In reply to M0JLA:
I have replied to myself so I can cover all the helpful points made in one go; thank you all very much.
First, to avoid confusion, the Saturday activation of Worcester Beacon that I am about to put up was done on fm with another radio (VX-3), as was my last successful activation, covering longer than expected distances in both cases.
Yes, Richard, I have tried the radio before and had several 2m ssb contacts and activations, though nothing on HF yet. Not yet had a chance to rearrange things at home to try it again here.
I was watching the swr rather than power, Brian, and I think I only had a reading for swr on fm, not ssb. Thanks for the hint about the fault on yours and the offer of a test.
Geoff, thanks for the report on fm. At least something was going out some of the time. See you Tuesday?
Matt, the simple dipole, vertical or horizontal to suit mode and on ssb the sotabeams lightweight dipole I have had good results with previously, so I think is ok. (It was the one in the roofspace for some of my chasing contacts, including Geoff, and, I think, yourself.)
Interesting that Stewart heard Tony on the same hill on the same day, after I spoke to you both on Saturday. Not knowing what power/antenna Tony was using I’m not sure how significant hearing him and not me might be. I didn’t have the VX-3 with me on Sunday or I would have tried that too. I have tried repeaters on previous occasions to check function; not on Sunday as ZA is normally useless in that direction and VM, my other local one, is a bit far and over the hills.
Yes, Colin, spotting does make a difference. I don’t do SMS; perhaps I should find out how. I will ask at Worcester on Tuesday.
Thanks again to you all; hope to speak to you soon.