Days 35, 36 and 37 – A great ‘radio’ weekend

Day #35 was Friday and after work I had a quick word with Andy, IZ1MHQ on 40m.  Later that evening I had a tune around on 80m and heard a really strong signal coming from HE3OM in Switzerland.  It was a club station and I worked them and discovered that they were operating from Sottens at the site of a recently decommissioned shortwave broadcast station which was switched off at the end of December 2010.  The aerial they were using was 188 metres high which explains why they were such a strong signal.  If you’re interested, you can read more about it here.

On day #36 I started off by working a couple of contest stations on 20m before switching over to 40m in the evening.  I often chat to Scotty, M6OZI via IRC and he mentioned that he was working Hans, GM4SSA so I listened in and although I couldn’t hear Scotty, Hans was a very strong signal from the Shetland Isles so I called him after he finished with Scotty and we had a chat for a few minutes.  After that I worked OZ8IE, Svend on Bornholm Island on 80m and then later I finished off the evening with another couple of contest QSOs, also on 80m.

The contest stations I worked on day #36 were:

20m: UA5A, RW1CW
80m: S57DX, LY7M

I also started building the MKARS80 kit I was kindly given for Christmas but I got as far as fitting a handful of resistors when I realised that perhaps I should print out the instructions and checklists so that I could tick things off as I did them so I put it all away again.


MKARS80 80m transceiver in very early stages of construction

On day #37 I was up early for a Sunday and Tony, G0MBA and I went to Canvey Island for the amateur radio rally.  We arrived as the doors opened at 10:30 and there was already an almighty queue around the building and out into the car park so we sat in the car for a few minutes to let the queue die down.

The rally itself was great, it covered two halls and was nicely full of traders with lots of interesting stuff on sale.  It reminded me of how rallies used to be many years ago before they were taken over by computer dealers because although there were a handful of computer traders there, they were well outnumbered by radio traders.

I bought a roll of wire, a centre insulator and a couple of dogbone insulators all ready for building my doublet to replace the long wire, all for far less than the cost of the wire would have been in the shops.

Wire and insulators

Wire and insulators for a doublet

After the rally, I slapped the wireless on and had a tune around on 17m and heard Joe, IT9BDW calling CQ so I replied to him and we had a nice conversation, a few minutes later I decided to see what was happening on 144MHz because there had been some tropo reported the day before which had reached from Spain up to Europe but not quite as far as the UK.

This was a good move!  Conditions had improved and the south of the UK was within the tropo so in just a few minutes I’d worked F0EXF, John Peter in JN15xx which is a new square for me, EA1MX, Jose in IN73 square and EA2TO, Javier in IN83.  This latter QSO was my best on VHF for the day at 1033km.   Half an hour later I spoke to F6GPT, John in IN94sw and then later on in the evening I worked F1NMP, Pascal in IN95wa.  These last two were also new squares for me, bringing my total up to 82 squares on 144MHz in the last 18 months or so.  Finally I had a quick QSO with Bern, F5HB who was also in IN95 square.

That rounded up what was a really good, enjoyable and fun weekend on the wireless.

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