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Whernside 26/04/08

Hi All

I’m helping with a checkpoint for RAYNET on the 3 peaks race on Saturday. I am doing a checkpoint on Whernside G/NP-004. I am hoping to get to the summit early and qualify the summit before I have to check in with RAYNET control at 0845 utc.

This will be the first outing for my FT817 since it was repaired, so hopefully I’ll have VHF/UHF SSB in addition to FM which I normally use.

My family stayed with a relative in Colchester at the weekend, so I managed to sneak out for a couple of hours and visit a well known amateur radio dealer in Essex, where I bought myself a morse key. I am hoping to follow in Tom, M1EYP,'s footsteps and opearte CW from some summits. I am currently in a process of improving my CW, but seem to have hit a plateau, I can send ok, but my receiving needs a little work. Would anyone be willing to have a slow QSO in exchange for a few chaser points? (I reckon I’m at about 8wpm) The theory being that if I’m thrown in at the deep end, it will help me speed up.

Can anyone suggest what cable (for elements) would be suitable for a portable HF dipole? I need something cheap! I quite like the look of the linked dipole mentioned elsewhere, but it looks like quite a project to build (from a time point of view). I have an early ATX walkabout antenna, but it has the BNC connector, so I don’t want to use it in fear of damaging my FT817’s socket.

If I can get some sort of HF antenna built I’ll maybe try HF from the summit, but obviously there will be a time constraint also.

Hope to work as many chasers as possible on Saturday.

73 Colin M0CGH

Hi Colin,

Actually taking the plunge and doing a live CW activation is indeed an effective way of speeding up your reading. I did my first CW SOTA at 8wpm - and had a pile-up, so I am sure there will be loads to work you. In fact, people seem to make a special effort to work a CW debut activator!

GL, Tom

In reply to M0CGH:
I have used with great success 0.75 multi-strand wire used for wiring electrical cabinets at work and the red coloured spade connectors with plastic chain as the insulators between the different lengths. the chain is the black and yellow type used to barrier of an area where work is undertaken. The center is from my first HF aerial, a W3DZZ dipole so it has a 1/1 balen. I have cut the elements for 40. 60. and 80 meters. Once up in the air it is just a matter of a quick connection with the spades to move bands.
As the center was in my junk box and all other materials at hand at work it only cost me time in putting it all together. I used the dimensions from the dipole calculator at http://www.burtonarc.co.uk
hope this helps
73 dave

In reply to G0AOD:
Hi Dave, Thanks for your comments. I have got hold a 100m drum of .75 multi-strand wire today, so hopefully I’ll build a dipole tomorrow ready for Saturday. The only thing holding me back now is the balun. I haven’t been able to get hold of RG174 coax at short notice, will have to mail order. The only coax I have is a length of RG58 Mil spec and a length of RG213. I only operate portable, so I bought these lengths of coax to feed my 5 ele 2m beam 10 years ago,(first got RG58 and then RG213 to reduce losses) and to date it’s the only feeder I’ve ever bought! I’m thinking that the RG58 may be a little heavy for the SOTA pole, especially when wound into a makeshift balun at the feedpoint. I have got a 5m Aluminium mast though, which I may take on Saturday, depending on how much weetabix I can eat for breakfast!

Tom - thanks for your encouraging comments, the morse key is wired, adjusted and ready for that first QSO! I’ve already had a QSO with the FT817 in training mode! (Tx break-in disabled).

73, hope to catch you from NP-004, Colin M0CGH

In reply to M0CGH:
Good luck Colin will be listening for you :slight_smile: What band will you use for CW ?

Roger G4OWG (SE from NP-004)

In reply to M0CGH:

Re your ATX antenna: a PL259 to BNC adapter is £2 from Moonraker. I did it the other way round, a BNC to SO239 adapter so that I could use my half wave mobile whip on the 817, and it worked very well!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to M0CGH:
Hi Colin,just a thought,you dont live too far away from me,so if you want
to borrow a 40mtr/60/mtr dipole or collapsable 2mtr slim jim for your activation,just let me know on here ,im in all night.

73 de Geoff G4CPA

Roger - Looks like HF is off! CW will be on 144 MHz probably if at all. I’m taking along the SB270 SOTABeam, as RAYNET is using 2m and 70cms. I haven’t got round to making a dipole. I work permanent late shifts (1400 - 2130), so been busy this morning getting batteries charged, bag packed, etc for tomorrow. Slept in till 8am this morning (normally up at 7am to look after our little boy, but my wife has not been to work today) HF can wait till the next activation, I probably won’t have that long to activate anyway before on RAYNET duty.

Brian - I’ve been looking at ways of using the ATX without connecting it directly to the FT817. I noticed one ham on the internet had used a small tripod (desk microphone stand I think) and changed the connectors to phono connectors. I dont really fancy pulling the bnc off the ATX. I bought a bnc female with the idea of mounting it on the top of a small metal box, with an So239 connector on the side. I thought a radial of the correct length could then be attached to the box via a nut and bolt. The only thing to consider then is how to support the whole antenna. I have some short copper ground spikes, I thought that maybe the box could be mounted on a ground spike and just stuck in the ground. Not confident about how this would work in regard the antenna being grounded (I know that the earth connection would be very poor - the spike being used for mechanical reasons).

Geoff - Many thanks for the offer of the dipole. I am working till 2130 in Baildon, so I’ll decline your offer at this time. If work is quiet, there is a small chance I could finish early (1745 - half day holiday). If this is the case I would then be very grateful to borrow your dipole. My email is m0cgh AT blueyonder.co.uk I wont have access to internet until I get home from work, so if you could email me some contact details, I would be grateful in the off chance I do finish early.

Thanks 73 Colin M0CGH

In reply to M0CGH:

Can anyone suggest what cable (for elements) would be suitable for a
portable HF dipole?

I use PVC insulated 7 x 0.2 mm2 stranded wire. It has been entirely satisfactory everywhere except, curiously enough, Whernside, where it was eaten by sheep. If the same sheep are still there, you probably need armoured cable :slight_smile:

Just wanted to say thanks to those stations worked this morning from Whernside. It was very windy, which made operation difficult. The beam wanted to point one way only and it was hard to hear the radio with the wind flapping the tent. Added to those two problems were the amount of stations calling, with confusion at times as some stations had thought I’d replied to them when I hadn’t.

Not my best activation so far, from my own operating standards also. I hope the next activation will be better. The activation was also held back by the fact I was mainly on the summit for RAYNET duty.

Sorry if I missed anybody who wanted to work me.

The highlight of the day was working GM3UCI in Lanarkshire on 2m SSB with 0.5 Watts

Colin M0CGH

In reply to M0CGH:

Strangely you were 0/0 here despite Mike GW0DSP who is less then 1/2 a mile away but 100ft higher giving you 5/9 all I got was a burst of static whenever you TXed. As soon as Mike mentioned you were horizontal I switched to the beam and went out to check the heading with a compass but nothing was heard on that antenna either.

Hope you had fun anyway and did not get too cold if you were on duty for a long spell.

Steve GW7AAV

In reply to GW7AAV:

Hi Steve,

Sorry I missed you, you are normally a strong signal with me on Dales and Lakes activations, as is Mike 'DSP. I did go QRT quite quickly.

I was using the SB270 sotabeam, which you’ll probably know has the 70cm elements at 90 degrees to the 2m elements. I was using 70cm vertical for RAYNET, and was intending to operate 2m SSB for SOTA. However I thought I’d better let people know that I was on the summit as posted. I ended up in the middle of a pile up on FM!

I then did my RAYNET duty (I was meant to be a spare op, but I ended up passing most of the traffic!) I was hoping to do some SOTA operating through the day, but I was just too busy.

2M SSB seemed to be quite lively when I was snatching a listen through the day.

Hope I catch you on the next one

73 Colin