My name is
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
transmitting and receiving test. I hold the Advanced Full license Amateur Radio call sign:
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
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'
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
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.
of Locator squares worked by VHF/UHF band all terrestrial
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.
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
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:
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
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
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
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.
HF / VHF/ UHF Recent Activity
For the very latest G0ISW news please
visit my new Amateur Radio Weblog below
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
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
map of 50 MHz European Sporadic-E locator
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
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
/ 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
I monitor my
local 2 metre repeater GB3EV on
I also operate from
home with AX-25 Packet digipeating across Europe on
FM through Low Earth orbiting satellites or the International Space Station
HF / VHF/ UHF Radio shack
HF / VHF/ UHF Radio shack
(Interactive photo use
your cursor to identify equipment IE only)
G0ISW HF / VHF / UHF
use your cursor to identify equipment IE only)
of Locator squares worked by VHF/UHF band all terrestrial
RSGB 50 MHz Countries award (10 Countries
2-way)(60 worked total)
RSGB 50 MHz DX Certificate (25 Countries)(60 worked
RSGB 50 MHz Squares Award (25 Squares
required)( 250 worked
WAB Winter Award 1986-1987 (250 stations - All 144 MHz SSB)
SOTA Chaser 500 points Award (All 144 MHz FM)
SOTA Chaser 1000 points Award (All 144 MHz FM)
ANDE Satellite Deorbit Award
ARRL VUCC Award 50 MHz (100 Squares)
ARRL VUCC Award 144 MHz (100 Squares)
European Phase Shift Keying Club
EUSPA 100 Award (100 European Stations PSK
European Phase Shift Keying Club
EUSPA 200 Award (200 European Stations PSK
European Phase Shift Keying Club PHPA
(100 prefixes World
Wide using PSK modes)
European Phase Shift Keying Club PHPA
200 Award (200 prefixes World
Wide using PSK modes)
European Phase Shift Keying Club MGSPA 100 Award (100
Maidenhead Grid Squares using PSK)
RSGB 75 years Award (Worked required number of stations in RSGB
75th Anniversary year)
eDX 25 Countries (Worked over 25 different Countries verified
Countries worked World Wide)
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
Guest Book, as I spend a considerable amount of time maintaining this site. I really appreciate your positive comments,
Your Guest Book entries
greatly help to maintain my enthusiasm for continuing this task after 12
I've had to create a
new Guest Book due to the old Lycos/Tripod service closing down on
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!
screenshots above from the film 'Where Eagles Dare' are copyright of MGM and are
displayed with gratitude to the
website of which I am a registered member.
Eventually I followed
a path using radio through school and work to obtaining my Amateur Radio Full licence as shown below:
Passed Radio Amateurs Examination and issued with
Issued with 'Full'
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
transceiver on 433.200 MHz
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
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
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
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
and a 2.4M long whip aerial, whilst sat outside in the sunshine.
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
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
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.
G0ISW/M Mobile Station - Renault Megane Dynamique (2005-2011)
I have previously installed a
in a Renault Megane Dynamique 1.9 DCI diesel car and found the radio to be a great little transceiver, full of
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.
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
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
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
I have in June 2011 now installed my
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 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.
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.
picture you can also see the 12 Volt power lead I use to supply
power to my
Luckily this output is direct from the battery and is entirely
separate to the standard cigar socket and is rated at 13 Amps
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
Active Tuning Antenna System screwdriver aerial, which allows simple
and quick band
changes from 7 - 50 MHz whilst on the move.
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.
picture, viewed from inside the rear Jeep Wrangler door, you can see
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.
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.
close-up photo of the
you can see two large white dot stickers, near the base of the
The lowest visible
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.
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
Having a separate
2m/70cm aerial allows me to change from HF to
2m/70cm repeaters instantly,
without having to wait for the
I tend to work 2m/70cm repeaters until I
am in an area of no coverage and then change to HF.
hardtop of the Jeep Wrangler Ultimate (JK) is fibreglass and
removable, as is the entire roof. All of the
whip is above the roof level even when set at its shortest
50 MHz operation length.
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.
'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
The 'L' shaped mounts
to the metal bodywork, and have sufficient grounding to
to tune without problem. The rear door opens with the antennas
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
2 x 5/8 wave 70cm aerial with plenty of gain.
You can see my
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
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.
attaches to the Kenwood PTT/VOX unit with a 1m cable terminated with a
3.5mm plug fitting.
G0ISW/M (Pedestrian) Mobile Station
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
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!
solar maximum years I have worked the USA and South America on
14 MHz just with the
Miracle Whip, indoors!
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.
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
with RigExpert Tiny interface are as follow:
Sound Device Settings
Device: Computer Soundcard
Input: Line (RigExpert Virtual
Output: Speakers (Realtek High
PTT via CAT command: Ticked
AFSK in place of FSK: Ticked
DIG (Yaesu) is: USB
Default digi mode: DIG
Port: COM5 (This will vary
depending upon your own computer)
Baud rate: 38400
Data bits: 8
Stop bits: 1
Yaesu FT-817 settings
CAT rate: 38400
G0ISW SSB / AM Station equipment
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)
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.
restrict my transmitted audio to a maximum of 3 kHz, usually
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.
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.
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
Defined Radio (SDR).
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.
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.
Since 1995 when I moved to a more urban location,
I voluntarily restricted my base station transceiver output power, from my
400 watts, to a
maximum of only 50
watts on all bands! This helps to prevent any
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
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.
Watts Light bulb
My Kenwood TS-2000 Transceiver limited
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
using my local repeaters
GB3EV (145.700 MHz)
GB3CA (433.325 MHz).
However, I have recently in
August 2010 uncovered a closed section of loft
I have removed a disused water header tank, which has given me just enough
room to potentially install indoors my
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!
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
144MHz) to be completed
when I get the time and inclination to do this.
I intend in 2010/2011
to experiment with the
Low Earth Orbiting satellites
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
2011 I am going to try again to work the AX25 Packet satellites such as
NO-44 PCSAT and the International Space Station on
FM using my
with UISS, AGWPE and Orbitron software.
I am also occasionally active on EchoLink
from home, node number
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
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.
the fault of the
Sandpiper MV6+3 antenna, which I like, as I would have similar
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.
I have from
1st September 2010, installed a modern British Army
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.
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.
testing has shown the
Racal Military tactical adjustable wire dipole to tune easily for a 1:1
SWR on all amateur bands between
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
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
Shown below is a 3D aerial image
of my home location (QTH) at Penrith,
Cumbria, England (Locator IO84oq),
indicated by the white arrow, at
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'
magazines for my
achievements in this field.
below was created using Geog UK software by G4JNT.
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
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
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
degrees and the worst is between
When I lived in Ruislip in
West London, before 1990, I was able to make extensive use of
Ducting to work stations on the Continent of Europe, indeed I could use
to work the stations of
square in Switzerland, using an ex Military flat phased array of 16 dipoles,
designed to work at military frequencies around
I was also able to work Scandinavia on
However since moving to the mountainous area of Penrith, Cumbria in
square all my attempts at working via
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
if the WD software is set to be used with an Irox weather station, as the Ventus
W928 is not listed as being supported.
propagation worked by G0ISW
ZC4VHF/5B4 / 9H1CG
USA & South
America & West Indies & Africa WA1OUB / K8EFS / VE1YX / HC1BI Best ODX
(VP5D got away) (EL2FO Liberia got away)
House Move - no activity
May to July
JY7SIX & EA8/DJ3OS
House Move - left with no
external VHF aerials for DX
- 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!!!!)
Lebanon/ Ghana / Cyprus / India (VU2ZAP got away!) / Canada / USA / Jordan
/ (Australia got away aaarghhh!)
(TF8GX got away!)
May to July
May to June
Sporadic E seems very poor this year!
House Move - no activity
Europe (No TX aerials)
May to July
Europe (No TX aerials)
May to June
Europe (No TX aerials)
May to August
Europe (Halo & OA-50/OA-144 loops for 6 &
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
watts from a Yaesu FT-736R and a Create
Log Periodic 5130-1N aerial, which at
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
Station AStation B
Amateur Radio Meteor Scatter
My favourite VHF propagation mode for
Amateur Radio use is
without doubt Meteor
Maidenhead locator square on
50 MHz and
144 MHz via
Scatter, I used the
fantastic WSJT software
and the high speed FSK441 digital data mode.
The maximum practical range for
considered to be around 2300km,
with my best
distance being 1796km
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
as far afield as
To get over both
hills my horizontal radiation lobe pattern needs to be at least 23 degrees above
in 2007 with SM7CMV on
50MHz where my radio signals were heard by him via
Scattermany 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
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)
my best DX via Meteor
so far. The burst captured below shows the signal I received from my friend
'Ants' in Estonia.
I was only using
with my then Yaesu FT-847
transceiver and a 9 element Tonna Yagi at 150m asl to reply and you can see
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
Scatter. The maximum practical range for
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
Iceland, France, Germany, Poland, Estonia, Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland,
Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Slovenia, Norway, England, Holland, Denmark & Spain.
This came about because band conditions
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.
AGW packet engine software
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
it flew overhead at 345km
this was achieved using my normal VHF horizontal beam and using
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
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
AX-25 packet radio messages had been received onboard the ISS and retransmitted
as shown below in the text box, with the accompanying map image of active
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)
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.
of Locator squares worked via Satellites
International Space Station,
PCSAT (NO-44), ANDE-1
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
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
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.
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
10.5dBd and for the
12.8dBd, which compare very
favourably with both a Tonna 9 element
144 MHz yagi at
13.1dBi and a Tonna 19
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
As of January 2010 I intend to use
a modest portable Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) Satellite system based upon the
Arrow II Satellite Antenna
144/432 MHz handheld.
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.
most active radio amateurs you are likely to encounter on GB3EV are (in
alphabetical callsign order)
G0ISW - Philip
M0JKQ - Chris
M5TNT - Simon
M5TXJ - Dave
Radios I have
owned and operated over the years
* denotes still in use
you already use your computer soundcard for data modes such as PSK31,
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.
Below is an
computer screen grab using
WSPR software and taken from the
showing my 5 Watts QRP signals on
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.
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.
example below, dated from late 2010, I have selected 5 spots for my signals on the
band and placed them in longest distance order. I can see that my best
distance so far is to
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.
Using spot archive (no
automatic refresh). 5 spots:
Query time: 0.004 sec
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
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
April 2011, I have returned to using
Sandpiper MV6+3 HF vertical
as my primary aerial, as it will tune up on
for the Sporadic-E season in April-July, whereas my dipole won't.
Below is a map showing my QRP 5W
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
signals reaching VK1UN
in Australia using my 2m tall
Sandpiper MV6+3 HF vertical on
8th April 2011.
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)
Here below is my
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
In October 2011 I have
started to look at other HF data modes and tried today
just to see what band conditions were like. Wow!
Shown below is a screenshot using
of stations heard by me on 28.076 MHz
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.
below is the accompanying JT-65 HF software screen grab showing
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
radio using an Apple iPad to touch control my
As of 2013 I have now
largely abandoned HF WSPR beacon experimentation in favour of using the
newer WSJT-X software also by
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
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
(6m) band and found JT65 very effective indeed, but JT9 has performed poorly
in comparison due to doppler
signal drift, which means the signals whilst visible on screen often fail to
decode. I have experienced no such difficulty on HF.
in 2013 I have discovered something better for remote control which is
free for personal use, which allows remote control of my
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
I can still
operate my station from the garden using Wi-Fi or from further afield.
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.
In November 2014 I took advantage of a
special discounted offer from Moonraker for an AirNav Radarbox 3-D ADS-B receiver
system in order to track in real-time aircraft within approximately 200 miles of
my home location.
So far I have been very impressed and have setup alerts for
specific aircraft or types of aircraft I am interested in. The system
automatically records and logs all aircraft received and downloads pictures from
the Internet of them too, for later review.
Shown below is my live
AirNav Radarbox 3-D feed, updated every
minute when system is switched on and only showing aircraft I have received