I had a slight problem with the antenna relay not making reliably on receive (solenoid energised). I just upped the supply volts a fraction of a volt and this seemed to settle the relay and not upset anything else.

I failed with my first attempt with Jon GM4JTJ as I was too weak for him. We made it on a second try later. I didn’t hear any stations on the continent.


17-Nov-2019 Microwave Low Bands contest on 23cm and 13cm

I put in an appearance in this contest. On 23cm my best DX (longest distance) was Jon GM4JTJ. I seem to have missed him off the map, but he’s there, up North! I had 17 contacts.


13cm was a struggle, with only 3 contacts, the best DX being Barry G4KCT at 69 km.



25-July-2019: Tropo propagation on 23cm & 3cm

I was up early and I must have heard some beacons and messaged DL1KDA via the ON4KST site for a contact on 3cm. We were 419 each way using CW (morse code) at 0650 GMT.  622 km to Alex in JO30MP. Alex beamed 018 deg off a reflection!

On 23cm at 0720 GMT I worked Hans DK2MN 59 each way SSB into JO32MC using my usual 8W to the 44el Wimo yagi. I asked if Hans had 3cm and he did. This resulted in an SSB contact. He was 58 with me and he gave me 57. 595 km and “arm-chair” copy!

I could hear the beacon PA0TGA/b on 10368.023 MHz in JO21WU at 529 km.

23cm UKAC 16-Oct-2018

Conditions were pretty average and all my contacts were in the UK. I could hear the Martlesham beacon before the contest, so that was an improvement on the September UKAC.

My best DX was Jon GM4JTJ. At first, it was very difficult to hear Jon as a local station Steve G0EAK/P was operating very close to Jon’s frequency. I worked Steve & mentioned that Jon was close by & Steve volunteered to move frequency. Steve is one of those people who places the general good of amateur radio above the competitive nature of contesting, whilst remaining a keen competitor. His good manners are part of his operating approach, making him an example to others. Thank you Steve. I worked Jon using morse code (CW) as usual.

I managed 32 contacts over 15 locator squares, averaging 125 km per contact, so reasonable, but nothing spectacular.

IO93 presents me with a wall of strong local signals to negotiate when trying to work the more distant, higher scoring stations. My old Bob Platts pre-amp must have some amount of band pass filtering in it, which is necessary here. The local Crosspool towers are very close by & chuck out all kinds of RF including TV, emergency services communications, pager systems & the output of dozens of microwave dishes in all directions. Cross-modulation products are a constant hazard, so filtering is important. A wide band “23cm” pre-amp at my station gets wiped out.

I have tuned a BPF for 23cm in case I need it. I can add relays to switch it in and out. All this would worsen the Noise Figure, so I have avoided it so far.

18-September-2018 23cm UKAC

Conditions were not great. Unusually, I couldn’t hear the Martlesham beacon GB3MHZ, so I was very pleased to find Jon GM4JTJ for my first contact. My second contact was Gordon GI6ATZ, so I thought I had started well. I mucked up the log entry for Gordon, so I lost the points for him.

Towards the end of the contest, I tried to work Pete GM4BYF. This was hard work in the conditions and Aircraft Scatter didn’t help. I didn’t get the points for this contact either.

At the end, I timed out with David G4ASR. IO81 square would have given me 12 squares, so I ended with 11 squares for a bonus of 5,500 points, plus 2,236 for km. I was quite pleased with this given the conditions. All my contacts were within the UK.