Well, I was having a tidy up in the office, and found a scrap of paper with two log entries on that I had forgotten about. The contacts were made on the 4th June’16 during the CW National Field Day and the 6m field day, on top of GW/SW-020 (Edumund’s Tump).
I was using 100w SSB on 2m, and made contact with PN4CPN/p around 16:50utc, some 338 miles into JN29dx, with a 5/9 report both ways. Also ON6CK/p some 277 miles into JO10ps a few hours earlier, around 14:48utc, also with a 5/9 report both ways.
Interesting conditions. So much else going on that day I didn’t really have time to work any more. I was using my original 4 ele 2m home brew beam, but this has now been reworked into a 7 ele. I will have to give it another go soon 🙂
So, with the disaster that Sunday turned out to be, with all the access roads to local mountains blocked by the cycle event down here in Newport and surrounding areas, I decided to head out last night (Monday) to the local wet lands here in Magor. I was sending out APRS positional info on 144.800 and pulled the following two maps from APRS.FI, a great website for aprs info.
I parked up between a number of reens, what a fantastic spot for the evening.
As I was driving down the track, I saw a swan floating around. Lovely looking creatures and I counted at least 6 of them down there.
Initially I had the SG7900 antenna from Diamond attached to the mount on the landy, but signals were quite down. The height according to the GPS is roughly 6m ASL here, so very low lying. Dave GW7RQM was the first on frequency, just after 7:30pm, followed by Chris 2W0OGY. I decided to stick up the painters poll mast (about 5m) with the antenna on top. Signals improved vastly, at least 4 s-points of improvement, with the same antenna, in the same X-Y space, but at greater altitude and a different feeder (note to self : must test feeder loss on the roof rack mount).
Stations in order of appearance :
GW7RQM – Dave – 59 2W0OGY – Chris – 56 MW6UNY – Lee – 59 GW0OZB – Andrew – 59 MW0RPB – Pete – 59 2W0EID – Russ – 53 mid (51 low)
We had a good natter to around 8:30pm and everyone headed off. I put a few calls out on 145.500 but no takers, perhaps the 2m signals not getting out too well from there. The sun started to set so it was time to take a couple of pictures and videos.
What a lovely sunset to round off the evening down there. Thanks to all the stations that called in.
So, it was the day of the event, all the equipment checked out. The Yaesu FT1XD handy fully charged, and the 3 ele 2m tape measure beam was in good shape. We all gathered in the carpark off Victoria Street in Cwmbran. My brother Julian joined me and he was the designated driver.
Dave RQM had a great setup on his car, his 2m and 70cm beam attached to the bike rack mount. Next time I think he needs a small rotator on there as well, so he can do it all from the comfort of the driving position 🙂 With his compass around his neck he was definitely on the way to glory, or was he?
Chris OGY and Mark MKG drove off and started sending out the beacon around 13:55. To be honest the signal received in the carpark was fairly wide, in that the beam could be turned a fair bit and the signal still received even with lots off attenuation. Thinking back on it, this should have caused alarm bells to ring, but at this stage I was oblivious. So I started releasing the teams/cars around 14:00 at 5 min or so intervals. There was one car that had a distinct advantage, more on that later. We were the last to leave.
The following map show all our fixes :
Point 1 – Starting position, this was a fairly good fix, although it was quite wide at this point. So we decided to head to some high ground to try and get another.
Point 2 – We got another good’ish fix here, although houses were probably having some effect. We decided to head up to even higher ground.
Point 3 – We passed Ken and Pete here, I guess before their exhaust fell off (excuses excuses) and headed all the way up to mountain air car park. 10 mins in this lane due to a tractor coming down the hill will lots of cars. We got a very good fix here for obvious reasons, and if we had looked hard enough could have probably seen the fox at position X.
Point 4 – this was a double check, as we didn’t really want to go too far
Point 5 – another double check, but we decided to go to point 6 here, as we thought the fox might be playing golf !!
Point 6 – a good fix here, frustration starting to set in. We were in the golf club and having to toot our horn as we drove over the fairways….. rofl
Point 7 – this was another double check fix really, honest guv !
Point 8 – Now this is were things went BAD BAD BAD. Look how we got totally confused here. The fox was actually directly behind us, but we were in the shadow of its signal, behind a small rise. The signal was now bouncing off the old Rechem chimney and buildings. OH NO !!!!!
Point 9 – Another reflection from the chimney !! In the pub car park no less.
Point 10 – …. and another… damn that chimney !!
Point 11 – Ok this was it, heading back on ourselves. We got lost in this housing estate for a while, a maze !!!
Point X – Ah ha, we found it, after a bit of coaxing from the fox, we made it, some 1hr 12mins or so after set off….. argghhhhhh
So we finally got there, in second place. John OAJ and Lee UNY were the first there, aided no doubt by Lee’s heavy right foot and the open top where John could run the yagi whilst driving. That’s my excuse anyway…. haha. John and Lee below can be seen in the DF winning vehicle. Good stuff chaps 🙂 At least you two will be setting up the fox next time, so everyone else can stand a chance… haha. Although saying that, John will probably run 0.1 watts, attached to a farmers fence 🙂
You can see me here, running in joy from the Defender, finally !!!!!! What a reflection nightmare it turned out to be.
The final times for the remainder of the guys were quite close, Rich Hicks drove in next, but due to release time he was actually fourth.
And everyone else came in together. Ken/Pete, followed by Gareth/Rhys and then Dave/Evan.
The area that Chris and Mark had found was a nice spot indeed, the reflections from the buildings and chimney showing how difficult DF’ing can be.
Chris looking at his watch thinking blimey, what is taking them so long…..
John recovering from his win… well done you two !
Thanks to all that attended and made it a fun afternoon. Most of us headed off to the local pub to laugh off our exploits and to try and work out where we had gone wrong.
The final results were in….
There will be a presentation at this weeks club night to the victors.
73 all, and thanks to my bro for putting up with my impatience 🙂
It has been a while since I set up a portable station specifically for a club net, but decided to head out last night for a welcome change.
I turned up around 7:30pm at the Catsash high point, at the top of Caerlicken Lane, and got set up in about 5 minutes or so. The Diamond SG7900 antenna on top of the painters pole (£15 ally painters pole from B&Q – 5m long), and some Ultraflex7 run through the side window and connected to the radio.
Stations started showing around 7:40pm, a small turn out.
Dave, GW7RQM was first up, 5/9 his signal, followed by Chris, 2W0OGY also a 5/9 and finally joined by Jim, MW6MUN also a 5/9.
We all had a natter until about 8:20pm when I headed off to see if I could contact any more stations. I made a couple of calls on 145.500 and also contacted some usual suspects.
So, it was the evening of the last NARS 2m net in 2015. I headed to the highpoint in Catsash again, some 600+ft ASL. The Newport Amateur Radio Society net was due to start at 8pm on 145.375. I could hear other stations on frequency on the way, and when I arrived at the highpoint other stations were booming in 5/5-5/9+. I was running 50 watts, through a NR7900 diamond antenna, from a Kenwood TM-D710GE.
I made contact with G0IUE (Jon) on frequency, at around 7:55pm and we had a short QSO. I politely asked if he could instruct any NARS members arriving on frequency to QSY to 145.400. Jon was a good 5/9 from the Chippenham District Amateur Radio Society, and it transpired this was their yearly Christmas/New Year net.
We moved to 145.400 and were joined on frequency (in rough order of appearance) by :
2W0ODS – Dale – Dale was holding fort on 145.400 ready for the members to call in. His location Ridgway, Newport, and was a strong 5/9 with me, although I could move 12-20 inches in the Landrover, and he would drop to 3/1, amazing phasing conditions. When Dale headed to his mums at the end of the net he was still 5/9 with me.
MW0OPY – Doug – Doug was a great signal to me, even on 10w, 5/9 all the way from close to Bassaleg. I think he was using a beam, generally pointing East.
GW4SUE – Margaret – Margaret also a great signal on the old Yaesu 227 Memorizer at 10 watts. 5/9 throughout the evening without variation.
GW4BLE – Steve – Grandad Steve, or is it Grampy, Gramps, Grancha ? 🙂 Great signal from his station, 5/9 no issues what so ever. He noticed a reduction in current draw, so perhaps an swr issue related to water ingress perhaps?
GW3NWS – Ross – Ross was woken from a nap by a phone call from Doug. He tells us that Holby City sent him to sleep. Great to hear Ross on, and a booming signal from his antenna that touches the stars. 5/9 endstop.
GW4OGO – Steve – Steve arrived on air, and we should now call Ross, Ross Clarevoyant (clairvoyant), as he passed it over to OGO without knowing he wasn’t on air. It so happened, that Steve had turned on that very moment. Spooky indeed !!! Strange goings on with signals from BLE to OGO on 2m, and perhaps a slight issue at both stations, who knows.
GW4TPG – Martin – Great to hear Martin on frequency. I had to move the truck a couple of feet to phase him in. He was 1/0, and then 5/3 within a few feet, so quite amazing. We had a quick qso to get us in each others log, but I had a fat finger moment, and half of my over went to another frequency…. eeek.
After the net ended around 9:30 or was it 9:40, I moved to the calling channel, but no luck there. I then repeater hopped and put a call in through GB3DR (about 70 miles away, and an S9 signal) at around 9:50pm. G0JLA came back to me, Dennis, from Weymouth, on the south cost. We had a good natter for nearly 40-50 mins and were also joined by 2E0BWK/M, Kevin, from Peasdown, Bath, who was down from Harrogate visiting family.
I did a couple of tests with Dennis, and was able to get into GB3DR on 5 watts from the high point in Catsash, the audio his end not really much different. Unfortunately we couldn’t achieve simplex.
The winds were starting to build as storm Frank approached, and I headed down to the home QTH around 10:45pm.
Well, after the over indulgence of Christmas, it was time for another 2m net on 145.375. I headed out in the Landrover to Catsash, my local highpoint some 600ft above sea level, within 10 mins drive of my front door.
Whilst driving there I could hear GW4YNP coming through GB3RT, but my receive signal was in and out, so I didn’t go back to him.
I got set up around 7:25pm at the top of Caelicken Lane, where it joins Coed Y Caerau Lane. MW0LUK/M was first to check in on GB3RT. He was having difficulties keeping GB3RT open from his location, and I was listening to his overs on the input with quite a strong signal to me. We moved to 145.375 simplex around 7:30pm.
The stations that arrived on frequency in order of appearance :
MW0LUK/M – Chris – Now stationary mobile in a lay by close to McDonalds on the A442 heading towards Abbergaveny. A great signal to me, 57/59 with some slight qsb. We had a good chat for about 20 minutes and we were able to stay in contact whilst he drove to Little Mill, even when Chris was sitting outside his garage at home. Good stuff. He even had his own light show, with his neighbours outside light turning on and off with each key 🙂
GW0OAJ – John – Arrived on show just as Chris was signing, but John was unable to copy Chris at all. John was a 5/9 no problem as expected.
GW4SUE – Margaret – Popped in about 5 mins after John showed, she thought it was the night for the Newport net on the same frequency, and it was great to hear her. She was a day early 😉 A great signal from Margaret over in Maesglass, from her 1981 Yaesu 227 memoriser (is that with an s or z?) at 10 Watts. 5/9 all through the evening.
2W0OGY – Chris – Called in around 8pm give or take, and was great to hear him on frequency. Concerns over the upcoming Frank storm were raised and possible damage to HF wire antennas shrugged off as ‘ah well’. Chris’ signal 5/6 5/7 no problem, to me at 600+ft ASL.
Chris and John said their farewells and I was about to QSY to the calling channel around 8:45pm and we were then joined by :
GW3NWS – Ross – Popped in to say hi, and had a natter with Margaret and myself for about another 15 or so minutes. Fantastic signal as always from Ross on his ‘white stick’ 5/9+++ no doubt at my end.
Around 9:10pm I hopped down to 145.275 to see if the usual suspects were on frequency, but was called back by 2E0BWK/M, Kevin, Peasdown, Bath. He was down south (home qth Harrogate) visiting family for a few days and was playing a bit of radio. We had a chat for a good 10 mins or so. His signal 5/6 with me from his mobile station/static. Good stuff, and safe journey Kev back home later in the week.
I decided to go QRT after that as it was approaching 9:30pm and headed home back to Magor.
Well last night was interesting. The fog was descending in Magor, but I headed up to the high point at around 7:35pm on the top of Ridgeway, Newport. Dale (MW6FNV) was due to join me a bit later on. It was very foggy up there when I arrived, and turned the radio on and dialled into 145.375 on one VFO and GB3RT (433.000 listen) on the other vfo. The Kenwood TM-D710GE in the truck, with the Diamond NR-7900 mobile antenna, 10 watts.
A call was put out on 2m 375 but nothing heard, I glanced at the other vfo and noticed an S3/4 signal, but the squelch was not opening as it was looking for 94.8. So I had a listen by turning the tone squelch off my end and to my astonishment I could hear GB3CK, on the same frequencies as GB3RT, but a different access tone ! This repeater some 165 miles away, belonging to the Kent Repeater Group. It is located on the hills above Charing in Kent, just this side of Canterbury.
I listened for a while, and the signal was hovering around an S3-S5 so some QSB on the frequency. I decided to put a call in after scanning for the tone (103.5) and I got through. I had a chat with two stations, mother and son. MW6GVZ, Jill, based in Sevenoaks (or is it one oak these days?), and 2E0KJJ, her son Jeremy, based in Canterbury. It transpired that Jeremy was attending the University of Kent at Canterbury, the same uni I went to, some 20 years ago, a small world indeed. We had a quick qso, but fearful of conditions dropping out I said my 73 and listened in for another 5-10 mins, at which point they started dropping down to S1. I was using legal limit power output of 10w from the Kenwood TM-D710GE radio into the Diamond NR-7900 mobile antenna. Fantastic conditions indeed. Their signals were both quality 5, and the repeater giving me S4/S5.
Listening around other repeaters all sorts of stations and signals were being heard, so there did seem to be interesting conditions.
I put another call in on 375 after the excitement of the distant repeater QSO, with power now set to 5w, worried that my signal would be interfering with all sorts. Jim came up (MW6MUN) and Ian (GW8CRH), both 5/9 on the input. Chris (MW6LUK) showed up for a brief 10 seconds, but I gather from a background conversation he was called away, his signal 5/8 on the input (yes I did check even with the short transmission). Nigel (GW7SSN) also popped in to say hi and let us know what he was doing better. Get well soon Nigel !!! His signal another 5/9 on the input.
Sometime later, around 8:40pm Pete (MW0RPB/A), Chris (2W0OGY/M) and Ken (MW0YAC/A) came on briefly to say hi, all great signals, all 5/9 on the input. Pete and Ken enjoying a brew at the Dorallt and Chris on his way home in the car.
I stayed up there for an hour or so after, but wasn’t really in the mood for playing radio as I was rather tired and headed home around 10:20pm ish.
Another trip to Twmbarlwm yesterday, as I was out in Rogerstone on business. On the way back, a short detour into McD’s and then up to the top for an hour or so on the VHF/UHF rig.
Chatted to RQM (Dave), FNV (Dale) and OGY (Chris) on 145.375. A nice couple of hours out of the way of the hustle, bustle, and noise of Newport. The X50 collinear sat on 3m of fibreglass pole, cable tied to the fence post.
So the Monday night net came around again, seemingly faster each week. I had previously scouted google maps for another ‘high spot’ location within 10-15mins of Magor (home QTH). I was rather taken by the area along side the A449, at the SE side of Wentwood. I headed up to the following spot :
What a fantastic spot it was !! 210m ASL, clear views over to Bristol and the West Country, and a small rise/bank (some 10 ft) and then line of sight over to Cwmbran and beyond in the other direction. GB3RT was hitting me at 59+20, a perfect signal.
I was met by MW6FNV (Dale) who was testing out his new 2m/70cms Kenwood TM-V71 install in his classic beamer. I turned off the Defender, and moved into Dale’s beamer and we both worked his radio and antenna. It worked fantastic and the hours flew by.
A few of us gathered on GB3RT around 7:35pm, but later moved to 145.375 for some simplex operation. Stations on air :
Gw1sxt Mike 54
Gw8crh Ian 59
Gw0oaj John 59
2w0ogy chris 57
Mw6mun Jim 59
Mw0rpb Pete (as the net was closing down)
Thanks to SXT for joining us on the net and doing some radio tests, his antenna and setup working great. I think he was running a fixed position 10 ele yagi.
The net ended around 8:30-8:45 but a good natter was had. We were missing FGO that evening, where were you Bill? Dale and I threw out a few calls on 145.500 and talked to a number of fairly close stations :
G4TBD – Steven, who was coming in on a 53 on 2m but sounding fine. We later switched to his repeater, GB3WB and signals were fantastic.
GW4REX – Phil from Chepstow, also a good signal 58 at least, and M6HCC from Bristol, all working well. We all moved to 5watts and contined our QSO for a good while. GW8CRH tracked us down and called in for a quick natter, and the evening closed with a chat to Pete (RPB) about all things antennas.
All in all, this was a FIRST CLASS spot, and I am finding it hard not to drive up there again this evening and setup a 2m collinear. Great stuff, great spot, 12mins drive away 🙂
Took a quick trip up to Christchurch Hill, in Newport, over the top of St.Julians for the 2m CADARS Monday night net. As I was heading up there GWOFGO (Bill), 2W0OGY (Chris) and MW0RPB (Pete) were on the repeater GB3RT.
I set up shop using the mobile antenna on the truck, just down Catsash Road at location 1. I moved around a bit during the evening signals were pretty much 59+ for the repeater, heading over to location 2. We had quite a busy net, with GW8CRH (Ian) joining us, along with YAC (Ken), FNV (Dale) and RQM (Dave). Input signal reports were given and I could hear most, with the exception of Ken.
During the extended net, some 2+ hrs, the repeater had a funny few minutes, and we are yet to track down the issue. Perhaps overheating, or lack of input CTCSS on a transmission which might have caused it to get confused.