<%@ Language=JavaScript %> G0ISW HF/VHF/UHF Station

My name is Philip and since 1985 I have held a UK Government license for experimental Radio Communications, having qualified by passing City & Guilds technical/theory examinations and a 12 WPM  Morse Code transmitting and receiving test. I hold the Advanced Full license Amateur Radio call sign: G0ISW spoken phonetically as 'Golf Zero India Sierra Whisky' and shown below in Morse Code.

--.   -----   ..   ...   .--

If you cannot see the full index shown on the left edge of your screen, please go to my main page at

http://www.qsl.net/g0isw

 

I live in the historical old town of Penrith, in the County of Cumbria (Maidenhead locator IO84OQ)on the edge of the Lake District National Park' in NW England, from where the majority of my Amateur Radio operation takes place. My 2013 QSL card design above shows 'Ullswater lake' which I can see from my house, the town centre of 'Penrith' where I live and my main radio a Kenwood TS-2000 HF/VHF/UHF transceiver.

I have been a Radio Amateur since 1985 and used HF/VHF/UHF radios professionally before then.

My favourite amateur radio activity is VHF Meteor Scatter using WSJT software and during meteor Showers I will usually be found on 50.230 MHz JT6M mode and on the ON4KST chat pages. I have a modest station but still manage to work stations around Europe.

Summary of Locator squares worked by VHF/UHF band all terrestrial

(DXCC in brackets)

  50 MHz: 269 (61) 

70 MHz: 7 (5) 

144 MHz: 108 (32)

432 MHz: 22 (10) 

 

 

There are lots of mountains and lakes here, the area is very rural with a low population and few Radio Amateurs. it is classed as 'an area of outstanding natural beauty' and has had protected 'National Park' status since 1951, making it a popular tourism destination.

 Map of UK with Cumbria circled   

 

My main interest since becoming a Radio Amateur in 1985 remains experimenting with VHF propagation, collecting Maidenhead Grid squares and trying new data modes. My primary radio is a Kenwood TS-2000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From May to August I will be found chasing VHF DX locator squares/Countries via Sporadic-E propagation on the 50 MHz or 144 MHz bands. On 50 MHz I often listen on:

50.230 MHz - JT6M

50.276 MHz - JT65A

50.278 MHz - JT9-1

using WSJT, JT-Alert and WSJT-X software.

In 2009 I moved house and live in a 'Conservation area' in Penrith that means no visible external aerials, therefore all the masts, rotators and beam antennas I used before have had to be replaced by much less efficient and smaller aerials that I can hide from view near ground level.

Despite these restrictions I have had good results in June/July 2013 working across Europe. My antennas were Watson HALO loops until 25th July 2013 and are now PAR OA-50 and OA-144 loops.

       

 

I have also been pleasantly surprised by my Meteor Scatter success on 50 MHz with such a modest antenna setup. During the August 2013 Perseids Meteor Shower there were plenty of stations active on 50.230 MHz using JT6M mode and I worked with ease Portugal and Spain.

I have since worked Scotland, Guernsey, Germany, Sardinia and Sweden by Meteor Scatter on 50 MHz with this modest antenna setup.

Interestingly on 12th August 2013 at 0744 UTC I also worked EI9E/P in IO55VD square, 350 km away from me so too close for easy Meteor Scatter. I heard many very brief MS pings from this station but couldn't work him randomly. I then noticed some longer none MS reflections that were random and not Troposcatter, using AirScout software by DL2ALF I was able to observe that all these longer 15-30 second reflections were actually via Aircraft Scatter (ACS) propagation with planes flying over the Irish Sea crossing the path between our two stations.

Looking for a really good flight path I then worked EI9E/P with ease, see screen shot below. Notice the pink coloured mutual scatter zone and the pik coloured aircraft that allowed us the QSO, the metallic body of this plane being an excellent reflector even at 50 MHz. I took the screen shot after the QSO was nearly complete so the aircraft had travelled slightly over the path line. Had I clicked on the aircraft icon i would have known what the flight and aircraft type was.

From September to April I can be found operating on HF primarily using data modes, often on the following frequencies:

5.368 MHz - Olivia 16/500

14.076 MHz - JT65A

14.078 MHz - JT9-1

Again the antenna restrictions for my house mean that I use a British Army tactical dipole at only 2m AGL or a Wellbrook ALA-1530+ Active Loop Antenna at ground level, yet I can still work the World.

I also operate QRP HF/50 MHz portable in the UK, or abroad, using an Elecraft KX3, miracle whip or military tactical HF dipole.

   

 

 G0ISW HF / VHF/ UHF Recent Activity

 

For the very latest G0ISW news please visit my new Amateur Radio Weblog below

Amateur Radio Weblog by Philip G0ISW

 

                                                   

My amateur radio activity varies considerably by the time of year, but my favourite pastime has always been and remains chasing VHF DX by Sporadic-E or Meteor Scatter propagation on my favourite 50 MHz and 144 MHz bands.

Each May to August I will prioritise working VHF DX via Sporadic-E propagation, which is often a daily occurrence on 50 MHz and peaking for 144 MHz with just a couple of days in June, with the exact dates varying each year. The excitement of not knowing when these extraordinary propagation openings will occur, or where to, remains great fun. In particular I like chasing new Maidenhead locator squares or Countries.

Below map of 50 MHz European Sporadic-E locator squares worked

G0ISW 50 MHz ES

During the Solar maximum (2013/2014?) if the F2 layer is open again with 50 MHz worldwide propagation between October to December from the UK, I will operate primarily on 50 MHz. This occurred last time for me back in 2001 and was a wonderful event with the 50 MHz band even open from the UK to Australia.

 

During the June Summer 2013 Sporadic-E season I have just started using JT9-1 weak signal data mode and WSJT-X software on 50.293 MHz USB and have been working stations around Europe again, with always the possibility of working the USA via triple hop Es.

         

My days of chasing DX via Meteor Scatter are probably over, although I still experiment receiving VHF signals with a much inferior antenna system indoors. I will see what I can work with my Loop TX antennas soon, results via Sporadic-E have been so encouraging that just maybe MS might still work.

 

 

I continue to operate often on either HF / 50 MHz / 144 MHz / 432 MHz from my 4x4 vehicle as G0ISW/M using a Yaesu ATAS-120A antenna for HF/50 MHz and a separate large Comet 50/144/432 MHz colinear.

 

I would like to significantly improve my 50 MHz / 144MHz /432 MHz mobile SSB long distance capability and get away from using short vertically polarised antennas. Having had great success from home with my recently installed HALO (HAlf wave LOop) antennas, they would be an obvious choice for mobile use too.

I found by chance the design shown below by Mike Fedler N6TWW, which would be awesome if only I could replicate it.

 

I also vaguely recall a commercial 144 MHz (2m) HALO loop design for mobile use many years ago that had a PL259 base, support column and topped with a circular wire loop section that could be fixed either horizontally or vertically quickly, was it made by Palstar or similar name?

 

I monitor my local 2 metre repeater GB3EV on 145.700 MHz FM.

 

I also operate from home with AX-25 Packet digipeating across Europe on 145.825 MHz FM through Low Earth orbiting satellites or the International Space Station (ISS)

 

G0ISW HF / VHF/ UHF Radio shack

2009-Present day

G0ISW Shack 2012

G0ISW HF / VHF/ UHF Radio shack

2005-2009

(Interactive photo use your cursor to identify equipment IE only)

 

FTKenwood TS-2000Behringer DEQ2496 Audio EqualiserYaesu FT-8800 2m/70cmBehringer B1 Studio MicrophoneG-400RC RotatorMK-703 iambic paddle morse keyWW2 British Army straight morse key 8 amp WT2Heil PL2T BoomSteiger Radio Controlled ClockAdonis AM-308 Microphone

G0ISW HF / VHF / UHF Antennas

2005-2009

(Interactive photo, use your cursor to identify equipment IE only)

TGM MQ26SR 2 ele Quad 14-50 MHz TGM MQ26SR 2 ele Quad 14-50MHz Create Log Periodic 50-1300 MHz Create Log Periodic 50-1300MHz Comet Colinear 50/144/432 MHz Radio Works Y1.5KPlus 1:1 Balun Yaesu G-400 Rotator Tennamast tiltover mast

 

Summary of Locator squares worked by VHF/UHF band all terrestrial

(DXCC in brackets)

  50 MHz: 269 (61) 

70 MHz: 7 (5) 

144 MHz: 108 (32)

432 MHz: 22 (10) 

 

Amateur Radio awards 'collector information' for G0ISW

Worked All Britain (WAB) Award  Square - NY53, Book # 7283, County - Cumbria

The European Phase Shift Keying Club Member # 1159, Area EN13

Royal Signals Amateur Radio Society  Member # 2384

Feld Hell club  Member # 535

Islands on the Air Award  EU-005

CQ Magazine Worked All Zones Award  Zone # 14

International Space Station Fan Club  Member # 3165

               

 

G0ISW Amateur Radio Station 'Awards & achievements'

VHF

RSGB Six Metres and Down - 144MHz Standard Transmitting Award (40 UK Counties & 9 Countries)

VHF

RSGB 4-2-70 Squares award 144MHz SSB  (100 Squares / 20 Countries)

VHF

RSGB 50 MHz Countries award (10 Countries 2-way)(60 worked total)

VHF

RSGB 50 MHz DX Certificate (25 Countries)(60 worked total)

VHF

RSGB 50 MHz Squares Award (25 Squares required)( 250 worked total)

VHF

WAB Winter Award 1986-1987 (250 stations - All 144 MHz SSB)

VHF

SOTA Chaser 500 points Award (All 144 MHz FM)

VHF

SOTA Chaser 1000 points Award (All 144 MHz FM)

VHF

ANDE Satellite Deorbit Award

VHF

ARRL VUCC Award 50 MHz  (100 Squares)

VHF

ARRL VUCC Award 144 MHz  (100 Squares)

HF

European Phase Shift Keying Club EUSPA 100 Award (100 European Stations PSK Award)

HF

European Phase Shift Keying Club EUSPA 200 Award (200 European Stations PSK Award)

HF

European Phase Shift Keying Club PHPA 100 Award (100  prefixes World Wide using PSK modes)

HF

European Phase Shift Keying Club PHPA 200 Award (200 prefixes World Wide using PSK modes)

HF

European Phase Shift Keying Club MGSPA 100 Award (100 Maidenhead Grid Squares using PSK)

HF/VHF

RSGB 75 years Award (Worked required number of stations in RSGB 75th Anniversary year)

HF/VHF

eDX 25 Countries (Worked over 25 different Countries verified by eQSL.cc)

HF/VHF

DXCC (100 Countries worked World Wide)

HF/VHF

WAB Century Award (Worked 100 different WAB Book holders)

In 2006 I finally achieved the SOTA Chaser ultimate award, the 'Shack Sloth', for collecting 1000 points entirely from the comfort of my shack on 144 MHz FM. This took me 4 years of continuous effort, working mobile/portable stations primarily on Lake District summits.

    

 

 

 

As a visitor to this website please, please Sign my Guest Book, as I spend a considerable amount of time maintaining this site. I really appreciate your positive comments, suggestions etc. Your Guest Book entries greatly help to maintain my enthusiasm for continuing this task after 12 years!

I've had to create a new Guest Book due to the old Lycos/Tripod service closing down on 01.04.2012.

  

G0ISW Station history and background

1960's

During the late 1960's as a young boy I was fascinated and influenced by watching the television series 'The Man from UNCLE' and seeing them use their pen radio communicators, calling "Open 'Channel D' Emergency Relay".

    Pen Radio Communicator

I decided that I wanted to have a cool way of communicating using radio like them.

 

 

My favourite film, made in 1968, is "Where Eagles Dare", about an Allied Special Forces/SOE WW2 mission, which contained even more radios and  famous spoken lines like "Broadsword calling Danny Boy" that increased my interest further. Little did I realise then, how much this film would ultimately influence me over the next 40 years!

 

Richard Burton operating the Schloss Adler castle HF radio

Clint Eastwood (Schaffer) operating the cable car controls

The screenshots above from the film 'Where Eagles Dare' are copyright of MGM and are displayed with gratitude to the

 

film fan website of which I am a registered member.

 

1980's

Eventually I followed a path using radio through school and work to obtaining my Amateur Radio Full licence as shown below:

Year   Callsign
1983 Joined RSGB as a Short Wave Listener BRS85124
1985 Passed Radio Amateurs Examination and issued with then 'VHF only' licence G1MOG
1987 Issued with 'Full' HF licence G0ISW

I was first licensed as a Radio Amateur in 1985, with the call sign G1MOG and my first ever QSO was with Chris G4CLB using my brand new Yaesu FT-2700R transceiver on 433.200 MHz FM.

Yeasu FT-2700RH 144/432 MHz FM transceiver

When travelling back to my original home town in the Lake District I was inspired to get on HF by the slow morse transmissions of Bill Delamere G3PER (SK) from Heysham, who I would hear on the M6 motorway as I neared Cumbria, or on the return journey stuck in traffic jams near Lancaster! My other morse inspiration was Winston G4PEF. I've never particularly enjoyed using morse code, but these two gentlemen renewed my enthusiasm.

I joined the Hillingdon Amateur Radio Club (HARC), which used to meet at Hillingdon Golf clubhouse in West London. In 1987 I didn't tell anyone else from the club that I planned to sit the 12 WPM Morse Code examination and turned up at the test centre at Watford one evening, only to find two other club members there who also hadn't told anyone else either! One was Bob and the other Jack Davies G0ISY (SK 2009).

The highlight of the evening was when we prepared to listen to the examiner sending Morse Code for us to receive and we all plugged our headphones into his homemade splitter box for us then to accidentally pickup up perfectly 'Capital Radio' on 95.8 MHz FM simultaneously with the his sent Morse! Somehow Jack and I managed to pass the test despite the QRM!

 

I was delighted to receive in time for Christmas 1987 my full HF licence callsign of

 

In the summer of 1988 I took an ex military Racal Syncal 30 (TRA931) (liberated from the Falkland Islands in 1982!)  HF manpack  transceiver 1.8-30 MHz to the HARC clubhouse and we worked stations in the USA on 14 MHz USB with 20 W and a 2.4M long whip aerial, whilst sat outside in the sunshine.

Racal Syncal 30 (TRA931) Military HF manpack 20W

 

The biggest Amateur Radio pileup I ever had was on HF when I was invited by Mark ZC4ML and Steve ZC4ST to operate their club station ZC4EPI at the British Forces Episkopi Sovereign Base Area in Cyprus in 1993. From memory their radio was a Kenwood TS-950 and I had a fantastic evening in their company, thanks guys. Would be great to hear from you again.

     

 

In October 2006 I reactivated my old G1MOG callsign, which I held from 1985-1987 when it was a VHF only callsign. It was then a full license callsign and could be used on any Amateur Band. In 2012 I was advised at license revalidation time that I can only hold one callsign again, so I have reluctantly surrendered the G1MOG license. and only use G0ISW.

I hope that one of my children might eventually take up this callsign; in England it is an old tradition and belief by some that if a black cat crosses your path, it will bring you Good Luck......Below is a picture of my original QSL card and a more recent one.

G1MOG QSL Card 1985-1987

 

 

 

G0ISW/M Mobile Station - Renault Megane Dynamique (2005-2011)

BANDS USED

TRANSCEIVER/ANTENNAS/ACCESSORIES/COMMENTS

HF

(7-28Mhz)

2m

(144MHz)

70cm

(432MHz)

 

I have previously installed a Yaesu FT-857D in a Renault Megane Dynamique 1.9 DCI diesel car and found the radio to be a great little transceiver, full of features including illuminated buttons for night time driving.

The radio's memories are used mainly by me for storing 144 & 432 MHz FM repeaters and their CTCSS tones and scan very rapidly when searching for activity.

For driver safety and operator convenience I have fitted a Watson hands free microphone and PTT attached to the gear change lever.

This works very well, but I had to additionally fit a ferrite ring on the microphone lead to suppress alternator whine pickup, which wasn't apparent when using the supplied hand microphone.

The front panel of the Yaesu FT-857D is mounted remotely from the main transceiver bolted onto the front of a Waters & Stanton QS-200 metal removable air vent handheld radio mount, which had two small holes drilled into it.

This position is perfect to see the display and to reach the controls from the steering wheel.

I have set the Yaesu FT-857D to display a different LCD colour for each operating band.

For HF and 50MHz I have installed a Yaesu ATAS-120A Active Tuning Antenna System screwdriver aerial, which allows simple and quick band changes from 7 - 50 MHz whilst on the move.

This Yaesu ATAS-120A is installed at the rear offside of my car, just above the bumper.

Extremely difficult to see is my separate micro miniature magnetic mount 2m/70cm aerial at the rear of the car on the roof.

You may just see in this photograph a small red dot sticker, near the top of the Yaesu ATAS-120A aerial.

This visible red dot is there so that from my rear view mirror when driving I can see if the aerial has begun to unscrew from the SO-239 connector and stop the car before it can drop off completely!

The Yaesu ATAS-120A is shown tuned to the correct height for the 14 MHz (20m) band.

Having a separate 2m/70cm aerial allows me to change from HF to 2m/70cm repeaters instantly, without having to wait for the Yaesu ATAS-120A to tune.

I tend to work 2m/70cm repeaters until I am in an area of no coverage and then change to HF.

I really struggled to install any radio or aerial on my Renault Megane car.

The car roof is almost entirely made from glass, having twin sunroofs, and a large HF triple magmount wouldn't stay on the little remaining metalwork above the rear window.

The gap at the top of the rear window and the car boot isn't wide enough to permit an aerial mount to be installed there either. There are no gutters as well.

Trying to get a 12 Volt power lead from the car battery through the engine bulkhead was the most difficult problem.

Close-up view of my Yaesu ATAS-120A mounted at the rear of my car.

The stainless steel 'L' shaped mount was made for me by my friend Les, a friendly local metal worker, at SmallFab here in Penrith, Cumbria and is attached upside down to the car at the gap between the boot opening and the rear bumper.

The 'L' shaped mount is bolted to the metal bodywork, inside the boot behind where you can see the number plate, and has sufficient grounding to allow the Yaesu ATAS-120A to tune without problem.

There is no noticeable vibration on the mount when driving and it is robust enough not to bend or flex. It is about 1/8" or 4mm in thickness.

Also shown but not easily seen just above the mount are the Yaesu ATAS-120 locking pins found either side of the motor, at the base of the aerial, covered in a layer of black electrical tape. This prevents them falling out through vibration and then mechanical damage to the circuit board occurring. This happened to me with a previous Yaesu ATAS-100 aerial and is a simple preventative measure.

G0ISW/M Mobile Station - Jeep Wrangler Ultimate (Since 2011)

BANDS USED

TRANSCEIVER/ANTENNAS/ACCESSORIES/COMMENTS

HF

(7-28Mhz)

2m

(144MHz)

70cm

(432MHz)

I have in June 2011 now installed my Yaesu FT-857D in a UK 2010 model Jeep Wrangler Ultimate (JK) 4 door, 2.8L diesel automatic car. Very similar to the Jeep Wrangler Sahara Unlimited model.

I have remotely mounted the radio control head onto the top of the dash, using a Waters & Stanton QS-200 metal removable air vent handheld radio mount, pushed into the vertical air vents next to the windscreen and have bent the metal plate also into the vertical position. I have bolted through the metal plate onto the remote head bracket.

I also sawed off the end of the QS-200 metal plate, which was above the remote radio control head. Using this removable vent mount I can quickly remove the control head from view for brief periods, whilst removing the entire radio from the vehicle when parked for long periods.

This position is perfect to see the display and to reach the controls from the steering wheel.

I have set the Yaesu FT-857D to display a different LCD colour for each operating band.

For driver safety and operator convenience I have again fitted a Watson hands free microphone to the sun visor and PTT attached to the automatic gear change lever. I have since moved the PTT higher up the selector lever than shown, as it was too low when shifting down into fixed Gears 2 or 1.

Having the PTT on the gear change lever is easy to operate and having hands free operation is much safer to drive than using a fist microphone.

In the picture you can also see the 12 Volt power lead I use to supply power to my Yaesu FT-857D. Luckily this output is direct from the battery and is entirely separate to the standard cigar socket and is rated at 13 Amps maximum.

Using my Yaesu FT-857D at my usual less than 50 W output power, means I am drawing around 10 Amps maximum current and this socket is always powered on, even with the ignition off.

I would not be able to use this socket for any power level greater than 50 W.

For HF and 50MHz I have installed my Yaesu ATAS-120A Active Tuning Antenna System screwdriver aerial, which allows simple and quick band changes from 7 - 50 MHz whilst on the move.

This Yaesu ATAS-120A is installed at the rear of my car, and is attached to the rear spare tyre holder using purpose made brackets which simply bolt onto the car using the existing bolts.

In this picture, viewed from inside the rear Jeep Wrangler door, you can see the Yaesu ATAS-120A antenna on the left and a Watson W-770HB 144/432 MHz (1/2 wave (2m) 2x5/8 wave 70cm) colinear on the right (N.B. Silver coloured antenna shown in photo has been replaced by a Black Watson W-770HB). The coaxial cables come down to the bottom of the door and into the inside fixed using cable ties.

The door rubber seal is sufficiently large to allow this cable entry without nipping and entering from below ensures no rain drips along the cable inside the vehicle.

In this close-up photo of the Yaesu ATAS-120A you can see two large white dot stickers, near the base of the aerial.

The lowest visible white dot is there so that from my rear view mirror, when driving, I can see if the aerial has begun to unscrew from the SO-239 connector and stop the car before it can drop off completely! Just in case.

The Yaesu ATAS-120A is shown tuned to the correct height for the 50 MHz (6m) band and the highest white dot is there so that as the antenna tunes for HF bands and gets physically longer I can see the gap between the two dots increasing and know it is working. This is a hangover from my days operating a Yaesu ATAS-100 where sometimes the antenna wouldn't move!

Having a separate 2m/70cm aerial allows me to change from HF to 2m/70cm repeaters instantly, without having to wait for the Yaesu ATAS-120A to tune.

I tend to work 2m/70cm repeaters until I am in an area of no coverage and then change to HF.

The rear hardtop of the Jeep Wrangler Ultimate (JK) is fibreglass and removable, as is the entire roof. All of the Yaesu ATAS-120A whip is above the roof level even when set at its shortest 50 MHz operation length.

The separate 144/432 MHz colinear, whilst partially lower than the top roof line, still manages to perform well because it is almost entirely higher than the bulk of the vehicle metal bodywork.

I have no ignition or other electrical noise from the Jeep Wrangler Ultimate with the exception of the 10 MHz (30m) band. This does not cause me any trouble as I only operate voice from the vehicle on the other bands. On the Jeep forums I have seen lots of historical US comment about electrical ignition noise, but maybe my UK model with its diesel engine is less of a problem, I don't know, or maybe newer petrol engines are cured.

Close-up view of my Yaesu ATAS-120A mounted at the rear of my car.

The steel 'L' shaped mounts were made again for me by my friend Les, a friendly local metal worker, at SmallFab here in Penrith, Cumbria and are attached behind the rear spare wheel carrier, using the existing bolts.

The 'L' shaped mounts are bolted to the metal bodywork, and have sufficient grounding to allow the Yaesu ATAS-120A to tune without problem. The rear door opens with the antennas attached.

G0ISW/M (Bicycle) Mobile Station

BANDS USED

TRANSCEIVER/ANTENNAS/ACCESSORIES/COMMENTS

2m

(144MHz)

70cm (432MHz)

 

I enjoy mountain biking in the Lake District and have installed a hands free Amateur Radio communications system onto my 1994 model American made Trek 930 mountain bike as shown in this photo.

Using a combination of either simplex, repeaters or EchoLink I can cycle along and talk, around the local area or around the World.

The metal rear pannier mount provides a substantial ground to attach a 5/8 wave 2m & 2 x 5/8 wave 70cm aerial with plenty of gain.

You can see my Kenwood TH-F7E 2m/70cm handheld attached using a bike handlebar belt clip mount and on the right a PTT/VOX unit originally designed for a Kenwood PMR446 radio.

I can either use the PTT pressed by my thumb whilst gripping the handlebars or use the VOX function built into this radio or the PTT unit.

When wet weather is anticipated I cover the Kenwood TH-F7E with a clear plastic bag and rubber band, which is a simple and practical solution to keeping water out.

Attached to the exterior of my cycling helmet is a Kenwood headset comprised of an on the ear earpiece and boom microphone. This was originally designed for a Kenwood PMR446 radio, but was found to be totally compatible and a lot cheaper than the identical amateur radio model.

It is attached to the helmet using tie grips placed through the air vent holes.

The headset attaches to the Kenwood PTT/VOX unit with a 1m cable terminated with a 3.5mm plug fitting.

G0ISW/M (Pedestrian) Mobile Station

BANDS USED

TRANSCEIVER

ANTENNAS/ACCESSORIES/COMMENTS

2m

(144MHz)

70cm (432MHz)

My Kenwood TH-F7E is a very versatile radio, ideal for use on my local 2m repeater GB3EV on 145.700 MHz and the lithium-ion battery lasts all day.

I sold my first one and had to buy a second one as I missed it so much!

G0ISW/P Portable (Holiday) Station - usually EA6/G0ISW

HF

(7-28MHz)

6m (50MHz)

2m (144MHz)

70cm (432MHz)

Yaesu FT-817

A very versatile radio, used by me extensively on holiday and easily able to work most of Europe on 5w SSB voice from the beach!

During previous solar maximum years I have worked the USA and South America on 14 MHz just with the Miracle Whip, indoors!

I upgraded the battery pack by replacing it with Ni-MH 2.3 Ah cells and making the 'green wire' modification so that I can recharge them in situ.

I intend in 2011 to try to work APRS via the ISS and PCSAT (NO-44) satellites using my FT-817 with UISS software and a RigExpert Tiny interface from my usual holiday destination of Peurto Pollenca, Majorca in JM19NV locator square.

Miracle Whip 1.5m long HF - VHF - UHF aerial

 

Yaesu MH-48 DTMF microphone (for EchoLink)

LDG Z-100 Ultra Autotuner

Racal Military 655 End fed 1.8-30MHz Sloping wire

 

What a battle I have had trying to interface my Yaesu FT-817 with MixW software and my RigExpert Tiny interface.

Having looked everywhere on the internet to try to obtain the correct CAT and soundcard settings I have finally managed to get the Yaesu FT-817 to transmit PSK-31, but still haven't managed to get the MixW software to show the frequency on the laptop display.

 

My MixW settings for the Yaesu FT-817 with RigExpert Tiny interface are as follow:

 

Sound  Device Settings

Device: Computer Soundcard

Input: Line (RigExpert Virtual Sound)

Output: Speakers (Realtek High Definition)

TRCVR CAT/PTT

CAT: Yaesu

Model: FT-817

PTT via CAT command: Ticked

AFSK in place of FSK: Ticked

DIG (Yaesu) is: USB

Default digi mode: DIG

Serial Port

Port: COM5 (This will vary depending upon your own computer)

Baud rate: 38400

Data bits: 8

Parity: None

Stop bits: 1

RTS: PTT

DTR: CW

Yaesu FT-817 settings

CAT rate: 38400

Mode: DIG

 

 

 

 

 

G0ISW SSB / AM Station equipment

Microphones:
 



 
Noise Gate:
Equalizer:
Compressor:
Peak Limiter:

Mixer:


Power Supply:

 
 
Transceiver:

Amplifier:

Antenna Tuner:
 
Ant 3.5-28MHz:
Ant 3.5-28MHz:
Ant 50MHz:
Ant 144MHz:
Ant 432MHz:

Recording:

Audio Analysis:


Computer:

Operating system:

Radio interface:

Audio Hardware:

Keyboard:


Audio Reproduction:

Misc Hardware:
Behringer B-1 Studio Condenser microphone 20 Hz to 20 kHz


Adonis AM-308 Desk Top electret condenser microphone (modified with internal switchable piptone generator for VHF use)

Behringer DEQ-2496 (Ultra-Curve Pro)
Behringer DEQ-2496 (Ultra-Curve Pro)
Behringer DEQ-2496 (Ultra-Curve Pro)
Behringer DEQ-2496 (Ultra-Curve Pro)

Behringer UB-802 (Eurorack) Provides +48Volts needed by B-1 microphone

Yaesu FP-757HD (In use since 1983 when I was a SWL!)

Alinco DM-330MW (Used to power accessories)

Kenwood TS-2000 DSP with RC-2000 remote head controller

None, run 50W maximum

Internal Kenwood TS-2000 DSP

Racal Military tactical dipole @ 5 feet AGL (Primary)
Sandpiper MV6+3 vertical @ 3 feet AGL (Secondary use)
Create Log Periodic 5130-1N  Halo
Create Log Periodic 5130-1N  Halo
Create Log Periodic 5130-1N  2x5/8 wave colinear vertical

PC-Based (Using Goldwave software)

PC-Based (Using Goldwave or Spectrum Lab software)


Samsung R530 Laptop Pentium Dual-core 2.20GHz - 2 GB RAM

Windows 7 Home Premium

RigExpert Standard

W2IHY iBOX (Matches levels from DEQ2496 to Kenwood TS-2000 DSP)

HP Standard PS/2 with USB adaptor
 

Sony MDR-XD200 Stereo Headphones (10-22,000 Hz)

Samson SD-5 Desktop microphone stand (Primary use)

Heil Sound PL2T Microphone Boom

Heil Sound foot switch (PTT with W2IHY iBOX)

Adonis AM-308 Desk Microphone (Secondary use)

          

You may be wondering why I am using all of the Behringer audio equipment? The answer is that I like to experiment with my transmitted audio and had during the late 1990's listened with fascination to broadcast quality voices of the 'eSSB audio net' on 14.178 MHz from the USA. For a full description of eSSB please refer to the website of John NU9N where all about 'eSSB' is explained.

I restrict my transmitted audio to a maximum of 3 kHz, usually 2.7 kHz, but I do like to experiment also off-air with the Behringer DEQ2496 to see the full range of sound that it and the Behringer B-1 studio microphone are capable of.

I was inspired by listening for hours to the wonderful voice and humour of the late Bill Salerno W2ONV transmitting from 'Studio B', using 'educated aluminum' as he used to refer to his antennas! Click here to hear an example of Bill's fantastic audio.

Bill W2ONV in the US Navy WW2           Bill W2ONV transmitting from Studio B

I worked Bill W2ONV once on air myself, when I was in my car in the Republic of Ireland, as EI/G0ISW/M on the eSSB audio net frequency 14.178 MHz, he played back my transmitted audio across the Atlantic for me to hear.

For further audio examples from radio amateurs around the World using various TX audio bandwidths, please visit John NU9N's website MP3 page here.

 

The future

Technology always moves on and I like experimenting with the latest digital modes. I have already linked my analogue Kenwood TS-2000 transceiver to my laptop PC computer, for use on the digital modes such as WSJT, WSPR, MixW, PSK31, SSTV, etc. The next logical step for me is a Software Defined Radio (SDR).

I have been looking at all the SDR options and for my needs I selected to have a FlexRadio Systems Flex-3000 SDR HF-50MHz transceiver. Being only the size of a large laptop PC, I can easily take the Flex3K on my travels and utilise its fantastic features.

 

 

 

I have had my Kenwood TS-2000 transceiver for over 11 years now and for the past year or more I have been troubled with a regular, but intermittent, main display fault where the screen showing frequency and other information suddenly goes blank and all the front panel controls become locked. Often the only temporary cure has been to switch off the separate power supply and then switch it back on.

Despite my Kenwood TS-2000 radio being sent to an authorised service dealer they have been unable to identify or repeat the problem. Finally I have found by chance an alternative solution and purchased the Kenwood RC-2000 mobile controller remote head. Using this has allowed me to see my display to tune again! I am utterly convinced the problem is caused by the accessory socket connection to my computer in some way.

 

 

1995

Since 1995 when I moved to a more urban location,  I voluntarily restricted my base station transceiver output power, from my license permitted 400 watts, to a maximum of only 50 watts on all bands! This helps to prevent any potential TVI/EMC problems and has still allowed me to work most of Europe on VHF and the World on HF.

This power reduction saves energy too, as 400 watts equates to roughly a single bar electric fire and 50 watts equates to a typical halogen GU-10 spotlight bulb. On VHF Meteorscatter on both 50 MHz and 144 MHz I have often sent comparable signals to fellow European stations, with their their much more impressive antenna arrays and higher power, whereas I have mostly used a small Create Log Periodic 5130-1N antenna for my Meteor Scatter work.

 

50 Watts Light bulb

My Kenwood TS-2000 Transceiver limited to 50 Watts

 

 

 

 

 

2009

Please note that since March 2009, my days of being able to easily chase HF/VHF DX (after 23 years) came to a temporary end following another house move.

I now live in a conservation area, where outdoor aerials are not permitted (if obvious) and the loft has already been converted, both of which make it very difficult for me to install antennas and operate effectively.

I have therefore dismantled and given away, to local radio amateurs, all of my previously used large HF directional antennas, taken down my mast and rotator. I am now mostly active near home either walking or in my car on 144/432 MHz FM using  my local repeaters GB3EV (145.700 MHz) and GB3CA (433.325 MHz).

However, I have recently in August 2010 uncovered a closed section of loft space.

I have removed a disused water header tank, which has given me just enough room to potentially install indoors my favourite VHF/UHF Create Log Periodic 5130-1N 50-1300 MHz antenna, in a fixed 130 degree direction facing South-East towards Continental Europe. Unfortunately I cannot rotate the antenna in this space, but 95% of my previous QSO's have all been in this direction!

* Frequency 50-1300MHz * Elements 25 * Power 500W PEP * VSWR <2.0:1 * Forward gain 10-12dBi * Front-to-back ratio 15dB * Connector N-type * Wind survival 40m/sec * Boom length 3m * Mast size 38-50mm * Weight 5kg
Suitable for commercial and ham transmission and reception, these Log Periodic antennas offer high gain over a wide frequency range.

This was the default direction my aerials have always faced before, and my best contacts made, so it should allow me to be on the air again on 50/144/432 MHz SSB and back again using my favourite Meteor Scatter software WSJT, after installation of a 10 metre length of SSB-Ecoflex 10 low loss coaxial cable (Attenuation only 0.49dB at 144MHz) to be completed when I get the time and inclination to do this.

Between my Kenwood TS-2000 transceiver and the Create Log Periodic 5130-1N antenna, I am using a Comet CFX-514N triplexer, which matches perfectly the radio's 50/144/432 MHz outputs and has an insertion loss of less than 0.2 dB at 144 MHz.

 

I intend in 2010/2011 to experiment with the Low Earth Orbiting satellites on 145 MHz uplink and 435 MHz FM downlinks using a portable Arrow II antenna. Click on the images below for some YouTube video clips demonstrating this antenna. K7AGE, in particular, seems to have a wealth of experience and videos on this subject.

 

 

           

From May 2011 I am going to try again to work the AX25 Packet satellites such as NO-44 PCSAT and the International Space Station on 145.825 MHz FM using my Kenwood TS-2000 with UISS, AGWPE and Orbitron software.

I am also occasionally active on EchoLink from home, node number 3116, and now using my Apple iPhone 3GS I am able to use EchoLink from anywhere in the World, where I can get a 3G mobile phone signal or via Wi-Fi.

   

 

I am active from home on most HF bands (3.5-28 MHz) with a small Sandpiper MV6+3 HF vertical, used primarily for PSK31 data communications. My results have been mildly disappointing so far, due to the low angle of radiation not being ideal for European and inter-G working, which at this point in the Solar cycle is where most stations I should be able to work are located.

This isn't the fault of the Sandpiper MV6+3 antenna, which I like, as I would have similar results with any omni directional vertical at this time and I have been spoiled previously by having a rotatable HF beam with considerable gain at the last house, so no comparison would be fair.

Sandpiper MV6+3 vertical 3.5-50 MHz

 

I have from 1st September 2010, installed a modern British Army 1.6-30MHz Racal Military tactical adjustable wire dipole (Type 4011-900), at only about 2.5m above ground level, on top of the garden fence, wall and in the trees. It is green coloured, made from very flexible copper braid, Kevlar strengthened and best of all is covert and cannot be seen by neighbours in this conservation area.

I have modified it slightly as I didn't have the matching Racal 'Centre Junction Assembly'(4011-103-01) and have used instead an old amateur radio magnetic balun, terminated with an SO-239 connector, and fed with 25 metres of 50 ohm RG-58 coaxial cable.

Racal Military tactical adjustable wire dipole 1.6-30 MHz

 

Initial testing has shown the Racal Military tactical adjustable wire dipole to tune easily for a 1:1 SWR on all amateur bands between 3.5-28MHz, using my Kenwood TS-2000 internal ATU. Using WSPR software very impressive results have been made, with just 5 Watts low power, all over Europe and the Southern UK. This is due to the high angles of radiation for this dipole compared to low angles for the vertical.

 

 

 

 

VHF/UHF Tropo, Aurora & Sporadic-E

Between 1988-2008 I specialised in VHF/UHF long distance (DX) communications on 50 MHz and 144 MHz with Tropo, Aurora and Sporadic Es being my favourite propagation modes, but having so many mountains surrounding my QTH made it difficult for VHF/UHF radio communications.

Shown below is a 3D aerial image of my home location (QTH) at Penrith, Cumbria, England (Locator IO84oq), indicated by the white arrow, at 140 metres above sea level, with higher ground surrounding all sides. Despite the terrain I have been able to work stations thousands of km away and have regularly been mentioned in both 'RadCom' and 'Practical Wireless' magazines for my achievements in this field.

The map below was created using Geog UK software by G4JNT.

G0ISW QTH

Click here for aerial photo of Penrith with ordnance survey interactive overlay

       

The topographic map below of my QTH (Centre white dot at 140m asl) was created using the fantastic Mobile Radio software by VE2DBE and downloading from the Internet the latest Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) data.

The elevation contours are at 100m intervals and show the high ground rising over 100m, immediately to the North-East of my QTH at a distance of less than 2km away, obstructing line of sight signals between 30-90 degrees.

At 20km distance to the East (Coloured RED) is very high ground formed by Cross Fell (893m / 2930ft), Little Dun Fell (842m) and Great Dunn Fell (848m /2782ft), all obstructing my line of sight signals between 70-90 degrees.

Below is a diagram which shows the antenna elevations required for my aerials to pass obstructions caused by hills around me. You can see that the best direction for me is 130 degrees and the worst is between 20-80 degrees.

When I lived in Ruislip in West London, before 1990, I was able to make extensive use of Tropo Ducting to work stations on the Continent of Europe, indeed I could use 10W on 432 MHz USB to work the stations of HB9MIN/P and HB9AMH/P in JN37 square in Switzerland, using an ex Military flat phased array of 16 dipoles, designed to work at military frequencies around 850 MHz. I was also able to work Scandinavia on 144 MHz. However since moving to the mountainous area of Penrith, Cumbria in IO84 square all my attempts at working via Tropo Ducting have been defeated by having higher mountains blocking the path/duct as I live near the valley floor.

To monitor the build-up of extensive and prolonged high air pressure needed to establish a Tropo Ducting path, in the late 1980's I had a chart recording brass and wood Barograph made for me by Ron Lucking of Hampton Court, a retired watch maker whom was also a Radio Amateur. I still use this fine Barograph today and also have the latest in weather technology in the form of a wireless Ventus W928 Meteotime weather station. I have discovered that I can use the Ventus W928 weather station with Weather-Display software if the WD software is set to be used with an Irox weather station, as the Ventus W928 is not listed as being supported.

Ventus W928 weather station

 

50MHz yearly propagation worked by G0ISW

Year Month

Mode

DX/Comments

1987

June Sporadic-E Europe ZC4VHF/5B4 / 9H1CG

1988

June to August Sporadic-E Europe

1989

March

Aurora

Europe
May to August

Sporadic-E

Europe
November to December

F2

USA & South America & West Indies & Africa WA1OUB / K8EFS / VE1YX / HC1BI Best ODX (VP5D got away) (EL2FO Liberia got away)

1990

House Move - no activity

1991

June

Aurora

Europe
June to July Sporadic-E Europe

1992

May to September Sporadic-E Europe

1993

May to July Sporadic-E Europe

1994

February

Aurora

Scotland
May to August Sporadic-E Europe / JY7SIX & EA8/DJ3OS

1995

June to July Sporadic-E Europe

1996-1999

House Move - left with no external VHF aerials for DX

2000

May to August Sporadic E Europe

2001

March

Aurora

Europe
June to September Sporadic-E Europe
August

TEP??

Africa - Reunion Island (FR1GZ heard calling CQ on 50.120 I didn't call him straight away, because I thought it was France, by the time I realised he had gone!!!!)
October to December

F2

Israel / Lebanon/ Ghana / Cyprus / India (VU2ZAP got away!) / Canada / USA / Jordan / (Australia got away aaarghhh!)

2002

May to August Sporadic E Europe

2003

May to August Sporadic E Europe (TF8GX got away!)

2004

May to July Sporadic E Europe

2005

May to June Sporadic E Europe

2006

June to August Sporadic E Europe

2007

April to August

Sporadic E

Europe

2008

May to August

Sporadic E

Europe/ Sporadic E seems very poor this year!

2009

House Move - no activity

2010

May to July

Sporadic E

Europe (No TX aerials)

2011

May to July

Sporadic E

Europe (No TX aerials)

2012

May to June

Sporadic E

Europe (No TX aerials)

2013

May to August

Sporadic E

Europe (Halo & OA-50/OA-144 loops for 6 & 2M)
       

 

I consider my current Amateur Station to be average in capabilities, but I have still managed to work on VHF very long distances to North Africa and the Black Sea coast on 144 MHz SSB, via Sporadic Es, without a huge antenna system or any linear amplifier. Just 25 watts from a Yaesu FT-736R and a Create Log Periodic 5130-1N aerial, which at 144 MHz only has about 5dbi of gain and is equivalent to only a 4 element yagi!

For more local 144MHz FM simplex contacts the following two maps show the likely signal strength and coverage, when I am using my Yaesu FT-8800 25W transceiver and an Omni directional colinear aerial from home. This clearly shows I am very well located for working SOTA or WOTA stations on the Lake District hills. Both maps created using the fantastic Mobile Radio software by VE2DBE

25W Omni Colinear aerial signal strength/coverage

25W Omni Colinear aerial signal strength/coverage

 

 

 

 

Station A      Station B

Amateur Radio Meteor Scatter

 

My favourite VHF propagation mode for Amateur Radio use is without doubt Meteor Scatter. From my IO84 Maidenhead locator square on 50 MHz and 144 MHz via Meteor Scatter, I used the fantastic WSJT  software and the high speed FSK441 digital data mode. The maximum practical range for Meteor Scatter QSOs is considered to be around 2300km, with my best distance being 1796km to Estonia.

I have severe obstructions to my signals when beaming between 20-80 degrees due to nearby mountains. Despite this almost impossible direction for working anything at VHF/UHF I have managed to work stations via Meteor Scatter as far afield as Estonia on 144MHz! To get over both hills my horizontal radiation lobe pattern needs to be at least 23 degrees above the horizontal.

Interestingly experiments in 2007 with SM7CMV on 50MHz where my radio signals were heard by him via Meteor Scatter many times, but I couldn't hear his signals despite my station being much weaker in comparison, has resulted in me suggesting that perhaps Knife Edge Diffraction followed by Meteor Scatter allowed this apparent one-way flow? I know Knife Edge Diffraction occurs in that direction as I can work G stations in IO94 square despite a clear mountain obstruction of the Pennines.

 

 

Shown below is a still image of my FSK441 QSO (using WSJT software) with ES6RQ on 21.12.2003 on 144.360 MHz a distance of 1796km (1116 miles) and my best DX via Meteor Scatter so far. The burst captured below shows the signal I received from my friend 'Ants' in Estonia.

I was only using 50 watts with my then Yaesu FT-847 transceiver and a 9 element Tonna Yagi at 150m asl to reply and you can see my Meteor Scatter signal report received in Estonia of 27.

The date and time shown on the captured screen above are not correct, as after the event I reran the recorded audio data so that I could grab this image to present on this page.

Below is a map of Stations I have worked on 144MHz Meteor Scatter. The maximum practical range for Meteor Scatter QSOs is considered to be around 2200 km, with my best distance so far being 1796 km.

I have managed to work stations via Meteor Scatter in Iceland, France, Germany, Poland, Estonia, Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Slovenia, Norway, England, Holland, Denmark & Spain.

           

VHF/UHF Satellites & EME

In early 2006 I became interested in working the International Space Station, Low Earth Orbiting Amateur Radio Satellites (using AX25 APRS Packet mode or voice) and trying Earth-Moon-Earth (EME) (using the JT65B digital mode).

This came about because band conditions were so poor on HF and realistically I have worked as much as I can via the normal VHF/UHF propagation modes. I am however finding it a very steep learning curve.

 

I now use Orbitron satellite tracking software to alert me in the shack, when the Satellites are coming into range. I use UISS software to CAT control my Kenwood TS-2000 radio and send the AX-25 packet messages.

UISS software

I use AGW packet engine software to give me the ability to transmit and receive packet without a TNC using my RigExpert standard interface. The UISS software works in tandem with AGW and is a very useful tool for working the ISS or digipeating through it. Within a day of downloading the software (on Saturday 17th March 2006 at 1145UTC), and on my first attempt, I managed to have my 145.990 MHz FM packet signal digipeated by the ISS (RS0ISS-3) as it flew overhead at 345km altitude, this was achieved using my normal VHF horizontal beam and using 25 watts.

See the image below, showing my QTH and those of other successful Hams, displayed in real-time, as heard by the ISS. The ISS position is shown and where it will be in 5 minutes later (ISS-5).

In May 2011 I am only using an indoor 1/4 wave 144MHz magnetic mount aerial, little bigger than a handheld radio aerial, as I have no external antennas for 2 metres. I was pleasantly surprised today 23rd May 2011 to see that my 25W 145.825 MHz FM AX-25 packet radio messages had been received onboard the ISS and retransmitted (RS0ISS-4*) as shown below in the text box, with the accompanying map image of active stations.

20110523075625 : ON4HF-9]U0TQW4,RS0ISS-4*,qAR,MM1PTT:`{]Z {yv/]"6I}www.on4hf.be=
20110523075623 :
G0ISW]CQ,RS0ISS-4*,W3ADO-1,SGATE,WIDE,qAR,EI7IG:]IO84OQ/G Pse send me ur # via SAT
20110523075618 : RS0ISS-4]CQ,SGATE,qAR,EI7IG:]ARISS - International Space Station (BBS/APRS on)

 

145.825 MHz ISS plot 23.05.2011

Please do not attempt to connect to the old International Space Station Packet BBS system, callsign RS0ISS-11, as you will block the whole pass for all other European stations who can digipeat only if the BBS is not being used. The BBS was established many years ago before the advent of e-mail, the crew do not read it, and in order to obtain a QSL card from the ISS you only have to now digipeat through it using the callsign RS0ISS-4. The crew use e-mail, Facebook and Twitter, not the BBS.

 

Summary of Locator squares worked via Satellites

International Space Station, PCSAT (NO-44), ANDE-1

(DXCC in brackets)

  144/432 MHz: 44 (19) 

 

 

My best Satellite DX on 145.825 MHz FM Packet, via the Low Earth Orbiting satellites above, is SV3EXT in KM18UA locator square, a distance of 2720 km and is closely followed by UR3QLZ in locator square KN77MT, a distance of 2703 km and US5WDC in locator square KN29BJ, a distance of 1918 km. Indeed on 27th March 2012 I worked via the ISS on 145.825 MHz FM packet UR3QLZ, I was only using an indoor 1/2 wave 2m colinear and 25 watts, no beam aerial here any more.

Please note that since September 2007, the International Space Station uses a frequency of 145.825 MHz simplex for APRS Packet digipeating, using the callsign RS0ISS-4.

Historically, I realised that for consistent and reliable space communications I should have upgraded my antenna system, but I did not have the space for a high performance multiple stacked 4x4 array, so it would have to be based upon a much simpler system. I noticed on the GB4FUN amateur radio demonstration vehicle that they have full satellite capability.

Home Page Image  

Looking at the setup detail for their mobile system Setting up the satellite tracking software & satellite system I became familiar with the WIMO X-Quad antennas for 144 MHz and 432 MHz, which I had not heard of before.

These aerials have a short boom length less than 1.5m and can be mounted on the front of the mast, which is particularly good for me as they would not catch on my HF beam mounted lower on my mast. The quoted gain for the 2m X-Quad is 10.5dBd and for the 70cm X-Quad is 12.8dBd, which compare very favourably with both a Tonna 9 element 144 MHz yagi at 13.1dBi and a Tonna 19 element 432 MHz yagi at 16.2dBi, but being only horizontally polarised, about 3m long and not able to be mounted on the front of the mast boom. Converting dBD to dBi suggests that the gain is almost the same.

Interestingly these antennas can be configured for horizontal, vertical, Left or Right hand circular polarisation (RHCP) the latter being the preferred setup for satellite use and also EME. Using a WIMO phasing harness for each antenna, further simplifies setup.

As of January 2010 I intend to use a modest portable Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) Satellite system based upon the Arrow II Satellite Antenna and my Kenwood TH-F7 5W 144/432 MHz handheld.

 

        

 

 

There are very few radio amateurs here in Penrith, or the surrounding area. The local Amateur Radio club is the Eden Valley Amateur Radio Society (EVRS) which meets in Penrith, on the last Thursday of each month at 19:30 hrs local time, in the Royal British Legion club. Visitors are very welcome.

 

Amateur radio activity is mostly to be found on the local 2m repeater GB3EV on 145.700 MHz FM (CTCSS 77Hz)for fixed and mobile stations due to the sparsity of activity and the mountains which block simplex contacts between the valleys.

 

The most active radio amateurs you are likely to encounter on GB3EV are (in alphabetical callsign order)

 

G0ISW - Philip

 

M0JKQ - Chris

 

M5TNT - Simon

 

M5TXJ - Dave

 

 

 

 

 

If you already use your computer soundcard for data modes such as PSK31, then you can use WSPR (Distant Whispers) software by K1JT, with your existing hardware. The software transforms your station into an automated beacon and weak signal reception hub.

You will be amazed how far your low power signals can be heard and can see maps in real time. Great for antenna experimentation and comparison too. There is even a searchable WSPR spots database.

 

2010

Below is an computer screen grab using WSPR software and taken from the WSPRnet pages showing my 5 Watts QRP signals on 10MHz on Friday 3rd September 2010. Comparing this with my HF vertical aerial I can see immediately better results for working the nearby Continent, which is what I would expect.

WSPR 10 MHz signals dipole 03.09.2010

Using the WSPRnet website and its 'spot database query' research tool, I can enter search parameters for callsign, band, number of spots, and select the order they are displayed in such as timestamp, distance, SNR, km per Watt etc.

In the example below, dated from late 2010, I have selected 5 spots for my signals on the 10MHz band and placed them in longest distance order. I can see that my best distance so far is to W3HH at 6751km and I can also see that all 5 spots were using my Sandpiper MV6+3 HF vertical, as I only put up my Racal Military tactical adjustable wire dipole on 1st September 2010.

Spot Database

Specify query parameters

Using spot archive (no automatic refresh). 5 spots:

Timestamp Call MHz SNR Drift Grid Pwr Reporter RGrid km az
 2010-08-31 22:22   G0ISW   10.140199   -13   0   IO84oq   5   W3HH   EL89vb   6751   280 
 2009-07-23 21:32   G0ISW   10.140223   -26   0   IO84oq   5   K8CXM   EM79   6074   290 
 2009-07-23 21:10   G0ISW   10.140214   -25   0   IO84oq   5   W4JE   FM08qw   5724   285 
 2010-08-31 23:00   G0ISW   10.140193   -17   0   IO84oq   5   K8CT   EN83ce   5711   293 
 2009-07-23 21:32   G0ISW   10.140203   -25   0   IO84oq   5   K1JT   FN20   5383   284 

Query time: 0.004 sec

However, on 14 MHz it is a different story, as I can see from the results shown below that my two best distances were both on dates after 1st September 2010, when I was using my Racal Military tactical adjustable wire dipole. Obviously you have to take into account the variations in propagation, but this software does allow you to compare antenna system performance if tests are carried close in time to each other.

 

2011

In April 2011, I have returned to using my Sandpiper MV6+3 HF vertical as my primary aerial, as it will tune up on 50 MHz for the Sporadic-E season in April-July, whereas my dipole won't.

 

Below is a map showing my QRP 5W 10MHz WSPR signals reaching the USA using a Sandpiper MV6+3 HF vertical on the morning of 6th April 2011.

 

Below is a map showing my 5W 10MHz WSPR signals reaching VK1UN in Australia using my 2m tall Sandpiper MV6+3 HF vertical on 8th April 2011.

The Solar Flux for this day is shown as 112.

The WSPRnet database shows my 10.140195 MHz signal to VK1UN in Australia had a SNR of -28 dB and the distance was my best yet at 16947 km.

The WSPRnet database shows my best ever DX signals have all occurred so far on the 10MHz band and I can tell by the dates that all were achieved using my Sandpiper MV6+3 HF vertical, rather than my dipole. I would expect this due to the low angle of radiation from the vertical aerial which is better suited for long distance (DX) working.

Here below is my 10 MHz signal being received on 16th April 2011 by the man himself K1JT, Joe Taylor, the author of WSPR and WSJT software

 

On HF from home, my preferred mode of operation in 2011 remains PSK31 data using MixW software.

 

 

In October 2011 I have started to look at other HF data modes and tried today JT65-HF on 28 MHz just to see what band conditions were like. Wow!

Shown below is a screenshot using PSK Reporter of stations heard by me on 28.076 MHz (10m), using JT65 HF mode, on Tuesday 18th October 2011.Amazing conditions considering we are only a little way out of sunspot minimum and already DX is visible on 4 Continents all at the same time.

Here below is the accompanying JT-65 HF software screen grab showing ZS1LS in South Africa, PU3WSF in Brazil and several US stations.

However in the Summer months I don't enjoy sitting in my shack and missing all the good sunny weather outside and have discovered in May 2011 that it is possible to remotely control my Kenwood TS-2000 radio using an Apple iPad to touch control my computer.

 

The Apple iPad using an application called Air-Display allows me to have complete touch screen control of my station from the comfort of my garden, or anywhere else in my house using my own Wi-Fi network, I can remotely view and operate anything on my computer screen. Here is the link to the full article explaining how to do this. http://www.hamradioscience.com/?page_id=141/sdr-radio-general/using-the-ipad-to-control-your-rig/#p49 Below is a YouTube video showing the concept in action.

 

 

 

 

 

2013

As of 2013 I have now largely abandoned HF WSPR beacon experimentation in favour of using the newer WSJT-X software also by K1JT and the JT65/JT9 weak signal data modes for two way HF communication. WSPR whilst a superb tool for weak signal beacon monitoring of HF band conditions was frustrating because I wanted to work the DX  I could receive. WSJT-X software has allowed me comparable signal performance with WSPR and since I started using JT65/JT9 modes in earnest the results have been equally amazing.

My logbook is absolutely full of US stations now, so many that I nearly have all the US States for the WAS award. I also have many Australian stations now which before WSJT-X I had maybe only one or two ever. 

I have also experimented with JT65 and JT9 in the Summer months on the 50 MHz (6m) band and found JT65 very effective indeed, but JT9 has performed poorly in comparison due to doppler 50 MHz signal drift, which means the signals whilst visible on screen often fail to decode. I have experienced no such difficulty on HF.

 

Again in 2013 I have discovered something better for remote control which is TeamViewer software, free for personal use, which allows remote control of my Kenwood TS-2000 transceiver via PC control from anywhere in the World using my Apple iPad providing I have a connection to the Internet. I can see my computer screen and manipulate the controls of any software. This has totally replaced me using Air-Display. I can still operate my station from the garden using Wi-Fi or from further afield.

 

2014

My preferred HF data modes remain JT65/JT9 using WSJT-X software, linked with DXkeeper logging software and JT-Alert for spotting DX I need. This combination means I don't have to sit in the shack all day to catch the DX I want, I am instead alerted audibly by voice from the PC and can then go to the shack or operate the transceiver remotely to work that station.

 

 

50 MHz (6 metres)

70 MHz (4 metres)

144 MHz (2 metres)

432 MHz (70 Centimetres)

G0ISW Ham Radio Station

Send formatted VHF DX Cluster spot

 

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 http://www.qsl.net/g0isw

Copyright G0ISW. Page last modified 21st April 2014. All Rights Reserved.