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M0JLA failed activation of Sugar Loaf

I spent about 45 minutes on Sugar Loaf this afternoon without hearing anything much at all. 144.300-ssb and 145.500-fm. As this is my third consecutive failed activation with this radio (ft-817) I begin to think that it is broken.

If anyone heard my calls (as MW0JLA/P) on the afternoon of Sunday 24th October I would be very grateful if they could add a post to this topic. That would at least narrow down the investigation.

Also, apologies to anyone who was hoping to collect Bryn Arw or Skirydd Fawr but moving on seemed pointless.

Many thanks in advance.

Rod

In reply to M0JLA:

Rod

Have you tried the radio at home?

73

Richard
G3CWI

In reply to M0JLA:

I spent a lot of time listening on 144.300 but didn’t hear you, Rob. What sort of SWR indication were you getting from the rig on transmit? What antenna were you using? Did you check the meter on power output?

I once had a fault on my previous 817 where there was no output on 2 metres, all other bands being OK, when it was repaired the shop said that a transformer had gone open circuit, but it was clear at the time that there was a fault because there was no indication on power output.

If you live anywhere near Birmingham I could listen out for a test transmission sometime.

73

Brian G8ADD

In reply to M0JLA:
Hi Rod,

Never fear! I could hear you. I was monitoring 2m FM as I went to pick up my lad (Dave M0MYA) from Ludlow trainstation. As I drove down into Ludlow (descending WB-004 in the process) I could hear you as an intermittent copy, at one point coming through strong. Had I have heard you further up the bank I’m sure you would have been 5/9.

Good luck with the investigation. We have spoken before between our home QTHs - if you’d like to set up a sched to test your radio, just send an email to either me or Dave - details on QRZ.com

73,

Geoff 2E0BTR

In reply to M0JLA:
I think the Antenna May be the first thing to look at Rod! I wonder what you are using? Im using a 3 ele portable beam from Sandpiper! Its excellent! We will have to speak on GB3VM//ZA!!

Matt 2E0XTL

Rod,

I heard and worked Tony MW0ZZA/P at 1103 (GMT) on GW/SW-011 after hearing him calling CQ on 144.3 (beam was no where near the correct direction but I still heard him) so I’m a little surprised I never heard you calling.

Whilst I am close enough to Sugar Loaf to have heard and worked you on 2m FM, unfortunately for you I don’t often listen on 145.5 as the FM radio is mostly left on 145.350.

Have you (when struggling for contacts) tried calling on any of the Repeater frequencies to see if you can get someone who can either QSY to a simplex frequency or to Spot you on Sotawatch (or even to confirm the equipment is working).

As it seems you were heard it at least shows the radio was at least working, but I would still check everything out to try to make sure that you have not got some sort of problem.

Better luck next time.

Stewart G0LGS

In reply to M0JLA:

Did you self-spot? (I couldn’t see one).

I’ve come to the conclusion that for 2m it’s vital to get spotted and if I don’t work someone fairly quickly then I use SMS-spot to self spot which usually wakes people up.

Colin G8TMV

In reply to 2E0XTL:

Hi Matt! Were you active on 4m FM from Cadair Idris yesterday? I was monitoring 70.450 for you from 1030 UTC until 1230 UTC from G/WB-021 but didn’t hear you. (I worked 4 other stations, including G7RHF.)

73,
Walt (G3NYY)

In reply to G3NYY:
Hi Walt

I did go on to 4 metres but activity was very quiet! I only worked Alan G7RHF at 1229 UTC. We must have missed each other! I was running late as the route took longer then initially planned!

Might be out later this week fingers crossed!

Matt

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.

Rod

In reply to M0JLA:

Rod, my 817 had a habit of losing its tx ability on 2m ssb every couple of months. I found it responds to a “factory re-set” as per the manual. Not used mine for a while but from memory you hold a couple of buttons in whilst powering up. You do lose any memories - but it may be the only way to fix it.

Hi Rod,

I heard you as I drove up fish hill near Broadway. I pulled into the picnic area at the top but had lost you by then.

I activated SW-011 yesterday lunch time, so we missed each other by a couple of hours.

Tony
M0ZZA

In reply to M0ZZA:

Forgot to say. That was on FM. 145.500

73
Tony

In reply to M0ZZA:

In reply to M0ZZA:

Forgot to say. That was on FM. 145.500

73
Tony

In reply to G1INK:

In reply to M0JLA:

Rod, my 817 had a habit of losing its tx ability on 2m ssb every
couple of months. I found it responds to a "factory re-set"
as per the manual. Not used mine for a while but from memory you hold
a couple of buttons in whilst powering up. You do lose any memories -
but it may be the only way to fix it.

That is very interesting and will certainly be put into practice as soon as I have set it up here to test it, probably whatever the test outcomes might be.

Rod

In reply to M0JLA:

Rod,

In answer to your query about my antenna. I was using an FT-817ND with a SOTABeams MFD dipole for my activation.

Tony

In reply to M0JLA:

Hi, Rod, I’m just passing on a suggestion from Mike GW0DSP; he wonders if you could have had the output of the rig switched to the wrong socket? You get a few milliwatts of output if you do that, but nothing useful.

73

Brian G8ADD

In reply to 2E0XTL:

I did go on to 4 metres but activity was very quiet! I only worked
Alan G7RHF at 1229 UTC. We must have missed each other! I was running
late as the route took longer then initially planned!

Might be out later this week fingers crossed!

Thanks, Matt. Sorry I missed you. 4m is very “hit and miss”. Will look out for you later in the week.

73,
Walt (G3NYY)

In reply to M0JLA:
Covering several more helpful replies at one go.

Many thanks for further advice and reports.
Brian, the wrong socket configuration was not something I had considered as I didn’t think I could have changed it accidentally; I hadn’t, but you never know!

Tony, that is exactly what I was using to begin with and I then put up the sota lightweight beam.

However, the radio was tested well last evening, reaching ZA, VM and G4VCH who very kindly checked the repeater input, changed to direct and then to ssb. So the radio is good for 20 miles with a decent antenna from a not very elevated location. G4VCH reports 5 and 0 which is a bit disappointing using beams at both ends. My SWR meter power output was flicking off scale on the 1W range so output can’t have been too bad (good VSWR with the home antenna too). We also checked down the lower power ranges and the signal progressed to being inaudible, so doesn’t seem like a failed output stage.

Something seriously wrong with the setup on the hills. I shall have to try some portable work in the park and see if I can pin down the problem. Not today! It looks like being one for staying indoors and I will probably wait 'til after half-term.

Thanks again; hope the next contact will be on-air.

Rod

In reply to M0JLA:

G4VCH reports 5 and 0

Meaningless report. If someone is strength 0 then they cannot be detected, heard, resolved, decoded or copied.

If they can be detected, heard, resolved, decoded or copied they are not, by definition, signal strength 0. They must be signal strength something. In which case 51 is worst strength a signal that is fully readable can be.

I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Andy
MM0FMF