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Silence on G/SE-001 Walbury Hill

Having read a number of posts making reference to the 2m silence of the south-east, I can now say for certain that I know what they mean…

So far, four visits to G/SE-001 have amassed a total of four QSOs, all on 2m/FM, with over five hours (0600-0715BST twice, 1630-1800BST yesterday, and 1230-1400BST today) calling including some time calling on 6m and 70cm, as well as 2m.

It is a lovely tranquil spot, with lots of birds, mammals and insects to watch, not to mention the sheep - as well as the ocassional passing aircraft, paraglider or hot-air balloon… but not a lot in the way of FM radio traffic - even the local repeaters are quiet!

Clearly my VX-8DE (even when combined with a MFD or a SRH-940) limits what I can call on, but I would have thought that even the SE should generate enough QSOs to qualify the hill?

I’m not one to give up, so will keep trying (as time permits) but clearly I need a different strategy…

So, panel - your advice please…

Should I:
a) keep plugging away with my 6/2/70 FM only handie?
b) find something that gives me SSB too?
c) find something that gives me HF too?
d) Give up on G/SE-001 as a bad job?

Obviously something like the FT-817/857/897 would give me all options, but I’m still a Newbie in the hobby, and I’m twitchy about spending too much money just yet…

What does the panel think?

In reply to M6ADB:
Hi, I have also been on Walbury hill with the same problem. I too asked for advice and took to hf, I have never looked back! A second hand ft817 shouldn’t set you back too much and gives you everything the handie does and more! Best of luck!!Dave G8XDD

In reply to M6ADB:

Walbury was my first summit and I had no problem whatsoever getting it qualified… in fact it was so laid back and enjoyable that I stayed there for several hours on that sunny February day back in 2006. I used both 2m SSB and FM to a 5 element beam and 25W output. Perhaps therein lies the rub…

Sorry that I couldn’t oblige with a contact today - work intervened. It would have been interesting to see how strong you were here in Northampton… or weren’t as the case may be.

My thought would be that you should get a small beam and pole next. I’ve always had success with a beam when I’ve been limited in terms of power due to the main batteries having been left at home or just depleted.

73, Gerald

In reply to M6ADB:

So far, four visits to G/SE-001 have amassed a total of four QSOs, all
on 2m/FM, with over five hours (0600-0715BST twice, 1630-1800BST
yesterday, and 1230-1400BST today) calling including some time calling
on 6m and 70cm, as well as 2m.

Hi Andrew!

Sorry to hear you are struggling to make QSOs from Walbury Hill. I have activated SE-001 on three occasions since November last year. On every occasion I used my FT-817 running 5 watts with wire dipoles on HF and SOTA-beams on VHF/UHF.

12 Nov: 51 QSOs, all on 40m CW. (1 hour 3 mins)

16 Feb: 43 QSOs (14 on 5 MHz SSB; 21 on 40m CW; 8 on 40m SSB). (1 hour 50 mins)

1 May: 38 QSOs (18 on 2m SSB; 20 on 70cm SSB). (3 hours 45 mins)

So, panel - your advice please…

Should I:
a) keep plugging away with my 6/2/70 FM only handie?
b) find something that gives me SSB too?
c) find something that gives me HF too?
d) Give up on G/SE-001 as a bad job?

The stats above seem to indicate that:

QSOs are most plentiful on HF.
On VHF and UHF, SSB is far more productive than FM.
So the answers to your 4 options above are:

a) No
b) Yes
c) Yes
d) Definitely not!

Good luck! And you could also consider learning Morse … hi hi! Tom, M1EYP, did that and he is hooked on it now!

73,
Walt (G3NYY)

In reply to M6ADB:
I found it an easy hill to qualify earlier this year one February afternoon. I used 2m SSB with the conventional Ft-817 and SOTABeam. I also had the only 4m FM contact to date recorded on this summit. Why not visit the hill tomorrow morning and meet Richard Marshall G4ERP in action? It might be a brilliant tutorial and you’ll get your point. I think the problem is too much FM in your activation offer for southern England. I like to think I have a chance of getting a QSO with super phone chasers like G0TRB and G0RQL. My log for Walbury Hill is very North facing:-
14:34z G4YKQ 144MHz SSB Paul Wedford, Bledlow Ridge, HIGH WYCOMBE
14:41z 2E0UAC 144MHz SSB Martin Timms, Coventry
14:44z M0JDK 144MHz SSB John Keefe, Swadlingcote
14:46z G0NES 144MHz SSB DON BRYANT. HOLLYWOOD, WORCESTERSHIRE
14:47z G0TRB 144MHz SSB ROGER BETTS. TAMWORTH
14:50z G3RDQ 70MHz FM David Griffiths, Stockbridge, Andover, Hants

Your Vx-8 will be great in G/WB, G/LD and G/SP and Eastern or very high parts of Wales and you’re already using APRS to add further interest. Keep going Andrew - the SOTA crowd are super supporters of all participants
73
David

You should have no trouble activating Walbury Hill on 2m SSB, or on HF CW.

Activating on 2m FM is viable, but I would recommend (a) doing on a weekend day and (b) using a SOTA Beam.

Tom M1EYP

Many thanks for the feedback and suggestions. Looks like SSB or HF is the way ahead… Picking a few specifics

In reply to 2E0DAI:

Why
not visit the hill tomorrow morning and meet Richard Marshall G4ERP in
action? It might be a brilliant tutorial and you’ll get your point.

I considered that, but my schedule for the weekend preclude it…

In reply to M1EYP

(a) doing on a weekend day and (b) using a SOTA Beam

It’s close to where I work, hence the weekday visits… I’ll have to try and sneak a weekend in somehow, then!

I am the owner of a new SOTAbeam, so next time out I’ll give that a try…

Thanks all,
Andrew, M6ADB

In reply to M6ADB:

Whilst in the Sea Cadets, I operated from Walbury Hill a number of times on the Sea Cadet VHF frequencies. We were using Pye W30s with a vertical yagi and were reaching Reading and central London with ease. Our reason for being there was our support for the Devizes to westminster Canoe Race for which we were acting as a relay station.

Steve
MW1AZI

I’m looking at my webpages for my two previous activations of SE-001, and both were a bit of a challenge - on 2m FM. Definitely a case for SSB/CW.


http://tomread.co.uk/walbury_hill_se-001.htm

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M6ADB:

I am the owner of a new SOTAbeam, so next time out I’ll give that a
try…

Whilst the SOTABeam on 2m FM may help, I have a feeling that for some of the hills you either need SSB as well or perhaps to do the activation at the weekend.

Richard G4ERP/P managed well in excess of the required 4 contacts in very little time at all this morning, but band conditions on 2m did seem to be very good - he was peaking 59+20 in Cheltenham.

Stewart G0LGS

I was hearing him in Macclesfield on the vertical antenna! OK, it wasn’t enough for me to get back to him (although I did optimistically have a couple of tries), but to hear Walbury Hill in Macc is quite something (on 2m).

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:

Good evening, all.

Just relaxing for a few minutes before bed then back in the garage tomorrow am. Nearly there now - which is just as well as we’re competing in it next weekend. Walbury was a pleasant break even if it was en route to Newbury to cut some tyres.

Walbury Hill. Mixed feelings about it as a site. The path to the NNW (and many SOTA chasers) is over the Ridgeway and the Cotswolds so it’s never going to be wonderful in that direction however … I just checked the logs for my five visits and was surprised to find a GM S2S. Conditions were up this morning but not on that occasion.

Firstly, I note some people go to the trig point. 1) As far as I’m aware, it’s on private land although there’s what passes for a stile alongside the field gate. 2) The takeoff is poor compared with the PROW that passes nearby and which is well in the AZ. This is where I operate.

Here are the stats:

  1. 7 QSOs (5 ssb, 2 fm) - Midweek winter activation.
  2. 10 QSOs (all ssb) - In the dark, winter, midweek, unannounced. Cold, raining… (sympathy please).
  3. 5 QSOs (all ssb) - weekend but again unannounced.
  4. 14 QSOs (all ssb) - weekend. Av condx. Best DX GM S2S.
  5. 19 QSOs (all ssb) - today. Good condx. Best DX Cumbria.

50W to my 6 ele.

73, Richard

In reply to M6ADB:

Ho hum… the trials and tribulations continue.

I’ve treated myself to an FT-897 as an early birthday present, so had plans to try my luck this morning, on a detour on my trip to work. Leaving home, the sky was slightly overcast, but the sun was breaking through.

But as I arrived at G/SE-001 (and even drove along the byway to save me the walk) things were taking a turn for the worse… low cloud was making visibility a bit tricky, but ho hum, that’s part of the fun, isn’t it.

I tried 145-fm on my HH first, but predictably got no takers, so started to set up the FT-897 for 2m-ssb using my SOTAbeam MFD. Disaster! I’d not brought a BNC/N-type adapter :frowning:

Not to worry I can now do HF - I set up my SuperAntenna MP1, and immediately picked up RN3DAZ on 14,210 as 59 but my attempt at a QSO failed as all he could hear was “Mike {mumble} Portable” as the thickening cloud and now driving rain made conditions very unpleasant.

Time to QRT… One day, I WILL conquer G/SE-001 :slight_smile:

I’m in South London on Wednesday, so maybe I’ll have better luck with G/SE-005?

Andrew
M6ADB

In reply to M6ADB:

Hi Andrew,
I live about 20miles from Walbury Hill.
I listened for you and also called for you on 70.45mhz fm , (I dont have 2m at home), but without a spot it is impossible to know if you were there yet and which band you were operating on.

So next time you go phone a friend who can put up a spot for you. It could make the difference between silence and a mini pile-up!

If I am at home I am happy do this for you .

David G3RDQ

In reply to G3RDQ:

Many thanks David - that’s probably a good plan for next time (not sure when it will be!)

I don’t have anything for 70Hz/4m though

Also, I think I need to “plan” some frequencies for 10m/20/40m rather than go “ad hoc” - at least on 2m and 70cm there are calling frequencies to play on.

Thanks
Andrew
M6ADB

In reply to M6ADB:

I set up my SuperAntenna MP1

Try one of these… it’ll make a better antenna!

http://www.chuckmartin.com/shop/index.php?shop=1&cat=6

:slight_smile:

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to MM0FMF:

I set up my SuperAntenna MP1

Try one of these… it’ll make a better antenna!

Thanks…

The MP1 seems great on Rx - even sat in my garden, I’ve had 59s from pretty much the whole world, but it does seem a bit lacking on Tx (managed a few into Europe only). maybe that was why I was given it as a freebie hand-me-down?

Constructive suggestions for better alternatives are welcome though :slight_smile:

Andrew
M6ADB

In reply to MM0FMF:

Worked well for me when I traveled in Europe a couple of years ago including a couple of very restricted summits.

Andrew… the “trick” with the MP1 is to throw away the supplied radials and cut sets for the bands you want to use. I also mark on the coil with a marker pen the rough positions for the bands I use regularly to aid setting up.

The MP1 is fine but will never be quite as good as a full size antenna.

Carolyn (G6WRW)

In reply to M6ADB:

Although some people like to joke about the MP1, it can’t be that bad with almost 10.000 /P QSOs. Instead of using the supplied telescopic antenna, replace it with a MFJ-1954. Regarding radials, the supplied set is ok but the connector won’t last very long. I replaced it with a pair of 5m wire.

73 Norby

In reply to M6ADB:

Well done on bagging 4 contacts from Botley Hill SE-005 this week Andrew. I could just copy some of your modulation here in Northampton, but not enough for a contact. SSB would have been tricky, though CW would have been a cert as your carrier was easily copyable. I did give you a quick shout running a bit of power in case you were in a position to improve signals in my direction, but I think I must have left it too late as I didn’t copy anything after that. Hopefully will be able to catch you from Walbury soon.

73, Gerald