Well, that was a turn up for the books. We had a visitor in the shape of Louis 2U0FER for a few days and the first order of business was getting an antenna up and opening a Scrumpy Jack.

What on earth would we do?

860698_10151552402989715_395860847_o

So, I was on the radio in January, but the high SWR of approx 5:1 was bugging me and I went off air until I got my bum into gear and sorted it. Life is such a busy thing, so I’d not gotten around to it.

Louis came to see us on his 2013 UK World Tour and he kindly helped me take down all but the 2m beam. All of the RG-58U feeders came out and they got replaced with one LMR400 feeder.

His suggestion was to try to get a W3EDP end fed wire antenna up. This is a wire that’s 85 feet long, so some back and forth was required. I’ll get a photo of the garden and try to demonstrate the path it takes.

SWR on this was less 1.5:1 with his Yaesu FT817 and all looked good.

Once we got my Icom IC-706 on there and threw a few more watts down it, SWR was rising with power and the head scratching started. It was 10pm by this time, so we decided to resume in the morning.

Morning comes, and we tune it up to have a clear view on current behaviour.

And it worked.

SWR on 12, 15, 17, 20, 30, 40 and 80 is less than 2.5:1. Head scratching continued for about fifteen seconds, until we decided to pay a visit to PMT in Leeds rather than fiddling with a working antenna.

The next few days consisted of some light refreshments and some low power (less than 35w) JT-65 and BPSK31.

I’m learning how to use a couple of pieces of modelling software, so I’m hoping to have some prop graphs soon.

In the meantime, I got a screengrab of what PSKReporter said about where I was being heard.

883216_10151552141544715_1986639887_o

Notable contacts were George W5VU (New York) and a new country with Paco EA8CLX in the Canary Islands, both with approx 20watts. Both entries can be seen in my log.

It was fantastic to see Louis again after last year’s HamTests IOTA trip and we really enjoyed having him with us. Of course, I can’t possibly think him enough for the effort and materials that he put in to help us get back on the air. I think I need to get learning about antennas…

I also had a little bash at the EA BPSK63 contest, but only casually. 22 QSOs and 88 points. It’s a bit measly, but participating is a good start.

Last thing, the site will be getting a redesign at some point, so don’t be surprised if it looks different next time I post.

73, all the best, and may the force be with you.

Dan M0TCB