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VHF/UHF is alive and well


#1

Full report and photos to come later. Though those of you that are friends of Jimmy M0HGY on Facebook already have access to all today’s photos.

However, in response to recent moans about VHF/UHF activity, I decided to focus on that. But not with a good system or on 2m, oh no. No, I was determined not to have my results dismissed, so I challenged myself further. The band to be used was 70cm, the mode FM, and the equipment just a handheld with rubber duck.

So how did I do with all these limitations?

70 cm FM handheld and rubber duck:

G/SP-004: 17 QSOs
G/SP-013: 6 QSOs
G/SP-015: 16 QSOs

Jimmy was using a proper 2m system with an 817 running 2.5 watts into a SOTAbeams MFD @ 7m on a SOTA Pole.

Between the two of us, we made 122 activator QSOs on the day, all VHF/UHF, all FM, all QRP, and most of mine on 70cm with HT & RD!

Great day out in the sunshine!


#2

UHF too - it seems.


#3

Eeeeh, I remember when I was a lad, we used to call 70cms UHF.
Edit, Stuart beat me to it, must be the UTC rollover to blame.


#4

You knew what I meant you two pedants! Nonetheless, you are quite correct and my post is now edited accordingly - thanks!

Not the UTC whatever to blame. More the sleep deprivation and middle aged fatigue…


#5

Well done Tom and Jimmy!
70cms needs some use if we are not to lose sections of it to mobile phones etc. I think it would make the ideal SOTA activity focus like 24MHz was a year or two back. A remarkable number of QSO’s that I could only dream of. Keep up the good work.
73, John.


#6

With the whole UK between 1020 and 1028 millibars I would hope that there would be increased activity! OTOH try it from Cornwall! When on holiday down there a week or so ago I heard zilch.


#7

You’re choosing the wrong holiday spots Brian.


#8

You’re surely not suggesting that we should consider IO83 square for a holiday, Tom?

:wink:

73,
Walt (G3NYY)


#9

Why not? IO83 includes the Clwydians, the Peak District, the Forest of Bowland and - Blackpool. But IO81, 82, 84, 91, 92, 93 - for instance - are all good for VHF/UHF. In fact, in my experience, most populated places are if you plan and promote your activity properly. For instance, a few weeks ago Jimmy operating as EA8/M0HGY/P did a 2m handheld-only activation on a summit in Tenerife. To the best of our knowledge, there was only likely to be a total of 4 English speaking VHF radio amateurs in Tenerife that would be interested in working him on the SOTA. We contacted them all in advance and arranged for them all to be listening at that time. And it worked.


#10

Why not indeed - in the rapidly receding past I spent many a happy holiday on the gritstone edges of Derbyshire, so I won’t knock it, but the XYL chose Cornwall so Cornwall it was!


#11

You can work “proper” VHF from Cornwall such as EA8. :wink:


#12

Well the oceanic ducting sets in later in the year, and late April is a bit early for double hop Es, but I have worked into the Spanish mainland from there on 2 metres in the past, so you never know what might turn up!


#13

Hello Tom. Many thanks for your Activations yesterday Both you and Jimmy did very well indeed.
It was great to hear activity on the 70cm. Band. If more Activators had the courage and determination to try this band, then I am sure SOTA would benefit from greater public interest.
Thanks for the QSO’s. Best Wishes, Paul M0CQE.


#14

UHF alive and well - it certainly is:

Pleased as Punch with a S2S with Andy, MM0FMF and another qso with Jack, GM4COX on 13 cm on Saturday.

Anybody thinking of activating this one pointer using the route described by M1MAJ (GM/SS-175) needs their brains examining - it is a long haul (7.5 km each way). I was completely out of it by the time I got back - but still smiling at the 13 cm qso’s


#15

I told you it was a looooooong walk! There is a shorter route straight up the escarpment from Highfield Farm, but fewer places to park. If you think that one is bad you should try Stronend from the same starting point, a 3rd of the distance but 10x worse ground.

Yes, 2x 13cms contacts on the first time out including an S2S. That’s not bad. Now to get the rest of the team active so I can qualify a summit on 13cms! Over a LOS path with 2W and the 4ele Yagi you were S9+++ I could drop the signal to S9 by pointing the antenna at Jack’s QTH. GB3CSB from Kilsyth was unbelievably loud, no matter how I place the antenna I could not affect the signal strength. In fact when I got home I could hear GB3CSB inside, downstairs beaming through my shack window, the neightbours house, lots of pine trees etc. Even without local obstructions, it’s not a LOS path. The path to Jack’s QTH in Law is not LOS but grazes a few hills and he was S7. That suggests moderate sensitivity of the transverter front end.

I picked up 2 good S2S QSOs on 2m too. Steve MM0XPZ on Hill of Stake for a complete and Robin GM7PKT on Troweir Hill. I’ll be doing that in a few weeks so that’s another budding complete in the making and another off my bucket SS list.


#16

Hi Andy, a few questions if you do not mind?

Is this what you are using Andy? If so RRP?

http://www.sg-lab.com/TR2300/tr2300.html

I presume IF is from the 817 on 70cms?
Does the 4 ele yagi come included with the transverter?
Any plans to upgrade the antenna to a wimo or tonna etc?

thanks in advance 73

Matt G8XYJ


#17

Yes, that is the unit. Jack and I organised the bulk purchase and we emailed SG-Lab and asked how much for 7 shipped to the UK, got a price and paid. I’ll tell you the exact price in a PM but it was well under £200 each.

IF is 70cms. The unit will work with upto 5W IF drive but I have mine set to give full o/p on 13cms for 500mW drive, no point making RF on 70cms to waste in it an attenuator. I don’t know if the power drops much, but I was using a 3s Lipo for my transverter so I expect it to be down on 13.8V. Takes about 950mA at 13.8V. I may invest it a buck/boost jobby to power it to 11.1V on RX and 13.8 on TX.

I found a piece of RG-223 cable with SMA plugs on it… now one end is a BNC. The 4ele PCB Yagi is included in the price as is a coax power plug and 3.5mm Jack for PTT. I have set the RF Vox hang time to about 500mS and that works FB.

I think the next antenna will be a double bowtie. These are very tolerant on small dimension errors and a double bowtie gain is about 11dBi. They have a narrow vertical radiation pattern and wider horizontal pattern making them ideal if pointing the antenna may be “wind challenged”!


#18

Saw you were going to be out but my 13cm transverter hasn’t been used for a couple of years (at least) so I need to check it out at home before getting out with it.

On the original post topic :slight_smile: I did get out on Bengray on Saturday with 2m and my Chinese PA (1W -> 100W but with the batteries I currently use, I do 0.5W -> maybe 30W). Extremely windy - the beam wafting all over the place. Had a good QSO with GI4SNA, and heard Don RQL (also RMD) on 2m ssb, but they didn’t hear me - not surprising, the beam just wasn’t pointing consistently. Moved to 2m FM and picked up a few more including S2S with MM0XPZ and GM7PKT.

Hope to get out on 13cm again soon!


#19

Had a quick look at that one - I wouldn’t be willing to attempt the route without somebody to (a) Hold my hand and (b) provide a rope - it looks as if it would be a serious scramble in a bit of a rocky gully (without having had a very close look of course)


#20

Well UHF was certainly perfectly adequate for SOTA once again today. Then again, the being the only activation in England on Wednesday 17th May 2017 may have helped ease the qualification!

It wouldn’t take Sherlock Holmes to work out why I was the only G activator. The rain never stopped all day. Which it was something of a surprise to find a National Trust warden and large working party near the summit of The Cloud G/SP-015 upon my arrival. I was intrigued by their mission!

The Cloud has always been off-limits for cyclists. Well, those that insist on actually riding their bikes over it anyway. Officially that is, according to the signs and bye-laws. Many ignored that, and it would be a rare Tuesday night activation that didn’t involve at least two groups of mountain bikers passing over the summit. In recent weeks, the frequency and visibility of the “mountain biking prohibited” notices has markedly increased.

The frequency and visibility of mountain biking has not correspondingly decreased though. So, what was the NT working party up to? Well, digging up and moving a huge boulder it seemed. This was a complex operation, and each slight movement was facilitated by two carefully-positioned rails, a harness, and a tug o’ war effort by the working party. Surely this would have been the perfect training camp for the nearby, and world-famous Bosley Wood Treatment Tug of War Club?

The boulder was eventually positioned about a quarter of the way down a path off the summit - a particularly popular one for mountain bike descents of the hill, and suffering rapid erosion damage as a result. It will be interesting to see if it dampens the biker’s enthusiasm.

I had originally intended to do another 5MHz activation, but the rain washed away any enthusiasm for such a thing, and I didn’t even carry the gear up with me. Just the VX7R handheld in my pocket, and the logbook and pencil in the other.

2m FM: 8 QSOs
70cm FM: 6 QSOs

I did also try 6m FM using the extension to the VX7R’s helical antenna, but no-one came back, despite soliciting a spot and even settingup a sked on air. Many thanks to all chasers who called in.