Days 118, 119 and 120 – GR goes live and wires in the ground

I had just one QSO in the morning of day #118 as G6NHU and that was with JA7CSS, Hiro on 15m and then I stayed off the radio until the GR callsigns came active at 23:00z (00:00 local) and in that hour I had three contacts, all using JT65.  The first was on 20m with KD1UA and then I worked KA1KE and K1CF on 30m.

Before the GR callsigns went live, I’d sort of decided that I was going to use mine exclusively with JT65 because I don’t think they roll off the tongue particularly well and so to that effect I stayed on that mode and on day #119 between 00:00 and 01:55 I had seven contacts with: KD8EZS, AD7HK, K5WBM, WD8AHL, KB8DID, KA1ERL and VK7XX all on 20m.  Yup, 20m was still open when I turned in at around 03:00 local time.

During the rest of the day I worked UX2SB and EA3GJA on 20m, then JE2TLZ on 15m before switching back to 20m and working R2DX, UT7UW, UA3ICN and UA3QQG.

On day #120 I worked IS0BNC on 20m, moved down to 15m and had QSOs with IZ5PNL, SM0MEM,and SP3JBI before tuning back to 20m and working SP3CMX.

Then I did some aerial work.  I went to the local wireless shop and picked up some big thick ground wire and was given a roll of single core wire by Bill, G4OAX.  When I got home I cut the wire to approximate quarter wave lengths for all the HF bands (not including 160m) and starting cutting slits into the garden to lay ground wires.  It was very difficult with a normal spade so I borrowed an edge cutter from my next door neighbour and that worked really well to cut the slits.  Within a few hours I’d cut the slits and my son had gone along behind me threading the wire into them.  I then soldered all the ends together and using the big thick ground wire I’d bought, I linked them to the ground stake attached to my SGC tuner.

Here’s the wire I used – I thought it was appropriate.

Wire used for the ground system

Wire used for the ground system

To test, I put the radio on 40m and had a tune around.  I’m sure conditions were up but the band was absolutely teeming, it was packed solid from bottom to top!  I’ve had situations on 40m before where I’ve tried calling stations who were very strong only to find they couldn’t hear me but that wasn’t the case yesterday – I called through pileups and worked three special event stations for Marconi day: GB4M, GB2MT and GB4MBC.  I got through the pileups on the first or second call and all stations gave me a good signal report.  I was using my standard callsign for these, not the GR prefix.  However, I did hear GR0VXC who is the QSL manager for the ‘R’ callsigns calling CQ so I worked him using GR6NHU as he was telling people to send him envelopes and I wanted to let him know that I’d only be collecting electronically.  He did thank me for letting him know and told me that if any cards turned up, he’d email me which I thought was nice.

I finished off back on 20m JT65 working EA7HA, N3VLV, W9FG and WB9KPT.


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  1. earth wire for mains wont pass rf very well you need flat wide braid, your mains earth wire will just act as a resistor


    1. It made a huge difference to my station so on the contrary, I’d say that the earth wire worked very well. It’s just wire!

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