After spending a few hours reading the 23cm topics on this reflector I decided a few days ago to get QRV on 23cm for S2S activations. Being completely new to microwaves, I’m looking for some advice.
I’ve just ordered a 23cm transverter and Yagi and will soon have the following kit available to take:
- SG-Lab 23cm XV (2W output) and 2-el PCB antenna
- 13-el 23cm Yagi (f/g 15.6dBi, beam 30 degrees)
- Yaesu FT1D 2m/70cm handy
- FT817, mic, paddles, LiPo
- Sandpiper 2m Yagi (for talkback?)
- Modified camera tripod (with 1m ali pole on top)
I will be operating mainly in G/LD and maybe G/NP (my house move from Bucks. to south Cumbria has been delayed, but – with a new buyer lined up – should be in May now).
From comments (e.g. Adrian G4AZS, Andy MM0FMF) it looks like a lot of (non-DX) contacts from SOTA summits is possible and practical with a ‘23cm lite’ FM-only set-up (handy + XV + PCB ant, e.g. resting on trig point or handheld) – presumably provided you post alerts and spots in advance.
On good-weather days (dry, not too windy at summit, ha ha!) I would take the tripod and the 13-el Yagi (0.46kg good, but 1m long on my rucksack(?) – I don’t want to spend time assembling and disassembling a Yagi at the summit – my circulation isn’t that good any more). From LD it looks like I could get into GM, Wales and the Midlands with 2W and the 13-el Yagi. Do most folk rely on spotting or getting 2m/70cm stations to QSY?
Regarding modes, am I right to say SSB is the most popular, then FM, then CW (Does anyone CW? Would anyone CW on request?). So would take the 817 for SSB/CW.
Is the 2m Yagi of any use here? On 2m I find my Diamond RH770 telescopic very effective with the handy. Is talkback really needed only for ‘difficult’ bands, like 10GHz?
Are contacts mainly S2S or do many home-based chasers have 23cm antennas? Sounds like FM chasers could be either H or V polarization. Switching polarization is trivial with the PCB antenna but not very practical with my tripod pole and H-oriented 13-el Yagi. I assume most/all SSB/CW mode stations are H-polarized.
Although I’m normally a HF CW activator, I would like to focus on 23cm and play with my new toys for the Lake District SOTA weekend, 18-19th. May. I had hoped to be living in south Cumbria and activating LD summits well ahead of that weekend. But now we’ll be lucky to move house in time. My wife will /need me to do stuff round the new house/Can’t wait to get me out of her hair/**delete as appropriate. So, I should be modest with my plans.
I think I’ll stay close to home (in case XYL calls) and activate only my (future) local summit, Arnside Knott (LD-058), which I can drive to in 10 mins and walk up in 15, and be QRV mainly or only on 23cm (SSB/FM/CW).
I see others plan to be 23cm QRV too for that weekend (G1ZAR, G0HIK, GX4ARF, MM0FMF, G4AZS, …) so hope it will be a fun day (days).
Thanks for reading this far. Comments on my assumptions & specific questions or any general advice on 23cm operation would be welcome.