Lockdown alternatives

Hi Mike,

Until the recent coronavirus lockdown I’ve been experimenting with pedestrian mobile from high ground with other like-minded locals on 2m SSB (and 2m CW) with a QRP rig [FT817 or KX2/2m-XVR] in a backpack and a vertical whip. I’m intrigued by your choice of 10m. The international Dx you got was great but it seems you weren’t expecting it. So, I’m wondering how local the others guys were on your 10m chat frequency? Was it all groundwave QSOs? Did you choose 10m for a reason? Is it because you didn’t have a suitable 2m SSB rig? Or you see an advantage with 10m.

73 Andy

I’m quite entertained by your idea Guru. After all, it’s not a SOTA summit, so it’s not a SOTA activation. Therefore we don’t need to conform to SOTA rules either. It’s quite refreshing that at this difficult and unusual time, we are using the opportunity to do - and talk about - some different stuff!

So I think I’ve got an idea about how I can make this happen, despite not possessing an Android phone. Maybe this can happen tomorrow? Who is interested in getting a net going on Peanut with me on a non-SOTA summit? :smiley:

If I’m awake and in between work calls later tonight (tomorrow morning your time), I’ll join in.

1 Like

Testing the Peanut app (SOTA room) on a borrowed Android phone now if anyone is about to help.

Hi Phil.

Once many years ago when I was much younger, I had a busy-body neighbor like that, a really grumpy old guy. I put up antennas (it was allowed) and he called the police, the city inspectors, just about anyone he could think of. And each time they would check me out, then go to his door and tell him they couldn’t do a thing. But finally I had enough. So I decided I was going on the attack. It was a multi-front and multi-pronged attack. Some of what I did I am a little embarrassed to admit now. For example, my yard was all weeds, his yard was beautiful grass. So one night when a good breeze was blowing in the right direction I decided to spray weed killer on my yard. Of course there was a lot of overspray, with the wind and all.

One day I was up on the roof looking at the antennas, and I noticed several piles of dog crap in his back yard. Well, no one enforces it unless there is a complaint. But the city says you must pick up your yard daily. I thought 12 piles was excessive for one day. I snapped a photo of it and mailed it to animal control. I knew when he was served, because he was out there scrubbing the dog run.

While he was cleaning the dog run, I just happened to notice that he had built that dog run with a large poured concrete slab, using a corner of his rear and side rock walls as two sides of the run. A little research told me he did not get a building permit to pour concrete. And furthermore, the city has an easement for access in every yard for utilities, and he poured over the easement.Yup, another letter. I knew when he was served, cause I could hear him busting up the slab with a sledge hammer. And I was told he was fined for pouring concrete without permit.

There was more. But bottom line, he came to the fence one day and said he had had enough. I said, enough what, I had barely gotten started, I wasn’t going to quit until he moved from the neighborhood. He asked why. So I asked him why? Why did it ever start? He apologized, and I told him I would stop, for now. But if anything happened again, even if another neighbor complained and I thought it was him, I was going for broke, to the death.

I lived there for 3 years after that, it was a nice peaceful place. I’ll bet he was happy the day I got reassigned and moved.

As to a backpack and antenna. Build one. It don’t take much. I’ve seen people take a length of 2X2 inch wood beam a couple of feet long, screw an old belt to it like a rifle sling, and mount the antenna to the wood, carried like a rifle with the antenna sticking up. FT-817 on the shoulder strap hung around your neck, and away you go.

BTW, Hustler mobile whips can be used if you can’t find a tunable coil like I have. Alternately, if you have a buddi-pole kit, a Super Antennas MP-1 or maybe a Yaesu ATAS-100 etc, you already have the antenna. What is stopping you?

Vy73 – Mike – KD5KC --El Paso, TX.

1 Like

Hi Andy.

Well, there are a number of reasons. El Paso is a 10m town. One of the local clubs sponsors a 10m contest every October. I’ve won it a few times, and I’ve gone outside the county line and given contacts to the participants inside the city. We have a very active chapter of 10-10 international, and we have weekly nets on 10m.

Yes, pretty much everyone is ground-wave. But good tall vertical antennas and most everyone can hear most everyone else. Even my punny QRP backpack is heard well over the mountains and on the other side of the city.

If the IC-703+ has 2m-SSB, I would do that also. While I do not do 2m-SSB as a Pedestrian Mobile, I have been known to take the FT-817ND into the garden for the SNOT net (Sunday Night On Two).

As you can see, El Paso is a pretty active community, with several V/UHF FM nets for various purposes, 2m-SSB, 6m-SSB and 10m-SSB nets, and an early morning gathering on 160m.

So there you go. Hope you find it interesting.

Vy73 – Mike – KD5KC – El Paso, TX.

Going to attempt a Peanut net in the SOTA room in about an hour from a non-SOTA summit.

If you can start it after 10.30 then I can play too… I have an Agile scrum DevOps stand up meeting where we all sit down that should be finished by then.

That’s a good enough reason as any - gotta have others using the same band to talk with. Unfortunately, there’s no tradition around here [that I know of] to use 10m except as a Dx band. I live in a hilly part of England [called the Lake District] and I’ve tried 10m groundwave with locals (e.g. 15 miles away) QTH to QTH, 2m gets through but sadly 10m does not. But then I was using a horizontal long wire antenna for 10m not a dedicated 10m vertical like yours.

Quite a few people I know run (ran as it was when I lived in England) local nets on 10m FM or SSB. Normally these were used to coordinate Sporadic E hunting on 6m/2m. etc. Others used 70cms for the same purpose. I was a 70cms user as no HF access 20years ago (before my Morse test). The only problem using 10m FM for talkback was when SpE DX appeared on your talkback frequency, shortly followed by everyone else.

I have a CB27/81 set converted to 10mFM which I bought for 50p in junk sale. Works on TX but there is a squelch problem I need to fix. I was going to put it in the car for this Summer’s SpE season when driving to and from SOTA summits. A plan currently on hold…

I’ll certainly hang around until after 10.30am UKT / 0930z. Nowt else to do (apart from update my website and tidy the shack…).

And you often get Es on ten when there is nothing on six, it makes a good indicator that six might open.

When there is no Sporadic E what would be a reasonable expection for ground wave distance on 10m? Does Vertical / Horizontal make any difference? (My QTH is 28 miles from G8CPZ with quite a few hills between is this possible? Might it work from the top of a non-sota summit Monks Moor?). Lots of overhead power lines (11KV I think) and now optical fibre overhead so a tall pedestrian vertical could prove fatal Paul

Well as you know it’s hard to quantify because there are so many variables but for CB 1MHz lower in frequency with 4W FM into a typical CB vertical then about 10 miles was the normal quoted range. Of course, well sited stations would have a LOS path that would increase that. Changing the power and modulation would help. The thing to do would be to make some 10m temporary antennas for the garden and see what you can achieve together. Something to do when you can’t get out on the SOTA summits.

The normal agricultural grid on wooden poles is 11 or 33kV. In the glens up here in Scotland you can sometimes find higher voltage transmission lines on short(ish) wooden poles carrying the power from the various hydro stations. That is to minimise the visual impact in such places of outstanding natural beauty, part of the late Tom Johnston’s legacy. The recently upgraded Beauly-Denny line is now 400kV and the tower height ranges from 42 to 65m here. The minimum height for a 400kV line is only 7.5m. I regularly walk under a low strung 400kV line that runs out from Torness AGR nuclear station. I’m not sure the height but I feel uncomfortable walking under it.

I think it is 11KV up a 10m pole that runs just past the house andf along the valley, once camped underneath a power line - there was a noticable hum on even short aluminium poles.

Hi Andy.

Funny that you should mention that. I/WE have experienced exactly that. And at times it was quite annoying. In the early 1980 when I was a soldier in Germany (second time), the situation was exactly that. Instead of only 10 miles as mentioned, somehow I recall a greater distance. Power and antennas may have been the difference. We were using 100w-SSB, vertical CB antennas tuned to 10m and placed as high as possible, and I regularly worked DA2YF with a clear signal. DA2YF was at least 20 miles north of my location. DA2GM was a good friend, we served together in several places, Manny was just under 25 miles south from my location. DA1RA (Bob) was at 12 miles, and DA1RZ (Ed) was only 3 miles. I think the others experienced similar ranges ± some. There were 4 or 5 stations within range, and a number of others that were beyond range but talked to the others. As I recall, back then 28.500 was considered the DX area, so we were a considerable number of kHz away from that.

So sometimes we would be having interesting conversations between us, something that we really wanted to continue, and the band would open… and suddenly we couldn’t talk at all because the band was flooded with G-stations interrupting because they wanted to log a DA prefix. It was most annoying. I wonder if anyone in Great Britain remembers working DA-stations on 10m-SSB from around 1980 to 1985?

Back then Germany only had about 12 repeater frequencies on 2m, so a few Americans tying up a German repeater would have been annoying to the Germans. In that era the best 2m radios were about 10 watts, and it took yagi antennas to get that kind of range, which defeated the ability to talk to friends in many different directions. But the 100 watts on 10m worked better.

Today I expect a 50w to 100w signal on 2m with a good vertical equally as high would probably work equally as well. And Germany has many more 2m repeaters, although I imagine a bunch of American soldiers tying up a repeater would still be annoying.

Good times, wonderful memories. Bill-DA2YF was married to a Korean, she didn’t take well to Germany. Things went bad, she was sent back to the USA and I don’t know what happened to Bill. Ed-DA1RZ died many years ago. Bob-DA1RA is living up in the state of Washington. Manny-DA2GM retired in El Paso before I did, and we were friends up until he died last fall. Our antennas were about 1.2 miles (1,931m) apart, we had many long chats on 2m-simplex.

Just as a side-note, my Pedestrian Mobile QRP radio is regularly heard well by Hans-W5HFN. Hans lives about 25 miles east of me, with a 3200 ft (1,000m) mountain in between us. So as you say, the range will be hard to quantify. But unless you give it a try, who knows?

Vy73 – Mike – KD5KC – El Paso, TX.

Please don’t forget dad to add this underneath every OS Map that you screen shot into the reflector

©Crown copyright 2020 Ordnance Survey. Media 010/20

Andy MM0FMF has instructed that this must be done as advised on this thread here Copying Ordnance Survey Maps Into A Topic - #16 by MM0FMF You will need to add this OS copyright thing to both OS Maps that you have screen shotted this this reflector add this is a requirement by Ordnance Survey.

Jimmy M0HGY


Thanks Mr Association Manager.

1 Like

The OS Map above in this thread also needs that copyright thing underneath it also.

Jimmy M0HGY

1 Like

Time for another eye test Jimmy?