So after 12 months of 2M FM activations, I thought it might be time to branch out and have a go at HF. At least, I thought it might help with the minor summits that can be a bit of a sticky wicket on 2M FM.
Thinking that an old style proven rig was the way to go, I bought an FT-817ND off eBay. I am very pleased with it, it is like new and works 100% (even the replacement Ni-MH battery). I paired it with an end-fed and un-un built and tested in my suburban garden.
Three HF activations in, I have discovered some things I never knew (well I am a bit of a noob amateur as well as SOTA-ist).
- Out in the sticks I get S1 or lower noise on 40M !!!. That is compared with S8 at home that I thought was normal
- 40M is still a bit touch and go for intra-G NVIS at the moment, especially in the mornings. Lets hope it picks up as the sunspots multiply.
- Even in poor conditions, it’s hard to find a free frequency on 40M. Even when you do some **** comes and sits on top CQ’ing (but oddly getting few replies)
- 5W is enough to work around Europe on 40M and 20M SSB
- It’s hard to get S2S contacts on HF SSB, unless some kind soul clears the pileup by announcing “please all stand by he’s trying for an S2S contact”. Thanks !!
- Why can some chasers not manage to follow the QSO sequence and just shout their callsign continuously ? Sorry, if you do that I’m going to actively ignore you.
- HF /P is actually good fun (so far)
- Finally, if you don’t get a call from @G0RQL your equipment is broken. Thanks, Don !