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Microwave operators wanted !

Making QSO’s on the bands above 1 GHz presents specific challenges, like the relatively low number of chasers and the high directivity of the antennas generally used.

A SOTA award dedicated to microwave contacts is available. All details are on https://www.sota.org.uk/Joining-In/Awards.

Important differences of the microwave award include

  • This award will be achieved by making a contact at least 50 km in distance between two stations, at least one of which must be activating a qualified SOTA summit.

  • The elevation (number of points) of the summit(s) is not relevant

  • Increasing distances beyond 50 km between the two stations leads to higher level awards

  • There are no yearly limits on how often activators and chasers can score, but only one award claim may be made per summit per activating DAY

Microwave contacts can be also used to support other SOTA awards, including summit to summit.

I would suggest all stations interested in SOTA and microwaves contacts post in this thread some information about their station such as

  • Maidenhead Locator
  • QRV on bands X, Y, Z
  • power and type of antennas
  • modes (CW, SSB, PSK31, FT8, FM, etc.)

I understand many operators active on microwave bands do not participate in SOTA at all. If you happen to know some of them, maybe you could suggest them to chase SOTA activators too.

I propose we use this thread initially to announce any activities on the microwave bands in order to organise proper “skeds” and to maximise the chances of contacts.

I’ll start with the very limited equipment I can use at this stage:

  • JO20EQ (Waterloo, near Brussels)
  • 23 cm / 2 watts, bi-square and HB9CV antennas.
  • CW, SSB, FM

Hope to meet you soon on microwaves :wink:

6 Likes

Hi

We do have some 23cm and 13cm activity in G/LD and GM/SS. At the moment not much activity due to all the various travel restrictions.

The GM group did a bulk buy of the SG-Lab transverters to stimulate activity.

gm13@groups.io | Topics

Once you can sked Summit to Summit QSOs you don’t need any complex kit. The hardest part is getting everyone’s availability to align.

On a more long distance microwave activity there is the QO-100 sat on 13cm UP and 3cm Down.

2 Likes

In the US, DX Engineering has a sale on DJ-G7T. Good for one watt on 23 cm, plus 2m and 70cm at about 5 watts. Goes well with my 16 element Comet Yagi for 23 cm.

Elliott, K6EL

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Hi Christophe,
in the UK we are lucky that we have regular microwave contests every month. These are good opportunities to get on a summit and work many stations. It also help you to connect with regular operators who you can then alert when you are planning a SOTA trip.
As other posts and blogs will show you, it is amazing how far you can make contacts with a simple microwave set-up.

good luck.
Stuart
G1ZAR

1 Like

Hello Christophe,

I’m interested in getting started in microwave activities. Right now I have 2m/70cm equipment and need to build/ purchase missing microwave components. It will take some time until QRV…

  • JN48KF (DM/BW-147, most promising nearby summit)
  • 23cm / 2 W / HB9CV
  • CW, SSB, FM

73, Roman

1 Like

Roman, it’s very important when you start out that you have a microwave buddy so that you can be sure of some QSOs. There is nothing worse than buying/making equipment only to find there’s nobody you can QSO with.

When Jack GM4COX suggested to me that we buy some of the relatively new SG Lab 13cms transverters I knew it was a sound plan because the pair of us could arrange to be out on hills were we likely to succeed in having a QSO. As it was we ended up buying 7 units and 3 of them are regularly used in SOTA activations. It is also convenient for both Jack and myself that where we live there are a number active microwavers. 4 of my contesting group are QRV on 13cms from home and with 3 or 4 other local stations it’s a reasonably regular occurrence to qualify a SOTA summit on 13cms.

The SG Lab units are about the cheapest way to get QRV on 23/13 or 9cms. They work well and seem reliable. SG Lab customer service is good too. If you have big money you can buy from Kuhne who make not only excellent electronics but their manufacturing is a work of art too.

But do get yourself a microwave buddy so you are sure of some QSOs in the early days.

2 Likes

Stupid question alert

How much is an SG Labs transverter? If I email the guy I’m almost certain to buy one for 23cms but will almost certainly feel the ‘nudge of disapproval’ round the back of my head from Mrs g7kse

Also, I read at the weekend about the langstone project which looks promising as a project for SOTA. Anyone any experience of this?

@G4VFL you could end up with me knocking on your door every 5 minutes asking for help.

It’s not a stupid question, it’s understandable because they aren’t advertised anywhere with prices. The best way to find the current pricing is by emailing the contact address on the website, which is https://sg-lab.com (not sg-labs.com). They will quote you a price in Euros.
I have the 1296 transverter and the 25w amp for same. Excellent performance…
Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

1 Like

Alex, the last prices I saw were approx

23cms £160 + p&p
13cms £190 + p&p
9cms £220 + p&p

But that was last year when we were still in the single market so they included LZ VAT. The prices now will subject to Euro<>£ fluctuations and should be approx 20% cheaper as they will no longer include LZ VAT. Of course as soon as they arrive in the UK, you are subject to 20% UK VAT plus a handling charge of £8-£12 and maybe a %age of value charge depending on courier.

And as Andrew says, it’s not a stupid question because they don’t advertise prices.

You may want to consider buying with a friend so you can spread the admin charges on import over a few of you.

Ta,

So basically pretty reasonable for the SG Labs stuff.

I’ll add it to the topic of conversation on the Wednesday evening ‘West Cumbrian SOTAist’s who are just about ready to get back out on the fells’ net. Especially as the other Andrew runs it!

Alex

Thanks for the hint, Andy!
As there is a 23cm FM repeater nearby, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find someone who is willing to try a QSO on a simplex channel or even SSB/ CW.
I sent a request to the local club and am now waiting for replies from the microwave guys.

As for the equipment: It seems reasonable to start with 23cm as there will be some people active at least on the FM repeater.

73, Roman

I started on 23cm with the Alinco DJ-G7 HT a a 3 element PC Board yagi. Once bitten I moved on to the SG-Lab transverter. I use my KX3 with built in 2M board to drive the transverter. I have now added the SG-Lab 25W amplifier. For antennas I continue to use my 3 element PC Board yagi, but I have added a 10 element yagi and the Comet 16 element yagi. In the past I have operated from Anthony Peak (W6/CC-010) Mount Tamalpias (W6/CC-063), Mount Diablo (W6/CC-045), Mount Umunhum (W6/CC-052), Mount Vaca (W6/NC-151), Pole Mountain (W6/NC-242) and Vollmer Peak (W6/NC-298). Best DX has been from NorCal to the Fresno area. My goal is to operate from NorCal down to the San Gabriel Mountains and from the San Gabriels into Arizona. My best success comes after alerting the Microwave ham community and asking them to look for me. I operate using FM and SSB with capability for CW. Looking for hams from the Oregon border to SoCAL who are interested in 23 cm ops! Thanks to K6EL we have many contacts S2S using the Alinco Dj-G7 HTs.

I recently bought the 13cm amplifier and it sneaked into the UK under the payment radar. You may, or may not, be equally lucky

“sneaked into the UK under the payment radar”

Very appropriate for the band…

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So.I’m dipping my toe in with 13cm tomorrow on Dent L/D-045. I expect I’ll activate this one again in the future so don’t worry if the date/time doesn’t suit. I need to get the hang of the gear.

Have you bought some 13cms gear Alex or have you borrowed some?

Dent is quite a useful hill as it’s not a big climb in any sense but it has a great take off to Southern Scotland and hence some of the gm13 activators. I’m not very hill fit at present and it’s 26th April before I can get out of my local authority. But as soon as access, fitness and weather allows I’ll be happy to try for QSOs with you as I would imagine will Jack GM4COX. There are a few easy 100+km paths to Dent from SS summits.

Borrowed off Andrew @G4VFL. Going to have a go and at the very least have a qso with the kits owner. Quite fancy a similar setup to this loaner with an Oscar 100 uplink switch. Leant out the window earlier and can get a weak signal up there.

Dent is very close by so as I get used to operating in nosebleed freq’s I’ll go back there and activate it with a bit more notice. I can ride almost to the summit in around 45 minutes from home. Probably tie up with Andrew when he’s allowed back in SS. Presumably after he’s had a haircut!

1 QSO complete on 13cm. Do I get a badge? :laughing:

Depends how far the contact was…
(see microwave SOTA award)

Not far enough. I can tell you that without even looking :slight_smile: