band to use in the current bad condx. 80 was best guess for ‘local’. 40 would have gone over the heads of the Britishers.

I loved those Rovers when I was a kid. My favourite motor in the '50’s. I used to spot them from the back seat of a 1956 Morris Minor. I knew someone would like that photo,

Apparently we’re off to the hair dressers now,
73, John

Thanks for the 80m activation. I don’t work GD very often so it was nice to have the chance. You were a good signal here. I might have a go at 80m from one of the large summits around here - I just need to order some more wire!
73 de Richard G4TGJ

Thanks again
BUT and yes BUT :open_mouth:

WAB NY38 well incorrect :hushed:

Its actually SC38 :wink:


Hi John.

Thank you for fb cw contact…cracking signal into West Wales. I pointed the beam for 2m but no joy…I think Lleyn Peninsula and Anglesey in the way.

Thank you for info on a place to stay…on the ‘to do’ list for next year, yet another group of summits to complete :slight_smile:

Great report as usual…keep them coming :slight_smile:

73 and looking forward to your next activation.

Sorry for OT, but you prompted me to rummage through old photos, and having done that, I couldn’t resist scanning and uploading a couple!
This is said Rover 80 at the 1977 VHF NFD 4m station on Brown Clee, now also known as G/WB-002. Richard G4AZV (SK) operating.

Drake R4B / T4X driving transverter plus prototype 4CX250B linear. Don’t worry, there’s only 1.5KV on those terminals (wince)


Hi John,
thanks for the activation.
I tried indeed on top band with 250 watts. Heard you sometimes very very weak in the background.
Not enough to make a contact on that band.Only a little bit under 300 kms between us-but…
Some other day again!

Hi John,
thanks for nice S2S QSO from Isle of Man! It was my last QSO on OM/ZA-034 and only one S2S QSO. Nice report. I was hiking with my younger son Filip from 583m asl. to 1381m asl., totally 10.6km way and almost 800m height gain. We were really tired…but wx was very nice and no peoples on the top. Perfect time for radio. Here is some photos: SOTA OM/ZA-034 Lysec 1381 m.n.m. – Igor – album na Rajčeti

I hope cu agn S2S, GL and 73 Igor OM3CUG G QRP 5976

Even back in 1977 that P4 looked real old, it was quite amazing how car designs advanced so quickly. But at least cars looked different. Now nearly everything looks like an egg on wheels! I can remember trying to persuade my father to buy a P6 Rover 3500 V8S (with the spare tyre on the lid of the boot) but he wasn’t having it. I wanted him to get a white one with a black vinyl roof but it was a lost cause. In the end I had to buy my own except all the decent condition P6 V8’s or P5B Coupes were silly money so I ended up with a 69 P5 Saloon. Oh how that was designed for cheap petrol, achieving nearly 18mpg if you were careful. Still that was better than the Vanden Plas Princess it replaced with the B60 4L Rolls engine that did about 12-14mpg :frowning:

Anyway, back to radio. 2x 4cx250s… a classic for homebrew amps. I feel I should make one just for the hell of it. For the 2m trophy just gone it was the start of a brand new era for contesting for us… 400W solid state. It seemed so wrong, small box with integral PSU, connect up mains lead, 2x N cables and PPT lead, switch on, count to 5 and done. So much quicker than the valve amp with its separate PSU and big blower and all the bits and bobs that need assembling (external relays and metering unit) plus tuning up et al. Boy was it convenient but it didn’t seem like proper contesting without a few kV about the tent!

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What a FB report John on your day on Snaefell. You were on the summit a long time and had quite a session. I was surprised to be able to have a QSO with you on 160m in the middle of the day - weak sigs but reports and callsigns were readable both ways. I enjoyed looking at the pictures. The paved section by the railway line at the top end was not there when I last visited in 2011. I’d love to go back as I really enjoyed my times on the Island - we took part in the Walking Festival there in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2011 and operated SOTA on each occasion as well as enjoying the walking festival and social events. In 2003 I also went there and we rented a cottage, this was before I became involved in SOTA - I made 1159 QSOs that week from the cottage. I enjoy watching the TT Races on ITV4 every summer, even though I have no interest in Motorbikes.

73 Phil

Just for the record, I was listening for you on Top Band but heard nothing - daylight blues, I guess! I was out and missed you on 80.

In the near future I am replacing my 102 foot doublet with a 132 foot doublet making better use of the length of my garden and hopefully an improvement on Top Band.


Hi Richard,
Thanks for the post. Yes, GD is not that common but you’d wonder why. I went to the GD club meeting at Ballysalla on Wednesday evening and met about eight of the GD/ MD lads plus one lady. What a warm welcome I got and what a good chat. I asked how many amateurs on the island and the reply was in the hundreds, which shocked me a bit. The ones I met seemed to favour VHF. In fact I worked four of them in last Tuesday evening’s RSGB 144MHz contest. I was on a grass verge set up near the car about 3 miles inland from Douglas. I made 28 with 50W to a 3-ely Sotabeam. I’d love to do the next one (432MHz – next Tues) from a SOTA but that means a dark SOTA of course.

Anyway, I digress. Yes, you’ll need about two lengths around 9m to add to a 40m dipole.

Here’s the griff for the link dipole I use:
80m (SSB)…2 x 18.5m
(Note 18.92m for CW).
60m…2 x 12.9m
40m…2x 9.77m
20m…2 x 4.95m
(30m…1 x 9.77m and 1 x 4.95m)
Above correct for use on 5m centre mast and 1m ends.
The nearer the ground the longer it looks to the RF.
I use 24AWG PTFE wire. Light and not too weak if you’re careful.

Thanks for the QSO,
73, John

Oh dear Karl. Did I tell you wrong? It doesn’t surprise me, I’m getting like that. It’s at the top of every log sheet, in the GPS, in the phone, on the map and supposedly in my head and I still managed to give you the wrong grid letters. Good job you checked!

I hope I didn’t do it last night when I put on four SC grid squares /m for the WAB lads on 3.760! I think I got those right. Good job they read them back to you.

Yes, thanks for the contact. You were very weak but you and Brian G8ADD seem to have the best ears in the business
73, John.

Hi Allan,
Pleased to hear about the cracking signal. 80m was good for some at least. The antenna’s not up to much but I like to run a bit of power to give the chasers a better chance. I know from Roy’s experiences (G4SSH) how much harder chasing is than activating. I just wouldn’t be up to it. You need greater skills, better ears and my home QTH is full of noise.

About the place to stay. My XYL selected it ‘cos they do evening meals. Just a simple menu but 2 courses £13. It’s not a posh place but that matches me and the missus.

2m would have been a struggle. I was only using 2.5W to a vertical omni but I suppose you might have heard me quite well with less terrain in the way.

Reports are too long I think.
See you again soon I hope.
73, John.

Thanks for the photos Adrian,
Yes, it looks very much like the one I saw. If I remember right the boot slopes away more on an 80 than a 110 and the front’s a bit different too. The 110 was in really good nick. A bit of smoke but no oil slick when it moved off.

1977! Those were the days. Seems like not so long ago on the one hand but it was another era, especially for the weight of radio equipment to say nothing of the Voltages! I know nothing of Drake apart from Sir Francis. I wasn’t licenced until 1984. A newby!

73, John.

Above: Ruby’s rear view

Yes I knew you were there but if your 250 Watts were not producing a fully readable signal at my end with low noise, we had little chance with 50W coming back and possible local noise at your end.

I realise that you are or have become one of the few 160m SOTA enthusiasts. You have taken over from EI2CL and EI7CC – Mike & Pete of a few years ago but I think the Dublin QRN finally overtook them and as far as 160m is concerned, they sank below it without trace. Pity the way noise has taken over. I think the authorities have lost control and been overwhelmed.

Better luck next time but not sure when that will be. It would be much better if it were dark.
73, John

Hi Igor,
Thanks for the S2S and reply here. I think you and your lad had a hard day, unlike me, who had an easy one. I have a son called Philip, nearly the same spelling and obviously the same name – lover of horses. He used to go on summits but gave it up in favour of /M and /P VHFing. I had a look at you photos. They look good and nice you had the mountain to yourself. I must have had about 600 tourist going past me from the mountain railway so I envy you that.
Hope we can do another S2S,
73, John

Yes, I take your point Andy. They were already a twenty odd year old design in 1977 but like you, I’ll always love them. I do agree about eggs on wheels. They all look the same to me nowadays. I first noticed a change just after 1970. Maybe they started with aerodynamics and CAD then. Escorts and 1600E’s seemed to signal the change but when you look back now they seem pretty ‘normal’ after all.

Yes I remember the P6 I think. Quite short and blocky with the V8 and 3.5 litres. I had a 1959 Standard 10 (named The Blue Streak) which I bought for a tenner in 1974 and sold for a fiver in 1976. It’s number WOW178 ended up on a black Rover 3.5 in Pickering parked on Eastgate until about 8 years ago. The lad that bought the Standard got £75 for the number which rather upset me!

Anyway, thanks again for registering my temporary phone. It came in handy and it will again.
73, John.

Hi Phil thanks for the reply abut especially for the QSO, which I got quite excited about. I didn’t expect it. As I put on the alert, I rather expected nil but I noted you got some 160m QSO’s from this island in 2009 and 2011 so you did really well, even getting qualifications with the GT7OOO call.

They must have extended the path. I looked at some 1975 photos of it from the honeymoon (HI) and it was there then but maybe not right past the summit. I guess the maintainers of the far mast got fed up of getting their feet muddy.

1159 contacts! Blimey. Now this is what I was saying about skilled operators. I wish I could achieve even half of your QSO rate when it’s freezing cold in the middle of winter.

I can see why you watch the TT. Seems like you have got GD in your blood. Although it’s been raining today, the scenery is beautiful and the people seem great too. I can’t get my head round no UK and no EU. I like the recent history. Just now reading a book about Radio Caroline in Ramsey Bay. The IOM House of Keys gov’t sided with the station against Westminster – they were getting massive free advertising which boosted the tourist industry a lot. They lost in the end but put up a good fight. I still listen to 1368kHz at home sometimes and they still give it over to Caroline for special weekends.

Don’t know what to do next – maybe GD2 tomorrow. A bit of rain about in the forecasts and windy up the tops. Don’t know if I’ll get round to the one pointers. It’s the anniversary on Thursday and this is where we were in Sept 1975 for the honeymoon. Will have to try to be romantic HI.

73, John.

Hi Brian,
I wondered where you’d got to. You’d have had little chance on 160 but 80 would have been OK. 102ft sounds like a G5RV and if you’re calling it a doublet maybe the ribbon runs to the ATU instead of a coax. I should think you’ll get an improvement. It may not be that noticeable but the change is in the right direction and you might as well fill the garden. You already do pretty well on 160 considering.

Hope we can work next time,
73, John.
Hope I got everybody.
Thanks all.

1 Like

OK John

Caroline North was moored off Ramsey and put a fantastic signal into Leyland, Lancashire where I lived with parents as a teenager in the 1960s. We lived only 6 miles from the salt marshes of the Ribble Estuary so she was a big signal on 199 Medium Wave. My favourite tune they played all the time one summer, was Wooly Bully by Sam the Sham and the Pharoes! Tony Prince was my favourite DJ I remember. Those were the days… It was a great shame most of the pirates shut down in August 1967 by the Marine Offences Bill. By 1969 when I got my Marconi CR100 (with long sloping wire to a nearby high factory roof) the only pop pirate left to listen to was Radio Nordsee International, so I started to listening to radio amateurs instead and that kind of changed my life…

73 Phil

73 Phil

Hi John, I think mine was the same body as the 110, it was the economy 4cylinder version (based on the Landrover diesel, with a different head, I was told. It certainly had a heavy duty crankshaft). The 60 and 75 were earlier and had a different boot profile and a “cyclops” fog lamp in the middle of the radiator IRC. Now they really DID look dated :smile:
My wife learned to drive in it - we were married in 1977 - but as she isn’t built like a tank, she had difficulty turning the wheel at low speed. This led to three point turns and parallel parking at speeds that onlookers found alarming! It was good training though, she is still brilliant at both :smile:


That stirred some memories. Mike Ahern comes to mind too and Don Allen. I used to listen to it in Bradford on a valve radio or my Dad’s Decca tranny. Germanium of course. It was scratchy day time and no good at night. Then you had to tune to Caroline South. In 1966 Wilf Proudfoot’s Radio 270 anchored off Scarborough and later Brid. It was 59 in daylight. I remember getting shouted at in Brid harbour when me and a mate rowed our hired rowing boat right under the bows. We’d ridden our bikes there from Bradford. Oceean-7 was in briefly to land a sick crew member. I still have some RNI cassettes I recorded from 1970. Happy days.
GD2 today,